Biblical Literary Criticism: Higher Criticism

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“Biblical criticism” refers to various methods of studying and investigating the textual content of the Bible. In general, it just describes examining the Bible in a scholarly and critical manner. Therefore when the term “critic” or “criticism” is used in this way it does not essentially denote something negative, but rather a close consideration of the authenticity and historicity of the Biblical text. These literary critics also look into the origins and purposes of the books of the Bible. It is highly important for one to realize that not all literary criticism of the Bible is wrong or harmful.#

“Higher Criticism” and “Lower Criticism” are two main branches of Biblical criticism. “Lower Criticism” is the branch that studies the various textual troubles and weighs out the evidence to determine the most accurate textual reading. On the other hand, “Higher Criticism” is the specific study of dates, authorship, origins and overall genuineness of the books. A great amount of Higher criticism concerns the Old Testament, especially the first five books. Let us consider the nature Higher criticism and the fallacy of liberal Higher criticism.


Sadly, most Biblical critics approach the Bible with assumptions. First, many assume that there is no such thing as predictive prophecy. Second, a majority assumes the falsehood of miraculous activity of any kind or time period. In the third place, many of them come to the study denying the concept of inspiration or direct revelation from God.# Due to critics of this sort with their presumptions and rationalist mindset, i...

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McDowell, Josh The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.

Mosher, Keith A. The Book God “Breathed” Pulaski: Sain Publications, 2008.

Jensen, Irving L. Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1978.

Perrin, Norman. What is Redaction Criticism? Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969.

Pfeiffer, R. H. Introduction to the Old Testament. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1948.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004.

Notes and Articles:

Hague, Canon E. (2002) The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, “The History of Higher Criticism.” Vol. 1, Article 1. Chicago Baker Book House.

Templeton/Williams Session 1 Lecture Notes

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