Historical-Critical Method

Could you kind folks out there suggest a title or two that discusses the historical-critical method, sort of like an introduction? I am familiar with the gist of the method, but I’d like to know a little more about the particulars. I came across Edgar Krentz’s short intro text The Historical-Critical Method on Amazon and it looks likes kind of what I am looking for. Has anyone read this that could offer a recommendation? While I’m at it, a title or two that discusses multiple approaches to the Bible would also be helpful. Thanks!

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

15 thoughts on “Historical-Critical Method

  1. Stan Porter’s Handbook to the Exegesis of the NT nicely treats many higher-critical methods. It’s a bit expensive though. A less expensive alternative is Interpreting the New Testament, which covers source, form, redaction, sociological criticism, etc. (I co-edited the work with David Dockery.) Hearing the NT by Joel Green is also excellent.

    Of course, all these books are slanted toward the NT.

  2. Matt: I’ve got a number of books that offer brief discussions, but I would like something a bit more substantial.

    Dr. Black: Thanks for the suggestions–I’ll definitely check them out! And, I don’t mind an NT slant!

  3. Jason,

    one of the books I am reading for my class is “Biblical Interpretation Past & Present by Gerald Bray” Part Two is all on “The Historical-Critical Method” about 240 pg on the matter. Which is the section that is required reading for me.

  4. Robert: That sounds like a good treatment (though length doesn’t always translate to clarity or helpfulness!). I’d be interested in your thoughts on it.

    1. Jason, I only mentioned the pages because the book is a total of 588 pages and didn’t want you to think that the whole book just dealt with that. Although he does spend almost half of the book on the subject. It’s been a good read, but it is my first book on this subject so I really have no comparisons to make.

      Esteban has a good handle on this subject so his recommendations would be the way to go. He has read Bray, so he has a better sense as to which one you will benefit from the most. If I get around to it I’ll let you know what I thought about Bray. Big if so don’t hold your breath😉

      1. Robert: I figured that. I’ve not done much reading on the method myself, only the sections in books I’ve read in which the authors discuss various methodologies, which are usually brief.

  5. You should Ed Krentz’s little book, not only because it is a competent introductory treatment of the historical-critical method, but also because it is something of an apologia por vita sua: he wrote it after he, along with 34 other professors at Concordia Seminary in St Louis, were ecclesiastically censored and effectively pushed out of their teaching positions over (you guessed it!) their use of the HCM. I think he (along with scholars of his generation) is much too optimistic about the “neutral” character of the HCM. To that extent the book is dated, and Bray does a better job of dealing with the presuppositions that underlie it, but Krentz’s book is still eminently useful, and also a fascinating piece of history.

  6. This whole subject is rather new to me. It’s one of those things you don’t need to know, because all you need is your bible, yeah right. At least that’s what I was told growing up in church😉

  7. Joseph Fitzmyer has a recent book on the subject, The Interpretation of Scripture: In Defense of the Historical-Critical Method, that might be of use. I haven’t read it so I can’t offer an evaluation of it though. I have read John Barton’s The Nature of Biblical Criticism which I thought was pretty good. He defended the HC method in it but stated that it wasn’t always relevant in the study of the Bible.

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