Source & Form Criticism

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These Gospels are amazing literary works, belonging to a certain genre of the first-century world. Moreover, these Gospels are sometimes remarkably similar to one another. Two concepts paved the way for 2 influential ways that people analyze the Gospels: source and form criticism. The word criticism simply means critical inquiry.

To learn about these 2 criticisms, to consider whether they offer insights into better reading of the Gospels, and to utilize them where they provide benefit are important for any theologian. It will help you understand why people question the Gospels’ ability to provide entirely accurate information about Jesus and the tools scholars use in analyzing the historicity of the Gospels. It will also better equip you to communicate to non-believers who question the Gospels.

Read the following sections from your textbooks in order to better understand Source and Form criticism.

Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus, pages 5780
Green, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, “Gospel-Genre (Links to an external site.)”
In addition, watch a video lecture:

After reading and viewing, contemplate Strauss, pages 5780. Then, in 1 substantive paragraph, agree or disagree with the following prompt. Choose either source or or criticism to frame your response:

[Source/Form] criticism is a bankrupt interpretive approach that denies divine inspiration in favor of human authorship and is based on tentative theories which cannot be proven.