Biblical criticism

Biblical criticism

Overview
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work in its production; what sources were used in its composition and the message it was intended to convey.
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Encyclopedia
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work in its production; what sources were used in its composition and the message it was intended to convey. It will vary slightly depending on whether the focus is on the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, the letters of New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 or the Canonical gospels. It also plays an important role in the quest for a Historical Jesus
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

.

It also addresses the physical text, including the meaning of the words and the way in which they are used, its preservation, history and integrity. Biblical criticism draws upon a wide range of scholarly disciplines including archeology, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, linguistics, oral tradition studies, and historical and religious studies.

Background


Biblical criticism, defined as the treatment of Biblical texts as natural rather than supernatural artifacts, grew out of the rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century it was divided between the higher criticism, the study of the composition and history of biblical texts, and lower criticism, the close examination of the text to establish their original or "correct" readings. These terms are largely no longer used, and contemporary criticism has seen the rise of new perspectives which draw on literary and multidisciplinary sociological approaches to address the meaning(s) of texts and the wider world in which they were conceived.

A division is still sometimes made between historical criticism
Historical criticism
Historical criticism, or historical-critical method, and also known as higher criticism, is a branch of literary criticism that investigates the origins of ancient text in order to understand "the world behind the text"....

 and literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

. Historical criticism seeks to locate the text in history: it asks such questions as when the text was written, who the author/s might have been, and what history might be reconstructed from the answers. Literary criticism asks what audience the authors wrote for, their presumptive purpose, and the development of the text over time.

Historical criticism was the dominant form of criticism until the late 20th century, when biblical critics became interested in questions aimed more at the meaning of the text than its origins and developed methods drawn from mainstream literary criticism. The distinction is frequently referred to as one between diachronic and synchronic forms of criticism, the former concerned the development of texts through time, the latter treating texts as they exist at a particular moment, frequently the so-called "final form", meaning the bible text as we have it today.

History



Both Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 criticism originated in the rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries and developed within the context of the scientific approach to the humanities (especially history) which grew during the 19th. Studies of the Old and New Testaments were often independent of each other, largely due to the difficulty of any single scholar having a sufficient grasp of the many languages required or of the cultural background for the different periods in which texts had their origins.

Old Testament



Modern biblical criticism begins with the 17th century philosophers and theologians - Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

, Benedict Spinoza, Richard Simon
Richard Simon
Richard Simon was a French Oratorian, influential advanced biblical critic, orientalist, and controversialist.-Early years:...

 and others - who began to ask questions about the origin of the biblical text, especially the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). They asked specifically who had written these books: according to tradition their author was Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, but these critics found contradictions and inconsistencies in the text that, they claimed, made Mosaic authorship
Mosaic authorship
Mosaic authorship is the traditional attribution of the first five books of the Old Testament to Moses. The tradition is first definitively stated in the Babylonian Talmud, an encyclopedia of traditional Jewish learning compiled around the middle of the 1st millennium CE...

 improbable. In the 18th century Jean Astruc
Jean Astruc
Jean Astruc was a professor of medicine at Montpellier and Paris, who wrote the first great treatise on syphilis and venereal diseases, and also, with a small anonymously published book, played a fundamental part in the origins of critical textual analysis of works of scripture...

 (1684–1766), a French physician, set out to refute these critics. 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, much as the four Gospel writers had produced four separate but complementary accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. Later generations, he believed, had conflated these original documents to produce the modern book of Genesis, producing the inconsistencies and contradictions noted by Hobbes and Spinoza.

Astruc's methods were adopted by German scholars such as Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752–1827) and Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette (1780–1849) in a movement which became known as the higher criticism (to distinguish it from the far longer-established close examination and comparison of individual manuscripts, called the lower criticism); this school reached its apogee with the influential synthesis of Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918) in the 1870s, at which point it seemed to many that the bible had at last been fully explained as a human document.

The implications of "higher criticism" were not welcomed by many religious scholars, not least the Catholic Church. Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 (1810–1903) condemned secular biblical scholarship in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus
Providentissimus Deus
Providentissimus Deus, "On the Study of Holy Scripture", was an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on 18 November 1893.In it, he reviewed the history of Bible study from the time of the Church Fathers to the present, spoke against the errors of the Rationalists and "higher critics", and outlined...

; but in 1943 Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 gave license to the new scholarship in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu is an encyclical letter issued by Pope Pius XII on September 30, 1943. It inaugurated the modern period of Roman Catholic Bible studies by permitting the limited use of modern methods of biblical criticism. The Catholic bible scholar Raymond E...

: "[T]extual criticism ... [is] quite rightly employed in the case of the Sacred Books ... Let the interpreter then, with all care and without neglecting any light derived from recent research, endeavor to determine the peculiar character and circumstances of the sacred writer, the age in which he lived, the sources written or oral to which he had recourse and the forms of expression he employed." Today the modern Catechism
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 states: "In order to discover the sacred authors' intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression."

New Testament


The seminal figure in New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 criticism was Hermann Samuel Reimarus
Hermann Samuel Reimarus
Hermann Samuel Reimarus , was a German philosopher and writer of the Enlightenment who is remembered for his Deism, the doctrine that human reason can arrive at a knowledge of God and ethics from a study of nature and our own internal reality, thus eliminating the need for religions based on...

 (1694–1768), who applied to it the methodology of Greek and Latin textual studies and became convinced that very little of what it said could be accepted as incontrovertibly true. Reimarus's conclusions appealed to the rationalism of 18th century intellectuals, but were deeply troubling to contemporary believers. In the 19th century important scholarship was done by David Strauss
David Strauss
David Friedrich Strauss was a German theologian and writer. He scandalized Christian Europe with his portrayal of the "historical Jesus," whose divine nature he denied...

, Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan was a French expert of Middle East ancient languages and civilizations, philosopher and writer, devoted to his native province of Brittany...

, Johannes Weiss
Johannes Weiss
Johannes Weiss was a German theologian and Biblical exegete.-History:Weiss was born in Kiel, Germany. A perpetual scholar, he studied in the University of Marburg, the University of Berlin, the University of Göttingen, and the University of Breslau...

, Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

 and others, all of whom investigated the "historical Jesus
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

" within the Gospel narratives. In a different field the work of H. J. Holtzmann was significant: he established a chronology for the composition of the various books of the New Testament which formed the basis for future research on this subject, and established the two-source hypothesis
Two-source hypothesis
The Two-Source Hypothesis is an explanation for the synoptic problem, the pattern of similarities and differences between the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a lost, hypothetical sayings...

 (the hypothesis that the gospels of Matthew and Luke drew on the gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 and a hypothetical document known as Q). By the first half of the 20th century a new generation of scholars including Karl Barth
Karl Barth
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

 and Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

, in Germany, Roy Harrisville
Roy Harrisville
Roy A. Harrisville II has been a key figure in the evolution of the Historical Critical Method of Biblical Criticism since the mid-20th century....

 and others in North America had decided that the quest for the Jesus of history had reached a dead end. Barth and Bultmann accepted that little could be said with certainty about the historical Jesus, and concentrated instead on the kerygma
Kerygma
Kerygma is the Greek word used in the New Testament for preaching . It is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω , to cry or proclaim as a herald, and means proclamation, announcement, or preaching.The New Testament teaches that as Jesus launched his public ministry he entered the synagogue and read from...

, or message, of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. The questions they addressed were: What was Jesus’s key message? How was that message related to Judaism? Does that message speak to our reality today?

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 in 1948 revitalised interest in the possible contribution archaeology could make to the understanding of the New Testament. Joachim Jeremias and 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; Burton Mack and John Dominic Crossan
John Dominic Crossan
John Dominic Crossan is an Irish-American religious scholar and former Catholic priest known for co-founding the Jesus Seminar. Crossan is a major figure in the fields of biblical archaeology, anthropology and New Testament textual and higher criticism. He is also a lecturer who has appeared in...

 assessed Jesus in the cultural milieu of 1st Century Judea; and the scholars of the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

 assessed the individual tropes
Trope (literature)
A literary trope is the usage of figurative language in literature, or a figure of speech in which words are used in a sense different from their literal meaning...

 of the Gospels to arrive at a consensus on what could and could not be accepted as historical.

Contemporary New Testament criticism continues to follow the synthesising trend set during the latter half of the 20th century. There continues to be a strong interest in recovering the "historical Jesus", but this now tends to set the search in terms of Jesus' Jewishness (Bruce Chilton, Geza Vermes
Geza Vermes
Géza Vermes or Vermès is a British scholar of Jewish Hungarian origin and writer on religious history, particularly Jewish and Christian. He is a noted authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient works in Aramaic, and on the life and religion of Jesus...

 and others) and his formation by the political and religious currents of 1st century Palestine (Marcus Borg).

Methods and perspectives



The critical methods and perspectives now to be found are numerous, and the following overview should not be regarded as comprehensive.

Textual criticism


Textual criticism
Textual criticism
Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

 (sometimes still referred to as "lower criticism") refers to the examination of the text itself to identify its provenance or to trace its history. It takes as its basis the fact that errors inevitably crept into texts as generations of scribes reproduced each other's manuscripts. For example, Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 employed scribes to copy his Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews is a twenty volume historiographical work composed by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the thirteenth year of the reign of Roman emperor Flavius Domitian which was around 93 or 94 AD. Antiquities of the Jews contains an account of history of the Jewish people,...

. As the scribes copied the Antiquities, they made mistakes. The copies of these copies also had the 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 and further as more mistakes are introduced by later scribes, but will always be identifiable as descended from one or the other. Textual criticism studies the differences between these families to piece together a good idea of what the original looked like. The more surviving copies, the more accurately can they deduce information about the original text and about "family histories."

Textual criticism is a rigorously objective discipline using a number of specialized methodologies, including eclecticism
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

, stemmatics, copy-text editing and cladistics
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

. A number of principles have also been introduced for use in deciding between variant manuscripts, such as Lectio difficilior potior
Lectio difficilior potior
Lectio difficilior potior is a main principle of textual criticism. Where different manuscripts conflict on a particular word, the principle suggests that the more unusual one is more likely the original...

: "The harder of two readings is to be preferred." Nevertheless, there remains a strong element of subjectivity, areas where the scholar must decide his reading on the basis of taste 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 judgement.

Source criticism


Source criticism
Source criticism
A source criticism is a published source evaluation . An information source may be a document, a person, a speech, a fingerprint, a photo, an observation or anything used in order to obtain knowledge. In relation to a given purpose, a given information source may be more or less valid, reliable or...

 is the search for the original sources which lie behind a given biblical text. It can be traced back to the 17th century French priest Richard Simon
Richard Simon
Richard Simon was a French Oratorian, influential advanced biblical critic, orientalist, and controversialist.-Early years:...

, and its most influential product is Julius Wellhausen's Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels
Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels
Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels is a book by German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen which formulated the documentary hypothesis...

(1878), whose "insight and clarity of expression have left their mark indelibly on modern biblical studies." An example of source criticism is the study of the Synoptic problem. Critics noticed that the three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

, were very similar, indeed, at times identical. The dominant theory to account for the duplication is called the two-source hypothesis
Two-source hypothesis
The Two-Source Hypothesis is an explanation for the synoptic problem, the pattern of similarities and differences between the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a lost, hypothetical sayings...

. This suggests that Mark was the first gospel to be written, and that it was probably based on a combination of early oral and written material. Matthew and Luke were written at a later time, and relied primarily on two different sources: Mark and a written collection of Jesus's sayings, which has been given the name Q by scholars. This latter document has now been lost, but at least some of its material can be deduced indirectly, namely through the material that is common in Matthew and Luke but absent in Mark. In addition to Mark and Q, the writers of Matthew and Luke made some use of additional sources, which would account for the material that is unique to each of them.

Form criticism and tradition history


Form criticism
Form criticism
Form criticism is a method of biblical criticism that classifies units of scripture by literary pattern and that attempts to trace each type to its period of oral transmission. Form criticism seeks to determine a unit's original form and the historical context of the literary tradition. Hermann...

 breaks the Bible down into sections (pericopes, stories) which are analyzed and categorized by genres (prose or verse, letters, laws, court archives, war hymns, poems of lament, etc.). The form critic then theorizes on the pericope's Sitz im Leben
Sitz im Leben
In Biblical criticism, Sitz im Leben is a German phrase roughly translating to "setting in life".-Origins:The term originated with the German Protestant theologian Hermann Gunkel. The term Sitz im Volksleben was employed for the first time in 1906 and the term Sitz im Leben in 1917...

("setting in life"), the setting in which it was composed and, especially, used. Tradition history
Tradition history
Tradition history or criticism is a methodology of Biblical criticism that was developed by Hermann Gunkel. Tradition history seeks to analyze biblical literature in terms of the process by which biblical traditions passed from stage to stage into their final form, especially how they passed from...

 is a specific aspect of form criticism which aims at tracing the way in which the pericopes entered the larger units of the biblical canon, and especially the way in which they made the transition from oral to written form. The belief in the priority, stability, and even detectability, of oral traditions is now recognised to be so deeply questionable as to render tradition history largely useless, but form criticism itself continues to develop as a viable methodology in biblical studies.

Redaction criticism


Redaction criticism
Redaction criticism
Redaction criticism, also called Redaktionsgeschichte, Kompositionsgeschichte, or Redaktionstheologie, is a critical method for the study of Bible texts. Redaction criticism regards the author of the text as editor of his or her source material...

 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 the comparison of differences between manuscripts and their theological significance.

Canonical criticism


Associated particularly with the name of Brevard S. Childs, who has written prolifically on the subject, canonical criticism
Canonical criticism
Canonical criticism, sometimes called canon criticism or the canonical approach, is a way of interpreting the Bible that focuses on the text of the biblical canon itself as a finished product. It has been made popular by Brevard Childs, though he personally rejected the term...

 is "an examination of the final form of the text as a totality, as well as the process leading to it." Where previous criticism asked questions about the origins, structure and history of the text, canonical criticism addresses questions of meaning, both for the community (and communities - subsequent communities are regarded as being as important as the original community for which it was produced) which used it, and in the context of the wider canon of which it forms a part.

Rhetorical criticism


Rhetorical criticism
Rhetorical criticism
Rhetorical criticism is an approach to criticism that is at least as old as Plato. In the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates examine a speech by Lysias to determine whether or not it is praiseworthy...

 of the Bible dates back to at least St. Augustine. Modern application of techniques of rhetorical analysis to Biblical texts dates to James Muilenberg in 1968 as a corrective to form criticism, which Muilenberg saw as too generalized and insufficiently specific. For Muilenberg, rhetorical criticism emphasized the unique and unrepeatable message of the writer or speaker as addressed to his audience, including especially the techniques and devices which went into crafting the biblical narrative as it was heard (or read) by its audience. "What Muilenberg called rhetorical criticism was not exactly the same as what secular literary critics called rhetorical criticism, and when biblical scholars became interested in "rhetorical criticism," they did not limit themselves to Muilenberg's definition. ... In some cases it is difficult to distinguish between rhetorical criticism and literary criticism, or other disciplines." Unlike canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism (at least as defined by Muilenberg) 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, including especially its original audience: to teach, persuade, guide, exhort, reproach, or inspire, and it concentrates especially on identifying and elucidating unique features of the situation, including both the techniques manifest in the text itself and the relevant features of the cultural setting, through which this purpose is pursued.

Narrative criticism


Narrative criticism
Narrative criticism
Narrative criticism focuses on the stories a speaker or a writer tells to understand how they help us make meaning out of our daily human experiences. Narrative theory is a means by which we can comprehend how we impose order on our experiences and actions by giving them a narrative form...

 is one of a number of modern forms of criticism based in contemporary literary theory and practice - in this case, from narratology
Narratology
Narratology denotes both the theory and the study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways that these affect our perception. While in principle the word may refer to any systematic study of narrative, in practice its usage is rather more restricted. It is an anglicisation of French...

. In common with other literary approaches (and in contrast to historical forms of criticism), narrative criticism treats the text as a unit, and focusses on narrative structure and composition, plot development, themes and motifs, characters and characterisation. Narrative criticism is a complex field, but some central concerns include the reliability of the narrator, the question of authorial intent (expressed in terms of the context in which the text was written and its presumed intended audience), and the implications of multiple interpretation (meaning an awareness that a narrative is capable of more than one interpretation, and thus of the implications of each).

Psychological criticism


Psychological biblical criticism
Psychological Biblical Criticism
Psychological biblical criticism 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 a discussion about "the intersections of three fields: psychology, the Bible, and...

 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.

Socio-scientific criticism


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, millinarianism, etc. to illuminate similar passages described in biblical texts. Socioscientific criticism is thus concerned with the historical world behind the text rather than the historical world in the text.

Postmodernist criticism



Postmodernist biblical criticism treats the same general topics addressed in broader postmodernist
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 scholarship, "including author, autobiography, culture criticism, deconstruction, ethics, fantasy, gender, ideology, politics, postcolonialism, and so on." It asks such questions as, What are we to make, ethically speaking, of the program of ethnic cleansing described in the book of Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

? What does the social construction of gender mean for the depiction of male and female roles in the bible? In textual criticism, postmodernist criticism 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 themes such as theology, Israelite history, hermeneutics and ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

.

Feminist exegesis



Feminist criticism of the Bible utilizes the same means and essentially strives for the same ends as feminist literary criticism
Feminist literary criticism
Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or by the politics of feminism more broadly. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in...

. It is therefore made up of a variety of peoples, including, but not limited to, Jews
Jewish feminism
Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to improve the religious, legal, and social status of women within Judaism and to open up new opportunities for religious experience and leadership for Jewish women...

, people of color, and feminist Christians
Christian feminism
Christian feminism is an aspect of feminist theology which seeks to advance and understand the equality of men and women morally, socially, spiritually, and in leadership from a Christian perspective. Christian feminists argue that contributions by women in that direction are necessary for a...

, such as Elisabeth Fiorenza
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza is a feminist theologian. She received her Theologicum , Lic. Theol., University of Würzburg, Thoel.D. from the University of Munster, Germany. She identifies as Catholic and her work is generally in the context of Christianity, although much of her work has broader...

.

Multiple attestation


The criterion of multiple attestation
Criterion of multiple attestation
The criterion of multiple attestation or independent attestation is a tool used by Biblical scholars to help determine whether certain actions or sayings by Jesus in the New Testament are from Historical Jesus. Simply put, the more independent witnesses that report an event or saying, the better...

 or "independent attestation" is an important tool used by scholars. Simply put, the more independent witnesses that report an event or saying, the better.

The gospels are not always independent of each other. There is a possibility that Matthew and Luke copied contents from Mark's gospel. There are, however, at least four early, independent sources. The criterion of multiple attestation focuses on the sayings or deeds of Jesus that are attested to in more than one independent literary source such as the Apostle Paul, Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, Q
Q source
The Q source is a hypothetical written source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke. Q is defined as the "common" material found in Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark...

 and/or the Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of the Hebrews
The Gospel of the Hebrews , commonly shortened from the Gospel according to the Hebrews or simply called the Hebrew Gospel, is a hypothesised lost gospel preserved in fragments within the writings of the Church Fathers....

. The force of this criterion is increased if a given motif or theme is also found in different literary forms such as parables, dispute stories, miracle stories, prophecy, and/or aphorism.

Multiple attestation has a certain kind of objectivity. Given the independence of the sources, satisfaction of the criterion makes it harder to maintain that it was an invention of the Church.

Tendencies of the developing tradition


It is important that scholars research the earliest testimonies. To do this, they need to figure out the earliest gospel and the earliest parts of the gospels. Ideally, this material would come from eyewitnesses, but that is not always possible.

The writings of the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 are helpful in this regard. They wrote that the Hebrew Gospel was the first written while the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 was later. Also, because certain "laws" govern the transmission of tradition during the oral period, we can, by understanding these "laws," determine which tradition is early and which is late.

Embarrassment


The criterion of embarrassment
Criterion of embarrassment
The criterion of embarrassment, also known as criterion of dissimilarity, is a critical analysis of historical accounts in which accounts embarrassing to the author are presumed to be true because the author would have no reason to invent an embarrassing account about himself...

, also known as the "criterion of dissimilarity", is an analytical tool that Biblical scholars use in assessing whether the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 accounts of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

' actions and words are historically accurate. Simply put, trust the embarrassing material. If something is awkward for an author to say and he does anyway, it is more likely to be true.

The essence of the criterion of embarrassment is that the Early Church would hardly 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. Rather, embarrassing material coming from Jesus would naturally be either suppressed or softened in later stages of the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 tradition, and often such progressive suppression or softening can be traced through the Gospels.

The evolution of the depiction of the Baptism of Jesus
Baptism of Jesus
The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus Christ's public ministry. This event is recorded in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In John 1:29-33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode...

 exhibits the criterion of embarrassment. In the Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of the Hebrews
The Gospel of the Hebrews , commonly shortened from the Gospel according to the Hebrews or simply called the Hebrew Gospel, is a hypothesised lost gospel preserved in fragments within the writings of the Church Fathers....

, Jesus is but a man (see Adoptionism
Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

) submitting to another man for the forgiveness of the "sin of ignorance" (a lesser sin but sin nonetheless). Matthew's description of the Baptism, adds John's statement to Jesus: "I should be baptized by you", attempting to do away with the embarrassment of John baptising Jesus, implying his seniority and the entrance of Jesus into his cult. Similarly it resolves the embarrassment of Jesus undergoing baptism "for the forgiveness of sin," the purpose of John's baptising in Mark, by omitting this phrase from John's proclamations. The Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 says only that Jesus was baptized, without explicitly asserting that John performed the baptism. The Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 goes further and simply omits the whole story of the Baptism. This might show a progression of the Evangelists attempting to explain away and then suppress a story that was seen as embarrassing to the early church
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

.

Coherence


The Criterion of coherence (also called consistency or conformity) can be used only when other material has been identified as authentic. This criterion holds that a saying and 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 the database for what Jesus actually said and did.

The Crucifixion


The criterion of the Crucifixion emphasizes that Jesus met a violent death at the hands of Jewish and Roman officials and that the authentic words and actions of Jesus would alienate people, especially powerful people.

Semitisms


Since Jesus spoke in Aramaic
Aramaic of Jesus
It is generally agreed that the historical Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic, perhaps along with some Hebrew and Greek . The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum, where Jesus lived, were primarily Aramaic-speaking communities, although Greek was widely spoken in the major cities of the Eastern Mediterranean...

, traces of Aramaic in the Gospels argue in favor of a primitive tradition that may go back to Jesus. Semitisms are structured according to general rules that allow Hebrew speakers and hearers to say and hear things according to predictable patterns. Hebrew and Aramaic are closely related linguistically, and they follow similar elementary rules. For example the pun in Matt 23:24, "straining out the gnat (galma) and swallowing a camel (gamla)" points in the direction of the historical Jesus.

Sitz im Leben


The sayings and actions of the historical Jesus must reflect the Sitz im Leben
Sitz im Leben
In Biblical criticism, Sitz im Leben is a German phrase roughly translating to "setting in life".-Origins:The term originated with the German Protestant theologian Hermann Gunkel. The term Sitz im Volksleben was employed for the first time in 1906 and the term Sitz im Leben in 1917...

or the concrete social, political, economic, agricultural, and religious conditions of ancient Palestine, while sayings and actions of Jesus that reflect social, political, economic, agricultural, or religious conditions that existed only outside Palestine or only after the death of Jesus are to be considered inauthentic.

Vividness of narration


Liveliness and concrete details—especially when the details are not relevant to the main point of the story—are sometimes taken as indicators of an eyewitness report. For example, note the detail in the Gospel of the Hebrews account of the rich man:
The second rich youth said to him, “Rabbi, what good thing can I do and live?” Jesus replied, “Fulfill the law and the prophets.” “I have,” was the response. Jesus said, “Go, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor; and come, follow me.” The youth began to fidget, for it did not please him. And the Lord said, “How can you say, I have fulfilled the law and the prophets, when it is written in the law: You shall love your neighbor as yourself and many of your brothers, sons of Abraham, are covered with filth, dying of hunger, and your house is full of many good things, none of which goes out to them?” And he turned and said to Simon, his disciple, who was sitting by Him, “Simon, son of Jonah, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Notable biblical scholars

  • William Albright
    William F. Albright
    William Foxwell Albright was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist and expert on ceramics. From the early twentieth century until his death, he was the dean of biblical archaeologists and the universally acknowledged founder of the Biblical archaeology movement...

     (1891-1971): Professor at Johns Hopkins University
    Johns Hopkins University
    The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

     and the founding father of American biblical archaeology
    Biblical archaeology
    For the movement associated with William F. Albright and also known as biblical archaeology, see Biblical archaeology school. For the interpretation of biblical archaeology in relation to biblical historicity, see The Bible and history....

  • Albrecht Alt
    Albrecht Alt
    Albrecht Alt , was a leading German Protestant theologian.Eldest son of a Lutheran minister, he completed high school in Ansbach and studied theology at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen and the University of Leipzig...

     (1883–1956): prominent in early debates about the religion of the biblical patriarchs; he was also an important influence on the generation of mid-20th century German scholars, including Martin Noth
    Martin Noth
    Martin Noth was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. With Gerhard von Rad he pioneered the traditional-historical approach to biblical studies, emphasising the role of oral traditions in the formation of the biblical texts.-Life:Noth was...

     and Gerhard von Rad
    Gerhard von Rad
    Gerhard von Rad was a German Lutheran pastor, University professor and an Old Testament scholar.With the experience of two World Wars, the German-speaking world began to turn "anti-Old Testament"...

    .
  • Jean Astruc
    Jean Astruc
    Jean Astruc was a professor of medicine at Montpellier and Paris, who wrote the first great treatise on syphilis and venereal diseases, and also, with a small anonymously published book, played a fundamental part in the origins of critical textual analysis of works of scripture...

     (1684-1776): early French biblical critic, who adapted source criticism to the study of Genesis.
  • Margaret Barker (1944-): maintains that the polytheistic practices of the First Jewish Temple survived and influenced gnosticism and early Christianity.
  • Walter Bauer
    Walter Bauer
    Walter Bauer was a German theologian and scholar of the development of the early Christian churches.-Life:...

     (1877-1960): redefined the parameters of orthodoxy and heresy with his multiregional hypothesis for the origins of Early Christianity.
  • F. C. Baur (1792-1860): explored the secular history of the primitive church.
  • Rudolf Karl Bultmann (1884–1976): a New Testament scholar who defined an almost complete split between history and faith, called demythology.
  • John J. Collins
    John J. Collins
    John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism & Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. He is noted for his research in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the apocryphal works of the Second Temple period including the sectarian works found in Dead Sea Scrolls and their relation to...

     (1946-): Irish scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism; he has worked extensively on Jewish messianism and apocalypticism.
  • Frank Moore Cross
    Frank Moore Cross
    Frank Moore Cross, Jr. is Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages Emeritus at Harvard University, notable for his work in the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, his 1973 magnum opus Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, and his work in Northwest Semitic epigraphy...

     (1921-): American biblical scholar and Harvard University
    Harvard University
    Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

     Professor notable for his interpretations of the Deuteronomistic History, the Pentateuch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as his work in Northwest Semitic Epigraphy.
  • William G. Dever
    William G. Dever
    William G. Dever is an American archaeologist, specialising in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times. He was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1975 to 2002...

     (1933-): American biblical archaeologist, known for his contributions to the understanding of early Israel.
  • Johann Gottfried Eichhorn
    Johann Gottfried Eichhorn
    Johann Gottfried Eichhorn was a German Protestant theologian of Enlightenment and early orientalist.-Education and early career:...

     (1752–1827): applied source criticism to the entire Bible, decided against Mosaic authorship.
  • Alvar Ellegård (1919-2008): linguist, has reordered the chronology of the texts of The New Testament and is a proponent of the "Jesus Myth Theory".
  • Bart D. Ehrman
    Bart D. Ehrman
    Bart D. Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill....

     (1955-): University of North Carolina
    University of North Carolina
    Chartered in 1789, the University of North Carolina was one of the first public universities in the United States and the only one to graduate students in the eighteenth century...

     Professor, who has examined issues of textual corruption and authorship in New Testament and Early Christian texts.
  • Israel Finkelstein
    Israel Finkelstein
    Israel Finkelstein is an Israeli archaeologist and academic. He is currently the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and is also the co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel...

     (1949-): Israeli archaeologist and Professor at Tel Aviv University
    Tel Aviv University
    Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

    , an advocate for re-dating remains previously ascribed to King Solomon to the rule of the Omrides
    Omrides
    The term Omrides or the House of Omri refers to Omri and his descendants , who were according to the Bible, as well as a number of other archaeological remains, kings of ancient Israel....

    .
  • Johann Jakob Griesbach
    Johann Jakob Griesbach
    Johann Jakob Griesbach , German biblical textual critic, was born at Butzbach, a small town in the state of Hesse, where his father, Konrad Kaspar , was pastor...

     (1745-1812): pioneered the Griesbach hypothesis, which supports the primacy of the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Hermann Gunkel
    Hermann Gunkel
    Hermann Gunkel was a German Protestant Old Testament scholar. He is noted for his contribution to form criticism and the study of oral tradition in biblical texts. He was an outstanding representative of the "History of Religion School."...

     (1862-1932): the father of form criticism, the study of the oral traditions behind the text of the Pentateuch.
  • Niels Peter Lemche
    Niels Peter Lemche
    Niels Peter Lemche is a biblical scholar at the University of Copenhagen.-Biblical minimalism:Lemche is closely identified with the movement known as biblical minimalism, and "has assumed the role of philosophical and methodological spokesperson" for the movement.In common with the general trend...

     (1945-): biblical scholar at the University of Copenhagen
    University of Copenhagen
    The University of Copenhagen is the oldest and largest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479, it has more than 37,000 students, the majority of whom are female , and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the...

    , sometimes associated with biblical minimalism, which has warned against uncritical acceptance of biblical texts as history.
  • Martin Noth
    Martin Noth
    Martin Noth was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. With Gerhard von Rad he pioneered the traditional-historical approach to biblical studies, emphasising the role of oral traditions in the formation of the biblical texts.-Life:Noth was...

     (1902-1968): developed tradition history and undertook important work on the origins of the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History.
  • Rolf Rendtorff
    Rolf Rendtorff
    Rolf Rendtorff is Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at the University of Heidelberg. He has written frequently on the Jewish scriptures and is notable chiefly for his contribution to the debate over the origins of the Pentateuch Rolf Rendtorff (born 10 March 1925) is Emeritus Professor of Old...

     (1925-): German critic who advanced an influential non-documentary hypothesis for the origins of the Pentateuch.
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher
    Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher
    Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was a German theologian and philosopher known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant orthodoxy. He also became influential in the evolution of Higher Criticism, and his work forms part of the foundation of...

     (1768–1834): German theologian and philosopher whose theoretical hermeneutics underlie much of modern biblical exegesis.
  • Albert Schweitzer
    Albert Schweitzer
    Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

     (1875-1965): German theologian who was a pioneer in the quest for the historical Jesus
    Quest for the Historical Jesus
    The quest for the historical Jesus is the attempt to use historical rather than religious methods to construct a verifiable biography of Jesus. As originally defined by Albert Schweitzer, the quest began in the 18th century with Hermann Samuel Reimarus, up to William Wrede in the 19th century...

    .
  • John Van Seters
    John Van Seters
    John Van Seters is a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. Currently University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, he was formerly James A. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature at UNC. He took his PhD at Yale University in Near Eastern Studies...

     (1935-): American Hebrew Bible scholar, who favors a supplementary model for the creation of the Pentateuch.
  • Baruch Spinoza
    Baruch Spinoza
    Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

     (1632-1677): Dutch philosopher, who collected discrepancies, contradictions, anachronisms etc. from the Torah to show that it could not have been written by Moses.
  • David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874): a German critic who published influential work on the historical origins of Christian beliefs, most notably in his Das Leben Jesu.
  • Thomas L. Thompson
    Thomas L. Thompson
    Thomas L. Thompson is a biblical theologian associated with the movement known as the Copenhagen School. He was professor of theology at the University of Copenhagen from 1993–2009, lives in Denmark and is now a Danish citizen.-Background:Thompson obtained a B.A...

     (1939-): an outspoken critic of Albright's conclusions about archaeology and the historicity of the Pentateuch.
  • Julius Wellhausen
    Julius Wellhausen
    Julius Wellhausen , was a German biblical scholar and orientalist, noted particularly for his contribution to scholarly understanding of the origin of the Pentateuch/Torah ....

     (1844–1918): German biblical critic and popularizer of a four-source documentary hypothesis
    Documentary hypothesis
    The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

    .
  • Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette
    Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette
    Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette , was a German theologian and biblical scholar.-Life and Education:He was born at Ulla, near Weimar, where his father was pastor. He was sent to the gymnasium at Weimar, then at the height of its literary fame...

     (1780–1849): an important early German contributor to higher criticism and the study of Pentateuchal origins.
  • R. N. Whybray
    R. N. Whybray
    Roger Norman Whybray was a Biblical scholar and specialist in Hebrew studies.Whybray read French and Theology at Oxford and was ordained as priest in the Church of England. After a number of minor teaching posts he held the position of Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Central Theological...

     (1923-1997): critiqued the assumptions of source criticism
    Source criticism
    A source criticism is a published source evaluation . An information source may be a document, a person, a speech, a fingerprint, a photo, an observation or anything used in order to obtain knowledge. In relation to a given purpose, a given information source may be more or less valid, reliable or...

     underlying the documentary hypothesis.

See also

  • Gospel harmony
    Gospel harmony
    A Gospel harmony is an attempt to merge or harmonize the canonical gospels of the Four Evangelists into a single gospel account, the earliest known example being the Diatesseron by Tatian in the 2nd century. A gospel harmony may also establish a chronology for the events of the life of Jesus...

  • Pentateuchal criticism
  • Biblical studies
    Biblical studies
    Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as...

  • The Bible and history
    The Bible and history
    The Bible from a historical perspective, includes numerous fields of study, ranging from archeology and astronomy to linguistics and methods of comparative literature. The Bible may provide insight into pursuits, including but not limited to; our understanding of ancient and modern culture,...

  • Biblical archaeology
    Biblical archaeology
    For the movement associated with William F. Albright and also known as biblical archaeology, see Biblical archaeology school. For the interpretation of biblical archaeology in relation to biblical historicity, see The Bible and history....

  • Historical method
    Historical method
    Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past. The question of the nature, and even the possibility, of a sound historical method is raised in the...

  • Heresy in the 20th century
    Heresy in the 20th century
    Although less common than in the medieval period, formal charges of heresy within Christian churches still occur. Key issues in the Protestant churches have included modern biblical criticism, the nature of God, and the acceptability of gay clergy...

  • Essays and Reviews
    Essays and Reviews
    Essays and Reviews, published in March 1860, is a broad-church volume of seven essays on Christianity. The topics covered the biblical research of the German critics, the evidence for Christianity, religious thought in England, and the cosmology of Genesis....

  • Timeline of the Bible
  • Biblical exegesis

Further reading

  • Barenboim Peter, Biblical Roots of Separation of Powers, Moscow : Letny Sad, 2005, ISBN 5943811230, http://lccn.loc.gov/2006400578


  • Shinan, Avigdor, and Yair Zakovitch (2004). That's Not What the Good Book Says, Miskal-Yediot Ahronot Books and Chemed Books, Tel-Aviv

External links