Why Exegesis?

It’s a blog, not a through-composed book or essay, so I can jump from topic to topic if I want to! What is our investment in identifying our work as “exegesis” rather than less exotic words such as “interpretation”? If the word “exegesis” we’re extirpated from English usage, we wouldn’t miss much (and we would…

What Is Exegetical Method?

[As part of writing out a book on exegetical method — the approaches, the how-to parts, the consequences parts, and so on — I’m beginning with some introductory writing on the subject. This will probably grow into a first chapter, perhaps with my earlier posts on “What Makes Exegesis Difficult?” At any rate, this is…

No Traction

I could be posting about the weather in Glasgow this morning, with snow-slicked slippy pavements so that one gets a backache just from walking with tensed muscles at every step — but rather I’m talking about the widespread perception that ‘exegesis’ and ‘hermeneutics’ concern the production of a correct answer, rather than (respectively) the rigorous…

Tell Me Something

I’m beginning to think I’m just an incorrigible old crank, a conclusion that many people surely reached a long time ago. Still, as long as I have responsibility for teaching and evaluating students, I’m going to stick with this one. I’ll add it to the “How To Exegesis?” series somewhere, but for now I can’t…

Long Range Planning

Just noted, for now — I anticipate gathering up all my ‘How To Do exegesis’ posts and compiling them into a PDF that I’ll make freely available. I expect that elements of that compendium will eventually grow into a published book about exegesis, partly into the more technical volume on Exegetical Method and more, probably, into…

OK, How Do You Do Exegesis?

After having written about what makes exegesis difficult (and subsequent posts), and after having written about criticism and evidence, I’ll get to the point and suggest how you actually set about doing exegesis.   First and most important: do what your instructor says. I can’t emphasise this enough; there is no Platonic ‘exegesis’ such that…

What Is ‘Evidence’?

One of the great problems in learning exegesis is that ‘evidence’ is not what you think it might be.† Or — to be more precise — most students don’t apply themselves to learning how to formulate a convincing exegetical argument; while student papers show many sorts of weakness,* I find the leading exegetical problem to…

Understanding Aberrant Interpretation

My work in hermeneutics has always sought out explanations for interpretive divergence — in the first instance, for proximate disagreements among well-qualified readers who generally share their premises and conclusions, and in the second instance, between ‘mainstream’ and ‘off-beat’ interpretations. It’s easy enough, and rewarding enough, to come up with a theory of hermeneutical correctness.…

Cranmer’s Prologue to the Great Bible

For the whole cornucopia of reasons that you can readily enough recite — academic, Anglican, biblical scholar, theoretician, typographer, preacher, reader of Henrician/Elizabethan literature, partisan of the non-verbal elements of communication — I have long been fascinated with Thomas Cranmer’s writings on biblical interpretation. One favourite of mine, his Prologue to the Great Bible, has…

On Knowing Greek and Hebrew

”Do I understand Greek and Hebrew? Otherwise, how can I undertake, as every Minister does, not only to explain books which are written therein but to defend them against all opponents? Am I not at the mercy of everyone who does understand, or even pretends to understand, the original? For which way can I confute…