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hinter etw. zurückfallen

English translation: deny the validity of the hermeneutic approach/regress to a pre-hermeneutic state

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16:29 Feb 8, 2007
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Music / hermeneutics
German term or phrase: hinter etw. zurückfallen
Warum sollte man sich nicht der Vergangenheit mit dem Rüstzeug der Gegenwart nähern? Die Frage ist berechtigt und es geht mir im folgenden auch nicht um ein Plädoyer für einen historischen Positivismus in der Musiktheorie.
Es geht nicht darum, sozusagen hinter die Erkenntnisse der Hermeneutik zurückzufallen, und der Zeitgenossenschaft die vermeintlich authentische Deutungshoheit einzuräumen.

Context: lecture
Intended audience: informed musicians and musicologists
Lancashireman
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:07
English translation:deny the validity of the hermeneutic approach/regress to a pre-hermeneutic state
Explanation:
Mir scheint, dass hier die Hermeneutik besonders als der Versuch verstanden wird, sich in die Zeit und die Gefühls- und Erlebniswelt des Autors (dh. die Vergangenheit) hineinzuversetzen, um das Werk aus der Sicht der vergangen Zeit zu interpretieren. Dies wird mit dem Ansatz des Autoren kontrastiert, der sich dem Werk von einer Gegenwartsperspektive aus nähern will.
Mit seinem Ansatz will der Autor allerdings nicht den hermeneutischen Erkenntnissen ihre Berechtigung absprechen.

Eine direkte Übersetzung wäre vielleicht:
regress to a pre-hermeneutic state.

Das Problem bei dieser Übersetzung (die auch dem Quelltext anhaftet) ist, dass einer Gegenwartsperspektive der Vorzug gegeben werden soll, dies aber mit einem Ausdruck, der einen Schritt in die Vergangenheit nötig machen würde, beschrieben wird (zurückfallen hinter). Wenn es jedoch wichtig ist, den Wortlaut der Quelle so genau wie möglich wiederzugeben, kommt "regress to" dem Zurückfallen mMn recht nahe.

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Note added at 8 hrs (2007-02-09 01:21:42 GMT)
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I don't know why I have the tendency to reply to English questions in German and the other way round! Must be that my brain automatically switches to the other side... Let me know, Andrew, if you'd prefer the whole shebang in English! :-)

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Note added at 1 day3 hrs (2007-02-09 19:56:33 GMT)
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Reply to Asker Note:
Favorably.
This also gives the above quote a different angle as (not only) I have seen him previously argue *in favor* of a modern approach.

In that light, it's meaning is more along the lines of HeinrichB's suggestion, although the perspective doesn't feel quite right there either.

I still see this in a temporal/developmental sense since hermeneutics go back to Schleiermacher and the 18th century and beyond.
Since the perspective is opposite from what I first thought, let's turn everything around: deny the validity of any interpretative approach that came after hermeneutics :-)

From this pov, maybe "regress" wouldn't be so bad after all since this implies that all new developments, theories, aproaches etc. are practically undone . This would also go along the lines that hermeneutics would be seen as the only relevant approach.

Maybe something like:
It's not about regressing to the ideas of hermeneutics and declaring the contemporary point of view the only acceptable approach to an authentic interpretation.

"Contemporary" is as tricky as its German counterpart "Zeitgenossen" since this could refer to both present and past contemporaries. Maybe you can clarify that somehow.
Selected response from:

Heike Behl, Ph.D.
United States
Local time: 02:07
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +4to fall back behind
Anton Baer
4 +2deny the validity of the hermeneutic approach/regress to a pre-hermeneutic state
Heike Behl, Ph.D.
4to explain away
Gert Sass (M.A.)
3to distance (dissociate) oneself from
Bernhard Sulzer
2 +1failing to keep up with
Henry Schroeder
3to resort toKieran McCann
3to backslide behindcasper
2to ignoreBrigitteHilgner


Discussion entries: 10





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
to ignore


Explanation:
Given that the text is rather philosophical, this might be too simple.

BrigitteHilgner
Austria
Local time: 11:07
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 8
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44 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
to fall back behind


Explanation:
It sounds like a defensive expression -- why fall back behind, shelter behind, take cover behind - and grant sovereignty to the allegedly authentic interpretation.. The speaker foresees a small battle, a conflict of interpretation....

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Note added at 45 mins (2007-02-08 17:14:20 GMT)
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44 minutes? What is it with proz.com?

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 11:07
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  mbrodie
55 mins

agree  Diana Loos
2 hrs

agree  Ingeborg Gowans
7 hrs

agree  Kieran McCann
1 day49 mins
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45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to backslide behind


Explanation:


casper
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
failing to keep up with


Explanation:
Again, my apologies if this is way off the mark, but it popped into my head after getting up to return my bowl to the kitchen following the note above.

This is crummy German in my opinion, at least the double "es geht nicht um" is not spectacular. Furthermore, as I said, I don't think you can "fall behind discoveries". More plausible is "failing to keep up with them". Combined with the possibility of avoiding a repetition of the negative sentence, it seems quite nice (though it's a quarter to two):

I'm sorry if I am failing to keep up with hermeneutic discoveries and not granting our contemporaries the ...

This is classic speech-talk, isn't it? Especially from an artist, pretending to deprecate himself.

I'm sure there is a more eloquent way to express "keep up with", but my brain is probably deteriorating and I'm unable to think of anything else.


Henry Schroeder
United States
Local time: 05:07
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 36

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Karin Maack: but this is it! It's an image from a race, someone should not fail to keep up with the runner "Erkenntnisse der Hermeneutik". A somewhat artificial German style, that's true.
1 hr
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1 day1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to resort to


Explanation:
or perhaps 'give in to' or 'make do with'

Basically I agree with HeinrichB that the author is describing the application of a hermeneutical approach in a pejorative sense, but it's not easy to capture the meaning exactly in English.

'Hinter' I read with Heinrich and against Henry and Heike in a spatial not temporal sense.

The point is that hermeneutics argues that observers of events at later periods cannot possibly understand them fully/properly because they do not share or have access to the whole range of assumptions, beliefs, lifestyles, background knowledge, associations etc etc etc that people had at the time of those events and which were therefore relevant to their meaning at that time: only observers at the time could have said exactly what meaning those events had. This is what the author means by 'historischer Positivismus' thus bringing together two terms, 'positivism' and 'hermeneutics', not normally associated with each other.

My reading is therefore the opposite of Heike's: the author is referring to the assertion of a hermeneutical viewpoint (albeit slightly disdainfully, as noted) not its denial.

Maybe 'there is also no question here of resorting to the insights of hermeneutics and attributing a superior and supposedly authentic interpretative ability to contemporary observers'

Kieran McCann
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:07
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 28
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
deny the validity of the hermeneutic approach/regress to a pre-hermeneutic state


Explanation:
Mir scheint, dass hier die Hermeneutik besonders als der Versuch verstanden wird, sich in die Zeit und die Gefühls- und Erlebniswelt des Autors (dh. die Vergangenheit) hineinzuversetzen, um das Werk aus der Sicht der vergangen Zeit zu interpretieren. Dies wird mit dem Ansatz des Autoren kontrastiert, der sich dem Werk von einer Gegenwartsperspektive aus nähern will.
Mit seinem Ansatz will der Autor allerdings nicht den hermeneutischen Erkenntnissen ihre Berechtigung absprechen.

Eine direkte Übersetzung wäre vielleicht:
regress to a pre-hermeneutic state.

Das Problem bei dieser Übersetzung (die auch dem Quelltext anhaftet) ist, dass einer Gegenwartsperspektive der Vorzug gegeben werden soll, dies aber mit einem Ausdruck, der einen Schritt in die Vergangenheit nötig machen würde, beschrieben wird (zurückfallen hinter). Wenn es jedoch wichtig ist, den Wortlaut der Quelle so genau wie möglich wiederzugeben, kommt "regress to" dem Zurückfallen mMn recht nahe.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2007-02-09 01:21:42 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I don't know why I have the tendency to reply to English questions in German and the other way round! Must be that my brain automatically switches to the other side... Let me know, Andrew, if you'd prefer the whole shebang in English! :-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day3 hrs (2007-02-09 19:56:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Reply to Asker Note:
Favorably.
This also gives the above quote a different angle as (not only) I have seen him previously argue *in favor* of a modern approach.

In that light, it's meaning is more along the lines of HeinrichB's suggestion, although the perspective doesn't feel quite right there either.

I still see this in a temporal/developmental sense since hermeneutics go back to Schleiermacher and the 18th century and beyond.
Since the perspective is opposite from what I first thought, let's turn everything around: deny the validity of any interpretative approach that came after hermeneutics :-)

From this pov, maybe "regress" wouldn't be so bad after all since this implies that all new developments, theories, aproaches etc. are practically undone . This would also go along the lines that hermeneutics would be seen as the only relevant approach.

Maybe something like:
It's not about regressing to the ideas of hermeneutics and declaring the contemporary point of view the only acceptable approach to an authentic interpretation.

"Contemporary" is as tricky as its German counterpart "Zeitgenossen" since this could refer to both present and past contemporaries. Maybe you can clarify that somehow.

Heike Behl, Ph.D.
United States
Local time: 02:07
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxFrancis Lee: I'll take this native's word for it. Perhaps just "discard" the insights of ... ?
12 hrs

agree  Bernhard Sulzer: with "regress to a pre-hermeneutic state" see my discussion
1 day2 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
to explain away


Explanation:
http://www.tiny.cc/OqR62
http://www.tiny.cc/ANatc

"This is not an attempt at explaining away what hermeneutics have proposed (in the meantime) ..." etc.

BTW: I have recently found that "explaining away" is something you seem to feel quite committed to, Mr. Swift, in dealing with translations ;-D

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Note added at 1 day4 hrs (2007-02-09 20:56:17 GMT)
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Some alternatives:
to disclaim ...
to doubt ...
to dismiss (in the meaning of "hinweggehen über")...
to question/deny ...
... hermeneutical (pro-)positions, approaches or views



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Note added at 1 day7 hrs (2007-02-09 23:36:24 GMT)
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@Asker: Please note that I used the AtA box to directly answer your most recent two questions, just like a previous AtA posting (Kieran's) was intended to answer your question.

Gert Sass (M.A.)
Germany
Local time: 11:07
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 24
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi Gert! Please note that the AtA box is for eliciting extra information from the asker. To avoid clutter in this area, please provide your additional comments/opinions/pronouncements via the customary channel, i.e. notes added to your answer. Thanks. AJS

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1 day3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to distance (dissociate) oneself from


Explanation:
After your additional information it reads to me as if the point is to accept/use/apply the approach developed in the 18th century but that it does not mean that one is trying to dispense with/discard/distance oneself from the the validity of the modern approach - at least that's not the goal, ergo one is not (at least purposely) trying to discard/disqualify hermeneutics and all that comes with it.

It's a "Plädoyer" for the "old" approach with no intention to
disqualify/discard/dispense with hermeneutics theory.

so, yes I believe the following would do justice, however, the German word is less strong:

discard
dispense with
disqualify
prove wrong
prove

Closer to the German word which is less strong than "deny" and stronger than "fall back behind" I would suggest:

to distance (dissociate) oneself from

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Note added at 1 day11 hrs (2007-02-10 03:29:54 GMT)
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I dug a little deeper and wanted to add this.

I think that "regress" and "revert" are possibly the best expressions here because they are closest to the German "figurative" meaning. My "distance" or "disassociate/dissociate" may come pretty close emphasizing the idea of separating/cutting oneself off from the influence of hermeneutic theory and thus the process of understanding according to hermeneutics.

I think the following excerpt (on Gadamer's thoughts) can shed some light on the concept of hermeneutics = and a representative of that theory will clearly state that you cannot really discard or abondon its principles, even if you tried, because it's how we understand things as the subjects that we are, within a history (effective-history). In that sense you cannot, even if you tried,

distance yourself from (regress/revert to a state before, fall back behind) hermeneutic insights/thinking.

So, in trying to apply historicism as a theory, as is suggested in this context (= trying to understand objects of the past within their temporal/cultural background/theories), we still won't be able to let go of all the historical influences that have shaped our thinking, our cultural understanding as such, since that time.

The author seems to understand that when he says: "Warum sollte man sich nicht der Vergangenheit mit dem Rüstzeug der Gegenwart nähern?" and he understands that "Es geht nicht darum, sozusagen hinter die Erkenntnisse der Hermeneutik zurückzufallen, und der Zeitgenossenschaft die vermeintlich authentische Deutungshoheit einzuräumen."

So, historicism in his mind is not the absolute truth/does not have "Deutungshoheit" even though he applies that theory.


His approach is not an attempt to regress/revert to a theoretical state before hermeneutics.


According to the theory of hermeneutics (see below), the temporal distance from the object of one's studies is seen as a positive thing, rich with additional insights that shape the way we "understand."


Excerpt:

https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/holtorf/3.10.html

Another important condition in which understanding takes place is temporal distance. For Gadamer, past and present are firmly connected and the past is not something that has to be painfully regained in each present:

"Time is no longer primarily a gulf to be bridged, because it separates, but it is actually the supportive ground of process in which the present is rooted. Hence temporal distance is not something that must be overcome. This was, rather, the naive assumption of historicism, namely that we must set ourselves within the spirit of the age, and think with its ideas and its thoughts, not with our own, and thus advance towards historical objectivity. In fact the important thing is to recognise the distance in time as a positive and productive possibility of understanding. It is not a yawning abyss, but is filled with the continuity of custom and tradition, in the light of which all that is handed down presents itself to us." (Gadamer 1975: 264f.)

The role of effective-history

The prejudices and fore-meanings in the mind of the interpreter which make understanding possible, are not at the free disposal of the interpreter, but linked to a 'horizon' and an 'effective history' (Wirkungsgeschichte).

"Understanding is not to be thought of so much as an action of one's subjectivity, but as the placing of oneself within a process of tradition, in which past and present are constantly fused." (Gadamer 1975: 258)

Gadamer argues that the 'true' historical object is not 'an object' at all, but a relationship which comprises both the reality of history and the reality of historical understanding. This he calls the 'principle of effective-history' (1975: 267). Not only does the power of effective history determine in advance what seems us to be worth enquiring about, but we also find that, by following the criterion of intelligibility, the other presents itself "so much in terms of our own selves that there is no longer a question of self and other" (Gadamer 1975: 268).

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Note added at 1 day17 hrs (2007-02-10 10:00:06 GMT)
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PS: as noted, it really depends on what one understands as "hermeneutics" and maybe also what one calls "historical positivism."

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Note added at 1 day23 hrs (2007-02-10 16:17:36 GMT)
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..depends "on" what...

Bernhard Sulzer
United States
Local time: 05:07
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 26
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