Biblical Literary Criticism: Higher Criticism Essay

1511 words - 6 pages

“Biblical criticism” refers to various methods of studying and investigating the textual content of the Bible. In general, it just describes examining the Bible in a scholarly and critical manner. Therefore when the term “critic” or “criticism” is used in this way it does not essentially denote something negative, but rather a close consideration of the authenticity and historicity of the Biblical text. These literary critics also look into the origins and purposes of the books of the Bible. It is highly important for one to realize that not all literary criticism of the Bible is wrong or harmful.#
“Higher Criticism” and “Lower Criticism” are two main branches of Biblical criticism. “Lower Criticism” is the branch that studies the various textual troubles and weighs out the evidence to determine the most accurate textual reading. On the other hand, “Higher Criticism” is the specific study of dates, authorship, origins and overall genuineness of the books. A great amount of Higher criticism concerns the Old Testament, especially the first five books. Let us consider the nature Higher criticism and the fallacy of liberal Higher criticism.

Sadly, most Biblical critics approach the Bible with assumptions. First, many assume that there is no such thing as predictive prophecy. Second, a majority assumes the falsehood of miraculous activity of any kind or time period. In the third place, many of them come to the study denying the concept of inspiration or direct revelation from God.# Due to critics of this sort with their presumptions and rationalist mindset, in many cases higher criticism has grown into something one might call “destructive criticism”. Higher critics maintain various radical theories and they have developed different aspects of Biblical criticism. There is source criticism, form criticism, tradition criticism, and redaction criticism. Consider these four aspects as they relate to the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
Source Criticism
In source criticism, critics seek to discover the source or sources of a biblical book. Critics tell us that there are four main underlying sources for the Pentateuch. Four documents that supposedly formed the five books, known by the symbols J, E, D, and P. The letter J represents the name YAHWEH or Jehovah, the name the liberal critics claim can only found in the writings of the ambiguous J author. E refers to the Elohist source, distinguished by its
frequent use of the Hebrew name Elohim for Deity. The Deuteronomist source is represented by the letter D and associated with the book of Deuteronomy. P is the Priestly document or source. The four were allegedly constructed chronologically in order in which they are listed-JEDP.
Form Criticism
The form critic...

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