- the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures.
- the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.
“interpretive,” 1670s, from Latinized form of Greek hermeneutikos “of or for interpreting,” from hermeneutes “interpreter,” from hermeneuein “to interpret (foreign languages); interpret into words, give utterance to,” a word of unknown origin (formerly considered ultimately a derivative of Hermes, as the tutelary divinity of speech, writing, and eloquence).
From the above, we can see that hermeneutics is a key area of study within exegetical theology.
Differing hermeneutical approaches are clearly seen when dealing with topics such as the end times. One interpreter may take a more literal interpretation whereas another a more figurative approach.
Other key components of interpretation include interpreting texts in their historical setting, considering the grammar used, and in the surrounding context of the text.
Failing to consider such things has lead various people over the years into all sorts of conflicting beliefs and even heresy. This is not to say there cannot be legitimate conflicting views on how to interpret a particular text (as seen above) but such differences still end up having more in common because of applying an overall consistent hermeneutic. Those who fall into heresy tend to insist on their own view rather than what makes sense &/or flat out ignore other areas of Scripture that they should have considered before standing on their chosen view.