Exegetical Theology

Exegetical Theology that branch of theology which treats of the exposition and interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. SEE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF THSEOLOGY. Exegesis (ἐξήγησις) is statement, explanatioa, from ἐξηγέομαι, I lead, describe, explain; and froan this, an exegete, ἐξηγητής, guide, interpreter. The word exegetical, then, includes all that belongs to explassat/on, and Exegetical Theology includes all that belongs to the explanation and interpretation of the holy Scriptures.

I. Matter of Exegetical Theology. — The Bible, including both the O. and N.T., is the material on which the science of exegetical theology is employed. Some writers therefore designate it as Biblical theology; but the real work of exegesis is to gather from the word the material of Biblical theology, leaving the arrangement and coordination of this material to fall into a separate branch of the science. SEE BIBICAL THEOLOGY; SEE THEOLOGY. In fact, the results of exegetical study may fall, according to their nature, into historical, doctrinal, or practical theology. SEE BIBLE. As the Bible comes to us as the record of a revelation from God, its claims in this respect form the subject of a separate branch, entitled INSPIRATION SEE INSPIRATION (q.v.). The study of inspiration leads to the general question of the possibility and nature of REVELATION SEE REVELATION (q.v).

II. Method of Exegetical Theology. —

1. Philology. As the Bible comes to us in ancient languages (Hebrew, Chaldee, Hellenistic Greek), the first requisite of exegesis is the knowledge of these languages, both as to their grammatical structure and their vocabulary. This branch is called Sacred Linguistics, or Sacred Philology. The knowledge of classical Greek is of course presupposed, while Syriac, Samaritan, and Arabic are cognate and auxiliary. For details, see the separate articles in this work on the various topics named.

2. Archceology. — Not only does the Bible come to us in ancient languages, but it was also written at various times, in various countries, and under various conditions of life (social, political, religious, etc.). Thus arise the various branches of Bible history (belonging partly to exegetical and partly to historical theology), Biblical geography, chronology, ethnography, natural history of the Bible, laws, usages, domestic economy, agriculture, sacred rites, and worship. All these branches are summed up under the general title Antiquities, or Archaoeoloy. See both these heads in this Cyclopaedia, and also the other topics named, for the details and the literature.

3. Canon. — As these books come to us claiming to be authoritative, we must be able to answer the question, What books belong to the Bible as a sacred book? The answer to this question gives rise to that branch called the science of the Canon of Scripture. It is divided into canon of the O.T. and canon of the N.T. SEE CANON OF SCRIPTURE.

4. Criticism. — Granting that we have certain books admitted to be canonical, the farther question arises, Have we these writings in their original and correct forms? The answer to this question gives rise to Criticism, which is divided into the lower or text-criticism, which seeks to ascertain the true and original reading of the text as accurately as possible, and the higher criticism, which examines into the integrity, genuineness, and authenticity of the books. The higher criticism seeks to distinguish the true from the false, and forms, to a certain degree, the basis of Apologetics (q.v.); the text-criticism distinguishes the original from the altered or corrupted. SEE CRITICISM.

5. Interpretation. — All the studies heretofore named are preparatory to the work of getting at the meaning of the sacred Scriptures, which is the function of Interpretation, or Hermeneutics (ἑρμηνεύω). The general principles on which any other writings would be interpreted are of course applicable here (General Hermeneutics); but the special character of these writings as sacred gives rise to an enlargement of those general principles of interpretation (Sacred Hermeneautics). When the sense of Scripture is sought simply by the use of linguistics or criticism, the interpretation is called Grammatical. When not only linguistics and criticism, but also all the knowledges embraced above under archaeology are employed, the interpretation is called Grammatico-Historical. When, in addition, the traditional sense of the Church as to the substantial facts and doctrines of revelation is brought to bear upon the Word, the interpretation is called Doctrissal, or Dogmatical. Finally, when a farther sense than that conveyed in the words of the writer is sought, the interpretation is called Allegorical. For the nature, history and value of these, SEE HERMENEUTICS; SEE INTERPRETATION.

III. Results or Products of Exegetical Theology. — The application of the laws of hermeneutics, and of the preparatory or propaeudeutic sciences mentioned above, in practical work, is Exegesis. The fruit of this labor may appear, within the sphere of exegetical theology itself, in translations of the Bible, or of any of its parts SEE VERSIONS; or in commentaries on the Bible, or on separate books of the Bible, or on separate passages in any of the books. SEE COMMENTARIES. The principles and rules of exegesis are also to be used by the preacher in the preparation of his discourses for the congregation. SEE HOMILETICS; SEE SERMON.

Most of the topics of exegetical theology are embraced in what is called Introduction to the Scriptures, a vague title, formerly much in use, but now giving way to more scientific and distinctive terms, such as Literary History of the Bible, for a general name, and the several titles mentioned above for special branches. The books on Introduction, are often rather useful collections of propaedeutic knowledge than scientific treatises. SEE INTRODUCTION. There are no books in English treating exegetical theology as a separate branch in scientific form; but English literature abounds in excellent works on the several branches, which will be found indicated under the several titles in this Cyclopedia. The most. important general works are the so-called books of "Introduction," such as Horne, Introduction (new ed., London, 1860, 4 volumes, 8vo); Davidson, Introduction to N.T. (Lond. 1848-51 [Dr. Davidson's later writings are not so trustworthy as his earlier]); Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels (reprinted, Bost. 1867, 12mo). On the literature, see farther under the head INTRODUCTION. On the scope of exegetical theology, and its relations to the other branches of the science, see Hagenbach, Encyklopadie and Methodologie (Leipsig, 1864, 7th edit, § 34-56); Marsh, Lectures on the Arrangement of the several Branches of Divinity (Cambridge, 1809, 8vo); Pelt, Theologische Encyklopadie als System (Hamburg, 1843, 8vo), § 10-28; Clarisse, Encyklopaedite Theologicae Epitome (Lugd. Bat. 1835, 8vo), sect. 1, 2, and our articles SEE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF THEOLOGY; SEE THEOLOGY.

Exemption designates, in ecclesiastical law, the release of persons or institutions from the jurisdiction of the regular superior, and their subordination to a higher or special superior.

1. Roman Catholic Church. — The first example of formal exemption is the release of monasteries from the episcopal jurisdiction. Many wealthy convents induced the popes, emperors, and kings to allow them a free election of their superiors, and a free administration of their property. Subsequently many of the monastic orders were altogether exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishops, the members being subordinate only to their monastic superiors and the pope. The bishops incessantly labored for a restoration of their full jurisdiction, and the Council of Constance favored them, but most of the popes sided with the monks rather than with the bishops. The Council of Trent granted most of the demands of the bishops, but the difficulties between bishops and monastic orders have never wholly ceased. Bishops sometimes are exempt from the usual subordination to an archbishop, being subordinate directly to the pope. Sometimes (as in Austria) the army was exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishops, and placed under the jurisdiction of a special army-bishop.

2. Protestant Churches. — The Protestant state churches retained, with other parts of the ecclesiastical law, the idea of exemption. The princes claimed for themselves exemption from the usual ecclesiastical jurisdiction; later, the same exemption was claimed for civil and military officers. In some countries the nobility also were exempt. In Prussia, a circular of the government in 1817 abolished all exemptions, but it was not executed. Churches which are based on the voluntary principle know of no exemption, because they compel none of their members to belong to any particular congregation.

In many districts in Germany, Roman-Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed pastors had jurisdiction even over members of the two other churches; and the exemption of Protestants from Roman Catholic jurisdiction, and vice versa, is not yet fully carried through. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 4:286; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 3:841. (A.J.S.)

 
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