Original Research

‘Shakespeare in the bush’ and encountering the other in the hermeneutical dialectic of belonging and distanciation

H. C. Waetjen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 50, No 3 | a2565 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v50i3.2565 | © 1994 H. C. Waetjen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 1994 | Published: 14 January 1994

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H. C. Waetjen, San Fransisco Theological Seminary, United States

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‘Shakespeare in the Bush’ is an account of an anthropologist’s hermeneutical experience among the Tiv people of Nigeria that serves as an illustration o f a hermeneutical circle which results in transforming the otherness of a text into the sameness of the prejudices artd traditions projected by the preunderstanding in order to understand. This essay poses the hermeneutical objective of validity in interpretation by advocating an encounter with the otherness of the text that is orientated to the speech performance of the author, as it is conveyed by the textual structures of the implied author and the implied reader. Heidegger’s artd Gadamer’s ontological condition of being-in-the-world and its projection of understanding are acknowledged as the only legitimate point o f departure for interpretation. If alienating distanciation is to be evoked by an ‘effective historical consciousness’, a text must be read with the ‘irony of interpretation’ that interacts with it, the text, as both a speech performance (parole) and a linguistic code (langue).


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