Thursday, October 26, 2006
Word of the Day
I was reading some Christian fundamentalist rant this morning when I came upon a term completely new to me.
From the Free Dictionary—
eisegesis: personal interpretation of a text (especially of the Bible) using your own ideas
The associated adjective is eisegetic, and the antonym is the more common term exegesis.
It's an important word since it's typically used by theologues of one persuasion to beat theologues of other persuasions about the head and shoulders. The Wikipedia entry gives a good feel for how this works—
Modern evangelical scholars accuse liberal protestants of practicing biblical eisegesis, while Mainline scholars accuse fundamentalists of practicing eisegesis. Catholics say that all Protestants engage in eisegesis, because the Bible can be correctly understood only through the lens of Holy Tradition. Jews counter that all Christians practice eisegesis when they read the Hebrew Bible as a book about Jesus.