This work of disambiguation begins with the simple recognition that there are ‘hermeneutics’ and ‘hermeneutics’, and argues that not all senses of the term have been given sufficient attention in the discussion of what religious education is and could be. I hope to do some important definitional work around the different senses that hermeneutics might have in religious education, and thereby to think through what it might mean to say that a concern in religious education is a ‘hermeneutical’ one. Finally, I hope to address the ‘so what’ question and make a case for the vital importance of hermeneutics for understanding religious education, as well as for understanding religion. This case lies not primarily in the association of religious education with the interpretation of scripture or more generally with questions of text or interpretation, but in the close association of education in its broadest sense with hermeneutical concerns. I sketch out the implications of a hermeneutical approach for teachers and curriculum planners faced with the tasks (which cannot be interpreted away) of selecting curriculum content and making decisions about pedagogical approach.
- religious education