As I mentioned previously, I attended the first annual NINT conference this year. On Day 1:
The first speaker was Dr. Bart Ehrman and his introductory speech explained the various rubrics for understanding the text:
- Textual Criticism: trying to determine the original words in the text (eg What did the author of Mark actually write)
- Source Criticism: what sources do we have for learning about Jesus (Mark, Matthew, etc) and what sources did these authors base their writing on (eg M, Q, Paul, etc)
- Redaction Criticism: How the authors changed their sources (eg., Matthew used Mark and changed him in places.)
- Literary Criticism: seeing the texts as literary entities as you would a story or poem and approaching them from that lens, not worrying about sources
- Historical Criticism: What can we learn about history, like the historical Jesus, from the text
The word “criticism” above doesn’t mean “criticize,” but is closer in meaning to assess and evaluate, and in this way for example philosophers speak of Kant’s “critical philosophy” and his 3 “critique” books.
Next Speaker Next Time!