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explanation or critical interpretation of a text, esp of the Bible
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Exegesis is the science (some would call it an art or method of interpretation) of determining exactly the meaning of a particular passage of writing. This technique is used by all who study any writing, but especially by those who study religious scripture. Scriptures of all religions were written within the context of a particular culture and belief system. No one can write without having a certain frame of reference. Words mean different things to different people. Worldviews change. Even the meanings of words change over the years. Imagine the embarrassment a modern teenager feels when asked to stand up during a youth-group meeting of her peers and read the Kings James version of the Ten Commandments. What will she do when she gets to the part that says we are not to "covet our neighbor's ass"? She would have been on solid ground back in the seventeenth century. But the language is a bit awkward in the twenty-first.

Gabriel Fackre of Andover Newton Seminary has developed a formula that can be used by anyone who wants to do exegesis. This four-part system, outlined in Gabriel and Dorothy Fackre's book Christian Basics, works especially well when dealing with the Bible, but it can also be used by the student of mythology or any other ancient writing:

1. Common Sense: Start with its common-sense meaning—reading it just like a newspaper story.

2. Critical Sense: Next check out the ideas of some of the other students who have studied the passage's background, original language, and literary style.

3. Canonical Sense: Compare it to the rest of the author's writing. Is it consistent with the rest of the story?

4. Contextual Sense: What does the passage mean in terms of personal and contemporary culture?

The system will save the student from arriving at conclusions that might be "contemporary" or "politically correct" but totally at odds with what the original author really meant.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(6) Gwynne Henton Davies, "Genesis," in The Broadman Bible Commentary: Genesis and Exodus, ed.
Ringe, eds., The Women's Bible Commentary (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998); Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, ed., with the assistance of Shelley Matthews, Searching the Scriptures, 2 vols.
This Bible commentary has received considerable attention because of the marginalia in Bach's hand, together with various underlinings, that are scattered throughout these volumes.
The Anchor Bible commentary relays similar information about the "bronze serpent thing," but it does not report Rashi's comment.
In contrast to his Bible commentary, Rashi's Talmud commentary is for scholars and students of Talmud.
Kohlenberger III, Zandervan NIV Bible Commentary: An Abridgement of the Gold Medallion-Winning Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol.
Indicative of a renewed interest in the Fathers of the Church, which Florovsky so consistently promoted, can be seen in the current, many-volume Bible Commentary in progress: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, General Editor, Thomas C.
She is the author of the commentary on Luke in the Women's Bible Commentary, and on the Proto-evangelium of James in Searching the Scriptures, and is currently editing a festschrift for Elisabeth Schuss ler Fiorenza, tentatively titled Wisdom on the Cutting Edge.
The Columbia Theological Seminary professor turns his insightful skills toward the book of Kings, which is part of a new Bible commentary series from Smith & Helwys.
(The New Century Bible Commentary.) London: Marshall Pickering and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
The Women's Bible Commentary is a ground-breaking and most fruitful exercise where Carol Newsom and Sharon Ringe have tapped the resources of a large group of women biblical scholars, each a specialist in the field, to comment on all the books of the Bible, including the apocrypha.