higher criticism

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to higher criticism: lower criticism

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 ?
Higher criticism seeks the date, authorship, integrity, and character of the various books of the Bible, explains Wells (emeritus German, U.
Utilizing elements of higher criticism and published by the SBC's Broadman Press, this book prompted the 1962 convention messengers to pass a resolution decrying the teaching of views in SBC seminaries that would undercut the historical and doctrinal accuracies of the Bible.
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.
He reveals the influence on humanism of such philosophical streams of thought as pragmatism and critical realism; such intellectual traditions as Enlightenment deism and nineteenth-century free-thought; the religious controversies surrounding the higher criticism and modernism; scientific developments such as Darwinism; and the cultural impact of American capitalism, technological progress, World War I, and the Great Depression.
Furthermore, the brief attention he does give to Tract 85, about two paragraphs, intimates that Newman's awareness of the historical problems on the surface of the biblical text reveals an openness to higher criticism that would become manifest in his late writings on inspiration.
One notable sequence of his sonnets is indeed about the Higher Criticism of the sacred and secular classics--those traditional texts providing key intertextual and metatextual approaches to the textual question as it in the end affects Turner's own texts.
Long utilized in higher criticism, which is, of course, anathema to most of Glover's evangelical readers, accommodationism is here employed to assert that the creation story is clothed in the language of myth in order to be understandable to its ancient hearers, and thus should not be interpreted as scientific truth:
In contradistinction to lower or textual criticism, higher criticism dealt with the development of the biblical text in broad terms.
Among the first in the United States to suffer because of his use of higher criticism (3) was Crawford Howell Toy, professor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
He is a member of the Jesus Seminar, editor of the Journal of Higher Criticism, and author of the book Deconstructing Jesus.
The claim that English deists underwrote the American Revolution and the Higher Criticism in Germany ought to be reviewed in relation to this common deist strategy from one end of the century to the other.
German higher criticism introduced graver concerns as scholars--typified by Reimarus, who famously calculated the improbable number of days necessary for all the Israelites to cross the Red Sea--concluded that the Bible simply does not add up.