The distinction between exegesis and hermeneutics in modern academic discourse

Keywords: hermeneutics, exegesis, interpretation, text, author’s meaning, method, concept


This paper introduces the problem of distinguishing hermeneutics and exegesis, since modern academic discourse identifies these concepts, despite the differences in the use of these methods. Therefore, this question requires philosophical reflection, as well as methodical research. Naturally, the history of hermeneutics is closely related to the history of exegesis, since the sacred texts had required interpretation at first place. However, since the XIX century, with the works of F. Schleiermacher, hermeneutics and exegesis have got new characteristics and new sphere of application - the fact, which modern researchers forget. The main problem is how to remind about the importance of conceptual accuracy in academic discourse, looking for ways of securing a place in a tradition for certain meaning and fields of application behind hermeneutics and exegesis. There are several versions of the essential difference between hermeneutics and exegesis. Most often exegesis is defined as the way of interpreting a particular text, while hermeneutics is understood as general rules of interpretation. The next option is: exegetics is interpretation of text itself with a purpose of understanding author`s first thought, and hermeneutics is a search in text for the past respond to needs of modernity. Also these strategies are distinguished by the genre characteristics of texts: while exegetics works only with Bible, hermeneutics is applied to any cultural texts. However, each statement is accompanied by certain reservations, which are possible because of perception broadness and use of these concepts. Uncertainty and ambiguity of concepts raises a number of questions for researchers. For example: can we talk about the hermeneutics of Bible? Or is it correct to use the concept of “exegesis” to interpret any symbolic texts, for example, poetic ones? What is the essential difference between biblical criticism, exegesis and biblical hermeneutics? In a search for answers to these questions the article refers to research in the field of biblical studies, isagogy, literature criticism, and philosophical hermeneutics. The article presents a description of exegetics and hermeneutics, their historical and philosophical analysis, as well as fields of their application. The author describes the ways of distinguishing hermeneutics and exegesis, which are based on historical and methodological difference between them.


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How to Cite
Polivoda, A. A. (2017). The distinction between exegesis and hermeneutics in modern academic discourse. Grani, 20(8), 18-22.