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Biblical Criticism

A) BIBLICAL CRITICISM DEFINED.

B) LOWER CRITICISM.

C) HIGHER CRITICISM.

D) REDACTION CRITICISM.

E) IN CONCLUSION.
 

 

A) BIBLICAL CRITICISM DEFINED

First, let me state, ancient books, even those which are considered scripture, are prone to historical difficulties, as they are written by men/women, who are finite, and thus open to error, or they are borrowed from inaccurate sources, or they can either be embellished over time, or scribal errors can creep in when copying rom one text to another.  BY CONTRAST, for over 3,400 years the Bible has been tested in every historical event that can be tested against, science, etcetera, and come out with incomprehensible amazing accuracy.

The term “Biblical Criticism” describes the application of the modern literary and historical-critical methods to the study of the Bible.  It critically analyses the Biblical text with the aim of identifying literary sources, the manner and date of composition, conjecturing the authorship, and the literary development of the text.

 

In theory, the intent of “Biblical Criticism” is to enhance the appreciation of the Bible through a fuller understanding of its literary history and message.  In practice however, it destroys any confidence in the Divine origin of the message of the Bible because it presupposes Its writings to be merely a human literary production, error-ridden, and entirely conditioned by the culture of the time.  However, when no errors in the original text can be found, one must marvel at the hand of God.

 

Biblical Criticism was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, partly as a reaction against the rigid Protestant teachings, which were based on a verbal concept of inspiration.  Commonly called, “Verbal Plenary Inspiration,” this phrase means, breaking it down, “verbal,” means that every Word of Scripture is God-given (or God breathed as we hear today).  The idea is that every single Word in the Bible is there because God wanted it there.  “Plenary” means, “Fully Authoritative,” and that all parts of the Bible are equally authoritative.  This includes such things as the genealogies of the Old Testament; the disagreement of numbers from one author to another; and ancient city names.

 

We can know that all parts of the Bible are of Divine origin; mainly because of prophetic events (futuristic) that have come to pass.  Jesus said. “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the Law to fail.”  Luke 16:17.

 

We can also know that the Bible we have today is the original.  How?  Granted, we know that there can be copyist errors; and that men may have their own opinions as to what the text should say (their opinion; a translator should only translate and let the reader come to their own reasoning power).  But we know where these errors all are.  How is that?  Because we have about 24,000 Manuscripts to compare each Manuscript to.  In addition, we have over 86,000 Church father statements and quotes of the Scriptures to compare with.  9,300 of the Manuscripts are written in different languages than Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic.  And we have statements from atheist leaders and historians of the time.

 

Also, to counteract Roman Catholic teachings, during the post-reformation period, Protestant theologians exalted the authority of the Bible by teaching what was thought to be at the time, the radical concept of “Verbal inspiration.”  While the Liberals reacted against this radical view by going to the other extreme in rejecting any form of Divine revelation.

 

 

B) LOWER CRITICISM

 

 

It is important to note that there is another category of criticism known as “Lower Criticism,” which is functionally different from “Higher Criticism.”  “Lower Criticism” is concerned with ascertaining as nearly as possible the text of the original Manuscripts from the surviving copies.  In view of its function, “Lower Criticism” is commonly called “Textual Criticism.”  The latter is more objective than “Higher Criticism,” because its scope is limited to an analysis of available textual Manuscripts only.  In other words, no outside information; which can stifle a particular meaning of a word or phrase at the time of writing.

 

 

C) HIGHER CRITICISM

 

 

The case is different with “Higher Criticism.”  Though the higher critic is interested in the accuracy of the text, his overriding concern is to study the writings purely as human literature, rejecting principles of any possibility of the writers being Divinely inspired, or of Divine intervention into human affairs.  The “Higher Critic” inquires into the date of the composition, the authorship, the possible use of sources, and the culture that influenced the text.  It is therefore frequently distinguished in the literary, historical source form, and “Redaction Criticism,” (see below) depending on the aspect of the “Higher Criticism” being examined, and not from Divine origin concepts.

 

Consequently, the fundamental problem with “Higher Criticism” is its reliance on the critic’s subjective speculations, rather than on verifiable scientific investigation.  This statement breaks down into the Bible critic going “into regions where exact science cannot follow it, where, often, the critic’s imagination is his only law.”  James Orr, “Biblical Criticism,” “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,” vol.  1, page 120.  The study of the Biblical text is now subject to consisting in rejecting any Supernatural or miraculous Divine manifestation in human history, thus forcing all the evidence to comply with the critic’s assumptions.

 

 

D) REDACTION CRITICISM

 

 

“Redaction Criticism,” also called “Redaktionsgeschichte, Kompositionsgeschichte,” or “Redaktionstheologie,” is a critical method for the study of Biblical texts.  “Redaction Criticism” regards the author of the text as editor (redactor) of the source materials.  “Redaction Criticism” does not look at the various parts of a narrative to discover the original genre.  Instead, it focuses on how the redactor shaped and molded the narrative to express theological goals.

 

 

E) IN CONCLUSION
 


The negative impact of “Biblical Criticism” can be seen in the increasing number of Bible scholars, preachers, and lay-Christians, who have lost their confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible.  While historically the Bible has been regarded as God’s revealed Word, today liberal critics refuse to identify God’s Word with the message of the Bible.  An increasing number of Christian leaders are joining the chorus of unbelief in casting doubts upon the trustworthiness of the Bible.  The defection from a high view of the Bible is having a far more devastating impact on the future of Christian Churches than any past attempts to suppress the Bible.  Instead, for them, give them the Bible, but give it to them as non-authoritative.

 

By contrast, we can truly trust that what we have, down throughout history, is the written Word of God.  All criticism of the Biblical text has only proved Its authority and reliability.  “Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints.”  Revelation 1:3.

 

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