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.
To those familiar with the Higher Criticism of the Bible and the scholarly work on it, my claims on behalf of this small sample of British Dissenters may seem merely like a footnote, a way of qualifying Hans Frei's influential thesis that Britain never developed any robust critical analysis of the Bible during the period in which the Higher Criticism was flourishing in Germany, and E.
Initial opposition was mainly to higher criticism (evolution was treated benignly in The Fundamentals).
All that this goes to show, however, is that the higher criticism of the canon can never come to an end--which is precisely its delight.
She then shows how German higher criticism shattered for many the credibility of the scripture and gave the gospels "some of the characteristics of derivative or hearsay material which was treated so dismissively in the legal treatises of the period" (39), then noting how other developments, such as the theory of evolution, led many to conclude that Christianity simply could not depend on the sort of testimony it once had depended upon.
concentrate on developing a new hymnal for our synod." Judicius concluded that the LCMS constitution mandates the "exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda [and] hymnbooks" and the "products of the ILCW are doctrinally impure in every case." Examples of the "impurity" included: presupposing the validity of higher criticism and "the so-called ecumenical movement"; rejecting "narrowly defined orthodoxy" and exegetically indefensible or "socially hazardous" pericopes; and commemorating enthusiasts and Unitarians.
The central thread of Pius X's papacy was his opposition to Modernism, the drive to reinterpret Catholic teaching in the light of modern science, the theory of evolution and critical analysis of the Bible (the 'higher criticism').
52) "our exploration will erase even more the line between 'higher criticism' and 'lower criticism'"; thus, the phenomena investigated by the source-critic, the redaction-critic, and the text-critic are all aspects of a single process, the scribal activity of producing and re-producing texts by copying, editing, combining, interpreting.
While in Europe, these good Christians fell prey to "secularism in its many forms -- skepticism, German higher criticism and raw secular humanism."
Even here, however, Wolf falls into a trap that may be endemic to "higher criticism": the examples he cites to ground his conclusions are not necessarily games that are widely played.
We might therefore see Kierkegaard's life work as a kind of preemptive strike against the Higher Criticism, based on his conviction that because scientific method and supernatural religious faith could never be logically reconciled, some other ground must be sought for faith in individual consciousness.
Hence a tension developed between biblical literalism and the claims of modernity, including the rise of higher criticism. What is the true meaning of biblical authority in light of a rapidly changing world?