Biblical exegesis

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Biblical criticism (even outdated Exegetics ) is the interpretation of texts of the Old Testament and the Tanakh and the New Testament . It has its place in Christian theology and religious practice as well as in Judaism . With their help, professionally trained readers and laypeople should grasp the statements and contents, the historical and textual context of the biblical texts. The main focus of this article is Christian biblical studies. In research, however, there is no longer any separation between Jewish and Christian biblical studies. By far the largest biblical society, the Society of Biblical Literature , is not bound to any particular denomination or religion.

Even within the first generation of Christianity , some New Testament texts were apparently found to be difficult to understand. Thus, the 2nd letter of Peter certifies the letters of Paul that in them "some things are difficult to understand" ( 2 Petr 3,16  EU ).

Biblical exegesis is to be distinguished from biblical hermeneutics . Exegesis is the interpretation of a concrete (biblical) text, hermeneutics illuminates and clarifies the requirements and goals of an interpretation.

Biblical exegesis in its scientific form has mutually supported and benefited from the efforts of philology , jurisprudence and the developing literary studies . To that extent she has been involved in the development of a general exegetical methodology .

Carl Spitzweg  : Disputing monks . While one of the monks points to his document, the other takes a negative attitude and at the same time points to his mind.

General questions

Access to the Bible

Most Christians believe the Bible is not a literal code of law, nor is it a collection of outdated narratives. Biblical narratives contain - in addition to content of symbolic significance - historically reliable information that can in part be archaeologically proven. They also contain life experiences and wisdom of many generations, experiences with God's work in the midst of love and suffering, death and fate. Many people see the Bible as an offer of help for processing experiences as well as an offer of interpretation and meaning.

Christian III's Bible from Denmark , Copenhagen , 1550 - the first Danish translation - in 3,000 copies

Dealing with difficult to understand Bible passages

There are “two ways of reading the Bible”: first, dealing with difficult scriptures, and second, dwelling on easy-to-understand scriptures. Bible readers tend to the former, they dwell on puzzling statements, and for this they use exegetical methods. The writer Mark Twain addressed this alternative; he wrote:

“Most people have trouble with those scriptures they don't understand. On the other hand, it is not the incomprehensible passages from the Bible that give me a stomachache, but those that I understand. "

In addition to studying sections that are difficult to understand, there is also the possibility of meditating on how the sections that are difficult to understand could affect your own life.

Dispute over the methods

A variety of methods of exegesis have emerged since the 1970s. This also raises the question of how these methods are interrelated: do they build on each other? Are they compatible with one another in terms of their requirements? Are all of these methods legitimate and useful? What is the justification for a specifically theological interpretation of the Bible? These questions are controversial.

"Eisegese" (reading into)

An Eisegesis is the opposite of a textual interpretation. The term is often used polemically in the sense that the interpreter interprets something into the text that cannot be found there. A previously existing or predetermined opinion, e.g. B. due to other Bible passages, placed in the text. Because of the ambiguities associated with many biblical passages, the rule “Scripture must be explained by Scripture” is used; H. When interpreting a particular passage, we consider what else the Bible says about the subjects mentioned at the passage under consideration.

Participation of the pre-understanding

When reading the Bible, most readers already have a certain idea of ​​what God wants or what happened in biblical times. You will find this prior understanding when reading the Bible. That a Bible text could also be understood differently is an insight that Bible readers must first come to terms with. The rule of interpretation “Scripture must be explained by Scripture”, which is connected with the idea of ​​the unity of the Bible, reinforces the influence of the pre-understanding. With regard to the topics addressed in a particular passage from the Bible, there are often a number of points of comparison. “But since it is not possible to look at many passages at the same time, but always one after the other, it is only indirectly the multitude of other relevant passages that helps the Bible reader to interpret them; his image, which he has so far formed on the basis of his previous Bible reading, has a direct effect. "( Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer )

History of Biblical Exegesis

Jewish exegesis as a model for Christian exegesis

The Jewish Bible interpretation is of a two-part revelation marked realized: The written Torah (Jewish Bible) is compared with an oral Torah. This oral Torah includes the scholarly discussion, which is mainly in the Mishnah and Talmud (paradoxically) in written form, and continues to this day in rabbinical discussions. Nevertheless, it can be said that this oral Torah was also given to Moses on Sinai . What is important about this concept is that it can integrate contradicting positions.

The Jewish interpretation of the Bible, which can already be found in rudiments in internal biblical references, is available in the first evidence from the centuries around the turn of the times. Part of it ( Philo of Alexandria , Josephus and in some ways the New Testament as well ) belongs in the context of Hellenistic culture . Here, the interpretation of biblical texts is strongly influenced by allegories that attempt to interpret the strong human resemblance of God in the biblical texts as improper speech.

The classic (i.e. traditional in Judaism) interpretation of the Bible has been handed down in Hebrew or Aramaic, but is also influenced by Hellenism. It already shows precursors in the writings of Qumran . The commentary and sermon literature aligned with the weekly Torah readings is called the Midrash . The term can also be used to denote individual text passages in other literary works (such as the Talmudim). A second important area are the Aramaic Bible translations ( Targumim ). In some cases, proceed with a strong paraphrase and weave midrash-like elements into the text.

Methodically, this rabbinical exegesis is characterized by the opposition of two basic views, which are associated with two scholars: While Rabbi Ishmael insists that “speak the Torah in the language of the people”, Rabbi Akiba sees the need for a more extensive sense of certain linguistic To fix elements of the biblical text, which as divine text should connect a certain statement with every little detail. It seemed to be an important dogmatic requirement to prove that the Torah speaks of the resurrection of the dead, which a reading on the level of the simple text does not reveal in concrete terms.

From the 10th century AD a new form of rabbinical commentary emerged that had a strongly rational and philological approach, but which also received and summarized the imaginative midrashim. These commentaries (including Raschi , Kimchi , Ibn Esra ) were printed together with the Targumim (see above) in large Torah or Bible editions (Miqra'ot Gedolot, or "Rabbinical Bibles") parallel to the Bible text. Sometimes it was also very well received by Christian interpreters.

Early Christianity to the Middle Ages - the fourfold sense of writing

According to the commentary method of the classical philological school in Alexandria , Origen (approx. 185-254) set up the theory of the "multiple sense of writing" for the Bible. As a result, a purely literary-philological analysis of the text was not enough. This historical sense was sufficient for the simple believer, but exegesis should also elevate the spiritual sense for the more skilled and the spiritual-spiritual sense should be established for the perfect.

This three-step somatic - psychic - pneumatic exegesis was then expanded by Johannes Cassianus in the 5th century to the theory of the fourfold sense of writing , which was formative for the entire Middle Ages . Similar to the Jewish tradition of biblical interpretation (see PaRDeS ), there is now a three-step step to historical-literal exegesis, which is based on the scheme of faith-love-hope.

  • Literal sense (literal, historical interpretation)
  • Allegorical sense (interpretation “in faith”) = dogmatic
  • Tropological sense (interpretation “in love”) = moral
  • Anagogical sense (interpretation “in hope”) = eschatological

This raised the question of an ambiguous script. However, since clear interpretations were asked for, reform efforts began here.

The Skeireins is a Gothic interpretation of the Gospel of John of the Wulfilabibel . Another interpretation is the “ Skarapsus ” from the 8th century, a text which St. Pirminius is attributed. The Heliand is an early medieval old Saxon epic and an important link in the historical context of the development of the German language and literature. There the life of Jesus Christ is retold in long lines rhyming with bars in the form of a harmony of the Gospels .

Reformation and Council of Trent

In line with the historical awareness newly discovered in the Renaissance, the Reformers rejected the fourfold sense of writing. Historically (and also theologically) they want “to the sources” ( ad fontes ). You only ask about the sense of the word or literal ( sola scriptura ). In the Protestant area there was often the idea of ​​a " verbal inspiration ", i. H. the Bible is inspired word for word by the Holy Spirit and is therefore infallible in the literal sense. But then the question arose whether that was enough. Reformation hermeneutics answered this with the theological thesis of the “ Word of God ”, which has sole authority and speaks for itself. This brought the question of understanding to a head and modern hermeneutics developed - initially as a typically Protestant supplement to exegesis.

A corresponding clarification of the Catholic position took place at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), when the ambiguous script was placed under the authority of the Church's magisterium : without the (episcopal or papal) magisterium, the Bible remains ambiguous. Due to the close attachment of the Bible to church tradition, no specifically Catholic hermeneutics initially emerged.

Enlightenment vs. Repristination theology

Exegesis since the Enlightenment reacted in particular to the old Protestant (Lutheran) orthodoxy of the 16th and 17th centuries , which equated the literal meaning with “God's word” and thus once again surrounded the Bible text with a set of rules refined to the extreme. In contrast, the exegesis of the Enlightenment, understood as scientific, propagated the separation of the literal meaning of the Bible and the “word of God” in the Bible. This enabled the biblical text to be examined using philological and historical methods that were now developing rapidly, while dogmatics (especially scriptural theory) and biblical hermeneutics should take care of the understanding of the analyzed texts.

The conservative protest against the biblical interpretation of the Enlightenment went by the keyword Repristinationstheologie in the 19th century : It was an attempt to restore the earlier, pre-Enlightenment approach to the Bible. Repristination theology, however, could not prevail.

Even if an absolutely objective exegesis is not possible, its results today are largely similar between Catholic and Protestant (and with reservations also Orthodox) theologians in the academic field. The utilization of the results of a standard exegetical analysis can, however, vary greatly.

Development of the historical-critical method

The historical-critical method was developed from the 18th century as a scientific method apparatus for the investigation of biblical texts, above all by Protestant theologians.

20th century

In the 20th century a whole series of new exegetical methods were developed, each of which aims to do justice to a specific approach to the Bible or a socio-political perspective (e.g. feminist exegesis, liberation theological exegesis ) or take into account research results from other specialist areas ( depth psychological exegesis , narrative Exegesis ).


The historical-critical method

The most widespread method of biblical exegesis is the "historical-critical method". Its aim is to interpret a biblical text in its historical context at that time, whereby the reconstruction of the presumed prehistory of the text plays a special role.

The classic historical-critical method was developed by Protestant theologians in Germany from the 18th to the 20th century, where it continues to occupy a special position. Most of the newer methods, on the other hand, originated in the English or French language areas (with the exception of reception aesthetics and depth psychology ).

Contextual exegesis

Contextual exegesis includes various exegetical models that the Bible and the religious tradition each want to open up for a specific target group - mostly socially discriminated or politically oppressed. There is contextual exegesis for and by women, African American and homosexuals, among others . Contextual exegesis is justified by the fact that context-free exegesis would not be possible anyway; from their point of view, every exegesis - including one that defines itself as value-free - is contextual. The result of any exegesis would reflect the power relations in society. Contextual exegesis seeks to correct this problem by consciously taking sides with the oppressed. Contextual exegesis asks not only about the social power relations of the present, but also about those at the time of the emergence of the Bible and tradition.

Those who have been suppressed by previous patriarchal exegesis (women, the poor, residents of the non-western world, Jews , members of non-monotheistic religions, homosexuals, theological lay people, children, creation or the ecological movement) should and should now have their say share their view of the Bible and its interpretation. This concern is formulated more or less militantly, hence the alternative term "committed exegesis".

Feminist exegesis

Common to the individual directions of feminist interpretation of the Bible is the interest to research the role and life of women in the Bible and to anchor it more firmly in the general consciousness. In addition, she critically questions the image of men and women in the Bible, whose texts were probably all written by men. After all, she wants to make biblical content comprehensible for women today.

Important feminist exegetes are in particular Marlene Crüsemann , Irmtraud Fischer , Claudia Janssen , Barbara Mörtl , Letty Russell , Luise Schottroff , Silvia Schroer , Helen Schüngel-Straumann , Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza , Dorothee Sölle , Marie-Theres Wacker and Ulrike Bail .

Liberation theological exegesis

Important exegetes of liberation theology are Clodovis Boff , Ernesto Cardenal , J. Severino Croatto , Carlos Mesters , Jorge Pixley , Pablo Richard , Ivoni Richter Reimer , Luise Schottroff , Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza , Milton Schwantes and Elsa Tamez .

Black Theology

In Black Theology , which was developed mainly in South Africa and the USA , exegesis is practiced from the context of the realities of life of people with black skin color. The Christian way of dealing with the excluded and marginalized plays an important role, as does the taking up of elements of African culture and religions.

Materialistic Bible reading

Fernando Belo suggests a materialistic reading of the Bible . In his theoretical foundation he refers to Karl Marx , historical materialism , Julia Kristeva's and Roland Barthes ' linguistic theoretical considerations and Louis Althusser's social theory . Belo takes a special look at the social situation at the time of Jesus and describes - based on the practice of Jesus - the first basic features of a materialistic ecclesiology . As an example, Belo presents his approach based on the Gospel of Mark .

Ton Veerkamp represents a reading of the Old Testament that is oriented towards social contrasts. Other representatives of materialistic Bible reading are Michel Clévenot and Kuno Füssel .

Literary and linguistically oriented methods

Narrative exegesis

The narrative exegesis comes from the French structuralism of literature . The most important proponent of structuralist narrative theory is Gérard Genette . It is partly already integrated in the latest methodology under the method step "text analysis". However, structuralist text theory may not fit the historical-critical method.

Intertextual exegesis

Intertextual interpretation of the Bible is still a relatively new exegetical interpretation paradigm (since the late 1990s), but has already produced an extraordinary number of publications in recent years. Intertextual exegesis is based on the theory of intertextuality developed by French poststructuralism around Julia Kristeva in the 1960s. “Intertextuality” is about the transposition of one system of signs into another. Intertextuality tries to describe what happens when you relate a text to other texts. Texts together form a universe, a network, a fabric. It is about text-text relations, whereby in poststructuralism “text” can mean anything: society, the literary context, the historical context, the author, the reader and his prior understanding, society, etc. For intertextual exegesis were especially the criteria for intertextual echoes of Richard B. Hays (1989) the standard instrument. Intertextual exegesis also includes the special form of canonical-intertextual exegesis ( Georg Steins , Thomas Hieke et al.), Which represents a transformation of the old canonical exegesis ( Brevard S. Childs ) reflected in literary studies .

Rhetorical exegesis

Reception aesthetic exegesis

The reception-aesthetic interpretation (English, reader-response criticism ) is aimed at the reception aesthetics no longer "the" meaning "of" text, but focuses on the interaction between text and reader. The method of reception aesthetic exegesis asks which reader guidance a text offers ( Wolfgang Iser , Hans Robert Jauß ). It is already a classic among the new methods in biblical interpretation and is also very common in Germany.

Historical exegesis

The effective historical exegesis deals with the question of how a Bible text at different times and in different media (painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, sermons, academic texts, texts by non-theologians) has been interpreted and what effect story he had and has.

Deconstructivist exegesis

Rather represented in the English-speaking area, less in Germany. The deconstructive exegesis is a distinctive, often playfully appearing form of post-structuralism and deconstruction (see. Intertextual exegesis ). According to Jacques Derrida , “meaning” is just an endless play of symbols.

Semiotic exegesis

In Germany, the names Erhardt Güttgemanns and Stefan Alkier are particularly associated with semiotic exegesis .

Text-pragmatic exegesis

Representatives of (text) pragmatic exegesis (see also pragmatics (linguistics) ) include Christof Hardmeier , Hubert Frankemölle .

Exegesis inspired by other social sciences

Cultural anthropological exegesis

The anthropological exegesis (cf.. Cultural Anthropology , Ethnology ) is in the English-speaking world quite widespread ( Bruce J. Malina ) and in Germany by Wolfgang Stegemann promoted and his students.

Social-historical exegesis

The socio-historical exegesis applies the methods of social history to the reconstruction of ancient social conditions, from which the biblical texts are to be understood. It partly overlaps with cultural anthropological exegesis.

Important representatives are Frank Crüsemann , Norman K. Gottwald , Richard A. Horsley , Rainer Kessler , Luise Schottroff , Milton Schwantes , Gerd Theißen .

Depth psychological exegesis

Interactional interpretation

A group-dynamic form of design in which experience-based and holistic work is carried out. The design takes place in three phases:

1. Proximity to the text / encounter from previous experiences
2. Distance / encounter with the foreign experiences of the text
3. renewed proximity / updating

The interactional interpretation has several origins: the critique of historical-critical exegesis (Walter Wink), symbolic interactionism and theme-centered interaction . Important representatives are Detlev Dormeyer , Walter Wink , Anneliese Hecht, Tim Schramm.


Theological forms of exegesis

Canonical exegesis

Some interpreters of the Bible have made it their business to understand and interpret the texts in the context of the entire Bible. The canonical exegesis developed in the USA is mentioned in a document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission from 1993 and refers to the Council Constitution Dei Verbum , No. 12. It seeks to understand texts less from their historical context and more from a tradition that is understood as a unified led to the establishment of the Bible canon . Since a later connection is in the foreground, canonical exegesis in general does not want to conduct historical research, for example on Jesus of Nazareth . Nevertheless , from this point of view , Joseph Ratzinger tries to describe the Jesus of the Gospels as historically plausible. Other German-speaking representatives are Frank Crüsemann and Georg Steins .

Dogmatic exegesis

The dogmatic exegesis tries to work out basic parameters of faith from the scriptures, which are of importance for all people, thus works systematically and philosophically. Dogmatic exegesis plays an essential role in the Catholic Church .

Confessional exegesis

Confessional exegesis includes z. B. Catholic exegesis, Lutheran exegesis, Methodist exegesis, Baptist exegesis, Pentecostal church exegesis or Evangelical exegesis . This is not meant in the actual sense, but as a program: The understanding requirements that a Catholic, Lutheran, etc. have to flow into the interpretation of the Bible.

Grammatical-historical exegesis (also biblical-critical method)

The grammatical-historical exegesis is primarily used by evangelical theologians (cf. evangelical exegesis ). It aims to understand the text according to the original intention of the author, as much as possible. It is based on an exact analysis of grammar and word meaning as well as on elements of the historical-critical method such as history of form, editorial history, or midrash history. However, it is based on fundamentally different assumptions than the historical-critical method: the Bible is seen as holy scripture that is inspired by God. The events reported as historically reported are essentially seen as historical events ; the possibility is also expected that miracles actually happened.

Existentialist exegesis

The existentialist exegesis belongs to the subject-oriented types of interpretation: Here an attempt is made to peel human basic constitution out of the texts.

Fundamentalist exegesis

The fundamentalist exegesis is based on the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. She understands the Bible (apart from clearly poetic texts) as historical accounts of events that happened exactly as they are in the Bible. Fundamentalist exegesis has no doubt that the miracles did indeed happen and believes that these texts need not be interpreted further or understood in any other sense than the historical.

Biblical exegesis in the context of other sciences

Biblical exegesis was and is trying to incorporate the knowledge and methods of other text-interpreting sciences. Due to the narrowly limited text corpus (in contrast to historical or literary studies), the high and at the same time controversial importance of the Bible, the development of precise methods and reflective hermeneutics naturally played a central role in biblical exegesis. Until the first half of the 19th century , it also played a major role in the development of general hermeneutics , when historical text interpretation and legal text interpretation were decoupled. Nowadays, however, biblical exegesis has only little methodological influence on other sciences; it is highly receptive. For some time now, it has become a melting pot for very different sciences, which could also enable new methodological findings.

History : Since the classical historical-critical interpretation sees itself primarily as a historical science, there are particularly close connections to history . Biblical exegesis should not use methods other than general history. In the last few years, historical theoretical considerations have also been increasingly received, e. B. by Jörn Rüsen or Hayden White . In particular, the method of textual criticism is shared with classical philology .

Archeology : Archeology is taken up in exegesis in a special way, as it is often necessary for the historical-critical interpretation of the Bible texts. Some biblical exegetes are also archaeologists ( biblical archeology ). There are also close relationships with ancient oriental studies (Egyptology, Hittitology, Assyriology, etc.), Jewish studies and religious studies .

Jurisprudence : There are almost only historical connections to the method of interpretation of jurisprudence , especially in the 19th century there was still a lively exchange ( Schleiermacher , von Savigny et al.). Biblical and jurisprudence originally combined the task of interpreting a text that is normative for society or for parts of society in a reflective way. However, exegesis has largely given up the prerequisite that the Bible is a normative text, and also the special questions associated with it, due to its historical orientation, and thus enters into a certain tension with theological dogmatics (see historical- critical method , Ernst Troeltsch , Biblical Theology , Exegesis-Dogmatics-Problem ). The legal interpretation of the text appears methodologically less reflected than the biblical exegesis; compare the method books by Karl Larenz (jurisprudence) and Odil Hannes Steck (biblical exegesis). In terms of content, there are clear links between biblical and legal studies. Biblical studies are of particular importance for legal history , cf. such as the Ten Commandments , the covenant book ( Ex 20.24–23.12) and other Old Testament legal texts. See also the journal for biblical and ancient oriental legal history and law (theology) .

Philosophy : Bible exegesis and philosophy also touch on many points. Philosophical hermeneutics ( Gadamer , Ricœur, etc.) in particular had an impact on biblical exegesis. In addition, individual philosophical concepts were applied to exegesis, such as B. Heidegger's existential ontology on the existential interpretation of R. Bultmann . As far as the concrete method of scientific text interpretation is concerned, the interpretation of philosophical texts is less strongly controlled by methodological considerations than in biblical exegesis. So far there has hardly been any concrete exchange at this level. In terms of content, theology as a whole is very much connected to philosophy in that it deals with similar questions: What is the meaning of life ? Is there anything after death ? What is the man ? What is happiness ? Is there God ? How is a successful life possible, etc. The biblical exegesis has at most an indirect part in these questions.

Linguistics : Linguistics , semiotics and communication theory are now largely taken up in exegesis, especially in the more recent methods; the translation studies and computational linguistics so far rather rudimentary.

Literary studies : German , English , Romance studies , Slavic studies a . a. methodically come into their own in the aesthetic reception and narrative exegesis. In the last few decades there has been an increasing methodological networking of biblical and literary studies, which is in considerable tension with the historical orientation of biblical exegesis (“diachrony” versus “synchrony”). There are also content-related points of contact in exegesis of the history of effects - if one z. B. as an exegete examines how Thomas Mann understood the Joseph novella ( Genesis 37-50) and processed it literarily.

Cultural studies : The exegesis of the history of effects results in further links to music , art , theater and film studies . For example the St. John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach , a crucifixion picture by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. or an artfully carved crucifix, the Oberammergau Passion Play or the film “The Passion” by Mel Gibson are also considered forms of biblical exegesis, here especially the passion story ( Mk 14–15 and parallels). However, the relationship between the hermeneutics of the Bible, music, art, theater and film studies has not yet been finally clarified (cf. Erwin Panofsky for art studies, Aristotle for theater studies, etc.). Christian customs, non-scientific Bible explanations, sermons or even Christian dogmatics are forms of biblical interpretation whose relationship to the “actual” biblical exegesis can be determined.

Sociology and psychology : Individual newer methods try to integrate the findings of various other sciences into Bible exegesis: Sociological exegesis draws on sociology , psychological and depth psychological forms of exegesis on psychological theories, and cultural anthropological exegesis on ethnology , (comparative) cultural studies and cultural anthropology .

Economics : Occasional interdisciplinary connections: There are less methodical and more substantive points of contact with economics and political science . On the one hand, the biblical exegesis serves as a historical source for economic history and the history of political thought. In addition, theologians try to gain key points for business ethics and political ethics from the Bible .

Pedagogy : It is similar with pedagogy and didactics . The Bible is an important source for the history of education, be it certain educational advice in Proverbs or the well-known Schma Yisrael ( Dtn 6,4f  EU ), which the Israelites are supposed to impress on their children (6,6ff). The Bible itself was also regarded as a “pedagogical” book of God for human beings until the Enlightenment (cf. Lessing's “ Education of the Human Kind ”). In terms of content, the results of biblical exegesis can of course be found in religious education .

Natural sciences : There are only a few points of contact with natural history disciplines: biology (for animal and plant names in the Old Testament), mineralogy (for names of gemstones), astronomy (names of constellations), shipping (e.g. Acts 27  EU ) or medicine (e.g. in the case of diseases that are described). When translating and interpreting relevant passages, biblical scholars sometimes work together with experts.

Engineering : Finally, there are only indirect points of contact with engineering : namely via archeology, when biblical exegesis explores how realia (houses, temples, ships, streets ...) were constructed at that time. Incidentally, according to Mk 6.3  EU , Jesus is said to have been a τεκτων (tekton), i.e. a master builder or builder (carpenter).

See also


History of Biblical Exegesis

  • Hans-Joachim Kraus : History of historical-critical research into the Old Testament from the Reformation to the present. (1956) 3rd exp. Edition Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 1982.
  • Werner Georg Kümmel : The New Testament. History of the exploration of its problems. (1958) 2nd edition Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1970.
  • Robert E. Lerner (ed.): New directions in the high and late medieval biblical exegesis (= writings of the historical college. Colloquia 32). Munich 1996, XII, 191 pages ( digitized version )
  • Peter Stuhlmacher : On Understanding the New Testament. A hermeneutic. NTD.E 6. 1979. 2. rework. Edition Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1986, ISBN 3-525-51355-6 .
On p. 76–221 an easy-to-read overview of the history of biblical exegesis: from the ancient church interpretation of scriptures through the Reformation, the Enlightenment, 19th and 20th centuries to Paul Ricoeur and text linguistics.
  • Henning von Reventlow: Epochs of biblical interpretation. 4 vols., Beck, Munich 1990–2001 (monumental work, detailed).
Vol. 1: From the Old Testament to Origen. 1990, ISBN 3-406-34663-4 ; Vol. 2: From late antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. 1994, ISBN 3-406-34986-2 ; Vol. 3: Renaissance, Reformation, Humanism. 1997, ISBN 3-406-34987-0 ; Vol. 4: From the Enlightenment to the 20th Century. 2001, ISBN 3-406-34988-9 .
  • William Baird: History of New Testament Research. Two volumes, Fortress Press, Minneapolis 1992/2003.

Scientific methodology

Old testament

  • Klaus Koch: What is the history of form? Methods of Bible Exegesis . (1964) 5th edition Neukirchen-Vluyn 1989.
  • Georg Fohrer et al .: Exegesis of the Old Testament. Introduction to the methodology . UTB 267. (1973) 6th, through. Aufl., Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1993 ISBN 3-8252-0267-4 .
  • Odil Hannes Steck: Exegesis of the Old Testament. Guide to the methodology. A workbook for proseminars, seminars and lectures . 14th, through u. exp. Aufl. Neukirchener, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1999 ISBN 3-7887-1586-3 (still a standard work, without the newer approaches).
  • Gottfried Adam , Otto Kaiser a. a .: Introduction to exegetical methods. Kaiser / Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2000, ISBN 3-579-02651-3 (edited. New edition of a twenty-year-old methodology, brief, on AT pp. 13–70).
  • Siegfried Kreuzer, Dieter Vieweger a. a .: Proseminar I. Old Testament. A work book. Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2. Erw. Edition 2005, ISBN 3-17-019063-6 (presentation of the classical exegetical methods with additional articles on: biblical archeology, sociological and socio-historical interpretation, iconography, feminist exegesis, depth psychology and textual interpretation).
  • Helmut Utzschneider , Stefan Ark Nitsche: workbook literary biblical interpretation. A methodology for the exegesis of the Old Testament. Kaiser / Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2001, ISBN 3-579-00409-3 (takes into account the newer “synchronous” methods).
  • Manfred Dreytza, Walter Hilbrands and Hartmut Schmid : The study of the Old Testament. An introduction to the methods of exegesis. Biblical monographs 10. 2., revised. Ed. R. Brockhaus, Wuppertal 2007, ISBN 3-417-29471-1 .
  • Christof Hardmeier: Discover the textual worlds of the Bible. Basics and methods of a text-pragmatic literary study of the Bible. Volume 1/1. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2003, ISBN 3-579-05449-X (introduction to the pragmatic interpretation of the Bible, transformation of the previous historical-critical method).
  • Uwe Becker: Exegesis of the Old Testament. A method and work book. UTB 2664. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2664-6 (brief overview; without newer methods; further references).

New Testament

  • Sönke Finnern, Jan Rüggemeier: Methods of New Testament Exegesis. A textbook and workbook. UTB 4212. Tübingen 2016 (narrative science up to date, didactically structured, comprehensive, offers an integrative overall model of the text interpretation).
  • Heinrich Zimmermann : New Testament methodology. Presentation of the historical-critical method. 7th edition re-edit v. Klaus Kliesch. Catholic Biblical Works, Stuttgart 1982.
  • Klaus Berger : Exegesis of the New Testament. New ways from text to interpretation. UTB 658, 2nd, revised edition, Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1984, ISBN 3-494-02070-1 .
  • Gerhard Lohfink : I now understand the Bible. A non-fiction book on criticism of form. 13th edition. Kath. Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-460-30632-7 .
  • Klaus Haacker: New Testament Science. An introduction to questions and methods. (1981) 2nd edition R. Brockhaus, Wuppertal 1985 (rather scarce).
  • Dieter Lührmann: The interpretation of the New Testament. Zurich floor plans for the Bible. (1984) 2nd edition, Zurich 1987.
  • Wilhelm Egger: Methodology for the New Testament. Introduction to linguistic and historical-critical methods. Herder, Freiburg 1987, ISBN 3-7462-0441-0 (classic; includes linguistic methods).
  • Grant R. Osborne: The Hermeneutical Spiral. A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. InterVarsity, Downers Grove 1991 ISBN 0-8308-1288-1 (example of a fairly detailed English method book).
  • Hans Conzelmann, Andreas Lindemann: Workbook for the New Testament. UTB 52. (1975) 12th edition Tübingen 1998, ISBN 3-8252-0052-3 (classic; purely historical-critical).
  • Willi Marxsen : Introduction to the New Testament. An introduction to your problems. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 1978 (4th edition), ISBN 3-579-04444-3 .
  • Thomas Söding: Ways of interpreting scriptures. New Testament method book. Among employees v. Christian Münch. Herder, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1998, ISBN 3-451-26545-1 .
  • Wolfgang Fenske : Workbook on the exegesis of the New Testament. A proseminar. Kaiser / Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 1999, ISBN 3-579-02624-0 .
  • Heinz-Werner Neudorfer, Eckhard J. Schnabel (ed.): The study of the New Testament. Volume 1: An Introduction to the Methods of Exegesis. Biblical monographs 5. Brockhaus, Wuppertal; Brunnen, Gießen / Basel 1999, ISBN 3-417-29434-7 .
  • Martin Meiser, Uwe Kühneweg u. a .: Proseminar II. New Testament - Church history. A work book. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-17-015531-8 (material-rich presentation with supplementary contributions to linguistics and text interpretation and socio-historical interpretation).
  • Martin Ebner , Bernhard Heininger: Exegesis of the New Testament. A workbook for teaching and practice. 3rd updated edition 2015. UTB 2677. Schöningh, Paderborn 2015, ISBN 3-8252-4268-4 (didactic approach, quite unconventional).
  • Udo Schnelle: Introduction to New Testament Exegesis. 6. rework. Aufl. UTB 1253. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-03230-7 (brief description of the historical-critical methods).

Newer forms of exegesis and pluralism of methods

  • Walter Wink: Bible interpretation as interaction. Beyond the limits of historical-critical method. Urban pocket books 622. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart u. a. 1976
Wink was the first to use the phrase "bankruptcy of biblical criticism" because the historical-critical method is not able to "interpret Scripture in such a way that the past comes to life" (p. 7).
  • Horst Klaus Berg: A word like fire. Ways of Living Bible Interpretation . Kösel, Munich / Calwer, Stuttgart 1991 ISBN 3-466-36196-6
Didactically oriented workbook; In addition to the historical-critical method, existential, linguistic, depth psychological, feminist, Latin American, intertextual, historical, alienating, Jewish, etc. a. Practiced interpretations.
  • Christoph Dohmen: "On the multiple sense of writing - possibilities and limits of more recent approaches to biblical texts". In: Th. Sternberg (Ed.), New Forms of Scripture Interpretation? Quaestiones Disputatae 140. Herder, Freiburg i. Br. 1992, pp. 13-74.
  • Ulrich Luz (ed.): Apple of contention Bible: One Bible - many approaches . Theol. Verlag, Zurich 1993 ISBN 3-290-10874-0
Six authors of various theological origins (historical-critical, biblical, evangelical, feminist, materialistic, depth psychological) describe their basic assumptions and positions and interpret the same biblical text.
  • Julia Lehnen: Interactional Biblical Interpretation in Religious Education . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2006
Provides a good overview of the various forms of Interactional Bible Interpretation.
  • Lothar Ruppert (ed.): The interpretation of the Bible in the church. The document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of April 23, 1993 . Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 161. Kath. Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 1995 ISBN 3-460-04611-2 (Catholic church is open to various forms of biblical interpretation; some approaches are presented)
  • Louis C. Jonker: Exclusivity and Variety. Perspectives on Multidimensional Exegesis . Kampen 1997. (on the relationship between "diachronic" and "synchronous" methods using the example of Judge 13's interpretation)
  • John Barton (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation . (1998) 7th ed. University Press, Cambridge 2005. ISBN 0-521-48593-2
The historical-critical method only on the first twelve pages, in the other essays: literary, sociological, post-structural, political, feminist, linguistic, Jewish, etc. a. Interpretation.
The author presents the different ways of reading such as historical-critical method, socio-historical exegesis, canonical interpretation of scriptures, etc. one after the other and names the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Stefan Alkier / Ralph Brucker (eds.): Exegesis and discussion of methods . Texts and works on the New Testament age 23. Tübingen 1998
There will be some z. Some very unusual methods are presented, e.g. B. the perspective of a film director.
  • Steven L. McKenzie / Stephen R. Haynes (eds.): To Each Its Own Meaning. An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application . Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 1999 ISBN 0-664-25784-4
A total of 13 methods; in addition to literary criticism and editorial criticism, u. a. rhetorical, structural, narrative, aesthetic, post-structural, feminist and socio-economic interpretations of the Bible are also presented.
  • Gerd Theißen : "Method competition and hermeneutic conflict. Pluralism in exegesis and reading the Bible". In: Joachim Mehlhausen (ed.), Pluralism and Identity [VIII. European theological congress in Vienna, 20. – 24. September 1993]. Publications of the Scientific Society for Theology 8. Gütersloh 1995, pp. 127–140.
  • Ulrich Luz : "Can the Bible still be the basis for the church today? About the task of exegesis in a religious-pluralistic society". In: New Testament Studies 44 (1998), pp. 317-339.
  • Helmut Utzschneider : "Text - reader - author. Inventory and prolegomena to a theory of exegesis". In: Biblische Zeitschrift 43 (1999), pp. 224-238. (tries to assign the interpretative approaches to one another; he distinguishes intentio operis , intentio lectoris and intentio auctoris)
  • Jens Schröter: "On the current state of New Testament science. Methodological aspects and theological perspectives". In: New Testament Studies 46 (2000), pp. 262-283.
  • Angelika Reichert: "Open questions on the interpretation of New Testament texts as reflected in recent methodological books". In: Theologische Literaturzeitung 126 (2001), Sp. 993-1006.
Münster inaugural lecture; it names three neuralgic points in the latest method presentations: 1. The aim and context of the interpretation process is not clear; 2. The relationship between synchrony and diachrony is unclear; 3. It is not reflected which role author and addressee play in the interpretation process.
  • Joachim Kügler: "For whom does biblical studies work? Exegesis in the contrast of present and future plurality". In: R. Bucher (Ed.): Theology in the contrasts of the future. Perspectives of the theological discourse . Theology in Cultural Dialogue 8. Graz 2001, pp. 95–116.
  • Joachim Kügler: "On the way to pluralism? Biblical studies in the field of tension between social constructivism, reception aesthetics and theology of revelation". In: Alexius J. Bucher (ed.): What philosophy does theology need? Eichstätter Studies 47. Pustet, Regensburg 2002, pp. 135–160.
  • Oda Wischmeyer: Hermeneutics of the New Testament. A textbook . New Testament drafts for theology 8. Francke, Tübingen / Basel 2004 ISBN 3-7720-8054-5
Wischmeyer tries to synthesize different approaches by distinguishing between historical, historical, factual and textual understanding.

Generally understandable introductions, aids for reading the Bible

  • Jakob van Bruggen: How do we read the Bible? An introduction to scripture interpretation . Hänssler, Neuhausen-Stuttgart 1998 ISBN 3-7751-2955-3 (somewhat more demanding, knowledge of Greek is helpful)
  • Howard G. Hendricks, William G. Hendricks: Bible Reading for Profit. Handbook for personal Bible study . Christliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Dillenburg 1995 ISBN 3-89436-088-7 (didactically prepared; helps to a real occupation with the Bible text)
  • Gordon D. Fee, Douglas Stuart: Effective Bible Study . 3. revised Edition ICI, Asslar 1996 ISBN 3-923924-27-5 (translation of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth )
  • Siegfried Zimmer : Does Biblical Studies Harm Faith? Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 4th completely revised edition, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-525573-06-8 . (Shows how science can serve faith)
  • Eugene H. Peterson : Take and Eat ... The Bible as Food. Neufeld, Schwarzenfeld, 2014. ISBN 978-3-862-56045-5 (Explains tried and tested methods for fruitful Bible reading and provides in-depth background information on the Bible and the culture of that time)
  • Klaus Dorn: Basic knowledge of the Bible: reading and understanding. Paderborn 2017, ISBN 978-3-8252-4747-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. So differentiated from Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Basis preach. Basics of the Christian faith in sermons, plus a didactic homiletics for advanced students . VTR, Nuremberg 2010, pp. 124–129.
  2. Mark Twain in: The Wit and Wisdom , cit. according to Graf-Stuhlhofer: Basis preaching , 2010, p. 126.
  3. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer in the foreword ("Why Christians Have Different Opinions") to Peter Streitenberger: The five points of Calvinism from a biblical perspective. VTR, Nuremberg 2011, pp. 5–11, there 7.
  4. Graf-Stuhlhofer in the foreword to Streitenberger: The five points of Calvinism , 2011, p. 7f.
  5. Stemberger: Introduction in Talmud and Midrash , 1992.
  6. Galley u. a .: The Hebrew Bible , 2004.
  7. Cf. Cassianus, coll. 14,8 (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, vol. 13, p. 404).
  8. See Peter Walter, "Schriftsinne", in: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, Vol. 9, Herder, reviewed edition of the 3rd edition Freiburg. et al. 2009, col. 268-269.
  9. The standard work here is Cain Hope Felder: The African Heritage Study Bible. James C. Winston Publishing Company, Nashville 1993.
  10. Fernando Belo: The Gospel of Mark read materialistically. Alektor-Verlag, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-88425-010-8 , p. 13f., P. 121f.
  11. ^ Ton Veerkamp: The world is different. Political history of the great story , Hamburg: Argument Verlag 2011, ISBN 978-3-88619-353-0
  12. Egbert Ballhorn, Georg Steins (Ed.): The Bible canon in the interpretation of the Bible. Method reflection and example exegesis , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007. ISBN 978-3-17-019109-9
  13. WJC weren: The Pope's book Jesus and the Christologies of the gospels . HTS Theologiese Studies / Theological Studies 67 (1), Art. # 831, 2011, pp. 2–3. PDF
  14. Michael Schäfers: Prophetic Power of Church Social Doctrine? Poverty, Work, Property and Business Criticism . Lit, Münster 1998. ISBN 3-8258-3887-0 , p. 86.