Instructions for Exegesis Paper

Exegesis: \Ex`e*ge"sis\, n.; pl. Exegeses. [NL., fr.Gr. ?,fr. ? to
explain, interpret; ? out + ? to guide, lead, akin, to ? to lead. See
Agent.] 1. Exposition; explanation; especially, a critical
explanation of a text or portion of Scripture. --Webster's
Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

General Information

An exegesis of a biblical text attempts to systematically analyze a given text, using form, source, and redaction criticism, in order to explain and identify important aspects of the text in each of the gospel settings.  In this assignment you will be doing a comparative analysis of specific assigned passages from the synoptic gospels.

Passages to Analyze

Select one of the following three synoptic passages for a detailed analysis and follow the instructions below:

1.Matthew 3:11-17; Mark 1:7-11; Luke 3: 15-22(Gospel Parallels #4,5,6)

2.Matthew 12:38-42; Luke 29-30, 32 (Gospel Parallel #87) and compare Mark 8: 11-12

3.Matthew 25: 14-30; Luke 19: 12-27 (Gospel Parallel #228), and compare Mark 13:33-34

Instructions for Analysis

I. Textual Analysis
A. Compare the way the passage appears in each of its parallel versions. Pay particular attention to grammatical features like person, number, imperative vs. declarative, punctuation, etc. What are the differences among the various versions? What are some of the implications of these differences?

B.  Is the pericope representative of the triple tradition, the double tradition, or unique to one gospel?  Are there parts that are shared and parts that are unique?  What are they?  If there are significant additions or deletions, how do they affect the meaning of the story?

II. Literary Analysis
A. What is the form of the material? For example, is it a prayer? a parable? a miracle-story? Is the same form present in every version?

B.  If there is a saying or a message, is the message a conclusion to a story, or to a different story in more than one gospel, or simply presented as a saying without being embedded in a story?  Are the stories similar, but the messages different?  Only if the same story is repeated with the same message in all three gospels is the entire passage representative of the triple tradition. 

III. Source Analysis

A. What are the sources behind the passage and how are they used? For example, are Hebrew Scriptures quoted? If so, why? If it is not quoted, are stories or themes from the Hebrew Scriptures presupposed? Which ones?  What cultural items would you need to know to make sense of the story?

B. If the passage is Triple Tradition, then one of the gospels is assumed to be the source (generally Mark, but there are other hypotheses). If the passage is Double Tradition, the source is assumed to be Q. There may be overlap in these sources. Some Q sayings are in Mark as well, but often in a different form and context. The story may be Triple Tradition with a different saying tacked on at the end.

IV. Contextual Analysis
A. What is the context of the passage? What is its placement and function in the gospel narrative? In other words, what precedes the passage and what follows it? For this analysis you will have to refer to the Study Bible in order to see where the passage fits into each gospel narrative. Does the placement affect the message or shift the tone of the story in significant ways?

Caution: Do not deduce more than you can verify through careful analysis of textual evidence. When you use terms that are later taken up as Christian doctrine (such as
salvation, soul, Son of God, etc.) be sure to identify what the writer of the text and/or you mean by these terms.

Length and Format

Your paper should be 5-7 double spaced pages. It must also have a cover sheet with your name and title. Be sure to identify clearly which passages you have analyzed, either in the title or in a parenthesis on the cover sheet. Each section should be clearly defined. See the Ten Commandments for Essay Writing. It will be most efficient to use a sectioned format rather than an essay, divided by topic such as "Source", "Genre or Form", "Context". Conclusions and hypotheses can be formulated at the end of each section or at the end of the paper in a section title "Hypotheses". You must have citations and Works Cited page in correct form.

Note: for all writing in this course, avoid the use of the first person plural pronouns "we" and
"us," as in "this is meant to teach us to have more faith." The use of "we" forms a confession,
assumes that your reader accepts your view, and is not the model used in an academic

You are may consult at least one other secondary source in addition to Throckmorton and the Harper Study Bible. However, the analysis is to be yours, according to the instructions above. You must include any source you use (including Throckmorton or other parallel versions) in a Works Cited page and credit sources for ideas (it is okay to use someone's ideas, not just words) properly documented in footnotes in your text. Any website you use must be included in the bibliography. Note: No website can be used without prior clearance from the instructor. Except for the Harper Collins Study Bible, avoid using Bible commentaries, as they generally presuppose a fully developed Christian faith and base their interpretations upon it. The Harper Collins Study Bible has excellent notes and essays; a valuable website is the Synoptic Gospels Primer. A guideline to citing the Bible is posted here.

This paper is due in class on March 1. Failure to turn this paper in on time will result in a "0" for this assignment. No late papers
will be accepted.