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Theology and Religious Studies: Exegesis

What is Exegesis?

The term "exegesis" comes from the Greek, and means "to lead out." Your task with exegesis is to formulate an explanation and interpretation of the biblical text.

Exegeses may include:

  • the history of the text
  • historical and cultural context of the text
  • examination of literary genre
  • analysis of grammar and syntax
  • and more!

Some things to think about as you do your exegesis research:

  • What is the significance of the position of the passage in the gospel, letter, or book as a whole?
  • What might have been the significance of the passage to its original audience? To the author?
  • Read your passage slowly and carefully, multiple times, so that you have a good understanding of what's going on.
  • What is the passage doing? What is the point?

Helpful Tools

Handbooks are a good way to get started on the exegetical process. Search the catalog for handbook and exegesis.  The following is a selection of the handbooks available in Copley.

Handbook of patristic exegesis : the Bible in ancient Christianity  by Charles Kannengiesser CL Book Stacks   BS500 .K34 2004 v.1-2 

A handbook for basic biblical exegesis  by R. Samuel Thorpe CL Book Stacks    BS476 .T49 1999

Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament edited by Stanley E. Porter CL Book Stacks    BS2331 .H35 1997

Biblical exegesis : a beginner's handbook by John H. Hayes, Carl R. Holladay CL Book Stacks    BS476 .H35 1987

New Testament exegesis : a handbook for students and pastors by Gordon D. Fee CL Book Stacks    BS476 .F38 1983

Old Testament exegesis : a guide to the methodology by Odil Hannes Steck ; translated by James D. Nogalski CL Book Stacks    BS1174.2 .B3713 1998

Old Testament exegesis : a primer for students and pastors by Douglas Stuart CL Book Stacks    BS476 .S83 1984

You can find bibles and commentaries in the Copley Library book stacks, beginning around BS75 and into BS500.  Texts and commentaries for the Old Testament specifically begin around BS700 and go into the BS1200s.  There are also several copies of biblical texts in the Copley Library Reference section.


Anchor Bible Commentary

The New Jerome Biblical commentary LIB USE ONLY -  CL Reference -  BS491.2 .N485 1990

The New Interpreter's Bible : general articles & introduction, commentary, & reflections for each book of the Bible, including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books -

LIB USE ONLY -  CL Reference -  BS491.2 .N484 1994 v.1 -  


The NRSV concordance unabridged : including the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books LIB USE ONLY -  CL Reference -  BS425 .K645 1991

The NIV exhaustive concordance LIB USE ONLY -  CL Reference -  BS425 .G62 1990

Best one - The New Strong's exhaustive concordance of the Bible : with main concordance, appendix to the main concordance, key verse comparison chart, dictionary of the Hebrew Bible, dictionary of the Greek Testament LIB USE ONLY -  CL Reference -  BS425 .S8 1984


Anchor Bible Dictionary  - LIB USE ONLY CL Reference BS440 .A54 1992 one copy also availabe on Reserves

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament - LIB USE ONLY CL Reference BS2312 .T4713 1964 v.1-10

Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament - LIB USE ONLY CL Reference  BS440 .B5713 1974  v.1-10


New Testament Abstracts - LIB USE ONLY CL Reference  BS410 .N35 and an online version also available

Old Testament Abstracts - LIB USE ONLY CL Reference BS410 .N42 and an online version also available

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