– the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible
– a method or principle of interpretation
Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation.
Hermeneutics is the science and the art of biblical interpretation. It is a science because there are rules for interpreting Scripture, just as there are rules for driving a car. If you do not know the rules, you will not know how to drive properly. Beyond knowing the principles, however, you must also know when to apply them. Because of this, hermeneutics can also rightly be called an art. Since Scripture is not monolithic because it contains multiple genres and was written over a vast period of time, by many authors, in different languages, it requires discernment to know which rules of interpretation to apply to any given text to find its intended meaning. That, ultimately, is the goal of hermeneutics: to understand how to interpret the text to find its intended meaning.