Is "Biblical Hermeneutics" the best name for this site? So far, it seems few of the questions asked (similar with earlier phases) have much to do with hermeneutics directly, and are more exegetical. For example, I would expect questions about hermeneutics to relate to, say, horizons of understanding, rather than "What does 'meek' mean in Matthew 5:5?". Not that I think it is a bad question, but it is not so much a question about the hermeneutics surrounding how one approaches that text as it is about the application of an unstated hermeneutic.

Perhaps a better way of phrasing this would be to ask more directly, is this a site about hermeneutics or about exegesis?

Asked another way: Are we a site for practicing exegesis where the experts happen be the ones with good knowledge of hermeneutics or is this a place where one could ask questions about the field and perhaps become an expert in hermeneutics?

Great question. It might be helpful if you could define both terms as you understand them. –  jrdioko Oct 4 '11 at 21:33
That is addressed here:… –  Ray Oct 4 '11 at 21:35
Briefly, the difference would be interpretative approaches (hermeneutics) vs "how do you interpret [this verse]" (exegesis) –  Ray Oct 4 '11 at 21:35
Related follow up question: Having extended hermeneutics to exegisis, where do we draw the line? –  Caleb Oct 7 '11 at 9:43

4 Answers 4

The site's purpose statement is:

This is a free, community driven Q&A for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts.

So it sounds like both are on-topic. Wikipedia points out that there is some overlap, at least in the mainstream Protestant tradition:

This form of theological hermeneutics in the mainstream Protestant tradition considers Christian Biblical hermeneutics in the tradition of explication of the text, or exegesis, to deal with various principles that can be applied to the study of Scripture.

Totally agree. We should focus on the texts and not on the other stuff that fills the religions. –  Richard Oct 4 '11 at 21:50

I think Exegesis is probably more accurate. However, I think that Hermeneutics has more of a ring to it.

I think we should stick with Hermeneutics.

Also, while I recognize that there is a definite difference between these two, I think that both of these should be on topic. In my mind, the reason for calling it "hermeneutics" or "exegesis" is basically saying studies of the text rather than studies of the doctrine.

Ultimately, whether we go with Exegesis or Hermeneutics, we're still dealing with the text. And that, I believe, is the purpose of this site.


I think this question needs more attention. I think the site name is misleading. Hermeneutics is the branch of knowledge that deals with the interpretation of texts; it is not interpretation itself. That falls into the realm of exegesis. My proposal is that we change the site name to 'Biblical Studies' and require answers to be supported in order to make this site more objective/academic than other religious-specific sites.** I've written more about this elsewhere.


Exegetical Q&A

I am new here and am thinking of this site as a place of exegesis, a sub-discipline of hermeneutics. I agree with the faq's that we should avoid questions that could really become books. A book can be written about any hermeneutical approach, therefore I shy away from trying to answer answer everything about the Holy Spirit's work in Hermeneutics (for example)! So, I think that unless it can really be tied to a text, it is too big a question - and should be a wiki collaboration.

In general, exegesis is coterminous with Biblical Studies insofar as the latter is a subject area which creates the exegete (like a walmart creates shoppers). No subject creates exegetes like Biblical Studies. So whether this was a site of Biblical Studies, Exegetical Studies, it would be the same. I would agree that Biblical Studies may help focus some of the questions. However, isn't Biblical Studies more of a Christian Seminary term of discipline? In that sense, Hermeneutics keeps the site open to overlap with the Hebrew experts of Torah Studies - a valuable overlap of contribution.

Biblical Hermeneutics

In the end, perhaps Exegetical Q&A is not necessarily of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, and that leaves Biblical Hermeneutics as a good filter for all the collaboration of the subject matter in focus.


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