biblical criticism


biblical criticism

      discipline that studies textual, compositional, and historical questions surrounding the Old and New Testaments. Biblical criticism lays the groundwork for meaningful interpretation of the Bible.

      A brief treatment of biblical criticism follows. For full treatment, see biblical literature: Biblical criticism (biblical literature).

      The major types of biblical criticism are: (1) textual criticism, which is concerned with establishing the original or most authoritative text, (2) philological criticism, which is the study of the biblical languages for an accurate knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and style of the period, (3) literary criticism, which focuses on the various literary genres embedded in the text in order to uncover evidence concerning date of composition, authorship, and original function of the various types of writing that constitute the Bible, (4) tradition criticism, which attempts to trace the development of the oral traditions that preceded written texts, and (5) form criticism, which classifies the written material according to the preliterary forms, such as parable or hymn.

      Other schools of biblical criticism that are more exegetical (exegesis) in intent—that is, concerned with recovering original meanings of texts—include redaction criticism, which studies how the documents were assembled by their final authors and editors, and historical criticism, which seeks to interpret biblical writings in the context of their historical settings.

      The scientific principles on which modern criticism is based depend in part upon viewing the Bible as a suitable object for literary study, rather than as an exclusively sacred text. Evaluation of the Scriptures to uncover evidence about historical matters was formerly called “higher criticism,” a term first used with reference to writings of the German biblical scholar J.G. Eichhorn (Eichhorn, Johann Gottfried), who applied the method to his study of the Pentateuch. In the 20th century, Rudolf Bultmann (Bultmann, Rudolf) and Martin Dibelius (Dibelius, Martin) initiated form criticism as a different approach to the study of historical circumstances surrounding biblical texts. The rapid development of philology in the 19th century together with archaeological discoveries of the 20th century revolutionized biblical criticism.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Biblical Criticism —     Biblical Criticism (Textual)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Biblical Criticism (Textual)     The object of textual criticism is to restore as nearly as possible the original text of a work the autograph of which has been lost. In this textual… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Biblical criticism — This article is about the academic treatment of the bible as a historical document. For criticisms made against the Bible as a source of reliable information or ethical guidance, see Criticism of the Bible. The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed… …   Wikipedia

  • BIBLICAL CRITICISM —    a type of academic inquiry which arose in the nineteenth century through the application of eighteenth century RATIONALIST assumptions to the study of the BIBLE. It originated with ANTI CHRISTIAN writers who sought to discredit the Biblical… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • biblical criticism —    The work of scholars such a Erasmus on the biblical text and publication of more accurate Bible translations in the 16th century, coupled with Martin Luther s idea that the Bible s meaning was plain to any commonsense reader, led in the next… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • biblical criticism —    This term (from the Greek kritikos, meaning able to judge ) refers to two different approaches to studying the Bible: (1) lower criticism attempts to reconstruct the original biblical text (as none of the original manuscripts have survived);… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • biblical criticism — A term covering a variety of methods used since the Enlightenment in the early 18th cent. for studying the books of the Bible. See criticism, biblical …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • biblical criticism —  Библейская критика …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Biblical Criticism (Higher) —     Biblical Criticism (Higher)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Biblical Criticism (Higher)     Biblical criticism in its fullest comprehension is the examination of the literary origins and historical values of the books composing the Bible, with… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Psychological Biblical Criticism — [http://www.aramaicnt.org/site/index.php?mode=article entry=95] is a re emerging field within biblical criticism that seeks to examine the psychological dimensions of scripture through the use of the behavioral sciences. The title itself involves …   Wikipedia

  • Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism, Glasgow — The Professorship of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow was founded in 1861. The patron was formally the Crown (i.e. a Regius Professorship). Since 1935, the University Court, acting on the recommendation of a Board of… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.