The Hermeneutics of the Eulogy


  • Chaz Holsomback University of Dallas



In this paper I attempt to elucidate the hermeneutical experience of the formal eulogy. I hope to demonstrate how the specific activity of the formally delivered eulogy brings together the entire manifold of hermeneutical experience and manifests the whole scope of hermeneutical life: the openness to the Other, tradition and the text, the priority of the question, translation as interpretation, conversation, and the understanding of meaning. Beginning with the Thou that is the text, I will consider the crisis of remembering and interpreting a life and the significance of “the conversation we ourselves are”—even from the other side of death. I will show how the eulogy, as a peculiar and particular hermeneutical moment, reminds us of our shared hermeneutical plight: it is only our finitude and mortality that allows us to belong to and understand one another in a meaningful way.

Author Biography

Chaz Holsomback, University of Dallas

Chaz Holsomback is a graduate student at the University of Dallas, in Dallas, Texas where he studies philosophy. His primary focus is on phenomenological and hermeneutical applications to problems germane to our contemporary world, such as mental illness, intellectual disability, and addiction. He is also interested in questions of language, meaning, and the experience of religious faith; and the relationality of personhood, self-understanding, and identity construction.