The Historical-Critical Method Briefly Stated & Examined

The Historical critical hermeneutical method of reading the Biblical text, per Ernst Troeltsch, sits upon three tenants.

1.) Skepticism — This means one must read the Scripture as any ancient near Eastern text.

2.) Analogy — This means testing the text according to modern experience. So, for example, if modern people do no experience virgins getting pregnant or world being created or dead men rising to life again that means those things can not have happened in the past.

3.) Coherence — This means that every event has a natural, and historical cause and so there is no need to posit divine intervention.

Note that all of this can be reduced to one idea. The Historical critical method reduces to reading the Biblical text with a anti-supernatural presupposition. To read the text “historically-critically” is to read the text presupposing Naturalism. No God, except as that god is subjectively projected so as to create reality. No inspiration, except as inspiration is subjectively spoken of. And so really no reason to even bother with the text at all except for some residual silly idea that the text is sacrosanct.

Also, note that, at best, all that is left after the Historical-Critical method is applied is some kind of Historicism where the interpreter is the one who is super-imposing his meaning on the text.

Finally, note that, speaking generally, where there is any intellectual life left in the pulpit it is generally committed to this type of reading of the text. Here is just one example of this methodology being used and defended by a minister I personally know,

“Some clarification. Genesis 1 is not a scientific report. Genesis 2 and 3 is not an eyewitness account. And Revelation 21 and 22 is neither. What we have in these biblical texts is literature. Literature intended to evoke awe and wonder. Literature intended to sustain faith and hope. Literature intended to give understanding. To read these biblical texts not literarily but literally is misguided. It’s misguided to read them literally and then to dismiss them as hopelessly out of touch with reality.”

Do you see how the Historical-Critical methodology is being used here? We are not to believe the supernatural accounts. We are to reinterpret the text through a naturalistic prism.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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