Historical, Theological, and Literary Critical Theories – 01

The Enlightenment’s effect on Scripture interpretation (aka “modernism”):

  1. Scripture is subject to human reason.
  2. The universe is a closed system (“deism”). There are natural explanations for Jesus’ “miracles.”
  3. The Bible is not God’s divine Word, but a book like any other.

As a result:

  1. Theology (what is transcendent) should not be confused with historical investigation (what is immanent).
  2. The goal of science is to interpret objectively (without presuppositions). This was later rejected by postmodernism, which accepts that everyone has presuppositions.
  3. The Bible is not a source document in a historical investigation given its ideology.

How did the Pentateuch come together? Diachronic approaches emphasize the historical development of a text.

  1. Form criticism (aka the “fragmentary model”): many smaller units contributed to the whole.
  2. Traditions criticism (aka the “supplementary model”): one original base text that was subsequently expanded.
  3. Source criticism (aka the “documentary model”):
  • Four independent documents (J, E, D, & P) are woven into one. You can see this is the case since the Pentateuch isn’t seamless. The redactor was sloppy.
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