WSJ Editor in Chief: Avoid 'Exegesis'
Exegesis play awoke after a long night, short on memories, and, finding itself among our top lookups (an unfamiliar position), wondered aloud ‘how did I get here, and where is my car?’ The answer to the first of these questions is that the word had begun attracting more attention than usual, following an August 23rd, 2017 New York Times story about The Wall Street Journal, in which the latter paper’s editor in chief used the word.
“Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting,” Mr. Baker wrote at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday morning to a group of Journal reporters and editors, in response to a draft of the rally article that was intended for the newspaper’s final edition.
He added in a follow-up, “Could we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?”
Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times, 23 Aug. 2017
We define exegesis as “exposition, explanation; especially an explanation or critical interpretation of a text.” The word may be traced to the Greek exēgeisthai (“to explain, interpret”), and has been in English use since at least the beginning of the 17th century.
The manner of Scripture is sometimes to propose an action, at the first in grosse, and then afterward to particularize the circumstances of it. So here it is, and the next verse as an Exegesis to the former, doth explane the difficultie.
—George Abbot, An Exposition upon the Prophet Jonah Contained in Certaine Sermons, 1600
A person who practices exegesis is a exegesist (or an exegete). The adjective form of the word (“relating to exegesis”) is exegetical (or, less commonly, exegetic).