From the Sacred Sandwich
. . . we must of course guard agains over-exegesis. Under-exegesis, though, is also risky, sometimes even more so . Historical exegesis is not simply a matter of laying out the lexicographical meanings of words and sentences. It involves exploring the resonances those words and sentences would have had in their contexts. Like anthropologists learning a language and culture simultaneously, we have to be prepared to hear more in a word or phrase than could be caught by a dictionary equivalent. A small saying can function like a spyglass through which one can glimpse a large and turbulent world. To object to this exercise, whether through pedantry or positivism, is like protesting that houses, fields and ships cannot be contained within the physical body of a telescope.
From NT Wright, JVG, xvii