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Theological Term of the Week

redaction criticism
The “study of the role of the redactor (editor) in the final composition of the biblical text”;

(Evangelical redaction criticism presupposes the supernatural nature of scripture, and is used to zero in on the particular theological objectives of a biblical author. But more commonly, redaction criticism is done from anti-supernatural presuppositions, and used to confirm the (supposedly) human origin of scripture. Some of the linked articles under Learn More below denounce redaction criticism generally, but they do so under the assumption that all redaction criticism has anti-supernatural presuppositions.)

  • From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer:
    [W]hile many biblical authors had both firsthand knowledge of events (e.g., the apostle John) and oral and written sources from which to draw (e.g., Luke 1:1-4), the redactor ultimately showed his theological interests and purposes through selecting, omitting, editing, and summarizing the material for his text. (Of course, Christians assume the Holy Spirit was working through the redactors in this process.) 

Learn more:

  1. Compelling Truth: Redaction criticism and higher criticism - What are they?
  2. Theopedia: Biblical criticism
  3. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: What Is Redaction Criticism?
  4. D. A. Carson: Redaction Criticism: On the Legitimacy and Illegitimacy of a Literary Tool 
  5. Dr. Robert Stein: Redaction Criticism (audio)

Related terms:

Filed under Scripture

1From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer, page 301. 

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