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Please define the following forms of biblical criticism: text criticism, literary criticism, source criticism, genre criticism, and redaction criticism. What is their goal or purpose, and how are they related, etc.?
- Text Criticism: Seeks to establish the most pristine version
- of a text.
- • Literary
- Criticism: Seeks to understand a text using literary tools such as
- characterizations, personification, Semitic hyperbole, etc.
- • Source
- Criticism: Seeks to identify any and all antecedent written sources that have
- inspired later texts.
- • Genre
- (Form) Criticism: Seeks to understand the oral traditions of the various
- cultural milieus that gave rise to a text. Helps us to understand the “from
- where” a text arose.
- • Redaction
- Criticism: Seeks to identify the modifications or editions a text has undergone
- through the work of the editors across the span of time by looking at its
- diachronic development through thousands of years of history.
- The goal and purpose of all these forms of criticism is to
- conduct proper exegesis, that is, determining the literal meaning of a text.
- They each provide different “angles of attack” that all get at the truth of
- biblical texts just in different ways. They’re all related in that each seeks
- to identify meaning, intent, and audience of the original author so that we,
- today, may properly use the bible for our own spiritual cultivation.
What is the Historical Critical Method? Why are diachronic and synchronic issues important for Biblical studies?
- • HCM: It
- seeks to shed light upon the historical processes that gave rise to biblical
- texts, diachronic processes that were often complex and involved a long period
- of time. In each if its steps, it operates with the help of scientific criteria
- that seek to be as objective as possible.
- • Diachronic
- Issues: Analysis of the text over time, historical changes and developmental
- • Synchronic
- Issues: Final result, text as we have it today, the Canon of scripture.
What is the hermeneutical circle? What type of relationship does the text have in forming the understanding of the reader?
- • HermeneuticalCircle:
- o Text becomes literary work when readers encounter
- it and give it life by appropriating it to themselves
- o This appropriation which can occur on the individual or community levels then contributes to a better understanding of the text.
- • The text exercises an influence and provokes a reaction. It makes a resonant claim that
- is heard by readers.
What are the core principals of Fundamentalism? How does the PBC critique it?
- • The Bible, being the Word of God, inspired and free from error, should be read and interpreted literalistically in all its details.
- • Treats text as if it was dictated word-for-word by the Spirit. Fails to take into account that scripture has been written in human language over time with human limitations conditioned by various periods.
- • Believes in Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) and doesn’t take into account the tradition that developed along with it in the community of faith.
- • It historicizes material that from the start never claimed to be historical. Not taking into account symbolic or figurative meaning. (Ex. 7 day creation account)
- • It is dangerous for it is attractive to people who look to the bible for ready answers to the problems of life, instead of telling them that the bible may not contain immediate answers.
- • Fundamentalism invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide
Please distinguish between the ‘Real Jesus,’ the ‘Earthly Faith Account of Jesus’ and the ‘Historical Jesus.’
- • Historical Jesus: Modern theoretical reconstruction, a fragmentary, tentative portrait painted by scholars
- • Real Jesus: The Jesus that actually lived in 1st century AD
- • Earthly Faith Account of Jesus: Jesus portrayed during his life on earth, the object of Christian faith and worship as conveyed by early apostolic tradition.
What is the basic message of Jesus? Is it easy to understand what Jesus meant by the ‘Kingdom of God’?
- • Jesus’
- basic message is proclaiming the joyful news in terms of the coming of the Kingdom of God
- • Almost impossible to define what Jesus meant, it is a ‘tensive symbol’ with many allusive resonances, rather than a clearly defined doctrine.
- o Refers to an action: God is ruling powerfully as king
- o Primarily dynamic kingship rather than territorial
- o But God has always been King of Israel & King of the Universe
- o Not an all-powerful, fearsome king, but a king who delights in revealing himself as loving father
What are some of the titles associated with Jesus? What do they mean?
- • Prophet:Behaved like as eschatological prophet, proclaiming to Israel itsfinal chance for repentance. Refers to himself indirectly as a prophet especially in the face of rejection.
- • Messiah:There was no consensus at the time of what the messiah should be, the word onlymeant “anointed one.” Jesus may have seen himself as the messianic prophet of the end-time.
- • The Son or Son of God: In light of his use of Abba for God, Jesus might at times have alluded correlatively to himself as the Son, precisely in reference to the future consummation.
- • Son of Man:Used title as a modest circumlocution referring to himself as a member of a larger group or simply as a man… the early church then interpreted this as a title referring to Jesus at the parousia.
- • Lord: Jesuswas addressed as Lord, but it had a wide spectrum of meaning extending from apolite “sir” to a title for God.
- • Charismatic Holy Man: Jesus may have reflected a particular type of popular, charismatic Galilean piety around at the time that would inevitably clash with the moreinstitutional forma of Judaism.
What does the term ‘Messiah’ mean according to J. Meier?
• Messiah means “anointed one”
What was the earliest form of Christian literature? What is the date for the development of the Pauline literature? Please identify the earliest works.
- • The earliest form of Christian literature is the letter
- • Pauline literature was written in the 50’s and early 60’s AD
- • Earliest works were 1 Thess, Gal, Phil, Phlm, 1&2 Cor, and Rom.
What Gospel was written first? When was it written? When were the other Gospels written?
- • Mark was the 1st Gospel written
- • Written in the 60’s or just after 70 AD
- • Matthew and Luke written 10 – 20 years after Mark. John was written around 90 – 100 AD
What were some of the other forms of Christian literature that developed? How are they different from the Gospel form of literature?
- • Acts of the Apostles: (Part 2 of Luke’s Gospel) Concerned with how Christianity grew and
- spread while being faithful to the original commands of Christ. Not very eschatological.
- • Revelation: Apocalyptic literature, parallels events on earth and in heaven, uses symbolic language that modern readers may not understand, assures readers that God will make them victorious.
- • Letter /Epistle / Diatribe: Primary form of literary production for the 1st Christians was the epistle or letter, even later works that weren’t letters were classified as such, but their content is closer to that of a homily or a type of rhetoric better known as diatribe.
- • Gospels:The Gospels offered an account of Jesus’ words and deeds remarkably absent from the literature discussed above.
What were three important criteria by which the 1st books of the NT were preserved and later added to the Canon?
- • Apostolic origin, real or putative
- • Importance of addressed Christian Community
- • Conformity with the rule of faith
When was there a general consensus on the finalized form of the Canon of the NT? What were the last books of the NT to be added to the Canon?
- • Consensus was reached in the late 4th century
- • Last books added: Hebrew, Revelation, James, 2&3 John, Jude, 2 Peter
What are the various forms of Biblical criticisms that Brown describes in the chapter 2? How does he define each one?
- • Textual Criticism: The comparison of the diversities in Greek copies. There are no extant copies of the NT from the time it was written.
- • Historical Criticism: Trying to understand the literal sense of what the authors were trying to say about Jesus.
- • Source Criticism: The study of any and all antecedent writings from which the NT writers drew their info. Authors were probably not eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life. Trace things back to oral tradition.
- • Form Criticism: Investigating the literary genre of a specific work of literature.
- • Redaction Criticism: Study of how the final editor included/excluded specific material for the NT writings, this reflects theological emphasis of the author’s intent.
- • Canonical Criticism: Study of how all the books of the NT came together to form the official canon.
- • Structuralism: Concentrates on the final form of the text, seeks to develop an analysis of the overall structure of the text.
- • Narrative Criticism: Analysis of the gospels as stories.
- • Rhetorical Criticism: Analyzes the strategies used by the author to make what was recounted effective.
- • SocialCriticism: Studies the text as a reflection of and a response to the social and cultural settings in which it was produced.
- • Advocacy Criticism: Umbrella title for liberationalist, African- American, Feminist, and other related studies. Proponents advocate that results be used to change today’s social, political, or religious situation
What are the four positions on Inspiration that Brown describes in the Chapter? Which one does he feel is most suitable to support the Catholic Tradition?
- • No Inspiration: Bible was not inspired by God.
- • Scholarly Inappropriate Discussion: Not germane to academic discussion, not excluding it, but says it has no place in scholarship
- • Fundamentalists: Believe that divine inspiration is so dominant that the limitations of the human authors become irrelevant. God communicates through scripture and responds to all problems of all times, even those the human authors were unaware of.
- Intermediate Position: (CATHOLIC POSITION) Accepts inspiration, however, inspiration does not take away human limitations. Authors were addressing those of their own period. God did not override all human
- limitations, rather, He sent the Holy Spirit as a living aid in ongoing interpretation.
What are the various views on revelation that Brown describes? Which one is most suitable to the Catholic Tradition of Biblical hermeneutics?
- • Radical Christians: No revelation from NT
- • Not Important for Academic Discussions
- • Conservative Christians: Every word of Scripture constitutes a divine communication of truth to human beings.
- • Scripture is Not Revelation, but Contains Revelation:
- • Catholic View: Revelation involves both God’s action for human salvation and the interpretation of that action by those whom God has readied and guided for that purpose (Magisterium).
How does Brown define the literal sense of scripture? Is it the same as fundamentalism? What are some of the other senses of scripture besides the literal sense?
- • Literal Sense: The intended message that the author wanted to convey to his audience.
- *Not the same as fundamentalism. Fundamentalism believes that biblical texts should not be interpreted, while the literal sense leads one to investigate the deeper meaning beyond the author’s words.
- • Fuller Sense: Looks at OT and NT together to draw links between the two, must have wide agreement on interpretation among Church leaders, meaning intended by God that may not have been understood by human authors.
Some historical figures have insisted on the hermeneutical principle that some books of the Bible are more important than others. For example Martin Luther stressed the primacy of Paul’s epistles over the letter of James. Given the presence of conflicting passages, how would you respond to this interpretative methodology?
- • The Gospels have primacy among books of the NY
- • However, one cannot quote select biblical passages/books isolated from the rest of the text. If one does it may reflect a defect in their own perception of Christianity.
Name and describe the four textual families as presented by R. Brown.
- • Alexandrian: Most important, large Christian center in the 2nd century. Many manuscripts were copied in Greek.
- • Western: Group of texts written in N. Africa, Italy, and Gaul (France).
- • Caesarean: Important Christian center in Palestine in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Based on Egyptian texts.
- • Byzantine: (KOINE=COMMON) Late and secondary development that synthesized texts and got rid of texts that were difficult/confusing to the faithful. Used in the Liturgy.
Name and describe the three types of Greek manuscripts as presented by R. Brown. What is the time frame for their development?
- • Papyri: Found in Egypt, written on papyrus (very brittle), dates from the 2nd to 8th centuries.
- • Great Uncial Codices: Consists of vellum or parchment with writing in Greek block letters. Legalization of Christianity by Constantine
- allowed for the copying and preservation of documents. Dates from the 3rd to 9th centuries.
- • Miniscules: Written in a cursive style of Greek. Started appearing in the 9th century. Nearly 2,900 NT manuscripts in this script.
Which pre-reformation scholar lays the foundation for the work that eventually leads to the King James translation of the Bible?
• Erasmus: Scholar of the 16th century
How did the Catholic Church develop its canon?
On the basis of long and steady use in the liturgy
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