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New Testament Criticism

The application to the NT of techniques used by scholars in the study of ordinary literature in the attempt to determine the original wording of the various documents and to decide questions of date, authorship, literary composition, and the like. Although “criticism” has particularly negative connotations in some Christian circles-partly due to the hostility of some leading critics to orthodox theology and partly to an inadequate understanding of the nature of the biblical writings-the task of the NT critic is an essentially positive one. In the broadest sense a critic (from Gk. krisis, “judgment”) is one who seeks to make intelligent judgments about fundamental questions which arise out of a serious study of the NT. Thus the distinction between “the critics” and “Bible- believing scholars” is a false one: anyone who studies the NT in any depth is by definition a biblical critic, for he must deal with the same necessary questions that others face.