The Study of Man: Biblical Criticism and Judaism
A FRIEND of mine was recently faced with the following challenge to the critical methods of present-day Bible study: “If your beloved had sent you a letter, would you set about scrutinizing the postmark, correcting her spelling, and criticizing her style?” To which my friend responded, “If in that letter I had been asked to make great sacrifices, even to the point of risking death, I should like to be pretty near certain first just who had written it!” We might add that if the letter had been written in archaic language, an even more basic question might arise: “What is she trying to tell me?”
These are the two major problems besetting any modern interpretation of the Bible: the “revelational” problem, and the “philological” one, which is logically first. What is the simple meaning of this Biblical text? And what are we able to determine about its ultimate origin?
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