Possible Principles of Thelemic Hermeneutics

Thelemic Hermeneutics

1st Principle

These interpretations are interpretations – not final pronouncements of truth. They should not be uttered as such nor should they be read and heard as such.

2nd Principle

Each text must be interpreted within its unique historical, linguistic, religious, social, and mystical context to be fully understood

3rd Principle

An apparently obvious historical or literal interpretation is not inherently primary.

4th Principle

Each text must be interpreted with honesty, clarity, and conciseness.

5th Principle

Views contrary to one’s own must be investigated indifferently.

6th Principle

Honest, clear, and concise criticism is encouraged and should be expected if one dares to publicly espouse one’s own particular interpretation.

7th Principle

The various “meeting-places” of the texts (i.e. where the same word is used in both, where similar concepts & motifs occur, etc.) will create three possible outcomes: synthesis, separation, or contradiction. Synthesis means that the two texts actually speak about the same subject. Separation means that the two texts appear to be similar but are actually speaking of separate topics or different contexts. Contradiction means that the two places in the texts cannot be reconciled by either synthesis or separation – one interpretation contradicts another.

8th Principle

Interpretations of texts are dynamic and must be understood and fostered as a continually changing processes, not as fixed pronouncements of unalterable truths.

Finally,

There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt

 

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3 comments

  1. An apparently obvious historical or literal interpretation is not inherently primary.

    “Where the text is simple straightforward English, I shall not seek, or allow, an interpretation at variance with it.” — Aleister Crowley, Equinox of the Gods, on the principles of exegesis for Liber AL.

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    1. 93 — And yet he does this constantly. Consider his interpretation of “thou” of “Do what thou wilt” as “Ateh” (Thou) and therefore Kether. Consider his interpretations of the words “all” and “none”. In fact, I can’t figure what kind of point he is trying to make there since that would lead to unquestioned literalism which is the absolute death of a tradition, let alone any kind of vibrant hermeneutical exploration by the community.

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