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Writing an Exegetical Paper

What is Literary Context?

Literary Context


When looking at the literary context for your exegetical paper, you want to keep in mind the immediate context and the larger literary context.

  • How does the current passage relate to the section right before it and after it?
  • How does the current passage relate to a larger section of literature? For example, “How does my passage relate to the book that it is included in?"

Gorman recommends asking the following questions when you are considering the literary context:

Immediate Context

  • What is the subject of the paragraph immediately preceding this passage? How does that material lead into the passage at hand?

  • Does the Material following the passage connect directly to it or help explain it?

Larger Context

  • Where does this passage occur in the structure of the book? Of what major section is it a part? What significance does this position have?

  • What has happened so far in the book? What will happen later in the book?

Research Steps

  • Consult the library databases in regards to literature pertaining to your particular passage.
  • Use the Scripture Search feature in ATLASerials Plus. This will be the quickest way to narrow resources for your particular passage.
  • Commentaries are useful in the beginning of the book to look for literary themes that run throughout the book.

Library Resources

Suggested Books on Literary Analysis



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