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There's Plenty Of Criticism To Go Around

If this entry's title has you thinking I'm hopping on the "Bash Obama" bandwagon, think again!  Give him and them some time, please!  It took a while to create the mess we find ourselves in, and it sounds as if it'll be some time before we can dig our way back out!   As I look at the calendar that says today is February 11th, that means the Obama Administration has been in office three weeks!  So back off! 

Okay.  Sorry.

No, thankfully my NT-Early Christianity class last night finally got into the New Testament.  But not before we waded through a number of the various Critical Methodologies to explore the actual text of the Holy Bible.  I thought there were maybe five or six specific methods, but our textbook outlines up to seventeen!  I did learn two new categorical distinctions of biblical criticism:  Diachronic and Synchronic.  

Diachronic methodologies views the historical development of a language.  We go back and forth in time, watching the language with all its features, change.  We reconstruct the ways and means by which text came to be in its present form.  It explores the history of the text and looks for meaning in previous forms and settings of portions of the text.  These are also called historical-critical methods (historical, literary, tradition, textual & source).

Synchronic methodologies views a particular state of a language at some given point in time.  It recognizes the history of the text, but seeks the meaning in the form the text currently possesses.  It views the test as self-sufficient, requiring no outside information for interpretation.  These are also known as literary-critical methods (structuralism, new, canonical, narrative, ideological, post-structural, & reader-response).

Geesh!  We didn't touch on them all.  I'm grateful, but my eyes are wide open with the possibilities ahead in seminary.

It was a relief to get into things like genres of the books in the NT and the "Synoptic Problem"!