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Reading Texts Holistically: The Foundation Of Biblical Criticism

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Chapter Summary

Biblical criticism, it is widely felt today, has been the very opposite of a holistic approach to the biblical text. Holistic reading is seen by most people familiar with the present scene in biblical studies as part of one of the newer movements of the last thirty years or so. This has two branches, one more literary and the other more theological. On the contrary, holistic reading seems to be a departure from, even a reversal of, the foundations of biblical criticism. Thus biblical criticism, as the author presented it, is a holistic operation from the beginning. It attends to shape, akolouthia, gestalt; and to genre, type, form. It notices, and seeks rational explanations for, problems in any of these areas. It differs from modern or post-modern holistic readings in that these tend to assume that any text can always be read holistically, however counter-intuitive that is.

Keywords: biblical criticism; holistic approach

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