Hermeneutics is the art or theory of explaining, translating or interpreting texts, especially sacred scriptures and philosophical and artistic texts.

Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of sacred writing.

Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions and precomprehensions.

In philosophy, hermeneutics represents a theory of truth and the method that expresses the universalization of the interpretive phenomenon from concrete and personal historicity.

It is the interpretation of texts in theology, philology and literary criticism; and, in philosophy, it is the idealist doctrine according to which social (and perhaps also natural) facts are symbols or texts that must be interpreted instead of being described (represented) and explained objectively.

The need for a hermeneutic discipline is given by the complexities of language, which often lead to different and even conflicting conclusions regarding the meaning of a text.

Hermeneutics tries to decipher the meaning behind the word and, with it, tries the exegesis of reason itself over meaning.

Sometimes exegesis and hermeneutics are used as synonymous terms, but hermeneutics is a broader discipline that encompasses written, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Exegesis focuses mainly on texts.