higher criticism

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higher criticism,

name given to a type of biblical criticism distinguished from textual or lower criticism. It seeks to interpret text of the Bible free from confessional and dogmatic theology. Higher criticism sought to apply the Bible to the same principles of science and historical method applied to secular works. It was largely dependent upon the study of internal evidence, although available data from linguistics and archaeology were also incorporated. The primary questions concerned the determination of the authenticity and likely chronological order of different sources of a text, as well as the identity and authorial intent of the writers. Higher criticism began most notably with the French scholar Jean Astruc's work (mid-18th cent.) on the sources of the Pentateuch. It was continued by German scholars such as Johann Salomo Semler (1725–91), Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752–1827), Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792–1860), and Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918). Not only did these scholars dispute one another's findings, they were bitterly attacked by others, who felt their criticisms discredited Christianity. Higher criticism has been increasingly abandoned for other methodologies, such as narrative criticism and canonical criticism, and the term itself has largely fallen into disuse.


See E. Krentz, The Historical-Critical Method (1975); J. Rogerson, Old Testament Criticism in the Nineteenth Century (1985); H. G. Reventlow, The Authority of the Bible and the Rise of the Modern World (1985).

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References in periodicals archive ?
of Virginia Press, 2011], Charles LaPorte defines the Higher Criticism succinctly as "the revolutionary practice of studying the Christian scriptures as the collected poetry and mythology of an ancient, primitive people" (p.
This is to say that the Higher Criticism interpolated stadial history into Biblical texts themselves, and pointed to the differences in style, vocabulary, and historical reference among various portions of the text as evidence of the unity of the basic belief structure that it represented.
The Higher Criticism has sometimes been seen as a direct assault on typological readings of the Bible, because it ratcheted down the claim that the Bible might be seen as a prophetic book, whose accuracy about the past was a warrant for its accuracy about the future.
(52.) Robert Watts, "The Post-exilic Period," in Lex Mosaica or the Law of Moses and the Higher Criticism, ed.
(57.) Matthew Leitch, Deuteronomy: The Key to the Higher Criticism of the Old Testament (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1905]), 6-7.
If Lessing is the main figure on the higher criticism here (see Volume II for J.
In reflecting on the issue of "how to believe" in Browning, Loesberg contends that critics have become increasingly aware of the legacy of the higher criticism and yet "have refused to accept how completely this meant that his justification for belief wound up reproducing the Higher Critical position about the historical reality of Christianity, with the addition of an epistemologically daring and dangerous justification of willed belief in an object accepted as possibly fictional" (p.
(20.) Review of The Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch, by W.
Eckelmann Jr., Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1977), 59-60, 105-23; Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time, 122, 134; Ronald Youngblood, How It All Began: A Biblical Commentary for Laymen: Genesis 1-11 (Ventura, Cal.: Regal Books, 1980), 89-91; Youngblood, introduction to The Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch, vi (quotation); Davis A.
(9) Significantly, Clough composed most of "Why should I say ...?" shortly after reading the Higher Criticism of David Friedrich Strauss, when he was racked by doubts about the historicity of the Gospels and while contemplating the resignation of his position at Oriel College, Oxford.
Indeed, he locates Spasm at the religious heart of Western culture, for "the Bible," seen in this light, is also chiefly "a mass of beautiful figures." Gilfillan's explanation of the Bible's poetic nature, one may observe, could pass for a pastiche of the Higher Criticism. But far from capitulating to what he calls "the startling objections to the Bible which have arrived from across the German Ocean" (p.
Consistently with the biblical criticism that arose in France in the eighteenth century, went to England and Germany, and became the Higher Criticism, Elizabeth Barrett writes a poem whose topics and contentions include the mental and cultural acts of interpretation--A Drama of Exile and Ingelow's A Story of Doom are about the interpretative acts which they (and their genres) perform in social and personal frames of reference and not only in the domain of literary simulations.