Indeed, a crucial point about the hermeneuticians is that, for them, incomprehensibility is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a colleague of mine ruefully told me: "I have read everything on hermeneutics I can lay my hands on, and I understand no more about it than I did when I first started." Even in a profession — philosophy — not exactly famous for its sparkle or lucidity, one of the most remarkable qualities of the hermeneuticians is their horrendous and incomparably murky style. Stalactites and stalagmites of jargon words are piled upon each other in a veritable kitchen midden of stupefying and meaningless prose. Hermeneuticians seem to be incapable of writing a clear English, or indeed a clear German sentence. Critics of hermeneutics — such as Jonathan Barnes or David Gordon —are understandably moved to satire, to stating or quoting hermeneutical tracts and then "translating" them into simple English, where invariably they are revealed as either banal or idiotic.