A Hermeneutical Approach to Political Responsibility: The Case of the Early History of Reception of the Apostle Paul’s Paraenesis to the Romans


Understanding happens within the course of history and is made concrete within particular discourses. This insight into the structure of understanding is largely indebted to Gadamer’s hermeneutical philosophy and was methodologically worked out by Jauss’ aesthetics of reception. Concepts such as Wirkungs-geschichte and Rezeptionsgeschichte, account for the way in which understanding is embedded in texts, contexts, traditions which are appropriated in the life-world of historically conditioned readers and users. Any discussion on the meaning of responsibility must consider its history as portrayed in the texts where it features as subject-matter. The concept of responsibility will be discussed here within the particular case of the issue of political responsibility as featured in the early reception of Paul’s paraenesis to the Romans.

Keywords: understanding, meaning, history of reception, political responsibility, civil obedience, The Apostle Paul, Romans, paraenesis

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