“Exegesis: In Roman times the exegetes were professional and official interpreters of charms, omens, dreams, sacred law and oracular pronouncements. Thus the term has come to mean an explanation or interpretation and is often applied to biblical studies. As far as literature is concerned, it covers critical analysis and the elucidation of difficulties in the text. A variorum edition (q.v.), for example, contains a great deal of exegesis.”
Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.