The Hermeneutics of the Eulogy
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.
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