Matthew:Hermeneutics is a complex discipline that cannot be performed with an overly reduced concept of the term. Indeed, it draws on many fields for its practice and coherence. Will you, briefly, outline what hermeneutics is and explain its relationship to other disciplines both scientific and artistic?
Thiselton: Although it entails, first, biblical hermeneutics, it is vital that Biblical Studies is not isolated from Systematic Theology. This occurs all too often, to the impoverishment of both. Hence the second discipline is Theology. Third, Linguistics has to be studied for a serious Hermeneutic. Fourth, because modern Hermeneuticssince Schleiermacher is “the art of understanding”, it must involve epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. The fifth essential discipline is sociology of knowledge, since all interpretation is not purely “objective”, but depends on pre-understanding, or what Habermas calls “interest”. Preliminary understandings (English, rather than German!) can be negotiated like “horizons”; they are not fixed like “presuppositions. Nowadays, sixthly, Literary Studies are indispensible, both for an understanding of genre (as in Umberto Eco), but also on “intention” and Reader Response Theory.
We might add, seventh, Reception History or Reception Theory, which has now become a sub-discipline in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Literary Theory. I cannot think of any of these eight which we can easily omit. It is tragic that some relegate Hermeneutics only to a branch of Biblical Studies or oh Church History. I have explored more on the Hermeneutics of Doctrine in my book, The Hermeneutics of Doctrine (Eerdmans, 2007).
Matthew:Postmodern thought has been preoccupied with the task of hermeneutics and the relationship of readers to texts. Yet, many in Christian circles have had a difficult time recognizing the value it might add to our reading of texts generally or to the Bible specifically. What positive contributions (if any), in your view has postmodernism made to hermeneutics?
Thiselton: I must confess that I suspect all “-isms” as overgeneralizations. I speak to my students only specifically about Lyotard, Derrida, Rorty, Foucault, and others. For the most part, I am grieved that many Evangelicals retreat from robust, rational discussion because many postmodernists say that I can say only how it is with me, i.e. testify to what has worked for me. But there are some positive features: (1) an attack on the standardization of knowledge, especially making everything correspond to technology (especially Lyotard); this applies to what is said above about “science”. (2) I share their dislike of generalities; but we need caution about rejecting all “meta-narratives”, of which the Bible may be one. (3) Roland Barthes’ early work “Mythologies” is fascinating, and assists Ricoeur’s “Hermeneutic of Suspicion”, although this may be too early to call it “Postmodern”. (4) Jean Baudrillardexposes fantasy and simulacra, together the idolization of utility and media-created, and media-centred “celebrities”. But specifically on Hermeneutics I have some sympathy with Vanhoozer’s exposure of Derrida as too near to atheism, and I would add Lyotard on incommensurability and the plurality of “paganism” as negative. In the U.S.A., I find it difficult to find merits in Rorty and Fish.
Gerrit Neven, ‘The Time that Remains: Hans-Georg Geyer in the Intellectual Debate about a Central Question in the Twentieth Century’ in Theology as Conversation: The Significance Of Dialogue In Historical And Contemporary Theology: A Festschrift For Daniel L. Migliore, Bruce McCormack and Kimlym J. Bender eds., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009, pp. 67-81
Whereas initially Nietzsche and Marx only proclaim the death of God, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze proclaim with equal force the death of a man (cf. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, 1994, esp. the last chapter, and Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 1993).
Following Barth, Geyer gives the Parousia the determinative role concerning various theological aspects of reconciliation. The Messiah’s having drawn near is the precondition of a future-oriented and therefore a dialogical mode of thinking. The Parousia points to a nearness of salvation that does not supernaturally demolish time and history, but rather breaks open time and history from within [messianically] by turning to the risky expectation of the Messiah, for whom each moment in time is an open entrance.
This expectation leads to intensive forms of discussion and debate with not just theologians but also with [critical and phenomenological] thinkers like Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger , Horkheimer, Bloch, Sartre, and so on. The focus is the humanity of Christ.
(Hans-Georg Geyer [1929-1999] studied in Frankfurt during 1950-1954 with Hans-Georg Gadamer, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, and Wolfgang Kramer before he turned to the study of systematic theology (at Gottingen, Berlin, Wuppertal, and Bonn.)
As early as 1962, Geyer declared his agreement with Walter Benjamin’s Theological-Political Fragment. According to Benjamin, only the Messiah himself will consummate all that is happening historically, in the sense that only he himself will redeem and consummate the creation in its relation to the messianic. Therefore, nothing historical can relate itself to something messianic on its own account. With this, he distanced himself from the idea that historical convictions, scientific achievements, or political opinions have in themselves the potential to make “the jump-ahead” to a time which is qualitatively new and different. Our knowledge is determined by economic and political factors. The desire to know is driven by a force consisting only of what can be [pragmatically or in a utilitarian manner] calculated. This [social/structural] force and the history of freedom contradict each other (analogous to the tension between poststructuralism and structuralism/rationalism).
Geyer here introduces the topic of faith in the post-liberal sense. He says, “faith, getting involved with and trusting upon the message concerning Christ, is at the same time radically renouncing the desire to discover the truth of the proclamation and past history”.
This criticism of metaphysics (of absolute certainly) is also part of the thinking projects of Moltmann and Pannenberg, for whom the future became the paradigm of transcendence. But both of them have felt that they have to leave Barth behind for they deem Barth’s system closed and ahistorical. Geyer does not share this view.
Geyer inherits early Barth’s dialectical theology. He is convinced that our time is an implication of the Parousia of Jesus Christ. His intensive debate with Moltmann and Pannenberg is concerning the epistemology of hope. That is to say, if God’s new coming in the Parousia is an implication of the concrete identity of Jesus Christ, then how do we find his identity? He doubts whether for Moltmann and Pannenberg “the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” are constitutive–and as opposed to merely illustrative— of the exegesis of biblical texts and of the practices of the Christian community. For according to Geyer, Moltmann and Pannenberg’s definition of history and Parousia did not clearly distinguish “the future as an end that we should strive for” (the anthropocentric) from “the future as the goal of God’s exclusive act” (the theocentric). His ultimate criticism is that the theology of Moltmann and Pannenberg is enclosed by a metaphysical correlation between God and the world. Transcendence is devoured by immanence.
To solve this problem, Geyer here uses Husserl’s concepts of protention (the succession of the historical accordance and its end) and retention. The protention in Jesus denotes the continuity between the character of Jesus’ conduct and his fate—death. According to Geyer, this historical fate can undergo an intensification or an ontological deepening “only by the event of the meta-historical resurrection in Easter” [out of theological necessity].
By retention, it means when we look back, the attempts to ignore this fact or to place this death within an unduly higher framework can only lead to an idealization of his death or a degradation of it to an empirical fact (which is an unduly anthropologized theology full of liberal residues). Namely, the declaration that this historical death implies a [whether phenomenological, hermeneutic, or ontological] jump-ahead should be fiducially rooted only in the meta-historical domain, in [the post-Easter] remembrance, which runs backwards. This solution does not have to leave behind the aporia of this [historical] death. For at any rate, doctrinal or impersonal statements are not possible in the face of this death. Anamnesis and commemoration of this death can only give us non-metaphysical and personal truth. The redemptive history is inherently incomplete if all we have is this death of Jesus.
On the other hand, knowledge concerning the identity of this Jesus can only be acquired by participation in the process of the actuality of this meaning question in the medium of human language. That is why the question concerning the meaning of the cross is characterized by an infinite openness— as opposed to the enclosure of totalitarian metaphysics. For Geyer, the hope is the qualitative feature of faith, which is a prerequisite for new non-metaphysical mode of thinking.
In accorance with the nature of hope, Parousia concerns the future of which no one has sure knowledge of the time and the hour— it is beyond human calculation: Although we are vitalized by images of the future (e.g., Luke 21:7-33), these do not lead us into the future itself.
There is a remarkable parallelism in the thinking of Geyer and Badiou about metaphysics. Badiou establishes that « the death of God » and « the death of man » go hand-in-hand in the ethos of 20th century philosophy and theology. He calls them “the joint disappearances of Man and God”.
On one hand there is in the 20th century philosophy the movement that radicalizes Kant’s approach by enslaving man in his own emancipation (i.e., German idealism: our [finite] subjectivity creates our world). This line runs from Kant via Fichte and Sartre (man is condemned to freedom; man is programmed to be a man and cannot be freed from this program). On the other hand, there is the way of the radical anti-humanism of Nietzsche and Foucault: the absence of God is one of the names for the absence of man.
As Foucault (he criticizes Levinas and Derrida’s anthropology as religion or theology), Badiou does not think this either or situation leaves room for postmodern thinkers like Levinas or Derrida. For Levinas’ appeal to God’s radical otherness in order to safeguard the otherness of the human other falls short to attest to a radical alterity. (This means that in order to be intelligible, ethics requires that the other should be in some sense carried by a principle of alterity which transcends mere finite experience. cf. Badiou, Ethics , 22). As for Derrida’s deferral of presence (différance), a sort of religion of messianic delay, Badiou sees something too artificial in its ramification upon the relation between philosophy and religion (cf. P. Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth , 157). Postmodernity has become boring.
Badiou searches for what is empty and open in a time when the [human and divine] subject has disappeared. There is no other possibility than to accept this aporia, this emptiness, and to retain a prospect to point beyond death. For Geyer, this means the resurrection and the coming of the Messiah— within the perspective of time. Biblically speaking this is the time that remains, a time of intense expectation (cf. Isa 21:11). 
Giorgio Agamben, Benjamin’s disciple, in The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans declares “what remains is what separates us from the Messiah”. More than the Messiah’s coming close is the Messiah himself.
 The polemical context which Geyer (and possibly Benjamin) set out to argue against includes the following features (i.e., wrong assumptions):
3) the totalitarian features of modernity in the 1960s (for which Geyer thinks Horkheimer’s treatment in the 1930s is exemplary. He lost faith but has not abandoned the project of human transformation of the society into a utopia).
4) reciprocal freedom: the promises that somebody gives to someone else are ruled by a relationship of absolutely free reciprocity and by a reciprocal freedom.
 Here one may become somewhat apologetical over against Badiou. Badiou teaches with Nietzsche that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is dead. According to Nietzsche, faith in God as a supernatural power in general will no longer have any real influence, since God is not ascribed any power anyway. There is no such metaphysical God. However, it is precisely this faith that would be necessary to determine the convictions and the actions of man. This may be the case, Geyer answers Nietzsche. But even if God has lost his power over man and that super-sensual heaven has no meaning for the sensual earth, it does not necessarily follow the death of Christian theology.
Through Barth, Geyer has found a way forward: Christian theology has the task to lead faith out of its dogmatic identification with the concept of religion that is still metaphysically determined. Geyer rejects Nietzsche’s analysis that lumps together the God of metaphysics and the God of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the metaphysical God, the God of the Bible can die.
On the basis of this God’s death, people in faith received the power to be really earthly finite and to be able to die. In the Christian faith, God’s identity can only be thought of appropriately when we take as point of departure the view that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is God’s act on behalf of all.
The occurrence of cross in history demands remembrance and mimesis: the imitation of God in the praxis of love for one’s neighbor. God is a name that has to be continued in a passionate plea to practice love, as opposed to a concept that asks for ideological representation. Remembrance implies mimesis, through which we anticipate the coming of God in the Parousia.
重點是，這麼做，他的神學已經不神學了。他的神也不神，只是一個空泛能指。他的Categorical imperative: « Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. »
再繼續追溯John Hick從Wittgenstein 的鴨兔圖（見上圖）而啟發的經驗相對論（experiencing-as）
，他整理出一個基本的分別（參：An Interpretation of Religion, (2005 Revised),
Part III “Epistemology”, pp.129-170）：日常經驗具有立即的可證偽性（Karl Popper’s falsifiability），但是宗教經驗的證偽卻是多方、且長時間的。但就因為區間長和需要倚賴多方證據，並不能說明宗教經驗或論述就不具備知識的合法地位。
***附帶一提，John Hick的宗教論述當年抵禦Karl Popper和Bertrand Russell 以及維也納學派（Vienna School）對宗教知識論地位的攻擊，在1960年代贏得重要一役，免除神學和宗教研究被全面趕出高等教育系統的危機。
您若對這個議題就興趣，同時關注其所引發的「多元宗教」以及「宗教非實在論」（non-realism）的挑戰，請閱讀An Interpretation of Religion Part IV和以下（最好全書讀完）。我也寫過小論文和報告闡述並反駁。有些可以公開，有些則還不能公開。
多年前在法國學界有過一場規模不小、涉入人物極廣的現象學與「神學轉向」之爭論(Phenomenology and the “Theological Turn”: The French Debate)，看來法國現象學界要比德國更直面「神學」，從列維納斯、利科、德里達到馬西翁的貢獻可以證實這個現象，充份地應證了列維納斯所說的一句話：「歐洲就是指聖經與希臘」，可見「神學」一直都沒有離開過歐洲思想家的視界，只是它以不同的面目出現，若即若離。
列維納斯把「作為他者的他者」理解為上帝，而且這樣的上帝是具有面容的，只是這張面容不是我們佔有的對象，而是一張喚起我們的責任的面容。關鍵就在於，列維納斯避開了存有論而轉向倫理學，所以「傾聽」在此不是停在海德格式的存有論層次中獨白的良知式召喚，因為真正的「傾聽」不喚起什麼，而是必須伴隨以應答和責任(response and responsibility)，以避免傾聽之後依然是冷眼旁觀，傾聽開啟的是責任，構成對同一張面容的倫理關係，因而主張「倫理學是第一哲學(prote philosophia)」。
但如果教徒不理性，我怎麼能夠透過理性的分析說服他們呢？親身牧養實踐的經歷使我知道，在學院內動動嘴，效益本來就不大。故這篇文章是寫給理性的、已經預備好被說服（但仍需要理由）的信徒看的。帶入「群體文化塑造」這點是要打預防針，如果您社會學很強，熟習布迪厄（Pierre Bourdieu）、迪雪圖（Michel de Certeau）、伯格（Peter Berger）等不同學派的社群理論，其實很容易明白為什麼要有這帖預防針的存在。
externalized）、被社群客項化的（已經成為一種語言契約、社會價值的….already objectivated）、已經被輸入並且要被內化成一種個人行為模式的（to be internalized），都「可以」是屬靈爭戰的場域，但不一定「必須」是。其中一個判別原則，就在於先確認爭戰的場域：
3) 「我本身的思維模式都已經是一種被意識型態馴化過的偏差意向」，需要透過凝視不同認知對象（e.g.上帝、楷模人物），透過另啟視域交融（fusion of horizon）的道肉結合事件（參高達美，《真理與方法》，1971的最後一章），來回頭發展主體性的其他可能性？