exegesis

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exegesis

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

Exegesis

(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 ?
The unique and new feature of the analysis here is to show how the principle under scrutiny can be deduced from the interpretations of academic biblical exegetes, an exercise not performed to date.
(1) Kvastad might have sought out an Icelandic historian, since he states without qualification that "Icelandic historians were educated Biblical exegetes" (p.
Elazar Touito (Hebrew Union College Annual 61 [1990]: 159-183) argued that Judaism's positive attitude toward sex and marriage led medieval Jewish biblical exegetes such as Rashi to assume that Adam and Eve engaged in sexual intercourse before the Fall, while Christian exegetes, who favored celibacy, imagined that Adam and Eve engaged in sexual intercourse only after the expulsion from Paradise.
On Freud and Michelangelo as "biblical exegetes who radically violate the plain sense of the text," see Yerushalmi, p.
From a wide field of available candidates she has selected the commentaries of biblical exegetes, John of Salisbury's Metalogicon, Peter Abelard's Historia and Sic et non, Andreas Capellanus's De amore, and Juan Ruiz's Libro de buen amor.
Biblical exegetes as well as church historians have rejected his "facts" as inaccurate and contrary to the evidence: "The thesis [takes] control of the exposition of the facts of history," notes one; and "history is being arranged to suit the thesis," says another, (3)
The context of Mazzotta's discussion is the traditional debate between biblical exegetes and theologians.
Agriculturalist, theologian, and biblical archaeologist Guillaume seeks to make biblical exegetes more familiar with ancient farming and its techniques by integrating some of the growing body of knowledge derived from economic studies of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

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