Nov 6, 2007

Rapid Rhetoric: EISEGESIS

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Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

eisegesis (eye-seh-GEE-sis)n. the process of interpreting an existing text in such a way as to highlight or justify one's own ideas; taking a preconceived notion and interpreting a Biblical passage in such a way to support that idea; reading into a text information not present or unitended by the author.


I was familiar with the concept of exegesis, which is the close reading of a text, but eisegesis was a new term for me. Still, the concept of arriving at preconceived conclusions by cherry-picking information from a text is well known to Biblical scholars, students of politics, and parents of teenaged children.

So the next time Ashley or Jared or Hannah or Brandon try to twist your words on you, look the little rascals dead in the eye and declare: "I am amused at your puerile attempts at eisegesis, but you still have to appropriately mop the kitchen floor."

And hand them the dictionary, and let them know that the word they are looking up comes to us directly from the Greek, the language Biblical scholars have been using for nearly two millenia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very appropriate word for election day!!

Thanks!