J: I am all the more puzzled that you have meanwhile dropped both words.

I: That was done, not-as is often thought-in order to deny the significance of phenomenology, but in order to abandon my own path of thinking to namelessness.

J: An effort with which you will hardly be successful . . .

I: . . . since one cannot get by in public without rubrics.

J: But that cannot prevent you from giving also a more precise explanation of the terms "hermeneutics" and "hermeneutic" which you have meanwhile abandoned.

I: I shall be glad to try, because the explanation may issue in a discussion.

J: In the sense in which your lecture on Trakl's poetry understands discussion.

I: Exactly in that sense. The expression "hermeneutic" derives from the Greek verb hermeneuein. That verb is related to the noun hermeneus, which is referable to the name ol the god Hennes by a playful thinking that is more compelling than the rigor of science. Hermes is the divine messenger. He brings the message of destiny; hermeneuein is that exposition which brings tidings because it can listen to a message. Such exposition becomes an interpretation of what has been said earlier by the poets who, according to Socrates in Plato's Ion (534e), hermenes eisin ton theon-" are interpreters of the gods."

J: I am very fond of this short Platonic dialogue. In the passage you have in mind, Socrates carries the affinities even further by surmising that the rhapsodes are those who bear the tidings of the poets' word.

I: All this makes it clear that hermeneutics means not just the interpretation but, even before it, the bearing of message and tidings.

Martin Heidegger (GA 12) A Dialogue on Language - On the Way to Language