Criticizingthe New Testament
Criticizingthe New Testament
Redactioncriticism is a practise that has gained much interest in recenttimes. It defines a model applied by different commentators andcopyists of early biblical writing with a view of making the eventsin the Bible appear more inspirational, miraculous and legitimate(Village, 2013). At first, the act was practiced on the four gospelsbut was later expanded to included books in the Old Testament.Initially, most scholars assumed that the Bible was an accurateaccount of events as they happened, and that the authors werecompilers of tradition (Elwell & Yarbrough, 2013). However,redaction criticism has shown that in the course of recording theseevents the writers became authors in their right and began toincorporate their own religious philosophy in their writings. Whileevaluating the gospels, the individual approaches emerge as oneevaluates what the authors chose to include or omit and by alsoevaluating the editing and construction of their accounts.
Thetheory of redaction criticism helps us understand the New Testamentby filling in the blanks left by one account and recorded in another.Additionally, it helps disprove the notion that the early Christianswere perfect by allowing us to see that the accounts were adjusted bytheir author (Village, 2013). For instance. Mark chapter 4:35-41 andMathew 8: 23-27 both describe the calming of the storm. However,marks account is amplified to make it sound more miraculous whileMathew’s account is put it in a clear manner that one can relatewith while reading the gospel.
Apartfrom redaction criticism, there are other strategies applied byacademics while reading the New Testament. Firstly, there is formcriticism which involves the classification of different materials asfound in Scriptures by genres like miracles, parables and the likes.The theory also identifies the life setting of each event. Thestrategy helps a reader to understand the behavior of the masses inthe area and how the events influenced people’s reactions (Horrell,2015). Secondly, there is historical criticism. Here, scholars takebiblical account in the same manner as they would other ancient textsas opposed to assuming the scripture are an accurate account. Usingthis method they reconstruct the lives of famous people like Jesusand Paul using different historical books in order to understandtheir role in Christianity. Historical criticism enables thescholars to be able to verify the accounts in the Bible independentlyand thus making it easier to understand the events contained in theGospels.
Theseapproaches of reading the New Testament should be used to enablethose that doubt the accuracy of the accounts in the bible to verifythem using these methods and thus enhancing their understanding.However, it is important to note that the current form of the NewTestament is our canon and unlike the early church, the currentsociety does not have the power to change it (Kennedy, 2014). Thus,the use of these approaches should be limited as they may lead togreater confusion especially when the individual using the proceduresis not well versed in the scripture.
Thecurrent cannon was arrived at during the council of Hippo that tookplace around 393 AD by the church furthers (Clark, 2016). I believethat they would advise use to use the canon of the New Testament inits current form. The current society should be contented withknowing that the fathers of the church did their best to ensure thatall the materials that needed to be put in the Bible were placedthere. Additionally, they would remind us that our scrutiny of theBible is in vain given that two millenniums have passed since theevents occurred and thus we do not have the abundance of resourcethat they had to further evaluate the canon of the New Testament. Itwould be their opinion that they were better placed to make thescrutiny and the final result was the best that the society couldhave gotten, and thus we should continue using the New Testament inits current form.
Clark,E. A. (2016). Arthur Cleveland Coxe, the Ante-Nicene Fathers, andRoman Catholicism. Anglican and Episcopal History, 85(2), 164.
Elwell,W. A., & Yarbrough, R. W. (2013). Encountering the New Testament(Encountering Biblical Studies): A Historical and Theological Survey.Baker Books.
Horrell,D. G. (2015). The Bible and the environment: Towards a criticalecological biblical theology. Routledge.
Kennedy,G. A. (2014). New Testament interpretation through rhetoricalcriticism. UNC Press Books.
Village,R. D. A. (2013). The Bible and lay people: An empirical approach toordinary hermeneutics. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..