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 exegesisscholars 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 protestantsof 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 Traditionas 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.
"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.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.