Critical Essay 9

Critical Essay 9 - In the twentieth century academics began...

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In the twentieth century, academics began looking at the Bible through a different lense of higher criticism which meant they looked at texts to answer the “‘higher’ questions of authorship, editing, revision, and layers of development and understanding” of those authors. These academics and theologians soon found themselves in a debate over whether their work would destroy faith in the religion. Ultimately, their questioners were deemed unheard of because the Christian religion is a strong force in America today. Many critics believed the higher critics work undermined the Protestant foundation of sola scriptura, reliance on only scripture for religious guidance. Sola scriptura meant believers no longer had to rely on the Catholic Church for answers and could interpret the Bible for themselves. i However, as time progressed, the Protestant churches interpreted events in the Bible such as the Virgin Birth and the Creation one way and believed all other interpretations to be false dogma. Benjamin Backon observed “dogma… [has] tended to become to the Protestant church exactly what the tradition is to the Roman Church” because they had a “fix[ed] an authoritative interpretation of the Scripture.” ii Contrary to the fundamentalists, the higher critics
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