July 11th, 2021

words 6

Sunday Word: Exegesis

exegesis [ek-si-jee-sis]

critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text; explication, especially of biblical and other religious texts


This approach resulted in a more freeform 'rambling philosophical inquiry' rather than 'cinematic exegesis,' according to a statement. (Althea Legaspi, Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine Preview LP With Two New Songs , Rolling Stone, July 2021)

In addition to writing the play, I wrote an exegesis exploring the research that informed it, and the process of creative development. In the end, the exegesis was about twice the length of the play itself. (Paul Andrews, Phillip Kavanagh, Australian Stage, June 2012)

When I remembered the deliberate and impertinent moralizing of Thackeray, the clumsy exegesis of George Eliot, the knowing nods and winks of Charles Reade, the stage-carpentering and limelighting of Dickens, even the fine and important analysis of Hawthorne, it was with a joyful astonishment that I realized the great art of Tourguenief. (William Dean Howells, My Literary Passions)

A learned exegesis of the theology of the Sistine ceiling, Wind's volume on Michelangelo is also an extensive discussion of the intellectual milieu in which the artist was formed. (Edgar Wind, 'The Religious Symbolism of Michelangelo: The Sistine Ceiling', Renaissance Quarterly, June 2003)


1610s, 'explanatory note,' from Greek exegesis 'explanation, interpretation,' from exegeisthai 'explain, interpret,' from ex 'out' + hegeisthai 'to lead, guide,' from PIE root sag- 'to track down, seek out'. Meaning 'exposition (of Scripture)' is from 1823. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Theological scholars have long been preoccupied with interpreting the meanings of various passages in the Bible. In fact, because of the sacred status of the Bible in both Judaism and Christianity, biblical interpretation has played a crucial role in both of those religions throughout their histories. English speakers have used the word exegesis - a descendant of the Greek term exegeisthai, meaning 'to explain' or 'to interpret' - to refer to explanations of Scripture since the early 17th century. Nowadays, however, academic writers interpret all sorts of texts, and exegesis is no longer associated mainly with the Bible. (Merriam-Webster)