Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers

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9780801046414: Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers

Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers presents the essential elements of sound exegetical method in a succinct and incisive way. Designed for students, teachers, pastors, and others wishing to think and write about the Bible carefully, this brief hands-on guide incorporates insights from the field of biblical interpretation into its straightforward approach to the complex task of exegesis. This task is broken down into seven distinct elements: survey; analysis of the context; analysis of the form, structure, and movement of the text; detailed analysis of the text; synthesis; reflection on the text for today; and expansion and refinement of the exegesis. Practical hints and suggested exercises show the reader how to develop proficiency in each of these elements. Resources are supplied for those who want to pursue further study in any of these seven areas. Appendices supply two sample exegesis papers and practical guidelines for writing a research exegesis paper.

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About the Author:

Michael J. Gorman is professor of Sacred Scripture and dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore.


"It seems to me that this is precisely the kind of book that most beginning theological students and seminary students need to read."
—Frank J. Matera,Professor of New Testament,Catholic University

"I have examined M. Gorman's Elements of Biblical Exegesis and find it very impressive. I teach courses in biblical interpretation and expect to use the book as a text."
—George Brunk III, Professor of New Testament, Eastern Mennonite Seminary

"Gorman’s done a fine job with what strikes me as a pretty difficult topic to handle in book form. Elements of Biblical Exegesis is careful andclear without being overwhelming. I think it will be very useful, so thanks to Gorman for his good and insightful work."
—Warren Carter, Pherigo Professorof New Testament, Saint Paul School of Theology

Designed for students, teachers, and pastors, this is really a handbook for studying the basics of biblical exegesis. It takes the reader, step by step, through context, historical, and literary analyses. While the diachronic and existential approaches are given their due, Gorman clearly states that the synchronic approach is dominant here. Having seen how a text is taken apart, the reader is then shown how to put it back together again in a way that will yield meaning for today. The very layout of the book is instructive. Important words are in bold print and explanations follow. Charts illustrate ideas. Each chapter ends with a summary of the content, practical hints for learning and remembering, and suggestions for further practice. Five appendices supplement the material in the book itself. This guide is highly recommended for classroom use.
—The Bible Today

Of the making of many books on Bible study there is no end, but we are especially pleased to celebrate this one because its story is in part our own. Long-time readers will remember Michael Gorman as Associate Director of this organization back when it was known as the Council for Religion in Independent Schools (CRIS), and his new book is a revision of something originally published by us in 1990 as Texts and Contexts: A Guide to Careful Thinking and Writing about the Bible. Fast-forward a decade or so and Dr. Gorman is now dean and professor at the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

First things first. “Exegesis” springs from a Greek word, exegeisthai, “to lead out” (cf. the Latin educare, root of our word “education”). So exegesis is simply the business of leading ourselves or others out of ignorance into understanding; specifically, it is the process of beginning with a passage of Scripture and discovering its meaning(s), of making the opaque transparent, translucent.

Making sense out of the Bible can be a daunting challenge. As Gorman acknowledges, “the already difficult task of biblical exegesis and interpretation is becoming so complex, with the unending array of new methods and methodologies (not to mention new historical discoveries), that many students and preachers are tempted to abandon any hope of being ‘scholarly’ or even careful in their reading and use of the Bible.” But Gorman rises to the challenge: “One of the fundamental assumptions of this book is that exegesis can and must be done by the nonspecialist,” he declares, and he proceeds to show how the laity as well as the professionals can go about it.

If I may dare to carp, the book’s title is perhaps unfortunate. While this tome will indeed prove useful for students and ministers, and for teachers as well, the truth is that anyone curious about scholarship and the Bible will profit immensely here. Gorman is a very readable guide through the entire terrain. He surveys and explains the disparate approaches to Bible study (from redaction criticism to deconstructionism). He explains the strengths and weaknesses of all the major English translations available. He also leads the way through the thickets of Bible scholarship, clearly explaining and evaluating the full range of resources—commentaries, dictionar -- Review

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