New Testament: Biblical Criticism

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Source Criticism

Criticising the sources of the Gospels e.g. where the information was from

Testimonia: Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament

Logia: Sayings about Jesus, his teachings and his miracles

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Source Criticism 2

Mark's Source: Simon Peter (Papias told Mark was 'Peter's interpreter')

Matthew's Source: Mark, Matthew and Quelle

Luke's Source: Mark, Luke and Quelle

Quelle: Shared sources

It is believed that both Luke and Matthew used Mark as a source as well as using 'Q' and their own sources 'M' and 'L': B. H. Streeter

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Form Criticism

Focuses on the Oral Period, investigating the forms that circulated during the oral period.

It identifies each individual unit that makes up Gospel text

Part of Sitz im Leben 2: The Early Church of First Christians

Oral Tradition: from word of mouth

Periocope: Individual Units

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Form Criticism 2


K.L. Schmidt: the individual sections were 'pearls on a string'

Schmidt shows the lack of connection from one pericope to another

Hermann Gunkel: 'Bible not written in a cultural vacuum'

It is relevant to compare to other authors

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Form Criticism 3

Types of Form:

Sayings of Jesus:

  • Pronounced stories
  • Legal sayings/ church rule
  • Christological sayings 'Man made for Sabbath not the Sabbath for man'
  • Wisdom sayings
  • Parables

Stories of Jesus:

  • Miracles
  • Legends
  • Myths
  • Passion Narratives
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Form Criticism 3

Rudolf Bultmann: 'Miracles show Jesus' superiorty over other miracle workers'

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Redaction Criticism

Sitz im Leben 3 - The Evangelists

Redaction criticism sees the Gospels as edited material created from their own purpose

Mark: William Wrede (Messianic secret)

Matthew: Gunter Bornkamm

Luke: Hans Conzelmann

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Redaction Criticism 2

Detecting redaction criticism:

  • Sources chosen
  • Arrangement of sources
  • Significant additions or omissions to pericope
  • Changes in expression
  • 'Seams' used to join material
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Redaction Criticism 3

Key Features of the Gospels:


  • Messianic Secret
  • Apologetic: defend the faith
  • Wrote to persecuted church
  • Mentions himself in Jesus' arrest


  • Wrote to the Jews
  • Testimonia
  • Ephasises supernatural in Son of God


  • Universalism
  • Accurate are ordely
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