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explanation or critical interpretation of a text, esp of the Bible


(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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore if we seriously wish to further develop his thesis, then we must transfer his basic idea--that the four sons represent four typologies--to the biblical exegesis that yields the four sons.
Freq uently, the unease with typology's structure of promise, fulfillment and supersedure leads critics to describe Lanyer's relationship to biblical exegesis in far less precise terms -- as allegory and exemplum.
revisits de Lubac in the hope of complementing participatory ontology with a matching participatory biblical exegesis (with references to Matthew Levering), highlighting de Lubac's insistence on the continuing importance of the literal sense of Scripture and on scriptural details about the person and life of Jesus.
The first two, his life and writings, blend together as Jerome revealed himself in all his work, including biblical exegesis.
Herder's interpretation of Genesis shows that only a poetic reading of the Old Testament could be that human reading with which biblical exegesis during the Enlightenment was able to provide a relevant answer to the Enlightenment itself.
Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997]; M.
Despite the fact that Haykin is concerned to show that in the doctrinal debates of the fourth century biblical exegesis was fundamental, and not just a way of justifying theological positions of a metaphysical complexion that were really arrived at for other reasons, his discussion of the Fathers' exegesis concentrates simply on the way in which they deduced large metaphysical points from biblical texts: he makes a great deal of the way in which both Athanasius and Basil deduce the essential divinity of the Spirit from the use of the preposition [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in 1 Cor.
Howard Kreisel's "Philosophical Interpretations of the Bible" makes this aspect of medieval Jewish philosophy particularly clear, especially regarding Maimonides, for whom philosophical thought is inseparable from biblical exegesis.
Most found it an essential tool is Biblical exegesis even though Robert of Meulan felt that there were some who fussed more about the presentation of the Gloss than the content of the text.
If, however, like this dyspeptic reviewer, your biblical exegesis is more informed by the archaeological and philological discoveries of the past two centuries, if a Beethoven piano sonata does not inevitably bring to mind Milan Kundera or the Bible, then The Particulars of Rapture will embody "the unbearable heaviness of reading.
He thereby offers a study that will be of interest to persons in those two disciplines but also to students of medieval culture, linguistics, ecclesiastical history, and the history of biblical exegesis.
It has pretentions to be more than a Festschrift for Karlfried Froehlich and, apparently eschewing the randomness typical of this genre, purports to sketch out a history of biblical exegesis and hermeneutic principles.