Writing an Exegesis Paper for Dr. Ciampa


Key Elements in an Exegesis Paper


Steps 1-5 should be carried out in an Introductory section of the paper, steps 6-12 in the main body of the paper in commentary style, and steps 13-15 should be left for a concluding section of the paper.

1.     Briefly explain the introductory issues (especially the occasion) of the book in which your passage is found.

2.     Establish the coherence and boundaries of the passage.

3.     Explain the role of your passage within the framework of the argument of the book and/or section in which it is found.

4.     Establish the original text.  (This is to be done early on but the discussion of textual issues should be reserved for footnotes to the text within the commentary section of the paper, along with steps 6-10.  Especially important textual issues may merit some discussion in the body of the paper.) (1-3 charts should be supplied in an appendix.)

5.     Prepare a translation of the text that reflects the results of the exegesis.

6.     Discuss complex, unusual or particularly important features of the grammar of the passage (any diagrams should be attached as appendices).

7.     Explain important aspects of the historical and literary context (the latter should include both the context within the book/document and the relationships between the document and relationships with other literary background [forms, genres, parallel texts] or other Synoptic Gospels).

8.     Explain important or unusual words and concepts including scriptural and/or cultural backgrounds that inform them.

9.     Explain the theological basis and contributions of the passage.

10.                        Discuss the ethical issues addressed and raised by the passage.

11.                        Explain the Semantic Structure of the passage (with a chart or diagram as an appendix).

12.            Discuss rhetorical and literary features of the passage.

13.            Propose and defend your understanding of the author’s exegetical idea (main point), including the question behind the text and your summary of the response to that question (the so-called “subject” and “complement”).

14.            Propose and defend your understanding of the author’s purpose for writing the passage.

15.            Discuss the relevance of the text in its original context and its relevance/application to the church and various kinds of readers today.

The exegesis paper should also:

1.     Include a bibliography (in alphabetical order) of at least 15 works cited in the footnotes, including advanced grammars, theological dictionaries, scholarly commentaries, articles from theological journals, and scholarly monographs.  [Note: dictionary articles should be listed under the name of the author of the article, not under the name of the editor of the dictionary.]

2.     Be typed, double-spaced (except extended quotes and footnotes), in Times New Roman font size 12, with pagination, one-inch margins, footnotes, bibliography and proper recognition given to all sources of words or ideas found in the body of the paper.  Read the material on plagiarism that is attached to the end of this syllabus.

3.     Conform to The SBL Handbook of Style (edited by Patrick H. Alexander et al.  Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999. [PN147.S26 1999]).