You are here

Exergasia: Working Through for Heightened Understanding

TitleExergasia: Working Through for Heightened Understanding
Publication TypeIcon
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPinnock, Hugh W., and Fernando Vazquez

In ancient Greek literature, exergasia literally meant "working out," or in other words "to work through for understanding." Exergasia involves saying the same thing another way so that the point is clarified and more fully developed. "The Latins called it expolito, a polishing up, because by such repetition the meaning is embellished as well as strengthened and not merely explained or interpreted as in other repetitions." It was used to make a concept, principle, or condition more clearly understood in its importance.

Bullinger defines exergasia this way: "In this figure the same thought, idea, or subject is repeated in other words, and thus worked out and developed." He further writes, "Words of the same signification are repeated to make plainer the previous statement: or to illustrate the sense of what has been mentioned before." The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that it means "to work out, perfect."

Because of its extensive use, exergasia often overlaps with other similar forms; indeed, it is not unusual for a single passage to exemplify both exergasia and another form such as climactic parallelism, antimetabole, anabasis, or catabasis. Incidentally, this is true of many verses that have several Hebrew writing forms included within them. Thus it helps to place the separate repetitions in parallel lines to follow the steps that lead to the desired understanding.


An extract from Hugh W. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999), 136-137.

For more from this volume, please visit the link below.

Citation Key1152