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).

References in periodicals archive ?
In both A Drama of Exile and A Story of Doom, the free appropriation of biblical symbols for contemporary references rests on an emptying of the obsolete credulities which had largely been dispelled from the literary culture, first by the skepticism of the Enlightenment and then the Higher Criticism.
In his introduction to the reprint of Green's Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, Mich.
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.
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.
Before becoming the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Straton had been relatively untroubled by the challenges that modernism, higher criticism, and evolution posed to traditional Christian beliefs.
Most notably, it brings into focus aspects of Victorian culture that most students of the period have little, if any, awareness of: for instance, the "replacement of the narratives of the accused by the stories of defense lawyers" (xii), new reasons for excluding certain evidence in trials, and the doubt that German higher criticism shed on the "paradigm of the evangelist as eye-witness" (3).
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.
While in Europe, these good Christians fell prey to "secularism in its many forms -- skepticism, German higher criticism and raw secular humanism.
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.
Second, it chronicles the very gradual shift in the study of the Koran from the paradigm of traditional orthodoxy (long taken for granted even by non-Islamic scholars) to that provided by biblical Higher Criticism.