On the Historical-Critical Method

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The Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation is usually associated with liberal ChristiansCarl Braaten disagrees:

The material content of theological statements about God derives from given texts and traditions of history.  Inasmuch as Christian theology depends on historical sources, it is bound to use the critical methods of research common to historical science in general.  The aim of the historical method is not only to establish facts, but also to search out their meanings in their original context.

The historical criticism of the biblical texts and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based has been feared by conservative Christians as the deconstruction of the foundations of faith.  Actually, however, the historical method is an indispensable ally of Christian theology.

The historical-critical method is a tool which can be used by historians and believers from every school of thought.  It is not essentially bound up with any particular set of presuppositions, nor do the results of its application favor any particular dogmatic position.
Christian Dogmatics, p. 20

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4 Replies to “On the Historical-Critical Method”

    1. I’m a fan of Braaten as well. A couple of my Seminary profs studied under him (and Robert Jensen). Braaten and Jensen’s Christian Dogmatics wasn’t required reading in Seminary. I’m just getting to it now.

    2. Craig – I agree with his statements here. For me, I can still see the Divine Inspiration even in redaction. Looks like I’ll be adding him to my reading list

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