Biblical criticism

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Biblical criticism, a philosophical and methodological approach to studying the Bible using neutral non-sectarian judgment, originated in the rationalism of the 17th- and 18th-centuries. It developed within the context of the scientific approach to the humanities, and lasted until the late twentieth century. Professor Emeritus Richard N. Soulen and Theology Professor Richard Kendall Soulen write: "Biblical criticism has permanently altered understanding of the Bible texts..."[1]:18[2]

Biblical criticism does not address the question of inspiration of scripture. It views biblical texts as historical works and employs the same historical methods used for studying any ancient text. These methods ask when and where a text originated; what influences were at work in its production; and what sources were used. Biblical criticism addresses the text itself, the age and provenance of its associated manuscripts, its literary aspects, the meaning of the words and the way in which they are used. It endeavors to ask significant questions of the Jesus tradition's history and integrity. Developing various different approaches and methods over time, biblical criticism began with studying the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament), expanded to include the letters of the New Testament and the canonical gospels, and has continued to play a significant role in the pursuit of the historical Jesus.

Scholars often used the terms "biblical criticism" and "historical criticism" (and "higher criticism") interchangeably for the same activity until the middle to late twentieth century. Contemporary biblical criticism, however, is no longer exclusively a historical pursuit, but draws upon a wide range of scholarly disciplines. Therefore, the term biblical criticism is often replaced in contemporary studies by more specific terms representative of its many forms.



Title page of Richard Simon's "Critical History" (1685), an early work of biblical criticism

Modern biblical criticism begins with 17th century philosophers and theologians—such as Thomas Hobbes, Benedict Spinoza, and Richard Simon—who began asking questions about the origin of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). They asked who had written these books. According to tradition the author of the Pentateuch was Moses, but these critics found contradictions, parallelisms, and inconsistencies in the text and concluded that a single author, such as Moses, was improbable.[3]:140,404[1]:127

In the 18th century Jean Astruc (1684–1766), a French physician, set out to demonstrate Moses could have been the original author of the Pentateuch. Borrowing methods of textual criticism already in use to investigate Greek and Roman texts, he discovered what he believed were two distinct documents within Genesis. These, he felt, were the original scrolls written by Moses, conflated by later generations into the book of Genesis.[4]:6[5]:213

From 1750 onward, the twenty or so Protestant Universities in Germany developed and spread Astruc's approach. Doctoral candidates had a willingness to re-express Christian doctrine in terms of philosophy and history. This was part of the belief in the importance of history which reached its most extensive development during the German enlightenment.[6]:1-6[3]:403,404[7]:55 German pietism also played a role in the rise of historical criticism by supporting the desire to break the hold of religious authority.[3]:19[8]:297,298 A third factor in the development of biblical criticism was the History of Religions School (known as the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule in German).[8][9] This school was not a place but was a group of German Protestant theologians associated with the University of Göttingen in the late 1800s.[9]:222[1]:161 It included scholars such as Hermann Gunkel (1862–1932), one of the founders of form criticism,[3]:426 and Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923), who established principles of historical study and sociology.[3]:395

Professor James A. Herrick says even though most scholars agree that biblical criticism evolved out of the German Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century, there are also some recent histories of biblical scholarship that have found "strong direct links" with British Deism. Herrick references theologian Henning Graf Reventlow as saying Deism included the humanist world view which has also been significant in biblical criticism.[10]:39-40

While the conventional view is that modern Biblical criticism began with Spinoza in the Enlightenment era, some scholars such as Gerhard Ebeling (1912-2001), Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) and Ernst Käsemann (1906-1998) traced its origins to the Reformation. Professor of biblical studies John W. Rogerson says, "There is truth in both positions, the underlying issue being whether historical criticism is alien to Christian theology or a product of it."[8]

Three early scholars of the Reformation era who paved the way for biblical criticism were Joachim Camerarius (1500-1574), Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), and Matthew Tindal (1653-1733). Camerarius advocated for knowledge of context for interpreting Bible texts. Grotius paved the way for comparative religion studies by analyzing New Testament texts in light of Classical, Jewish and early Christian writings. Tindal, as part of English Deism, asserted the view Jesus taught natural religion, an undogmatic faith, that was later changed by the church. This drove a wedge between scripture and the church's claims of religious truth, prompting historical study to support agreement or disagreement.[7]:30-53[11]:117-136

The rise of rationalism[edit]

In the 18th century, rationalism played the significant role in the development of biblical criticism. The Swiss theologian Jean Alphonse Turretin (1671-1737) attacked conventional exegesis (interpretation) and argued for critical analysis being led solely by reason; but it was with theologian Johann August Ernesti (1707-1781), when Ernesti applied the philological-historical method to New Testament texts, that Turetin's ideas began to gain influence.[7]:39-42 Theologian Siegmund Jakob Baumgarten (1706-1757) played an early role in the development of biblical criticism by distinguishing between a natural understanding of the Bible as an ancient text, and supernatural understanding of the Bible as a divine communication. Johann Salomo Semler (1725-1791) was a student of Baumgarten. He dropped the idea of a supernatural understanding altogether and argued for an end to all doctrinal assumptions, thereby giving historical criticism its non-sectarian nature. As a result, Semler is sometimes referred to as the father of historical-critical research. Semler distinguished between "inward" and "outward" religion, the idea that for some people, their religion is their highest inner purpose, while for some others, religion is a more exterior practice: a tool to accomplish other purposes such as political or economic goals. This is a concept recognized by modern psychology.[12]

The historical Jesus[edit]

The first quest for the historical Jesus can be said to have begun with Professor of Oriental languages Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768). G.E.Lessing (1729-1781) was a librarian and philosopher who discovered copies of Reimarus' writings. Reimarus had left permission for them to be published after his death, so Lessing did, between 1774 and 1778, publishing them as Die Fragmente eines unbekannten Autors (The Fragments of an Unknown Author). Over time they came to be known as the Wolfenbüttel Fragments after the library where Lessing worked. Reimarus distinguished between what Jesus taught and how he is portrayed in the New Testament. According to Reimarus, Jesus was a political Messiah who failed at creating political change and was executed. His disciples then stole the body and invented the story of the resurrection for personal gain.[7]:46-48 Reimarus' controversial work prompted a response from Semler in 1779 (Beantwortung der Fragmente eines Ungenannten which in English is Answering the Fragments of an Unknown). Semler engaged critically with the gospels and history in order to refute Reimarus' arguments. But Reimarus' writings had already made a permanent change in the practice of biblical criticism by making it clear such criticism could exist independently of theology and faith. Historical criticism could serve its own ends, be governed solely by rational criteria, and reject deference to religious tradition.[3][7]:48

Lessing also made contributions of his own work by means of the philosophy of history. He explained the significance of the biblical texts within the context of the age in which they were written.[7]:46 Biblical scholar Johann David Michaelis (1717–1791) wrote the first historical-critical New Testament Introduction, in which the historical study of each book in the Bible is discussed.[7]:43 Theologians Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827), Johann Philipp Gabler (1753-1826), and Georg Lorenz Bauer (1755-1806) are seen as the founders of the 'mythical school' of biblical interpretation, which differentiated between historical myth and philosophical myth and applied these definitions to Bible interpretation.[7]:50-52

In the 19th century, biblical criticism was divided between higher criticism, the study of the composition and history of biblical texts, and lower criticism, the interpretation of a text's reading. Theologian Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792–1860) was the first to use historical methods to postulate a sharp contrast between the apostles Peter and Paul.[3]:399 In the later 19th century, the discovery of ancient manuscripts revolutionized textual criticism and translation.[1]:20

The late nineteenth century also saw the second quest for the historical Jesus. Important scholars included David Strauss,[3]:364 Adolf Von Harnack,[3]:491 William Wrede,[3]:367 Ernst Renan,[3]:365 Johannes Weiss,[3]:395 and Albert Schweitzer.[3]:384 Schweitzer revolutionized New Testament scholarship with his emphasis on the eschatological orientation of Jesus. During this time, the work of Theologian H. J. Holtzmann established a chronology for the composition of the various books of the New Testament, which formed the basis for future research on this subject.[3]:523

The twentieth century[edit]

By the first half of the 20th century a new generation of scholars had little interest in the historical Jesus. Karl Barth[3]:495 and Rudolf Bultmann[3]:457 in Germany, and Roy Harrisville[3]:645 and others in North America concentrated, instead, on the kerygma: the message of the New Testament. Professor Richard N. Soulen and Professor R. Kendall Soulen say Karl Barth was "the greatest practitioner of theological interpretation in the Twentieth century, and the forerunner of many significant developments in biblical interpretation including canonical criticism, narrative criticism, post-critical interpretation, and post-modern criticism." There is scholarly consensus in this view.[1]:19 However, scholars also agree Rudolf Bultmann is the most influential figure of the twentieth century in biblical criticism, specifically in form criticism.

Biblical criticism in the first half of the 20th century was dominated by form criticism, with its study of oral tradition as legend; and redaction criticism, which emphasized the literary integrity of the larger literary units.[13] Bultmann's philosophical views were both foundational to form criticism and dominated it well into the 1960s.[3]:23,74 Bultmann said faith became possible at a point in history: the historical event of Jesus' death. However, this history is presented in the Bible in the mythical terms of Jesus' resurrection. Therefore, he said, the mythology of the New Testament needs to be reinterpreted--demythologized--using historical study and Heidegger's existential philosophy.[1]:254[13]

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948 revitalised interest in the contribution archaeology could make to biblical studies. Near Eastern scholar Joachim Jeremias and theologian C. H. Dodd produced linguistic studies which tentatively identified layers within the Gospels that could be ascribed to Jesus, to the authors, and to the early Church.[14] Dodd also pioneered the biblical theology movement which refers to biblical critical study that is more descriptive of the Bible text than traditional historical criticism.[1]:26[3]:29

After 1970, biblical criticism began to change radically and pervasively, comparable to the level of change that took place when biblical criticism first began.[3]:21 New criticism (literary criticism) developed.[15]:3 New historicism, a literary theory which views history through literature, also developed.[16]:60-65 Biblical criticism began to apply new literary approaches such as structuralism and rhetorical criticism, which were less concerned with history and more concerned with the texts themselves.[1]:20 In the 70's, New Testament scholar E. P. Sanders did paradigm altering work on Second Temple Judaism (circa BCE 500 to CE 70), pervasively influencing Pauline studies thereafter.[17]:69-92,260[18]:xviii The third quest for the historical Jesus was taken up by the Jesus Seminar.[19] In 1974 theologian Hans Frei published The eclipse of biblical narrative, which became a landmark work leading to the development of post-critical Biblical interpretation.[20][21] By 1990, biblical criticism was no longer a single historical discipline but was instead a field of disciplines with often conflicting interests.[1]:21

Biblical-historical criticism was a distinguishable period in biblical interpretation that lasted from the 1700s to the last half of the twentieth century.[1]:18-22 By the late 20th and early 21st century, multiple new perspectives, along with the globalization of biblical studies, had permanently altered it.[22]:138 Ethnicity, Near Eastern studies, and feminist theology, revealed an "untapped world" previously overlooked by the majority of white male Protestants who had dominated the field of criticism for over 200 years.[23]:1[22]:138 Scholars such as Charles Buchanan Copher, James H. Cone, and Gayraud Wilmore altered the long established assumptions, perspectives, and goals of biblical criticism. Near Eastern studies, guided by scholars like Jack M. Sasson, Frank Moore Cross, and Raymond E. Brown, sought to understand ancient Israel in relation to its neighbors. Feminist theology, pioneered by theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether, New Testament scholar Phyllis Trible and Hebrew Bible scholar Tikva Frymer-Kensky, shifted the understanding of much previously believed about the church and biblical criticism itself. These changes facilitated the development of Postmodernist biblical criticism through which biblical critics have become aware the Bible can be rationally interpreted from a variety of different perspectives.[15][24]:Intro. The criteria of neutral judgment has given way to becoming critically aware of the various premises the researcher brings with them to the study of the texts.[1]:22[25]:19-20

Major schools of criticism[edit]

Textual criticism[edit]

Textual criticism (sometimes referred to as "lower criticism") refers to the examination of the text itself, all available manuscripts, and other sources to determine the original text.[26]:47 This field includes the study of textual variants and is overall so vast, it is one of the largest and most contentious of all areas of Biblical criticism.[27][28][29]:119-120 The two chief works of the first century Roman historian Tacitus (Annales and Historiae) each survive in a single medieval manuscript. Homer’s Iliad is currently found in more than 1,900 manuscripts but many are of a fragmentary nature. There are more than 3,000 Greek New Testament manuscripts, not including all the fragments. There are also more than 2,000 lectionaries and thousands of other New Testament translations into languages such as Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Georgian, and Armenian; plus extensive quotations in the writings of the early church fathers. These were all written by hand, by someone copying from someone else's handwritten text. The differences between them are called variants.[28][30]:206-212

A variant is simply any variation between two texts. Many variants originate in simple mis-copying. For example, a scribe drops one or more letters, skips a word or line, writes one letter for another, transposes letters, and so on. Some variants represent a scribal attempt to simplify or harmonize, by changing a word or a phrase.[31]:37-42[28] Some mistakes were corrected, others perpetuated, with the copies of the copies also having the same mistakes. The errors tend to form "families" of manuscripts: scribe A will introduce mistakes which are not in the manuscript of scribe B, and over time the "families" of texts descended from A and B will diverge further, but will be identifiable as descended from one or the other.[30]:206-212[28] Textual criticism studies the differences between these families to piece together what the original looked like.

Sorting out the wealth of source material is so complex, these textual "families" were eventually sorted into categories tied to geographical areas. The divisions of the New Testament textual families were: Alexandrian (also called the "Neutral text"); Western (Latin translations); and Eastern (used by Antioch and Constantinople). Biblical textual critic Johann Jakob Griesbach (1745–1812) added the fourth-century Codex Vaticanus, as well as additional Alexandrian church fathers, to the Alexandrian text type category in the 1770s.[31]:213-217

Textual criticism uses a number of specialized methodologies and enough specialized terms to create its own lexicon.[32] It is also guided by a number of principles, which are sometimes contested. Griesbach wrote fifteen critical rules for determining which texts are likely the oldest and closest to the original, such as Lectio brevior praeferenda, "the shorter reading is preferred." This was based on the idea that scribes were more likely to add than to delete, making shorter texts more likely to be older. Professor Bart Ehrman says Arthur C. Clark challenged this in 1914.[30]:212-215 Based on his study of Cicero, Clark asserted omission was a more common scribal error than addition (interpolation) saying "A text is like a traveler who goes from one inn to another losing an article of luggage at each stop."[30]:213 Clark's assertion was criticized by those who supported Griesbach's priciples. Clark responded, but disagreement continued. Nearly eighty years later, theologian and Priest James Royse took up the case. After careful study of multiple papyri, he concluded scribes were more likely to omit portions of text than add to it.[30]:214

This type of biblical criticism has a strong element of subjectivity, as there are areas where the scholar must choose a reading on the basis of personal preference or common-sense: Amos 6.12, for example, reads: "Does one plough with oxen?" The obvious answer is "yes", but the context of the passage seems to demand a "no"; the usual reading therefore is to amend this to, "Does one plough the sea with oxen?" The amendment has a basis in the text, which is believed to be corrupted, but is nevertheless a matter of personal judgment.[33]:23-45

Some scholars have recently called to abandon older approaches to textual criticism in favor of new computer-assisted methods for determining manuscript relationships in a more exact way.[34] There is already a consensus that the various geographic locations traditionally assigned to the text types are incorrect and misleading. Thus, the geographical labels should be used with caution; some scholars prefer to refer to the text types as "textual clusters" instead.[34]:44

Source criticism[edit]

Source criticism: diagram of the two-source hypothesis, an explanation for the relationship of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke

Source criticism is the search for the original sources which form the basis of biblical text. It can be traced back to the 17th-century French priest Richard Simon. Theologian Antony F. Campbell says source criticism's most influential work is Julius Wellhausen's Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels (1878), whose "insight and clarity of expression have left their mark indelibly on modern biblical studies".[35]:6 In the Hebrew Bible, in books such as Samuel, source criticism focuses on identifying possible sources within a single book. For example, the story of David and Goliath is considered the product of two different sources which have been edited together.[36]:336[37]:139-152

The Gospels are both products of sources and sources themselves. As sources, Matthew, Mark and Luke are partially dependent on each other and partially independent of each other. This is the synoptic problem.[38] Multiple theories exist to explain this, however, two theories have become predominant: the four source hypothesis and the two-source hypothesis.[1]:179 In 1838, the religious philosopher Christian Hermann Weisse developed the Q hypothesis. Q, which is taken from Quell meaning source in German, is a hypothetical collection of Jesus' sayings.[39]:9 If this document existed, it has now been lost, but some of its material can be deduced indirectly through content common in Matthew and Luke, but absent in Mark. Its existence was demonstrated (generally considered definitively) by the critical scholar Heinrich Julius Holtzmann in 1863.[39]:9,10 This enabled the two-source hypothesis to emerge as the most supported synoptic solution.[39]:148 The two-source theory says Mark was the first gospel written, and it was probably based on a combination of early oral and written material, then Matthew and Luke were written later, using Mark and Q as their sources. The four-source theory posits the writers of Matthew and Luke made use of additional sources, accounting for the material that is unique to each of them.[40]:48

The Four Document Hypothesis

No single theory offers a complete solution to all the aspects of the synoptic problem, and multiple solutions have been offered, because there are a number of complex and important difficulties.[38]:208[41]:4-13 Among these difficulties is Basil Christopher Butler's challenge to the legitimacy of two-source theory through exposure of the Lachmann fallacy contained within it. Butler says the two-source theory loses credibility when it is acknowledged that no primitive source can be established for Mark.[42]:149 The authority of different versions of a text can be difficult to establish with the principles of evidence normally used in historical study, since there are so few physical manuscripts of any kind from the first century that have survived to modern times.[39]:147 Theologian Donald Guthrie says there is still much uncertain concerning the sources.[38]:208

Documentary hypothesis or Wellhausen theory[edit]

Julius Wellhausen, one of the originators of the documentary hypothesis

The documentary hypothesis, also known as the JEDP theory, or the Wellhausen theory, says the Pentateuch was combined out of four separate and coherent sources known as J (which stands for Yahwist spelled with a J in German), E for (Elohist), D for the (Deuteronomist), and P for the (Priestly source).[43]:2 Biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen correlated the history and development of the Pentateuch with the development of the Jewish faith, and his work became pervasive and influential.[4]:3[44]:256 Old Testament scholar Karl Graf (1815-1869) suggested the P in 1866 as the last stratum of the Wellhausen theory.[3]:382[45]:58 This theory is therefore sometimes also referred to as the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis.[1]:69

The Documentary hypothesis' strength is that it accounts well for the differences and duplication found in each of the Pentateuchal books. Furthermore, it provides an explanation for the peculiar character of the material labeled P, which reflects the perspective and concerns of Israel's priests. However, it has also been criticized for assuming the original sources were coherent and assuming E and P were originally complete documents. Thirdly, studies of the literary structure of the Pentateuch have shown that motifs and themes cross the boundaries of the various sources.[43]:207,208[45]:50,58,59 Problems and criticisms of the Documentary hypothesis have been brought on by such literary analysis, by anthropological developments, and by various archeological findings.[46]:273-275 Presently, few biblical scholars still hold to Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis in its classical form. However, the majority agree the premise of the Pentateuch as a composite is well established.[4]:228

Form criticism[edit]

Rudolf Bultmann, (1884 – 1976), prominent proponant of form critisism

Form criticism began in the early 1900s when theologian Karl Ludwig Schmidt observed Mark's Gospel is composed of short units. He asserted these units pointed to oral traditions, which preceded the written traditions. Cambridge scholar Richard Bauckham says this "most significant insight" of form criticism has never been refuted.[47]:243 Form criticism breaks the Bible down into those short units, called pericopes, which are classified by genre: prose or verse, letters, laws, court archives, war hymns, poems of lament, and so on. It then theorizes on the individual pericope's Sitz im Leben (a German phrase that roughly translates to "setting" or "place" in life). Form critics have believed the early Christian communities created the sayings and teachings of Jesus according to their needs, their "situation in life," and therefore each form could be identified by the situation which created it.[48]:269[49]:174[50]:55[51]:17-25

Form criticism, represented by its most influential proponent Rudof Bultmann, was the dominant method in the field of biblical criticism for nearly 80 years. Its basic premise, that the New Testament is built from assembled short pre-literary oral units, remains valid. However, contemporary form criticism is embattled with some of its foundational assumptions being questioned by critics.[52]:278[47]:242,247 For example, form criticism originally assumed the pericopes had a pure form but became corrupted over time. However, the fact so few Gospel pericopes conform to the ideal types indicates they may not be corrupted, but may instead have existed from their beginnings in the modified or mixed form in which they are currently found.[47]:246-249

Sitz im Leben followed Johann Jakob Griesbach's fifteen critical rules (see Textual criticism), such as "Lectio brevior praeferenda" (the shorter reading is preferred), for determining which texts are likely the oldest and closest to the original from the oral period.[48]:295 However, the pioneering work of linguists Parry and Lord in their 1978 essay "Gospels as Oral Traditional Literature"[53] demonstrated there is no inherent connection in oral tradition between length and complexity and comparative dating.[54]:20 Professor Paul Eddy and theologian Gregory Boyd quote Professor of Religion Burke O. Long who observes the "field data stands in sharp contrast to a deeply held form critical assumption that every literary type has its definitive, essential setting."[48]:295[55][56] This has caused many scholars to call for abandoning Sitz im Leben as a critical approach.[48]:296[57]:4,177-180[47]:242,246-249

Professor of biblical studies Werner H. Kelber says Bultmann's form criticism was programmed throughout the mid-twentieth century toward finding each pericope's original form. This focus distracted from consideration of memory as a dynamic force in the construction of the gospels or the early church community tradition.[52]:277,278-291 Theologians Vincent Taylor (1887–1968), and Martin Dibelius (1883-1947) (who is considered an early pioneer of form criticism), are among the few in the early to mid twentieth century who diverged from the dominant form critical view by insisting the memories of the disciples must have played some role.[48]:270 What Kelber refers to as form criticism's "astounding myopia" has produced enough criticism to revive interest in memory as an analytical category within biblical criticism.[58][52]:278

Hellenistic culture surrounded first-century Palestine, and form criticism assumed the early church was heavily influenced by that culture.[59]:46 However, Professor N. T. Wright says newer evidence shows that is unlikely to be true.[60]:1-7 "The earliest traditions of Jesus reflected in the Gospels are written from the perspective of Second Temple Judaism [and] must be interpreted from the standpoint of Jewish eschatology and apocalypticism."[59]:47[61] Contrary to form criticism, Wright asserts the Gospels are Jewish-style biographies, not Greek.[59]:36-38,47

Bultmann's philosophical foundation has been criticized for being overly focused on Heidegger's philosophy and for assumptions concerning religious phenomena.[3]:57,58

Redaction criticism[edit]

Redaction criticism can be seen as a type of form criticism. In Germany, it began as a synthesis between historical analysis and kerygmatic theology (the message of the Bible). In the English speaking world, it put more emphasis on social history, and tended to use more secular literary approaches.[3]:443 Redaction studies "the collection, arrangement, editing, and modification of sources", and is frequently used to reconstruct the community and purposes of the authors of the text. It is based on comparing the differences between manuscripts and their theological significance.[62] Theologian and editor Donald K. McKim says, "The gains of redaction criticism are now largely taken for granted. By contrast, [its] Pauline interpretation is on the defensive."[3]:443-444 Paul was originally thought by form criticism to have been heavily influenced by Hellenism, but contemporary scholarship on first century Judaism and Pharisaism have altered perception of the apostle Paul by demonstrating Hellenization was unlikely.[61]:71

Literary criticism[edit]

The development of literary criticism shifted the attention from history and pre-compositional matters to the text itself. Professor and New Testament scholar Paul R. House says linguistics, new views of historiography, the decline of older methods of criticism, and literary scholars such as Northrop Frye (1967) and Robert Alter (1975, 1976)[note 1] contributed to the development of literary biblical criticism.[63]:3 By 1974, the two methodologies of literary criticism were rhetorical-analysis and structuralism. Rhetorical analysis divides a passage into units, observes how a single unit shifts or breaks, taking special note of poetic devices, meter, parallelism, word play and so on. It then continues by charting the writer's thought progression from one unit to the next, and finally, assembling the data to explain the author's intention's behind the piece.[63]:8 Structuralism looks at the language to discern "layers of meaning" with the goal of uncovering a work's "deep structures": the premises and purposes of the author.[63]:12 The 1980s saw the rise of formalism, which focuses on plot, structure, character and themes, and reader-response criticism, which focuses on the reader rather than the author. Reader-response criticism was put forward by Old Testament scholar David M. Gunn in 1987.[63]:5

Literary criticism has been accused of using their methodology to make claims that are beyond its scope and for being overly politically oriented.[64]

Minor schools of criticism[edit]

Associated particularly with Brevard S. Childs (1923 - 2007) who has written prolifically on the subject, canonical criticism is "an examination of the final form of the text as a totality, as well as the process leading to it".[65] Where previous types of criticism asked questions about the origins, structure and history of the text, canonical criticism addresses questions of meaning. The community which formed the text and subsequent communities which use the text are seen by canonical criticism as equally important in the context of the wider canon.[66]:154

Unlike canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism takes a special interest in the relationship between the biblical text and its intended audience within the context of the communal life setting. Rhetorical criticism asks how the text functions for its audience, especially its original audience: to teach, persuade, guide, exhort, reproach, or inspire. It concentrates on identifying and elucidating unique features such as the rhetorical techniques manifest in the text itself, and the features of the cultural setting in which this purpose is pursued.[67]

Rhetorical criticism of the Bible dates back to at least Saint Augustine (354 - 430). Modern application of techniques of rhetorical analysis to biblical texts dates to James Muilenburg (1968). Phyllis Trible, a student of Muilenburg, also applied and developed his methods, while adding her own Christian feminist perspective to biblical scholarship.[68]:158-159[69][70] Rhetorical criticism started as a response to form criticism, which Muilenburg saw as too generalized. For Muilenberg, rhetorical criticism emphasized the unique and unrepeatable message of the writer or speaker as addressed to his audience. Muilenburg focused especially on the techniques and devices which went into crafting the biblical narrative as it was heard (or read) by its audience. What Muilenburg called rhetorical criticism was not what secular literary critics called rhetorical criticism. When biblical scholars became interested in rhetorical criticism, therefore, they did not limit themselves to Muilenberg's definition. This often makes it difficult to distinguish between rhetorical criticism and literary criticism.

Narrative criticism is a modern form of criticism based on contemporary literary theory and practice—in this case, on narratology. In common with other literary approaches (and in contrast to historical forms of criticism), narrative criticism treats the text as a unit, and focuses on narrative structure and composition, plot development, themes and motifs, characters, and characterization.[71] Narrative criticism is a complex field, but central concerns include the reliability of the narrator and the question of authorial intent. (Aspects of authorial intent studied are the context in which the text was written and its presumed intended audience.) Another central concern involves the implications of multiple interpretations—i.e., an awareness that a narrative can be interpreted in multiple ways.[72]:163,301,310,445

New Testament authenticity and the historical Jesus[edit]

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

According to Professor Paul Eddy and theologian Gregory Boyd, biblical criticism has generated "vigorous debate." Nowhere has the debate been more fierce than over the historical authenticity of Jesus and the Bible texts about him.[48]:309 In the post-modern climate, many see the ideal of "objective history" as an impossible goal to attain; consequently, it must be accepted that all historical narratives are verbal fiction.[48]:16

Scholars such as Bruno Bauer (1809-1882), Arthur Drews (1865-1935), and G. A. Wells (1926-2017) have long argued the gospels are fictional in nature, and therefore, the historical existence of Jesus is impossible to verify.[48]:24 Rudolf Bultmann and Burton Mack accept the probable existence of a historical Jesus but argue that the stories of him are so saturated with legend and myth we can know nothing about him. Robert Funk and J. D. Crossan support historical research, and say some facts of the historical Jesus can be discerned from Bible texts, but all supernatural claims about him are legend. John Meier and N. T. Wright are among those scholars who maintain the value of historical research, say objective concepts can be derived even from biased material, and find the Jesus of tradition.[48]:24-26[73]

Theologian R.S. Barber makes a two-fold distinction in Biblical criticism to determine historical authenticity of the New Testament texts, based on formal and material criteria. Formal criteria refers to the form in which the material was handed down (e.g. multiple attestations, poetic form, Semitisms, parallelism), while material criteria refers to the text itself and its dissimilarity, coherence, etc.[74]

The developing tradition[edit]

The period of the first century after 30 AD, when it is believed Jesus died, and before the writing of the Gospels, (circa 60-90 AD), is generally referred to as the "oral period" of early Christian history. During the oral period, scholars agree the traditions and sayings concerning Jesus were passed on verbally. How this was accomplished is a key issue in the question of historical authenticity.[47]:5-10 There is very little information dating from this time.[48]:13-33[47]:240 New Testament scholar Cynthia Briggs Kittredge says the church's earliest creeds (a creed is a statement of belief) are among the few types of evidence in existence from this period.[75]:112-123

There are three texts within the New Testament that critics have identified as having been early oral creeds. These were received by Paul, recorded by him in his epistles, but not authored by him. There is consensus these three texts are older than the writings they are contained in. They are: 1 Corinthians 15:3-5ff, a primitive narrative outline of the gospel; Philippians 2:6-11, a song of Christ; and Galatians 3:28, a fragment of prayer used at baptism.[75]:123 The majority of scholars, including Bart Ehrman, say 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is the oldest creedal account in the New Testament. It was probably in use by the early 30s, within months of Jesus' death.[76]:262 A small number of scholars date 1 Cor.15:3-11 to the 40s;[77]:112 and AD 51 is the latest possible date since that is when most scholars agree Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. New Testament scholar N.T. Wright says: 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 "is the kind of foundation-story with which a community was not at liberty to tamper. It was probably formulated within the first two or three years after Easter itself, since it was already in formulaic form when Paul 'received' it."[78]:319 These creeds give a brief glimpse into the beliefs of the early church during the oral period.[75]:124

In the early to mid twentieth century, Rudolf Bultmann and other form critical scholars asserted oral "laws of development" could be found within the New Testament. These laws could help to understand the oral tradition that preceded the written texts. This was an aspect of the development of the two-source theory (see Source criticism). [79]:54-56[49]:174[80]:1-118 In the 1970s, New Testament scholar E. P. Sanders argued against the existence of such laws, saying Bultman's argument was circular: The two-source theory is based on the assumption of laws of development, which in turn are derived from the two-source theory.[81]:273-274 During the latter half of the Twentieth century, extensive research was done on cultures with oral traditions still in existence. This research has shown that laws of oral development cannot be arrived at by studying written texts.[48]:293 Sometimes designated as the "great divide," (which refers to the significant differences between spoken and written media), specialists in oral tradition have concluded "we cannot adequately understand oral traditions by relying on analogies (such as Bultmann's) drawn from typeset texts and literate paradigms."[48]:293[82]:4-5,7-13[83]

Birger Gerhardsson made a significant contribution to the effort to map the oral period in his study of the role of memory in rabbinic Judaism. Gerhardsson compared this to the role of memory in early Christianity.[84][47]:249-257 James Dunn, Samuel Byrskog, and Richard Bauckham have made significant contributions to the contemporary study of the oral period. Bart Ehrman, and Michael Bird; Dale Allison, Richard Horsely, and Werner Kelber, have all done valuable contemporary work on memory impacting understanding of the oral period.[48]:288-291


The criterion of multiple attestation or independent attestation, sometimes also referred to as the cross-sectional method, is a type of source criticism. Simply put, the method looks for commonalities in multiple sources with the assumption that the more sources report an event or saying, the more likely that event or saying is historically accurate. First developed by F.C.Burkitt in 1911, this theory was extended into the four-source hypothesis asserting multiple sources for the Gospels.[85][86]

A second related theory is that of multiple forms. Developed by C.H. Dodd, it focuses on the sayings or deeds of Jesus found in more than one literary form such as parables, dispute stories, miracle stories, prophecy, or aphorism. The force of this criterion is increased if a given motif or theme is found in multiple books of the Bible.[79][87]:90-91[88]:174–175,317[89][90]

The criterion of embarrassment is based on the assumption the Early Church would not have gone out of its way to "create" or "falsify" historical material that only embarrassed its author or weakened its position in arguments with opponents.[79] As historian Will Durant explains:

Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed--the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrest, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross.[91]

These and other possibly embarrassing events, such as the discovery of the empty tomb by women, Jesus' baptism by John, and the crucifixion itself, are seen by this criterion as lending credence to the supposition the gospels contain genuinely historical events.[91][92][79]

The criterion of the crucifixion is related to the criterion of embarrassment. In the first-century Roman empire, only criminals were crucified. The early church referred to death on the cross as a scandal.[90]:239 Hebrew scholar David Mishkin says "[t]hat Jesus died on a Roman cross in Jerusalem is perhaps the one truth with virtual unanimity" among Bible scholars.[93] If the words and actions of Jesus were authentic, they would alienate some people, especially powerful people, therefore the manner of his violent death at the hands of Jewish and Roman officials appears credible and historical.[92][79]

New Testament scholar Gerd Theissen and theologian Dagmar Winter say an aspect of the criterion of embarrassment is "resistance to tendencies of the tradition."[90]:239 It works on the assumption that what goes against the general tendencies of the early church is historical. For example, criticisms of Jesus go against the tendency of the early church to worship him, making it unlikely the early church community invented statements such as those accusing Jesus of being in league with Satan (Mat.12:24), or being a glutton and drunkard (Mat.11:19). They are historically likely. Thiessen and Winter sum this up with what can also be referred to as enemy attestation: when friends and enemies alike refer to the same events, those events are likely to be historical.[90]:240

The criterion of dissimilarity or discontinuity says that if a particular saying can be plausibly accounted for as the words or teaching of some other source contemporary to Jesus, or the early church, or the era of Judaism called Second Temple Judaism (circa BCE 500 to CE 70), it is not thought to be genuine evidence of the historical Jesus. The "Son of Man" sayings are an example. Judaism had a Son of Man concept (as indicated by texts like 1 Enoch 46:2; 48:2-5, 10; 52:4; 62:5-9; 69:28-29 and 4 Ezra 13:3ff), but there is no record of the Jews ever applying it to Jesus. The Son of Man is Jesus' most common self-designation in the Gospels, yet none of the New Testament epistles use this expression, nor is there any evidence that the disciples or the early church did. The conclusion is that, by the process of elimination of all other options, it is likely historically accurate that Jesus used this designation for himself.[94]:202 [95]:489-532,633-636

The criterion of coherence (also called criterion of consistency or criterion of conformity) can be used only when other material has been identified as authentic. This criterion holds that a saying or action attributed to Jesus may be accepted as authentic if it coheres with other sayings and actions already established as authentic. While this criterion cannot be used alone, it can broaden what scholars believe Jesus said and did.[79]:54-56[87]:90[49]:174 For example, Jesus' teaching in Mark 12:18-27 concerning the resurrection of the dead coheres well with a saying of Jesus in Q on the same subject of the afterlife (reported in Matthew 8:11-12/Luke 13:28-29), as well as other teachings of Jesus on the same subject.[94]:69-72

The New Testament writers wrote in Biblical Greek: a combination of vernacular koine Greek with Hebrew and Aramaic influences called Semitisms.[96]:52-68 A Semitism is the linguistic usage, in the Greek in a non-Greek fashion, of an expression or construction typical of Hebrew or Aramaic. In other words, a Semitism is Greek in Hebrew/Aramaic style.[96]:53[97]:111-114 There are a relatively high number of Semitisms in the New Testament.[97]:112[96]:52-54 For example, Matthew begins with a Hebrew gematria (a method of interpreting Hebrew by computing the numerical value of words). In Matthew 1:1, Jesus is designated "the son of David, the son of Abraham." The numerical value of David's name in Hebrew is 14; so this genealogy has 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 from the exile to the Christ (Matthew 1:17).[96]:54 Such linguistic peculiarities tie New Testament texts to Jews of first-century Palestine. Their spoken language was Aramaic, so any writing or dictating in Greek would need to be translated, and the Septuagint became the lexicon and grammar guide for that translation leaving its linguistic traces.[96]:53

Contemporary Developments[edit]


At first, the implications of "higher criticism" were not welcomed by some. The American Fundamentalist movement of the 1920s-'30s was at least partly a response to liberal Protestant critics, whom some fundamentalists believed had invented an entirely new religion "completely at odds with the Christian faith."[98] Other Protestants disagreed with the fundamentalists. William Robertson Smith (1846–94) is an example of an evangelical who believed historical criticism was a product of Christian theology going back to the Christian Reformation. He saw it as a "necessary tool to enable intelligent churchgoers" to understand the Bible. He was a pioneer in establishing the final form of the Supplementary theory of the Documentary hypothesis. A similar view was later advocated by the Primitive Methodist biblical scholar A. S. Peake (1865–1929).[8]:298 Other evangelical Protestant scholars such as Edwin M. Yamauchi, Paul R. House, and Daniel B. Wallace have continued to contribute to critical scholarship.

The Catholic Church had difficulty accepting biblical criticism at first. Pope Leo XIII (1810–1903) condemned secular biblical scholarship in his encyclical letter Providentissimus Deus ('On the Study of Holy Scripture') on 18 November 1893;[99]:40 The pioneering work on textual criticism by the French Dominican M.-J. Lagrange (1855–1938) laid the path to overcoming this resistance.[100]:Introduction Later, the Jesuit Augustin Bea (1881–1968), played a vital part in the publication of the 1943 papal encyclical Divino afflante spiritu ('Inspired by the Holy Spirit') sanctioning historical criticism.[101][102]:3[8]:298 This tradition is continued by Catholic scholars such as Bernard Orchard, Edmund F. Sutcliffe, and Reginald C. Fuller.

Hebrew Bible scholar Jon Douglas Levenson says Orthodox Judaism has also had some difficulty accepting biblical criticism. Some, such as rabbinicist with Jewish Theological Seminary of America Solomon Schechter (b. 1903), saw biblical criticism of the Pentateuch as a threat to Jewish identity. The growing anti-semitism in Germany of the late 19th century and early 20th century, the perception higher criticism was an entirely Christian pursuit, and the sense many Bible critics were not disinterested academics but were proponents of supersessionism, prompted Schechter to describe "Higher Criticism as Higher Anti-semitism".[103]:83 Professor of Hebrew Bible Baruch J. Schwartz says, Jewish scholars were late to enter the field of biblical criticism because of this.[104]

Professor Schwartz says Jewish critical scholars consider Judaism as culture as well as religion, and since Jewish commentary (such as Rashi and Maimonides) has the same importance to Judaism as theology has to Christians, the "formative canon" of Judaism goes well beyond the Hebrew Bible making critical scholarship complex work.[104]:8,9-10 The first historical-critical Jewish scholar of Pentateuchal studies was M. M. Kalisch in the nineteenth century.[104]:203-229 Full entry into Pentateuchal studies defined by the critical approach began in the early twentieth century.[104]:222 In 1905, Rabbi David C. Hoffman wrote an extensive, two-volume, philologically based critique of the Wellhausen theory which supported Jewish orthodoxy. Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible at Jewish Theological Seminary in America, says it is "among the most precise and detailed commentaries on the legal texts ever written."[104]:215 Yehezkel Kaufmann, was the first Jewish scholar to appreciate fully the import of higher criticism. Mordechai Breuer, who branches out beyond most Jewish exegesis and explores the implications of historical criticism for multiple subjects, is an example of contemporary Jewish biblical critical scholars.[105]:182[104]:277

Contemporary methods[edit]

Socio-scientific criticism (also known as socio-historical criticism and social-world criticism) is a contemporary form of multidisciplinary criticism drawing on the social sciences, especially anthropology and sociology. A typical study will draw on studies of contemporary nomadism, shamanism, tribalism, spirit-possession, and millenarianism to illuminate similar passages described in biblical texts. Socio-scientific criticism is thus concerned with the historical world behind the text rather than the historical world in the text.[106]:54-56

Professor Margaret Y. MacDonald developed and applied a combination of anthropological and sociological method to study the lives of Christian women in the first and second century, altering understanding of both early Christianity and the role of women in it.[107][108]

Postmodernist biblical criticism treats the same general topics addressed in broader postmodernist scholarship, "including author, autobiography, culture criticism, deconstruction, ethics, fantasy, gender, ideology, politics, postcolonialism, and so on". It asks questions like: What are we to make, ethically speaking, of the program of ethnic cleansing described in the book of Joshua? What does the social construction of gender mean for the depiction of male and female roles in the Bible?[109][1]:22 Postmodernism is suspicious of traditional theology and the neutrality of reason, and emphasizes indeterminacy of the texts and relativism.

In textual criticism, postmodernism rejects the idea of an original text (the traditional quest of textual criticism, which marginalised all non-original manuscripts), and treats all manuscripts as equally valuable; in the "higher criticism" it brings new perspectives to theology, Israelite history, hermeneutics, and ethics.[110]:292

Feminist criticism of the Bible utilizes the same means and essentially strives for the same ends as feminist literary criticism. It brings a different perspective to biblical criticism that has often been overlooked.[23]:1 This field is made up of a variety of peoples, including, but not limited to, Jewish scholars such as Tikva Frymer-Kensky, people of color such as Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace, and feminist Christians such as Phyllis Trible, Elisabeth Fiorenza, Eleonore Stump, Margaret Y. MacDonald, and Catholic theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether.[111][112]:173 Their work has shifted the paradigm by altering the previously established underlying assumptions of biblical criticism.[23]:309-312

Postcritical Biblical interpretation shares a post-modernist suspicion of reason's ability to remain neutral but is not hostile toward theology.[1]:22 It begins by asking, "if the meaning of [biblical narrative] is not found in the narrative itself, where is it found?"[21] Post-critical interpretation seeks to understand the stories as "realistic narratives" that are "history-like" demonstrating truths that are not external to their plot. Post-critical interpretation adopts patterns of reading borrowed from other literatures and finds patterns of reading that emerge from the biblical text itself. [21]

Psychological biblical criticism is a perspective rather than a method. It discusses the psychological dimensions of the authors of the text, the material they wish to communicate to their audience, and the reflections and meditations of the reader.[113]:Preface

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Northrop Frye and Robert Alter wrote influential studies of the Bible from the perspectives of their literary backgrounds.[63]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Soulen, Richard N.; Soulen, R. Kendall (2001). Handbook of Biblical Criticism (Third Edition ed.). Lexington, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22314-1. 
  2. ^ Compare: Soulen, Richard N.; Soulen, R. Kendall (2002). Handbook of Biblical Criticism (reprint ed.). Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. p. 22. ISBN 9780227170373. Retrieved 2018-06-19. [..] modern biblical criticism has already permanently altered the way people understand the Bible. [...] [Biblical criticism] continues to set an agenda for biblical interpretation that remains potent at the beginning of the new millennium: to let the text speak on its own terms. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x McKim, Donald K., ed. (1998). Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. Downer's Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1452-3. 
  4. ^ a b c Nicholson, Ernest (2002). The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius Wellhausen. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-925783-3. 
  5. ^ Jarick, John, ed. (2007). Sacred Conjectures: The Context and Legacy of Robert Lowth and Jean Astruc. New York: t&t clark. ISBN 978-0-567-02932-4. 
  6. ^ Reill, Peter Hanns (1975). The German Enlightenment and the Rise of Historicism. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02594-6. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Law, David R. (2012). The Historical-Critical Method: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: T & T Clark International. ISBN 978-0-567-40012-3. 
  8. ^ a b c d e J. W. Rogerson (2000). Hastings, Adrian; Mason, Alistair; Pyper, Hugh, eds. The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860024-0. 
  9. ^ a b William Baird, History of New Testament Research: From Jonathan Edwards to Rudolf Bultmann, Minneapolis: Ausgburg Fortress, p. 222: "HISTORY OF RELIGION AND RELATED METHODS", ISBN 0-8006-2627-3
  10. ^ Herrick, James A. (1997). The Radical Rhetoric of the English Deists: The Discourse of Skepticism 1680-1750. Colombia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-166-5. 
  11. ^ Barton, John (2007). The Nature of Biblical Criticism. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22587-2. 
  12. ^ Behere, Prakash B.; Das, Anweshak; Yadav, Richa; Behere, Aniruddh P. "Religion and mental health". NCBI. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 13 June 2018. 
  13. ^ a b Perrin, Norman (2002). What is Redaction Criticism?. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock. ISBN 978-1-57910-545-7. 
  14. ^ Thatcher, Tom; Williams, Catrin H., eds. (2013). Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John: Sixty Years of Tradition and interpretation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-03566-9. 
  15. ^ a b Litz, A. Walton; Menand, Louis; Raney, Lawrence, eds. (2000). The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Modernism and the new criticism (volume 7 ed.). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 30012 6. 
  16. ^ Berlin, Adele (2008). "Chapter 3: Literary approaches to Biblical literature". In Greenspahn, Frederick E. The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-3188-8. New Historicism 
  17. ^ Carson, D. A. (2002). Right With God: Justification in the Bible and the World. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock. ISBN 1-59244-044-4. 
  18. ^ Beckstrom, Edward A. (2013). Beyond Christian Folk Religion: Re-grafting into Our Roots (Romans 11:17-23). Eugene, Oregon: Resource Publications. ISBN 978-1-62032-884-2. 
  19. ^ Miller, Robert J. (1999). The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics. Santa Rosa, California: Polebridge Press. ISBN 0-944344-78-X. 
  20. ^ The eclipse of biblical narrative: a study in 18th and 19th centuries hermeneutics (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1974)
  21. ^ a b c Frei, Hans. "The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics". Sage Journals. Yale University Press. Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  22. ^ a b Barton, John (2007). The Nature of Biblical Criticism. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22587-2. 
  23. ^ a b c Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler (2014). Feminist Biblical Studies in the Twentieth Century: Scholarship and Movement. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN 978-1-58983-583-2. 
  24. ^ Adam, Andrew Keith Malcolm (1995). What is Postmodern Biblical Criticism?. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. ISBN 0-8006-2879-9. 
  25. ^ Holmén, Tom; Porter, Stanley E., eds. (2011). Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (4 Vols) (Volume 1 ed.). Boston: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-16372-0. confirmation biases 
  26. ^ McKenzie, Steven L.; Kaltner, John (2007). The Old Testament: Its Background, Growth, & Content. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-62564-264-6. 
  27. ^ Volume: 31 issue: 5, page(s): 150-153 Article first published online: June 10, 2009; Issue published: August 1, 2009
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  29. ^ Tarrant, Richard (2016). Texts, Editors, and Readers: Methods and Problems in Latin Textual Criticism. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-76657-9. 
  30. ^ a b c d e Metzger, B.M.; Ehrman, B.D. (2005). The Text of New Testament (Fourth Edition ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-019-516667-5. 
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  32. ^ "Lexicon of Scholarly Editing". Lexicon of Scholarly Editing Lexicon of Scholarly Editing. European Research Council. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
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  35. ^ Antony F. Campbell, SJ, "Preparatory Issues in Approaching Biblical Texts," in The Hebrew Bible in Modern Study, Campbell renames source criticism as "origin criticism".
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  40. ^ Neville, David J. (1994). Arguments from Order in Synoptic Source Criticism: A History and Critique. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. ISBN 0-86554-399-2. 
  41. ^ Goodacre, Mark (2002). The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International. ISBN 1-56338-334-9. 
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  49. ^ a b c Meier, John (1999). A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Volume One. New York: Bantam Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-26425-9. 
  50. ^ Maureen W. Yeung, Faith in Jesus and Paul: A Comparison, Volume 147, Mohr Siebeck Pub, 2002, isbn 978-3161477379
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Further reading[edit]

  • Barton, John (1984). Reading the Old Testament: Method in Biblical Study, Philadelphia, Westminster, ISBN 0-664-24555-2. 
  • Peter Barenboim; Walter Brueggemann; Terence E. Fretheim; David L. Petersen (2005). A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Second ed.). ISBN 978-0-68706-676-6. 
  • Brown, Raymond E., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, eds. (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-614934-0. See “Modern Criticism” and “Hermeneutics” (pp. 1113-1165).
  • Coggins, R. J.; J. L. Houlden, eds. (1990). Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation. London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Trinity Press International. ISBN 0-334-00294-X. 
  • Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-073817-0. 

External links[edit]