What is Exegesis
Exegesis or exegesis is an explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of the Bible. This word comes from the Greekἐξήγησις, exégesis (‘explanation’, ‘narrative’), derived from the word ἐξηγεομαι, exegeomai (‘explain’, ‘expose’, ‘interpret’). Some words that could be used as synonyms are: explanation, comment and interpretation.
Exegesis and eisegesis
Both terms refer to the interpretation of a text. Unlike exegesis, eisgesis introduces personal interpretations in the explanation of a text. Generally, therefore, these two terms differ in that the type of analysis that is made of a text, corresponding to the exegesis a more objective point of view and the eiségesis a more subjective appreciation
‘Hermeneutics’ and ‘exegesis’ are used interchangeably in many cases. Sometimes the first is a more spiritual nuance in terms of meanings while exegesis may have a more literal-centered component, with the intention of reconstructing the original meaning.
It is also generally considered that exegesis in the analysis of biblical texts is the serious and formal application of the principles and rules to arrive at an interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. These principles and rules are also identified as hermeneutics. Exegesis, therefore, establishes a series of norms and principles to be used in the interpretation of this type of texts.
The person who develops this task is called ‘exegeta’ explaining the meaning of a text without personal interpretations or what the text means for him, but establishing the meaning that the author wanted to give. Other terms like ‘hermeneut’ and ‘scripturist’ are also used.
In a legal context, the exegesis tries to interpret the meaning of legislative texts in a rigorous and objective way. This form of interpretation of a legal text is known as exegetical method, influenced by the so-called Napoleonic Code. It is based on the literal analysis of a text, taking into account the grammar used and the direct meaning, assuming that the words are used with a specific meaning.