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Literary Criticism and Presuppositions

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Some time passed between the ascension of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels because there was no need for a written account while the eyewitnesses were still alive. In that culture, oral tradition was the primary method of preserving history. Form critics also note that it is likely that it is likely that many of the narratives and sayings of Jesus circulated independently.


Form Criticism

Part 1

I. Final Thoughts on Literary Criticism

A. Only one possibility

B. What was Q?

C. Authorship issues

D. Lateness of Written Gospels

1. No need for written accounts when eyewitnesses were still alive.

2. Oral Tradition was more sacred than written tradition.

3. Centrality of Jerusalem Church


II. Presuppositions of Form Criticism (part 1)

A. Presupposition #1 - Before the Gospels were written, there was an oral tradition.

B. Presupposition #2 - During the oral period, narratives and sayings circulated mainly as self-contained detached units.

C. Presupposition #3 - Material in the Gospels can be classified according to form.

D. Presupposition #4 - We know that everything Jesus said and did was not recorded.

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