I m a layman I ve never studied Biblical exegesis But I have several friends who do, and have a decidedly religious reason for wanting to understand scripture I saw this book on the curriculum for a class I wish I had taken in college, so I decided to give it a read What I found was something excellent a very committed take on understanding scripture, that is still respectful of other ways of reading not only is Gorman respectful, but he finds real value in newer and contemporary takes, without caving to the idea that that s the only way to read scripture He also provides a really great framework and set of questions to ask about scripture literary questions, historical questions, and theological questions His writing is brisk and interesting, and rarely got too technical for me again, a layman So he succeeded And I was grateful for that I feel better equipped for asking questions REAL questions about what scripture meant to them, there, and then, and therefore better equipped to reach responsible conclusions about what scripture might mean for us, here, and now.
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 Gorman s intent behind this book I believe is to equip as many people as possible, irrespective of their theological background, whether layperson, theological student, or minister, with the tools necessary to do careful exegesis of Biblical text in order to avoid misinterpretation and misapplication of scripture The main idea Gorman shows is that during your reading of the Bible, you will find passages that are nearly impossible to understand and others that you think you understand The fact is everyone interprets text differently So we need to investigate and ask the right questions, follow a proven strategy to determine the correct existential goal of the text 2001 7 9.
Gorman discusses successful exegesis in ten chapters with chapter eleven and the appendixes given as invaluable resource material and examples Chapter one defines the task and how one approaches text, whether synchronic or diachronic or existential, and whether you approach scripture from a trusting or suspicious point of view, and how each of these affects your resulting exegesis when approaching scripture In chapter two, Gorman shows how selecting the right translation of the Bible for exegesis is crucial and he draws a distinction between functional and formal translations and the need for each as the translation itself is already an interpretation He presents a pretty detailed comparison between the various translations.
With chapter three Gorman explains how to survey the text, reading it in context, taking into account it s place in the particular book in the Bible, taking into account what the aims are of the book, reading the text several times, recording your initial observations and questions along the way.
Chapter four builds on the previous chapter when it focuses on the most difficult elements of exegesis, contextual analysis This involves finding the historical, social and cultural contexts Gorman shows that we need to determine the social network and common cultural beliefs and values that would ve influenced the authors or hearers interpretation of the text 2001 67 In addition to this, Gorman also shows that we need to evaluate scripture in its literary context, larger and immediate context as this might carry additional significance.
Chapter five focuses on formal analysis of the text That means analyzing the form, literary form, structure and creating an outline of the natural movement of text being examined This is a very technical chapter and definitely worth a second or third reading.
Chapter six explains how to do a detailed analysis of the text This chapter builds on the previous as under this chapter we start looking at, and analyzing the text in granular detail from words to phrases to sentences to text segments and then eventually to the text itself Every part of the text is examined Key words are examined in context, as different words can have different meanings depending on its context, the writer, and the time period used.
Chapter seven focuses on synthesis, or bringing all the previously mentioned elements of exegesis in the previous chapters together, and drawing a conclusion about the passage s essential meaning, purpose and function In chapter eight the attention is focussed on reflection, answering the question So what He explains the five interpretive postures taken with scripture, as well as what he calls the two horizons , engaging the text until its horizon merges with our own where putting the text in our own words, in order for it to become a living exegesis, affecting and impacting our lives personally.
Chapter nine covers the last element necessary for exegesis, the tools that can be used to refine the exegesis, lexicons, scholarly publications, commentaries, books, articles and journals Chapter ten addresses some of the errors to avoid while doing exegesis.
Chapter eleven provides a comprehensive list of resources for each of the steps for exegesis.
Appendix A provides an example of how to chart exegetically Showing example charts of synchronic, diachronic as well as the existential approaches.
Appendix B provides practical guidelines for writing a research exegesis paper.
Appendix C provides a sample of a short exegesis paper based on John 11 45 53.
Appendix D provides a sample of a longer sample exegesis paper.
Appendix E supplies a list of selected internet resources for Bible Studies.
Appendix F lists another comprehensive list of resources after the first release of the book.
Every chapter is introduced by a series of quotes relating to the topic and topical questions pertaining to that specific chapter The body of each chapter is used to elaborate on the various points and sub points covered by the specific topic for the chapter and good cohesion is maintained throughout The conclusion of each chapter includes a summary of the chapter as well as practical hints and practical exercises to hone your skills on the specific topic covered by that chapter This is an excellent resource to add to anyone s library The chapters are short and to the point Clear examples are given A comprehensive list of reference material is provided to assist with every step of the exegetical process.
Though this is a very technical subject, Gorman seems to be able to simplify it enough for anyone to understand He compiled each chapter in order to provide something for everyone, whether you are an expert in the field or whether this is your first time encountering the subject His language and writing style is that of someone intimately familiar with the subject and reflects years of studying and teaching of the subject.
He uses very graphic illustrations and explanations in order to emphasize the point he wants to make, for instance his example of polyvalence 2001 119 or the two horizons 2001 27.
He opened my eyes to evaluate my own approach and interpretation of scripture as existential and from a trusting perspective.
Something that really hit me whilst reading this book was the fact that everyone should and can know how to do sound exegesis It isn t just some out of reach gift that only a select few preachers can have access to Gorman deals with all the issues one would expect from this book He shows how to do sound exegesis and clearly shows the errors to avoid and provides a comprehensive list of reference material that will definitely aid anyone interested in careful exegesis, as well as sample exegetical papers The author s conclusions are well argued, and seem to be based on solid research.
In addition to the already mentioned appendixes that assist with comprehensive resource lists and sample material for the use of solid exegesis, the book also has an index for easy reference to topics contained in the book.
Something I gained and felt worth remembering and applying is that you shouldn t just read scripture for the sake of reading It should be investigated Your interpretation of a piece of scripture might be wrong if you don t apply careful exegesis to text No one has all the answers as even scholars disagree, but careful exegesis can definitely limit the mistakes made during each person s own interpretation.
Another valuable point I gained from this book is that each Bible translation has a specific intended purpose and not all are created equal when it comes to the subject of exegesis Update your library and use them in tandem Not all people are Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic literary scholars, but this shouldn t prevent them from being able to understand and interpret the Bible, and whether using a translation that tries to capture the intended thought functional or literal formal translation, its intended purpose should be taken into account and each translation should be viewed with the correct use in mind Translations are just that, translations They are done by people who bring with them their own interpretations and however careful they might be each translation has its limitations.
My overall evaluation of this book is that it is definitely a must read and will be an excellent tool and resource tool for reference with future exegesis.
The presentation of the book makes it easy to find and focus on a particular area where a person might need improvement with practical exercises and invaluable tips, for use of layperson, student, or professor alike.
As for the structure of the book, the introduction isn t too lengthy and Gorman motivates the need for careful exegesis His content is factual and relevant to the topic being discussed He is to the point and he really argues his opinion well The chapters tie neatly into each other, each developing on the previous which was good as this was my first encounter with the subject.
In my opinion, Gorman was successful in reaching the objectives he set out to accomplish with this book I didn t feel lost reading it, and, though it was also very technical, each term is explained well.
Gorman starts off by saying that he doesn t believe that he is presenting the only method for exegesis with this book 2001 3 , but in my opinion, the book was extremely thorough I can see that I will definitely refer to this book a lot I ve read it twice already This book has opened my eyes in a lot of ways and also highlighted the weighty responsibility of interpreting and presenting the word correctly Gorman presents a complete resource that has provoked a hunger within me to read up about the subject.
In my opinion, I would give this book a ten without hesitation and recommend it to anybody as a definite must read.
Gorman s Elements of Biblical Exegesis is an invaluable guide on how to perform good exegesis and a comprehensive guide on how to write an excellent exegesis paper This is the book to reference in the future when writing such a paper I used this while teaching a course on biblical exegesis Gorman explains and demonstrates each of the major synchronic approaches to reading and interpreting the Bible, namely historical contextual analysis, literary form analysis, and detailed grammatical analysis In the revised and expanded edition which I read, each chapter ends with a few suggested exercises for practice He also devotes a section to recommended resources for each method.
I had to supplement it with other sources, but it worked well as a foundation.
I read this for an exegesis class in seminary It provides an introduction to a good solid framework for doing exegesis It is a book I expect to come back to often over time.
Very helpful text for anyone new to exegesis.