The International Institute for Hermeneutics

Subtitle

 

Hans-Georg Gadamer's Letter of Support

 

From   HANS-GEORG GADAMER

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Honorary Member, Advisory Board of the

International Institute for Hermeneutics


To Dr. phil. Dr. theol. Andrzej Wiercinski

Research Professor

President, International Institute for Hermeneutics

                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Dear Dr. Wiercinski,


May I congratulate you on founding the International Institute for Hermeneutics. Institutions such as yours are essential if we are to shelter the never ending task of interpretation. I am happy to join you as an honorary member of your International Advisory Board. The mission of the IIH meets with my wholehearted support. I understand your vision of a general hermeneutics that embraces the human, social, and natural sciences as a welcome Wirkungsgeschichte of my own work. I wish the IIH every success with continuing the exploration into the phenomenon of understanding and the interpretation of what has been understood.


Sincerely,


Hans-Georg Gadamer

January 14, 2002



As the President of the International Institute for Hermeneutics, I would like to thank Professor Donatella Di Cesare, who visited Professor Hans-Georg Gadamer in mid-January 2002 on behalf of the IIH. During her stay in Heidelberg, Professor Gadamer extended his greetings to the IIH and to the First International Congress on Hermeneutics, which was due to take place soon and which he felt unable to attend. Professor Di Cesare conveyed to the IIH her brief impressions of what turned out to be her last meeting with Professor Gadamer. Donatella DiCesare, is a professor of the philosophy of language at the Facoltà di Filosofia, Università di Roma"La Sapienza."


During my stay in Heidelberg, in mid-January 2002, I visited Hans-Georg Gadamer, who had been my teacher for many years. I felt truly overcome by the poor state of his health but, as always, inspired by his cheerfulness and determination, rooted in his tremendous will to live. He began immediately by critically evaluating his new book on Parmenides. After that, he spoke about the Presocratics and the beginning of thinking, and about the importance of classical philosophy as the origin of philosophical hermeneutics, to which it bequeaths its immediate obligations. In that context, I told him about the newly created International Institute for Hermeneutics and presented him with the formal invitation to become an Honorary Member of the Institute and to attend its First Congress. He was very enlivened by this news and asked many questions about the Institute. As a sign of his direct support for the Institute, he immediately accepted the invitation to become an Honorary Member of the Institute offered by the President of the IIH, Andrzej Wiercinski. In his acceptance letter to the President of the IIH, Gadamer emphasizes the future importance of philosophical hermeneutics today, and he also extended his greetings to the participants of the First International Congress on Hermeneutics. Having known Professor Gadamer for many years, I am quite convinced that he would have chosen to be present at the Congress had his health permitted him to be.


Hans-Georg Gadamer remained completely lucid to the last moments of his life, though he was conscious of his approaching end. Hermeneutics, which is a philosophy of finitude, teaches us to accept what is incomplete and limited. Additionally, he lived his life very fully right up to the last moment, because he loved and treasured life so greatly. He was, after all, the philosopher who wrote "the incomprehensibility of death is the triumph of life." And it would not be foreign to him to be commemorated among us as a living presence.


From HANS-GEORG GADAMER

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Honorary Member, Advisory Board of the International Institute for Hermeneutics


Greeting to the

First International Congress on Hermeneutics

c/o Dr. phil. Dr. theol. Andrzej Wiercinski

Research Professor

President, International Institute for Hermeneutics



Dear Dr. Wiercinski,

I am delighted to know that the conversation between philosophy and theology continues, particularly in North America, where the temptation to forsake the interpretive task in favor of apparently more profitable research can be almost irresistible. The theme of this congress, “Between the Human and the Divine." is an invitation to listen to the languages with which we speak of our being-toward-God and ourselves, to hear the resonances and discordances between them, and to hearken to what shows itself in that play of words. It is an opportunity to reflect upon the between, for historically effected consciousness always remains between horizons. between traditions, between “den Sterblichen und Göttlichen.” In the constantly changing structure of our essentially finite languages, we might find, with Holderlin, that we “still have access to much of the divine.”


I regret that I cannot be present at the first congress of the International Institute for Hermeneutics. I wish you a creative and fruitful dialogue.


Sincerely,


Hans-Georg Gadamer

January 14, 2002