Strengths and Weaknesses of Criticisms


Redaction Strengths

"the child of source criticism and form criticism" Harrington. Called this as it helps our understanding of the author and his choice of sources

Recognises they were real authors, Form criticics just strung "pearls on a string" 1919 Schmidt

Portrays writers as men of faith.

They were more than compliers, they were creative, artistic authors

Reminds us gospels are not historical but theological. They have their own purpose and unique identity

Conzelmann used it to prove Luke wasn't a historian but a theologian writing a salvation history

Insight into concerns of early churches, and challenged of their communities, Widow of Nain shows plight of widows at time. This would have encouraged Lukan audience to help widows.

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Redaction Weaknesses

Over analyse and over theologise, especially with parables

Criticized for making assumption about minor diferences in the gospels, so we might not understand Luke's true message

If we focus too much on the editing we can lose sight of what the evangelist thought was important

Often what critics have identified as redactional is considered as being not historically accurate

Depends on 4 source theory, so if this collapses so do their theories.

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Form Strengths

Light on earliest period of church (oral period) before gospels were written down

Stories and sayings selected and preserved. Gave us insight into concerns, challeneges, and worship of early Christian communities and so form criticism could be seen as necessary for an understanding of Luke's message.

Pointed to possibility of identifying Jesus' actual words

Insight into meaning on the material, ex. focus for story about calming the storm isn't on the miracle but on the identity of jesus.

Foundation for redaction criticism as it reveals editorial work of the gospel writer.

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Form Weaknesses

Operates on assumption tthat the oral period was exclusively oral, and it is likely disciples of Jesus took notes on Jesus' teachings.

Beginning of Luke speaks of many written sources which would imply more than Q and Mark

Some stories don't fit a form category, ex. Confession of Peter

Gospels shaped by faith but extreme views ignore fact there as eyewitnesses and these must be credited

Untrue the evangelists were no more than stringers on beads, they're real authors, and every gospel is built around a theological framework.

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Source Strengths

Aim isn't to pick apart gospels, but aid our understanding as it emphasises the similarities and differences of each gospel.

Can assist in identifying earliest sources behind gospels

By looking at how gospel writer edited his sources (redaction) we can identify their theology

Form criticism assisted by source

Repeated use of stories or sayings show them to be the most reliable and historically accurate as they've appeared in several independent sources

Use of eye witness accounts helps clarify that material is a credible and reliable account of Jesus, in prologue Luke writes "many have undertaken to draw u an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses".

Seeks to identify sources and discover historical reliability

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Source Weaknesses

Little agreement on synoptic problem with many different theories

Don't know origins of many sources, ex. Q - as it isn't in existence today and it is seen as a shapeless mass of sayings and teachings of Jesus withn no real structure or setting

Does "demolition job"

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Narrative Strengths

Enables reader to focus on text and view it as a whole. Set out to examine gospel in its entirety

Doesn't do "demolition job" of form and source which fragement the gospel into written or oral sources.

Any passage will relate to other parts of gospel which Tannehill describes as "episodal"

Focus on emotional impact gospel narratives have on reader

Luke can be explored by reading it

Solution to synoptic problem no longer required as you can read Luke without referencing it to other gospels.

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Narrative Weaknesses

Rather subjective, you can take out meaning you brought to the story

Every reader has own values... they bring a "pre-understanding" of the text

Not a novel as it speaks of historical figures and events, often disregards historical backgrounf of the text seeing it as irrelevant

Some feel use of modern literary criticsim isn't appropriate to analyse and understand ancient text

Some say its theory is too clever. Tuckett says of Tannehill that he isn't "entirely persuasive"

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