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A Method for Old Testament Exegesis, focus on Psalms
Transcript of A Method for Old Testament Exegesis, focus on Psalms
Meaning and goal of exegesis
Process of exegesis
The exegesis document
Psalms exegesis - special factors
A Method for Old Testament Exegesis
: "critical explanation" of a text
: to both understand and explain the meaning of the biblical text in keeping with what we believe the author probably meant.
Exegesis works with reference to original
and within the rules by which the original
functioned, hence the term 'historical-grammatical exegesis'.
1. Meaning and Goal of Exegesis
Song of Songs
and Practice of Interpretation
Exegesis: Method of Interpretation and Explanation
1. Establish the Text of the chosen passage.
: find sensible beginning and end points for the passage you'll interpret.
: become familiar with main textual problems and alternatives that apply.
: Ideally, translate the passage yourself from the original language, or make a studied choice of which translation(s) to rely on.
2. Study the Contexts I
: This will require an attempt to estimate the
or general period of the text's origin, comparing internal and external evidence and scholarly opinion. This can then feed back into an understanding of
: what was life like for author and readers at the time, and how does this bear out in the text?
2. Study the Contexts II
Authorship and purpose
: Do we know who wrote the text, or why?
: What sort of a text is this, and how does this sort of text work?
: How does the text function within its canonical location, in terms of both
3. Analyse the Content
Identify natural divisions such as poetic 'strophes' (sections) and any intentional patterning such as envelope structures (framing) or symmetry. E.g. Ps. 114 has four stanzas.
Syntax (sentence) and poetic structure
: (Hebrew) identify bicola and tricola, locating stresses and identifying rhythm. (Everyone) isolate and understand syntactical (structural) and semantic (meaning) parallelism.
speakers and addressees
. E.g. notice how important this feature is in Psalm 2.
and their semantic ranges, and identify applicable meanings in this context. Clarify
at work in the original language. Identify
4. Synthesize Content
overall meaning and major themes of text.
Reintegrate this meaning into its
intentional re-use of this text
elsewhere in the OT and then in the NT, in quotations and allusions.
thematic and theological connections
in the rest of the Bible, and seek to integrate passage into a broader
Consult the works of other noteworthy interpreters, ancient and modern, i.e. look at the
of the passage.
5. Apply Meaning
GOD’S REALITY & HUMANITY
WORLD OF THE CHRISTIAN READER
of meaning comes from the steadfastness of God's nature and regularity in human nature.
in meaning & relevance come from historical & cultural changes and the redemptive work of the cross, the empty tomb, and Pentecost.
WORLD OF THE OT STORY
The Million-Dollar Question...
"...important to an accurate interpretation of the passage is a basic hermeneutical rule: a passage cannot mean now what it could not originally have meant." Douglas Stuart, 'Exegesis', ABD II:687 (1992)
Stated goal of the Blackwell Bible Commentaries: to "present readers with many different interpretations of each text...to heighten their awareness of what...a sacred text...can mean and what it can do, what it has meant and what it has done, in the many contexts in which it operates." John Sawyer et al., 'Series Editors' Preface,' Psalms Through the Centuries by Susan Gillingham, xiv.
Is the originally intended meaning the only legitimate meaning?
"It is typical of the NT to use the Psalms in a way that takes little account of their original meaning." "...the NT writers...were not trying to do exegesis."
John Goldingay, Psalms 1-41, 76-77
The Differing Text-Critical Landscapes of OT and NT
Old Testament Textual Criticism
New Testament Textual Criticism
Greek text families
Dead Sea Scrolls
Masoretic text (MT)
on the text's meaning for today, then pro-actively plan to effectively
that meaning to your audience.