Eisegesis (from the Greek root εις, meaning into, in, among) is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduce one's own ideas, reading into the text. This is best understood when contrasted with exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning from the text, eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective. An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an "eisegete," as someone who practices exegesis is known as an "exegete". The term eisegete is often used in a mildly derogatory fashion.

Eisegesis in biblical study

While exegesis attempts to determine the historical context within which a particular verse exists - the so-called "Sitz im Leben" or life setting - eisegetes often neglect this aspect of biblical study.

In the field of biblical exegesis scholars take great care to avoid eisegesis. In this field, eisegesis is regarded as "poor exegesis."

While some denominations and scholars denounce biblical eisegesis, many Christians are known to employ it - albeit inadvertently - as part of their own experiential theology. Modern evangelical scholars accuse liberal protestants of practicing biblical eisegesis, while Mainline scholars accuse fundamentalists of practicing eisegesis. Catholics say that all Protestants engage in eisegesis, because the Bible can be correctly understood only through the lens of Holy Tradition as handed down by the institutional Church.Fact|date=October 2007 Jews counter that all Christians practice eisegesis when they read the Hebrew Bible as a book about Jesus.Fact|date=May 2007

Exactly what constitutes eisegesis remains a source of debate among theologians, but most scholars agree about the importance of determining the authorial intentions. Still, to determine the author's intent can often be difficult, especially for books which were written anonymously.

Further reading

"Exegesis, Biblical" Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, The Encyclopedia of Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999-2003). 2:237.

ee also

*Biblical exegesis

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  • eisegesis — the reading of one s own ideas into scripture, 1878, from Gk. eis in, into + ending from EXEGESIS (Cf. exegesis) …   Etymology dictionary

  • eisegesis — eisegetic /uy si jet ik/, eisegetical, adj. /uy si jee sis/, n., pl. eisegeses / seez/. an interpretation, esp. of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text. [1890 95; < Gk… …   Universalium

  • eisegesis — A comparatively modern term to describe, disapprovingly, a piece of scholarship which appears to find in a given text a significance alien to its context. This might be to provide biblical support for a doctrinal position already held. The term… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • eisegesis — noun (plural eisegeses) Etymology: Greek eis into (akin to Greek en in) + English exegesis more at in Date: 1892 the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one s own ideas compare exegesis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • eisegesis — n. interpretation of a text (usually the Bible) that demonstrates the interpreter s biases and not the actual meaning of the text …   English contemporary dictionary

  • eisegesis — eis·e·ge·sis …   English syllables

  • eisegesis —  Эйзегеза …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • eisegesis — A faulty interpretation of a text caused by reading in one s own ideas …   Grandiloquent dictionary

  • eisegesis —    This term (from the Greek eisēgeisthai, meaning to lead in ) designates an interpretation of the Scriptures that stems from the personal viewpoint of the interpreter, who reads this interpretation into the text, in contrast to exegesis, where… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • eisegesis —   n. incorrect explanation of text, especially of Bible, by distorting the meaning to fit preconceived ideas.    ♦ eisegetical, a …   Dictionary of difficult words

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