Science –Religion Dialogue as a Productive Hermeneutics

Productive hermeneutics is different from hermeneutics that we know. It has Its roots in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. They follow Karl Marx who challenged us to move beyond hermeneutics of meaning and explanation and called us to embrace productive hermeneutics in his 13th thesis on Fuerbach where he says ‘ it is not enough to explain the world . What is needed is to change the world’. This production of change and not just meaning becomes the basis of productive hermeneutics. The critical theory, particularly, the work of Joergen Habermas also follows the emancipative or therapeutic goals of thinking and knowledge production. Hence, productive aspects becomes important in comparison to hermeneutics of explain and meaning. Thinking through the lens of productive hermeneutics , maybe we can look at dialogical dialogue. Here, we are especially interested in the dialogical dialogue of Science and Religion as a productive hermeneutics. Like Hermeneutics of meaning , Science –Religion dialogue not just produces explanation and meaning but it also produces flows that can initiate creative and novel transformations in our society

Science as a Productive Hermeneutics

Science has always been practical. It does have a theoretical aspect but it comes through experimentation. Maybe it is an issue of egg and the chicken. What comes first cannot be fully determined. There is a hermeneutical circle between the two. This is why there is production of novelty. Science grows with breaking away from itself. It is the best self –critical knowledge that we have. The novelty that science brings to birth is recognized by the scientific community . The newness produced by Science not just changes Science but has the power to change our society. Growth of Science has brought about transformation of our society. This is why we say that Science is a productive hermeneutics . It defines the very becoming of Science. Novelty is ‘the eternal return’ of Nietzsche that constitutes the being and becoming of Science. As a productive hermeneutics, it can be emancipative as well as oppressive . This depends on the context of its use. This is why we have the challenge to engage Science and channelize its productivity ethically.

Religion as a Productive Hermeneutics

Religion has both theoretical as well as productive dimensions. The creed of Religion is theoretical. Cult and code is practical. There is a hermeneutical circle between the creed, code and cult of all Religions. The theoretical as well as the practical aspect of a Religions are recognized by the community of believers. Religion is often accused of legitimating the structures of oppression and hence Religion is thought to resist novelty and change. Since to a large extent code and cult being based on creed that does not change, it appears to be true. But religion is also the custodian of values, morals and ethics . This why religions can become sites that bring about lasting change in our society. By bringing Religion in dialogue with Science, there is a great promise of letting religion become an agent of change, transformation and emancipation. It can unleash the prophetic charism of Religion.

Science and Religion Dialogue as a Productive Hermeneutics

When we try to bring Science and Religion in dialogue with each other, we have the possibility of unleashing a powerful productive hermeneutics. It has a promise of new people to come and new society to come. It promises the untimely / the novel that does not fit into our time but belongs to the time to come . Dialogue between Science and Religion is an event- horizon that will bring emancipative ways of being in the world. Science and Religion can, therefore, be a creative site that can take our society as well as Science and Religion themselves to new heights. The coming together of Science and Religion will bring novelty that is recognized by our scientific and religious community. In fact, the coming together of Science and Religion points to the new people to come who will be able to recognize the newness this dialogue that its will bring alongside other things. This indicates that Science and Religion dialogue will usher in a novel future that is in the coming. This novel future will leap on the wings of innovative and novel thought. Both Science and Religion are challenged to become anti-Oedipal or deep critics of each other. In this critique, they are to belong together not in an oppositional relations defined by either/ or thinking but through a relation of hyphenation of both poles of our thought. This means productive hermeneutics requires no relations of opposition but relations of hyphenation. They can grow as well as influence each other by being side by side and not simply by opposing each other. In opposing each other, both Science and Religion become the other of each other or the other of the same as they take models from each other and oppose them by becoming other of the same. Religion or Science does not have to be other of each other. They simply have to be other to each other without reductively dissolving into each other. This dynamic inter-relation is a true prophetic relation.


Science and Religion dialogue sets in a hermeneutics of production. As a productive hermeneutics, it shows us that Science and Religion dialogically produce themselves and our society. This indicates that coming together of Science and Religion produces novelty that stirs up emancipative transformation of our society. The novelty requires new people to come in order to be recognized. This is why we may have to agree that Science and Religion Dialogue holds an incalculable potential that can be only recognized by the new people to come that will emerge along with the dynamism of dialogue. The power and potential of this dialogue, therefore, is transformative, resistive of the old and emancipative oppressive regimes. Science –Religion dialogue is committed to a new future and a new society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao