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Provisional Method

Using a photocopy or printout of the transition in context and different colored pencils, charts, and diagrams, highlight the presence of such things as contrasts, similarities, repeat of cardinal words or phrases, development in debate, etc. both within your unit and between the several units that precede and follow your unit. Write out the unit itself in a manner that outlines its grammar, sentence structure and construction. Chew over both what is and what surprisingly is n't in the unit ( and context ) and the possible significance of what you find uneven or baffling. Use your analysis to measure the intent and message of your unit in relation to the preceding and following units, and, significantly, in relation besides to the intent and message of the broader context that you noted in B above.

Consult several reputable modern commentaries. Older plants ( e.g. Calvin, Luther, 17th-19th century observers ) should non be ignored, peculiarly for theological penetration on the text. Use your work in stairss C and D to measure the value of the exegetical and theological penetrations offered and utilize the penetrations offered in the commentaries as a stimulation for your ain contemplation and farther research ( see measure F below ) . As necessary, consult vocabularies for the significance of words, Bible Atlass for geographical points of mention, Bible lexicons for entries on relevant subjects or issues, etc.

Stairss in Making Exegesis

Exegesis involves a procedure of scrutiny by which one comes to understand a peculiar transition of Scripture. Characteristically, this procedure involves a figure of stairss, which are listed here in a really generalised signifier as a usher to some of the library’s resources. Your professor’s specific instructions and your ain research involvements will direct you to more specific stuffs required for your exegetical work. This usher is intended to help you to get down analyzing the two types of inquiries an exegesis requires, inquiry of content ( what is said ) and inquiries of context ( why it is said ) .

Did You Know?

Theological bookmans have long been preoccupied with construing the significances of assorted transitions in the Bible. In fact, because of the sacred position of the Bible in both Judaism and Christianity, scriptural reading has played a important function in both of those faiths throughout their histories. English talkers have used the word exegesis - a descendent of the Grecian term exegeisthai, intending `` to explicate '' or `` to construe '' - to mention to accounts of Scripture since the early seventeenth century. Nowadays, nevertheless, academic authors interpret all kinds of texts, and `` exegesis '' is no longer associated chiefly with the Bible.

Mesopotamian commentaries

The earliest illustrations, and besides one of the largest principal of text commentaries from the ancient universe, comes from first-millennium-BCE Mesopotamia ( modern Iraq ) . Known from over 860 manuscripts, the bulk of which day of the month to the period 700-100 BCE, most of these commentaries explore legion types of texts, including literary plants ( such as the Babylonian Epic of Creation ) , medical treatises, charming texts, ancient lexicons, and jurisprudence aggregations ( the Code of Hammurabi ) . Most of them, nevertheless, remark on divination treatises, in peculiar treatises that predict the hereafter from the visual aspect and motion of heavenly organic structures on the one manus ( Enūma Anu Enlil ) , and from the visual aspect of a sacrificed sheep’s liver on the other ( Bārûtu ) .

Cuneiform commentaries are of import because they provide information about Mesopotamian linguistic communications and civilization that are non available elsewhere in the cuneiform record. To give but one illustration, the pronunciation of the enigmatically written name of Gilgamesh, the hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, was discovered in a cuneiform commentary on a medical text. However, the significance of cuneiform commentaries extends beyond the visible radiation they shed on specific inside informations of Mesopotamian civilisation. They open a window onto what the concerns of the Mesopotamian literate elite were when they read some of the most widely studied texts in the Mesopotamian rational tradition, a position that is of import for “seeing things their way.” Finally, cuneiform commentaries are besides the earliest illustrations of textual reading. It has been repeatedly argued that they influenced rabbinical exegesis. See Akkadian Commentaries and Early Hebrew Exegesis

Bible commentaries

A common published signifier of scriptural exegesis is known as a Bible commentary and typically takes the signifier of a set of books, each of which is devoted to the expounding of one or two books of the Bible. Long books or those that contain much stuff either for theological or historical-critical guess, such as Genesis or Psalms, may be split over 2 or 3 volumes. Some, such as the Four Gospels, may be multiple- or single-volume, while short books such as the deuterocanonical parts of Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah ( i.e. Book of Susanna, Prayer of Azariah, Bel and the Dragon, Additions to Esther, Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah ) , or the pastoral or Johannine epistles are frequently condensed into one volume.


The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to detect the Biblical writer 's original intended significance in the text. It is the primary method of reading for many conservative Protestant exegetes who reject the historical-critical method to assorted grades ( from the complete rejection of historical unfavorable judgment of some fundamentalist Protestants to the moderated credence of it in the Catholic Church since Pope Pius XII ) , in contrast to the overpowering trust on historical-critical reading, frequently to the exclusion of all other hermeneutics, in broad Christianity.


Biblical reading by the Tannaim and the Amoraim, which may be best designated as scholarly readings of the Midrash, was a merchandise of natural growing and of great freedom in the intervention of the words of the Bible. However, it proved an obstruction to further development when, endowed with the authorization of a sacred tradition in the Talmud and in the Midrash ( aggregations edited later to the Talmud ) , it became the exclusive beginning for the reading of the Bible among ulterior coevalss. Traditional literature contains accounts that are in harmoniousness with the diction and the context. It reflects grounds of lingual sense, judgement, and an penetration into the distinctive features and troubles of the scriptural text. But side by side with these elements of a natural and simple Bible exegesis, of value even today, the traditional literature contains an even larger mass of expoundings removed from the existent significance of the text.

In the halakhic every bit good as in the haggadic exegesis the expositor endeavored non so much to seek the original significance of the text as to happen authorization in some Bible transition for constructs and thoughts, regulations of behavior and instructions, for which he wished to hold a scriptural foundation. The talmudical hermeneutics signifier asmachta is defined as happening intimations for a given jurisprudence instead than establishing on the bible text. To this were added, on the one manus, the belief that the words of the Bible had many significances, and, on the other, the importance attached to the smallest part, the slightest distinctive feature of the text. Because of this move towards particularities the exegesis of the Midrash strayed further and further off from a natural and common-sense reading.

Midrash exegesis was mostly in the nature of homiletics, elaborating the Bible non in order to look into its existent significance and to understand the paperss of the past but to happen spiritual sophistication, moral direction, and nutriment for the ideas and feelings of the present. The contrast between account of the actual sense and the Midrash, that did non follow the words, was recognized by the Tannaim and the Amoraim, although their thought of the actual significance of a scriptural transition may non be allowed by more modern criterions. The above-named tanna, Ishmael b. Elisha said, rejecting an expounding of Eliezer b. Hyrcanus: `` Truly, you say to Scripture, 'Be silent while I am elaborating! ' '' ( Sifra on Lev. thirteen. 49 ) .

Tannaitic exegesis distinguishes chiefly between the existent tax write-off of a thesis from a Bible transition as a agency of turn outing a point, and the usage of such a transition as a mere mnemotechnic device – a differentiation that was besides made in a different signifier subsequently in the Babylonian schools. The Babylonian Amoraim were the first to utilize the look `` Peshaṭ '' ( `` simple '' or confront value method ) to denominate the primary sense, contrasting it with the `` Drash, '' the Midrashic exegesis. These two footings were subsequently on destined to go of import characteristics in the history of Jewish Bible exegesis. In Babylonia was formulated the of import rule that the Midrashic exegesis could non invalidate the primary sense. This rule later became the war cry of commonsense Bible exegesis. How small it was known or recognized may be seen from the admittance of Kahana, a Babylonian amora of the 4th century, that while at 18 old ages of age he had already learned the whole Mishnah, he had merely heard of that rule a great many old ages subsequently ( Shab 63a ) . Kahana 's admittance is characteristic of the centuries following the concluding editing of the Talmud. The primary significance is no longer considered, but it becomes more and more the manner to construe the text harmonizing to the significance given to it in traditional literature. The ability and even the desire for original probe of the text succumbed to the overpowering authorization of the Midrash. It was, hence, heaven-sent that, merely at the clip when the Midrash was paramount, the stopping point survey of the text of the Bible, at least in one way, was pursued with rare energy and doggedness by the Masorites, who set themselves to continuing and conveying the pronunciation and right reading of the text. By presenting punctuation ( vowel-points and speech patterns ) into the scriptural text, in the 7th century, they supplied that protecting hedge which, harmonizing to Rabbi Akiva 's stating, the Masorah was to be for the words of the Bible. Punctuation, on the one manus, protected the tradition from being forgotten, and, on the other, was the precursor of an independent Bible scientific discipline to be developed in a ulterior age.


The Mikra, the cardinal portion of the national scientific discipline, was the topic of the primary direction. It was besides divided into the three historic groups of the books of the Bible: the Pentateuch, the Nebiims, and the Hagiographa, called in traditional Hebrew ascription the Torah ( the Law or Teaching ) , the Nevi'im ( the Prophets ) and the Kethuvim ( the Writings ) severally. The intelligent reading and comprehension of the text, arrived at by a right division of the sentences and words, formed the class of direction in the Bible. The Scribes were besides required to cognize the Targum, the Aramaic interlingual rendition of the text. The Targum made possible an immediate comprehension of the text, but was continuously influenced by the exegesis taught in the schools. The temples were pre-eminently the centres for direction in the Bible and its exegesis. The reading of the scriptural text, which was combined with that of the Targum, served to widen the cognition of the bookmans learned in the first division of the national scientific discipline. The Scribe found the stuff for their discourses, which formed a portion of the temple service, in the 2nd division of the several subdivisions of the tradition. The Haggadah, the 3rd of these subdivisions, was the beginning stuff for the discourse.


Zoroastrian exegesis consists fundamentally of the reading of the Avesta. However, the closest tantamount Persian construct, zand, by and large includes Pahlavi texts which were believed to deduce from commentaries upon Avestan Bible, but whose extant signifier contains no Avestan transitions. Zoroastrian exegesis differs from similar phenomena in many other faiths in that it developed as portion of a spiritual tradition which made small or no usage of writing until good into the Sasanian epoch. This drawn-out period of unwritten transmittal has clearly helped to give the Middle Persian Zand its characteristic form and has, in a sense, limited its range. Although the ulterior tradition makes a formal differentiation between “Gathic” ( gāhānīg ) , “legal” ( dādīg ) , and possibly “ritual” ( hādag-mānsrīg ) Avestan texts, there look to be no important differences in attack between the Pahlavi commentary on the Gathas and those on dādīg texts, such as the Vendīdād, the Hērbedestān and the Nērangestān. Since many 19th and twentieth century plants by Zoroastrians contain an component of exegesis, while on the other manus no exegetical literature in the rigorous sense of the word can be said to be, the phenomenon of modern Zoroastrian exegesis as such will be discussed here, without elaborate mention to single texts.

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