David Vessey describes well the purpose of philosophical hermeneutics; “What makes philosophical hermeneutics ‘philosophical’ is that it holds that the insights into properly understanding texts apply to all instances of understanding.” Vessey further argues that the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans Georg Gadamer teaches that the discipline of hermeneutics asks the most fundamental questions of epistemology and insights derived from this discipline become fundamental to any philosophical undertaking. However, Gadamer argued throughout his academic career against a formalized method in the process of understanding. The summary of Gadamer’s hermeneutic is that an object, whether a text or work of art, will reveal its meaning to the expectant interpreter whose rational attitude is open to see the truth of what the text has to say. Truth for Gadamer is a priori as it manifests itself as itself.
The philosophical hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur tends to emphasize the method over the meaning. Empirical method hermeneutics seeks to guard against ideological influence in understanding while focusing on improvements to human understanding. The thinking Christian will conclude that the methods of philosophical hermeneutics, while helpful in understanding, can be misleading in the Christian approach to epistemology if the truths of the faith do not guide the process.
Caution in analysis is necessary to avoid a genetic fallacy where the hermeneutic split between modern philosophy and theology is the emphasis of ideology over reason. Condemnation of secular philosophical method solely for lack of theological emphasis can lead to rejection of beneficial philosophical inquiry. Yet in terms of Christian philosophy, the methods of modern philosophical hermeneuts, such as Heidegger and Ricoeur, stem from the Enlightenment and discards the traditional Christian means of defining truth, goodness, and beauty in Platonic rationalism. While transcendental concepts are explored by Gadamer in his work Truth and Method, what is lacking for Christian academics when applying this hermeneutic is the conclusion that all that is true, good, or beautiful is that which is God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. While contributions in textual criticism from secular philosophers are beneficial to the pursuit of understanding, Christian thinkers must not abandon Christian principles. Contributions to philosophy from Christian thinkers such as Augustine show that philosophy can result in a pure conclusion since Truth is a priori as God’s Truth is a priori. Augustine reminds us of the justification for incorporating the benefits of pagan philosophy while also dismissing its harmful aspects.
 David Vessey, “Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Liber Naturae,” Philosophy Today 58, no. 1 (Winter 2014): p. 85, doi:10.5840/philtoday201312610.
 David Vessey, “The Medieval Roots of Gadamer’s Claim for Hermeneutic Universality,” 1, accessed March 15, 2016, http://www.davevessey.com/Gadamer_Augustine_Aquinas.pdf.
 Werner G. Jeanrond, Theological Hermeneutics: Development and Significance (New York: Crossroad, 1991), 9.
 “Paul Ricoeur on the other hand is among those hermeneuts who have seen the discussion of methods of adequate understanding as an essential part of the hermeneutical task.” Ibid.
 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana 2.18.28.