The New Testament and Criticism
George E. Ladd. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967. 222 pages.
Since the Bible is both the Word of God and the words of men, neither a purely human, historical nor a purely theological, revelatory approach to understanding its meaning is adequate. For if the Scriptures are God’s Word in human words then one must attempt to understand the historical side of the process of revelation. Once that task has been accepted one must begin to ask questions about the meaning of that revelation as recorded in Scripture—questions about the original text itself (textual criticism), about the historical and literary character of words (linguistic criticism), about the sources and purpose of the various canonical documents (literary criticism), about the literary forms which oral tradition assumed (form criticism), about the developments and use of certain biblical terms (historical criticism), about the study of the Hebrew-Christian religion in terms of the history of religions in general (comparative religions criticism). Anyone who asks himself these questions of the biblical text is truly engaged in biblical criticism. Ladd’s contention is that evangelical faith demands such a critical methodology in its quest to understand the Bible as God’s Word in human words, and that biblical criticism itself is not hostile per se to an evangelical commitment to Scripture.