Writing an Exegesis


#1

Hello everyone. God bless you all! I am currently an 11th grader, but am only part time enrolled in high school. The other time I am enrolled in college. One of my courses is a composition class. I am required to write an in-depth research paper. I would like my research paper to be an exegesis on a Bible passage. I have a few questions regarding my idea.

  1. Is this stupid of me to do, considering I have no formal post-secondary education in Sacred Scripture?

  2. Is it even possible that I could write a great exegesis, considering my age and the fact that I have a little over a month to do it?

  3. Is this immature of me to even ask?

  4. If I asked my pastor for advice, would he be offended? My pastor has advanced degrees in Biblical Theology, with a specialization on The New Testament, with a focus on John.

  5. My priest knows that I am discerning a vocation. I really want to be a priest. I am not trying to be cocky, but I am extremely intelligent. Would my intelligence even allow me to write a brilliant piece of work, at such a young age? Would it be taken seriously by anyone? Could I do this for pure enjoyment?

Thanks.


#2

Are you sure you mean research paper? Research involves gathering statistics based on an hypothesis. Just puzzled and wanting to help. :slight_smile:

  1. Is this stupid of me to do, considering I have no formal post-secondary education in Sacred Scripture?

No, it’s not stupid, but you will need reliable resources for such a project no matter your level of education.

  1. Is it even possible that I could write a great exegesis, considering my age and the fact that I have a little over a month to do it?

That depends on your innate talent and willingness to put in the time and effort required.

  1. Is this immature of me to even ask?

Just the opposite. :wink:

  1. If I asked my pastor for advice, would he be offended? My pastor has advanced degrees in Biblical Theology, with a specialization on The New Testament, with a focus on John.

You should make an appointment to see him with the understanding that you are doing a paper on the topic and will be asking for his input.

  1. My priest knows that I am discerning a vocation. I really want to be a priest. I am not trying to be cocky, but I am extremely intelligent. Would my intelligence even allow me to write a brilliant piece of work, at such a young age? Would it be taken seriously by anyone? Could I do this for pure enjoyment?

Thanks.

Your age really has little to do with it. If you are able to write such a paper, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t. :slight_smile: Since it’s a paper for a class, only your teacher has to take it seriously, yes? All the best with your vocation discernment.


#3

It seems that you had some discretion in the topic of your paper and you selected one that is of interest to you. In that case, I’m wondering why you would have selected what you did if you didn’t think you could handle it? Assuming that you think you can handle it, I’m not sure of the problem.

I suppose the first question is, what kind of class is it? Assuming that the professor (or teacher, since it’s not clear what level this class is), has accepted the proposal, it should be fine.

You’re not expected to write an exegetical masterpiece. Very few real Scripture scholars can actually do that. Is it going to be “great” or “brilliant” or something like that? I doubt it. And I doubt that’s what’s expected. If you put some effort into it, though, the result should be at least decent and acceptable.

I’m confused as to why the pastor might be offended if you asked for his guidance. Since he has a degree in Biblical theology, and since he knows you’re discerning a vocation, I’d think he’d be thrilled to offer some advice. But remember, he’s not writing the paper. You are.

Best of luck. :slight_smile:


#4

Here’s a web site to help you decide.

exegesispaper.com/


#5

You’re in 11th grade and taking what’s called duel-credit courses – some college with some high school. I thought that was only allowed as a Senior. You’re supposed to be going a research paper in a month. You want to be a priest – let your priest know of your interest. But - Don’t approach him with the idea that he can help you with your research paper. You want to delve into a Scripture passage. So – ask God for His direction in choosing the passage. The idea is for You to be developing your mind / heart – read the passage Many times – outline the passage – let the Holy Spirit guide you as you study. Go back to the original language / Greek / Hebrew. The specific meanings for specific words. Study the culture of the passage. When was the passage written – There’s many Types of literature in God’s Word. And Don’t be striving to write a ‘masterpiece’ – you’re an 11th grader with Lots of God’s Word to learn during your life time. This Could be a real Humbling experience for you. Scripture In Context is ‘key’ to understanding. So – God bless you as you Study God’s Word on your own – and write Your paper.


#6

Go for it. New Testanment or old.
With the internet you don’t even need to know Hebrew or Greek there are interlinear Bibles with word studies. You will learn a lot. Find a Catholic University website and look at the bibliogrpahy of some courses to find out who the main authors are for the material you are looking at.


#7

I learned the basics with a cousin of mine that was ordained a priest this Summer and I self-taught myself the rest, learning to interpreting the Bible by myself and studying theology to have different points of view in a certain matter. I don’t think you really need formal education to do so; the Church Fathers sure as heck didn’t…

  1. Is it even possible that I could write a great exegesis, considering my age and the fact that I have a little over a month to do it?

I’m the same age as you, so I honestly think that’s pretty irrelevant. On the fact that you have little over a month to do it, I have no say about that. I’m used to reach cogent conclusions about the interpretation of some passage relatively quickly, and I have no idea on how that can turn out to be to who isn’t used to it like I am. :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. Is this immature of me to even ask?

Why would it be?

  1. If I asked my pastor for advice, would he be offended? My pastor has advanced degrees in Biblical Theology, with a specialization on The New Testament, with a focus on John.

I’m not sure what would make him offended about asking for help interpreting biblical text and helping you writing down an exegesis. I mean, he’s definetly experienced on the matter, I’d think it’d be flattering to ask him for help on it.

  1. My priest knows that I am discerning a vocation. I really want to be a priest. I am not trying to be cocky, but I am extremely intelligent. Would my intelligence even allow me to write a brilliant piece of work, at such a young age? Would it be taken seriously by anyone? Could I do this for pure enjoyment?

I do have that vocation (the discernment seems to be pointing strongly in that direction), but I’m not getting why would you want to be a priest.
I mean, you should leave the option open when discerning, and don’t get me wrong if I’m not understanding you right, but wheter you’re going to be a priest or something else is not really what you want, but what God wants. I myself thought it to be an interesting idea in the past, but I fell to tears and depression when I understood my calling was, as I really wanted to be a parent. Maybe I didn’t get it right, but I feel that your reason to become a priest is not really a right one (even if the motivation is a good one), but all the best on your discernment.

Back to your question. If you have little to no experience with doing this type of work, intelligence won’t matter. And a good exegesis boils down to the reflection you do upon the passage, alongside prayer and study on it, not your intelligence. And I’m saying this by experience. Wheter you think you’re intelligent in other things may mean nothing in this. People turn out to have some sort of talent in some areas, and not so much in others. The same can be applied to this. And a good work of this sort or in theology in general can be pretty dense and requires expertise on Scripture. I have never seen anyone doing instantly masterpieces in this subject, but rather a gradual development - even on the great theologians.

Any other type of advice, I think the others addressed well. If you have any questions or advice, feel free to ask them here. I’m not sure what book or passage you’re trying to write about, so I’m not sure about how difficult it may be.
Good luck, and God bless! :thumbsup:


#8

I’m not sure what you mean. It’s unlikely, though not impossible, that you will come up with something that adds to scholarly/theological understanding of the passage, if that’s what you mean. But of course you can do research on the historical context of a passage, the way it’s been interpreted, and the range of modern interpretations.

You should probably check this with your professor, and also consult with him/her about your sources. You need to consult a range of sources–not just orthodox Catholic ones. One possibility is that you could look at the history of interpretation (in fact I would urge you to include this), looking at how the Fathers interpreted the passage and not just how modern scholars do. At any rate, you need to run this by your professor and make sure that what you are doing has his/her approval.

What passage are you going to do?

  1. If I asked my pastor for advice, would he be offended? My pastor has advanced degrees in Biblical Theology, with a specialization on The New Testament, with a focus on John.
    .

I don’t know why he’d be offended. He could probably give you some excellent suggestions for sources, and also suggest a good passage.

There are quite a lot of pre-critical (ancient/medieval/early modern) commentaries on John available in English, by the way.

Edwin


#9

What you’re describing isn’t a research paper. He needs to be looking at secondary literature–commentary material and works on the historical background–as well as doing his own careful reading of the text.

I actually think that asking the priest for help is a good idea. Biblical scholarship is vast, and if this is a general composition class in a secular college the professor isn’t going to be much help and may even be suspicious of the idea. It’s a good thing to have someone with an advanced degree in Biblical studies giving him some tips on methodology and sources.

Edwin


#10

The first exegesis I did was for an Intro to Old Testament class, and we were required to pick one word or verse that we wanted to work on. The work included using a software (The name of the program escapes me. Biblios?) which will tell you how many times the word is used in the Bible, it’s origin, and what it means depending on its usage. I also had to read many scripture commentaries written on the same word or passage I had chosen to support my thesis.

To the OP, If you want to do this, talk to your professor first to see if your proposal is approved. Then ask your priest for help. If he is still working/researching in the field it might be easier for you, but be understanding and patient if it’s been a while since your priest has done some scripture scholarship. The method may have changed, depending on the age of the priest. :slight_smile:


#11

please check your messages for a private message from me


#12

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