Essay on The Historical Critical Method

2026 Words Apr 26th, 2006 9 Pages
The New Testament is now well over 1900 years old and for nearly the same period of time people have struggled for the right interpretation of that what was written in these 27 books and letters. How should one handle a book that is "God's Word"?
Before looking at the pro and contra of historical-critical exegesis it is necessary to define this method. One of the many textbooks teaching the historical-critical method "Methodenlehre zum Neuen Testament" by Wilhelm Egger method gives us this definition, "Diese Methoden lesen den Text vor allem unter diachronem Aspekt, also unter dem Aspekt der Entstehung des Textes, und sehen vor allem in der Rekonstruktion der Entstehungsgeschichte einen Weg zum Sinn des Textes."# The finding of meaning in
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Is it the oral tradition that lies behind the text? Is it the first literary form that a gospel or a letter took? Is it the final redaction? When is an edition, from the changes that were made by D to the editing of Marcion, authoritative? Many theologians have tried to value sources that were used to write the Bible as we have it today. This was done in the so-called source or literary criticism of which "the four-source theory of Pentateuchal origins# and the two-source theory of Synoptic interrelationships are its major results."# Theologians argued that those texts that are older, like presumably the letters of Paul, and there especially passages like the last supper liturgy, have more importance for theology than later texts like Revelations or the pastoral letters. Therefore the function of source criticism is to find these "more valuable" sources. This, although it has greater relevance for the Old Testament, because time differences are much larger, has been one of the main tasks of theologians in the 20th century. This would, however imply, that some parts of Scripture are more canonical than others; we would create a canon inside the canon. In my opinion this approach is very questionable, because meddling with the canon itself only leads to great confusion. What should we then take as God's word? However, all results we get from