Mary Margaret McCabe (‘Plato’s Ways of Writing’ in Fine, Oxford Handbook, 99) rightly sees that Plato’s dialogue form constitutes…
a philosophical claim: that theoretical discussion can only be carried out within a particular culture
This has obvious resonances with philosophical hermeneutics in the tradition of Schleiermacher – Heidegger – Gadamer – Ricoeur. I think that the influence of Plato on hermeneutical thought has perhaps been under-recognised when it has been taken up in the field of biblical studies. All of the major players in philosophical hermeneutics have been strongly influenced by Plato. Schleiermacher, for example, translated and edited Plato’s works. But sometimes in biblical studies, the impression is given that Schleiermacher started the modern study of hermeneutics by simply reflecting theoretically on what had been going on in practice in Judeo-Christian traditions of Bible reading. This is only partly illuminative. Plato should be recognised as an important influence.
On the other hand, it is certainly the case that the Hebrew Scriptures can be seen to express Plato’s later conviction that wisdom is found through dialogue with the wise, rather than through the making and reading of countless books. So it’s not out of place to reflect on Judeo-Christian interpretative practices in considering the (pre-)history of hermeneutics.