This site is in an odd position. Questions about the site are also questions that are valid for the site. This is another such question.

It seems that there has been discussion on chat multiple times regarding translation and exegesis. At one point, translation was understood (by me) to be part of exegesis. Then later, I was convinced that translation was not a part of exegesis. Lately, however, this topic has come up again and some believe that it is.

I'm confused on this term. Is translation part of exegesis or is it a separate concept (so that exegesis exclusively means interpretation)?


1 Answer 1


Yes, they are the same

In most cases, one would consider the passage as a whole in order to determine how to translate a specific word with multiple possible meanings. Likewise, exegesis should take source languages and translation process into account. (An example might be a passage where a particular word or phrase could change the understanding if translated differently - and if this is the case, how did the translators determine which way to translate it?)

No, they are different

If we take it that they operate on different things or in different ways, they are different. What I mean here is:

  • Translation may be performed as part of exegesis, but one can also exegete from previously translated texts.
  • Depending upon one's approach to translation, exegesis might not be (directly) part of the translation process. For example, a "raw" literal translation might list the single most common target-language word for the source, or an amplified translation might provide a list of possible words.

They're different, but densely intertwined

Although there are many nuances of difference, they're difficult to separate from one another depending on one's approach to the text.

[Citation Needed]

  • So are these three different views on the answer or are they three different aspects of the same answer? (ie what would your TL;DR say?)
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 17:24
  • I'd probably go with the third option as my TL;DR. :) Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 17:26
  • If there is a double-entendre, translators do not even attempt to translate both senses, but make an exegetical decision as to which meaning the author intended. Since the presumption of SP is that every OT text is part of a four-part meaning, SP concludes that every translator has made an exegetical decision to eliminate three senses.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jun 2, 2012 at 3:11

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