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A Method for Old Testament Exegesis
Transcript of A Method for Old Testament Exegesis
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 consistently with the author's conceivable communicative purpose.
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
: 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
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
: How does the text function within its canonical location, in terms of both
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?
3. Analyse the Content
dentify natural divisions and any intentional patterning.
Syntax or sentence structure
: Grasp, and if you're keen, diagram all sentences.
Scan poetic structure, identifying bicola and tricola, locating stresses and identifying rhythm. In particular, isolate and understand syntactical (structural) and semantic (meaning) parallelism.
and their semantic ranges, and identify applicable meanings in this context.
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
in the passage with an eye on how directly the writer's spiritual situation corresponds to ours today. Some things will correspond well on the basis of the unchanging nature of God and the underlying consistency in human nature and society, while other things will differ due to historical particularities, social, cultural and language differences, and the differences between the situation of the church of Christ after the cross and the resurrection compared to Israel's situation as the people of God before Christ's saving work took place.
Work out how to effectively
what you've found out in a way that suits your audience and their needs, whether in speech or writing.
on how the passage addresses your own relationship with God and bed these truths down with prayer and any needed action to change.
Exegesis… Theologizing… Application
GOD’S REALITY & HUMANITY
WORLD OF THE CHRISTIAN READER
The Process of Christian Biblical Interpretation
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)