exegesis

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Related to Exegetes: eisegesis, Biblical exegesis

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 early and medieval exegetes thus emphasized the secondary, dependent, and imperfect nature of woman and, as a result, the naturalness of gender hierarchy.
For this reason, traditional exegetes preferred translating hamushim as "armed", so the Israelites were understood to have weapons even before the Egyptian troops drowned.
As for the second criticism, Hidayatullah examines certain verses that cannot be interpreted differently from the traditional exegetes. The most prominent one is 4:34, which gives the permission to husbands to hit their wives in certain situations.
He describes himself as a member of the generation of Catholic exegetical scholars characterized by their "disillusionment" with the patrimony of the previous generation of Catholic exegetes like Raymond Brown, Joseph Fitzmyer, and Roland Murphy.
The exegete's task was no longer to penetrate (or escape) killing in the literal sense in order to discover the spiritual meaning of a text.
She portrays the author of Daniel as an ideal exegete, who interpreted scripture to speak to the present crisis.
One such verse is the first part of Qur'an 5:48: "And to you [O Muhammad] we have sent down the Book [the Qur'an] in truth confirming [musaddiq] the Books [that is, prior revelations] which have come before it and as a protector over them." However, a certain degree of Muslim triumphalism vis-a-vis their non-Muslim subjects came to color the exegetes' readings of scripture, subverting the overall qur'anic message of religious pluralism.
"In that response, one reads: 'According to exegetes the Aramaic word, which in Latin is translated "pro multis," means "pro omnibus."' This assertion should be expressed a little more cautiously.
The foregoing exegesis of al-Tabari has been cited in detail because, although many of the later exegetes relied on his material without acknowledging the source, his influence is manifest in their work.
Such developments contrast with "professional" readings of Scriptural texts by scholastic exegetes who tended toward "universalized" interpretations that de-emphasized "the particularized experience of the reader" (80), and they give witness to emergent habits of reading that would dominate after the introduction of print.
Too many limners (and readers and exegetes) of Holy Writ have shied away from the violence and difficulties of the real text and instead of wrestling with the terrible and eternal verities that are within its pages, have fed us "Bible Lite." [9] A marrowless version sanitized of pointed meaning and significance that is fit only for pallid minds, a watery substitute for the real thing -- a wolf merely scalded, not the main ingredient of a garlicky wolf-stew.
He is a master of subtle distinctions--his nuances have nuances--and his skill in making fine points sets him apart from the usual exegetes of the grand public narrative.