The term “exegesis” comes from the Greek word “ἐξήγησις” (exēgēsis), meaning “explanation” or “interpretation.” Here’s a detailed chronological breakdown:

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “eghs-” means “out” or “to go out,” combined with “yeh₁-” meaning “to seek” or “to inquire.”

2. Ancient Greek

From the PIE roots, the Ancient Greek verb “ἐξηγεῖσθαι” (exēgeisthai) developed, meaning “to lead out,” “to explain,” or “to interpret.” The noun “ἐξήγησις” (exēgēsis) means “explanation” or “interpretation.”

3. Latin

The Greek “ἐξήγησις” (exēgēsis) was adopted into Latin as “exegesis,” retaining the same meaning of “explanation” or “interpretation.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Latin “exegesis” was adopted into Middle English, meaning “explanation” or “interpretation,” particularly of texts, often with a focus on religious scriptures.

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “exegesis” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, referring to the critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious scripture.

The word “exegesis” reflects the scholarly practice of interpreting and explaining texts, emphasizing the extraction of meaning through detailed analysis. It is widely used in theological, literary, and academic contexts to describe the process of elucidating the meaning and context of written works.