It is my pleasure to welcome you to the International Institute for Hermeneutics. The IIH is an autonomous, international, and interdisciplinary research institute, with connections to dozens of universities around the world through an international advisory board and a network of associates. The IIH was founded in 2001 to foster and articulate a general hermeneutics, a task demanding an intensive interdisciplinary collaboration on a level that does not yet exist in the contemporary university. We have a particular concentration in philosophy, religious studies, and comparative literature. However, the field of hermeneutics now embraces all of the humanities and social sciences; as Gianni Vattimo puts it, this is the “age of interpretation.” We concentrate on the concrete activity of interpreting texts, facilitating research in hermeneutics, and assisting universities and educational institutions in including hermeneutical issues in their pedagogy. Although English is our primary language, the IIH is a house of language. As such we intentionally operate in several languages. Our goal is to overcome the divisions that have encumbered academic conversation; divisions between faculties, disciplines, cultures, languages, and religious traditions.
The IIH is an innovative new form of academic collaboration, founded upon the recognition of a legitimate diversity of modes of human thinking. Communication technology is at the heart of the IIH's methodology. We use it intensively, turning the IIH into a virtual piazza globale, where scholars from all cultural, linguistic, professional, and religious backgrounds converse freely with each other on the subjects that make us all scholars. Our circle of associates includes scholars from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and USA. The International Congress on Hermeneutics is hosted by a different university, but facilitated and administrated by the IIH.
The first congress of the IIH was held May 5-10, 2002, at St. Bonaventure University, NY, with almost fifty speakers from Europe, Canada, USA, and Central America, representing a diversity of academic, religious and cultural traditions. The congress at St. Bonaventure has been a great success. The volume Between the Human and the Divine: Philosophical and Theological Hermeneutics was published, as planned, before the congress. The quality of the contributions has ensured that it will remain an important source of philosophical and theological hermeneutics. The volume Between Suspicion and Sympathy: Paul Ricoeur’s Unstable Equilibrium has been published in 2003, Between Description and Interpretation: The Hermeneutic Turn in Phenomenology in 2005, Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and the Art of Conversation in 2011, and The Hermeneutic Rationality/La rationalité herméneutique in 2012.
The International Institute for Hermeneutics has successfully completed over ten years of service to the international community of scholars interested in hermeneutics. This anniversary gives us a welcomed opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude for all our patrons. The original idea of creating an international platform for communication between scholars of hermeneutics beyond the established academic formulas proved to be very fruitful. Responding to the transformation of the idea of international academic collaboration as caused by the rapid changes of the digital culture, the IIH is a truly virtual community where all hermeneutic voices are welcomed and taken seriously in the spirit of hermeneutic hospitality. We are convinced our hermeneutic work is already a reward in itself. The main measurable success of the IIH can be seen in three aspects:
1. Organizing congresses and conferences
2. Publishing in our own Hermeneutic Series and more recently in the International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology at LIT Verlag
3. Our own online journal Analecta Hermeneutica
We would like to express an invitation to submit book proposals for our series at LIT and papers for the Analecta Hermeneutica. We particularly welcome reviews and notes on the hermeneutic literature published not only in English but also in your local languages. If you would like to become a guest editor of a special issue of Analecta Hermeneutica, please let us know.
All our book projects and Analecta Hermeneutica are peer-reviewed. We would like to express profound gratitude to all our reviewers for their invaluable, however, often largely under-appreciated hard work. It is not our standard policy to publicize the reviewer’s names, but they are welcome to list them among their professional scholarly activities.
Being an international organization of ca. 200 members from over twenty countries we appreciate the activity of all our patrons, regardless how directly you were actively participating in our projects. We strive to keep the information on our members updated better to serve communication between scholars world-wide. We have been very pleased to see how often our humble resources helped people around the globe to get in touch with each other to discuss hermeneutics. It is particularly rewarding to know that many young scholars found through our resources the contacts and directions for their studies in hermeneutics. Therefore, it is vital to get our resources updated and as comprehensive as we can.
With a profound sense of personal satisfaction I welcome all the achievements of the IIH and our respective members individually. We recollect proudly the IIH history and look into the hermeneutic horizon in order to embrace our future with hope and anticipation. There is so much, that calls for understanding.
To all our guests and IIH members I extend my personal greeting and invitation to contribute to our web space. Sharing our life experience, knowledge, and hermeneutic insights is the best contribution to the world we live in. Our answer to present international crises is the globalization of solidarity. I encourage you actively to involve yourself in our activities, and welcome your questions, comments, concerns, and creative ideas.
On behalf of the IIH and in concert with all our members, I would like to express our profound gratitude for your invaluable support of the IIH and very best wishes.
President of the International Institute for Hermeneutics