Writing an exegetical paper involves the critical interpretation and analysis of a text, typically a religious or literary one, with the goal of understanding its meaning and significance.
An exegetical paper is an essay, not a report. A report is a presentation of information gleaned from research, whereas an essay is a reasoned investigation that makes definite assertions and supports and defends those assertions. Some marks of a good paper are clarity of expression, rigor in argumentation, correctness in form, balance in judgment, fairness in handling opposing views, breadth of coverage, discipline in focus, and plausibility of conclusions in light of all the relevant evidence.
The exegetical paper follows standard academic writing procedures (this does not mean it must be boring). This means that the paper is written in your own words, with proper credit given when quoting or referring to words or ideas from another person. The paper should also be written in good English, which includes proper spelling and grammar as well as prose that is free from informal English (slang, appeals to the reader, contractions, etc.). The text should be clear, coherent, and as concise as possible—wordiness does not equal scholarliness.
This section seeks to lay out the process of writing an exegetical paper, not the exegetical method itself. For a discussion of how to do exegesis, or the questions to ask in exegesis, see either your professor or one of the many good books explaining the process, such as these:
The writing of an exegetical paper typically entails the following phases:
The typical exegetical paper is comprised of the following five sections:
Unless your professor requests otherwise, the following conventions are recommended.
The video discusses how to write an exegesis essay, focusing on the genre and craft including structure, implied research question, relevant involved issues, and major sections and features. It covers the role of historical context, literary context, and critical context including reception history, cross-references, key terms, scholarly sources, argument and counterargument, applications, and citation of common sources. It includes steps for writing the exegesis essay, common mistakes, and helpful tips.