At first glance a story of the Bible may appear to be just that, a simple story; however, when one does more than simply read the story, there are a plethora of underlying meanings to be found. Reading the Bible in search of its meanings can sometimes be confusing, which results in several different interpretations and raises many arguments amongst the readers. When reading the Bible, “it is necessary to apply tools of critical reading to find out what God wants to communicate with us,” (Smith-Christopher, 28). In order to figure out what God wants to communicate, one must use hermeneutics, the science of interpretation. Hermeneutics helps to steer the Bible’s readers in the correct direction by presenting methods that serve to assist their interpretation. Exegesis, one method of interpretation, is the process of determining the meaning of a text in the context of its composition. “To analyze something by its context involves looking at the circumstances in which it occurs,” (Smith-Christopher, 34). By understanding the circumstances in which the story is written one can infer what the author may have been thinking and what affect those thoughts may have taken on the story. An additional method in hermeneutics is the historical-critical method, the method of interpretation which asks critical questions of the text regarding history, language, genre, etc. The historical-critical method helps in furthering one’s interpretation of the bible by asking what the history was like, what language the texts was originally written in and what the genre of the story is. As the reader, one must also take into account what God meant when he inspired the author to write the stories. “In order for us to interpret Scripture correctly, we must pay... ... middle of paper ... ...Exodus: History or Mythic Tale? - My Jewish Learning." Judaism & Jewish Life - My Jewish Learning. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. . 4) Shane. "Was Moses Really the Writer of Exodus? :: July :: 2009." EEC Blog. 11 July 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. . 5) "Introduction to Exodus." Home | ESV Study Bible | Crossway. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. . 6) Friedman, Richard. Who Wrote the Bible? San Fransisco. HarperSanFrancisco, 1997. 7) Dozeman, Thomas B (2009). Commentary on Exodus. Eerdmans. 8) Fretheim, Terence E (1991). Exodus. Westminster John Knox Press. 9) Houston, Walter J (1998). “Exodus”. In John Barton. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press.
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A historical critical exegesis is a critical interpretation or analysis of religious texts such as the bible. When interpreting the historical component we are gathering an idea of the historical situations which gave rise to the texts as the authors often reflect their own historical context and have composed their writings to address people within their own socio-cultural background within that period of time. The critical component would include “an analysis of the book in terms of its form(s) or genre(s) or type(s) of literature” which each have its own unique patterns that contribute to probabilities in determining how a particular piece of literature developed and should be interpreted.
Even though, considered as an African-American, I begin to read the book of Exodus from an African’s perspective. I mention this because even though somewhat Americanized, I still consider myself purely African at heart and soul. A business and minors in both French and Psychology at a predominantly white college also play a role in my understanding of the book of Exodus. Living in a white suburban neighborhood plays a major role on how I perceive a potentially liberating biblical text. Making the life changing move from Togo to the United States has also shapes my understanding of Exodus as whole.
There are many themes running through the Old Testament myth of Exodus – slavery, rescue and redemption, guidance, commandments on how to live, the creation of a nation, and God’s power over other gods. In this paper I will explore what appears to be the chief reasoning behind the creation of the Exodus myth – the explanation of the creation of a monotheistic religion and the similarities of the Exodus myth to the ancient myths, as well as how one should approach the reading of the myth.
New International Version. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com. Web. 3 Mar 2011. Accessed 22 April 2014.
There are many ways to study the bible and biblical hermeneutics is one way but even this gets broken down into different styles of studying. There is the most consistent use of the method of Bible study known as the Historical-Grammatical-Lexical Method, but there are so many more. Some are the Allegorical method, hermeneutics of the reformation era, hermeneutics of the early church fathers, post-reformation protestant hermeneutics and sociological hermeneutics. There are many more but these are the ones that are focused on in this paper.
The first three readings (and I’d say all the readings for today) invite us to reflect more deeply and differently about issues and biblical texts. Our readings demand us to be critical of the interpretative frameworks, presuppositions, and historical-socio-cultural location not only of biblical authors but also examine overall “interpretative tendencies” that lie behind ancient and modern interpreters. Before us are various ways of thinking, looking, experiencing and interpreting the text. How do we differ from ancient readers? And in what ways could we possibly have in common?
... of Israel, 2d ed.: A Theological Survey of the Old Testament. Garden City: Baker Academic, 2002.