What criticisms are called historical criticism? Essay

1 - What criticisms are called historical criticism? Essay introduction. What criticisms are called historical criticism?

Historical criticisms are ways by which historical facts are analysed in order to seek for the true representation of the events that occurred at that time. Historical criticism seeks to differentiate the truth from falsehood concerning historical facts. Through historical criticism, Historians analyze the events as it was recorded, with aim of knowing if there has been a misrepresentation of facts about the actual events that occurred at that time. Historical criticisms make use of written facts that have been handed down from generation to generation, including unwritten evidence and the prevailing tradition of the people involved.

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Among other things, the originality of the gospel has been criticised. Historians have sought to determine which version of the gospel is original. Also, the Lord’s Prayer has also been criticised. Since Papias and Augustine attested to the fact that Matthew’s gospel was the earliest, its account of the Lord’s Prayer has been taken as the right one. Also, the parable of the wedding feast/ great banquet has also been criticised.

2. Why are they collectively called historical criticism?

They are called Historical criticisms because there are contrasting facts to the reality of these events. When different facts are produced on a given subject, it can be said that some will be closer to the truth than others. The account of the different gospels about this event shows an element of difference between them. For instance, in the parable of the wedding feast/great banquet, it seems as if the two evangelists already interpreted the event by giving varying details about specific elements of the event. Also, in the account of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew stated that Jesus gave the sermon on the mountain while Luke said that the sermon was given on a plain ground. The absence of a narrative text in that account also shows that there may have been some misrepresentation of facts about the event.

3. Increasingly historical criticism has been criticized – on what basis?

Historical criticism is facing some criticisms basically because of the nature of the tool it uses in analysing historical events. First, it is too technical and seemingly impractical for the faith of Christian spirituality. It is unfair to separate the faith of Christians from the accounts and still come to a logical conclusion. Moreover, the use of Historical criticism invariably leads to complete fragmentation of text. The accounts are thereafter viewed, not in the context of other events, but rather, in isolation of other events. Also, the application of Historical criticism of the Bible reduces it to a mere ancient historical account, just like any other ordinary text. Also, historical criticism does not take into account the events preceding and the ones following a particular account.

4. Summarize the agenda and method of canonical criticism.

Canonical criticism in general seeks to harmonize the relationship between biblical studies and the study of religion and theology. It seeks to establish a relationship between the literal meaning of biblical passages and their spiritual connotations.  With canonical criticism, the literal meaning of events are first explained and afterwards, there is an attempt to interpret the event on the basis of purported spiritual significance, without losing track of the initial literal meaning.

the literary theory and hermeneutics are the major tools of canonical criticism.

it examines a the whole text, as opposed to just an extract. in this way, whatever interpretation given applies to the whole text as a whole, and not only in the context of the extract.

it also goes on for examine the final form of the text including the process leading to this. whatever issue that is raised (e.g. issues of theological suthority) is done in a way that the issues are thrashed out based on the historical literary description of the particular passage.

5. How does it overcome the criticisms launched against historical criticism?

Canonical criticism takes into account the historical perspective of the text, while seeking a spiritual significance for the event being described. in this way, the spiritual faith of Christians is still preserved. Christians can identify more with conclusions based on canonical criticism because it still draws on spiritual knowledge to formulate its meanings. Moreover, it does not take matters in isolation; rather, whole events are interpreted so that the final meaning of a particular passage would be in the context of events that happened at that particular period of time, not just a scientific exercise at reconstructing history.

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