I was wondering whether following after interpreting a sentence can be considered following the sentence or not.

For example: there is a religion X which is based on a scripture Y. Now one of the basic tenet of the scripture Y says -

You're God.

Now the religion X interprets it as

You are not actually God, God resides in you. Your soul & God's soul is different.

So my question is - Is the religion X following the scripture Y? Is accepting a sentence after interpreting it an acceptance indeed?

  • There is the text (the Book) and there are interpretations. See Peirce's Semiotics as well as Eco's Interpretation. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 17:17
  • Thank you @Mauro I am not a student of philosophy. I'm amateur. Can you suggest me prerequisites required (if there are any) to read the book?
    – Mr. Sigma.
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 17:41
  • There is a philosophical school about Hermeneutics: "the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts." Modern philosophers: Paul Ricoeur, Hans Gadamer. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 11:18
  • 2
    There is an incontestable historical evidence about very different religious sects all relying on (different interpretations of) the same text. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 11:20
  • Interpreting means explaining the meaning of sentence. So, it would be the case of accepting the scripture and interpreting it by usually writing a commentary on it. If one want to reject it, he should take it as Purva Paksha and refute as Uttara Paksha. For example 1) accepting and interpreting: You're God means God resides in you 2) refuting (not accepting): Purva Paksha You're God; Uttar Paksha: No, you're not God.
    – Pandya
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Here is the question:

Is the religion X following the scripture Y? Is accepting a sentence after interpreting it an acceptance indeed?

What believers of a religion follow is the reality referenced by their scripture, not the scripture itself. The scripture keeps that reality in the believer’s mind, but it is not that reality. If the text were what was followed, the text would be a kind of idol.

Accepting the scripture or an interpretation of a scripture is something a believer chooses to do or not do after the believer understands the scripture. If the reality referenced by the scripture is infinite and the text is finite, the mapping between the finite text and infinite reality cannot be expected to represent a bijection. See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's Maimonides reference for a suggestion that silence may be a better interpretation of the content of some scriptures.

This would also be true for sentences dependent upon human understanding, not only scriptures that a believer uses.

By contrast, if a text were codified so transformations of the text could be checked by a computer, an “interpretation” of that text could be defined as any valid transformation. Then acceptance or "following" of the original text or an interpretation would be based on the computer's logic, not human understanding. That, however, is not what is going on with human understanding of a scripture.

  • So you are saying, Every religions usually follows interpretation as there is no standardization by which the correct meaning or interpretation is revealed or understood?
    – Mr. Sigma.
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 16:40
  • @Rohith. That seems to be what I'm saying. Or perhaps there is no standardization that would be on the level of a text like one has with a logical argument that a computer could manipulate without understanding the argument. One has to go to the reality that the text refers to. That requires a human mind to understand the text and then make a choice whether the text should be accepted or not. Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 18:06

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