Key Ideas in Biblical Scholarship

Follow the ideas and discoveries as scholars worked to unravel the Bible's secrets.

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Early Christian scholars such as Origen of Alexandria (185–254 CE) study the scriptures and write commentaries on the text. These scholars study the Bible solely as a religious text.

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Christian scholars, such as Augustine, become very interested in theology at the beginning of the Middle Ages. These scholars use the biblical text to support newly formed theological doctrines.

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The Great Medieval Commentators

During the European "Dark Ages," Jewish scholarship flourishes. Scholars like Saadia Gaon (882-942 CE), Rashi (1040-1105 CE), Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089-1164 CE), and Kimhi (1105-1170 CE) apply grammatical studies to the Hebrew text to illuminate its meaning.

1517-01-01 00:00:00

The Bible for the People

With the advent of the Protestant Reformation, Christian scholars become more interested in translating the Bible into the languages of the masses. The proliferation of books also allows for grammars and other scholarship to be more easily distributed.

1550-01-01 00:00:00

Return to Original Languages

Protestant and Catholic scholars alike begin to pursue studies of the original languages of the Bible, the Greek of the New Testament, and the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Old Testament. By publishing critical editions and language grammars, they popularize a critical, scholarly attitude toward the text.

1650-07-01 00:00:00

Philosophical Analysis

Philosophers like Spinoza and Pascal begin to subject the Bible to critical analysis, questioning the nature of God and the historical veracity of the texts.

1750-11-27 00:00:00

Bible as Literature

The rise of the university puts the Bible in focus. Scholars like Robert Lowth and Johann David Michaelis delve into Hebrew linguistics and comparative sociology.

1796-01-01 00:00:00

Lower Criticism

Scholars begin producing critical editions of the biblical text, which indicate variant readings from other versions. The critical editions of the New Testament produced by text critic Johann Jakob Griesbach between 1774-1775 established rules to decide which variant manuscript is most likely original.

1799-06-01 00:14:37

Higher Criticism

German Protestant scholars from Tübingen introduce modern critical biblical scholarship. Analyzing the Bible as an ancient text, rather than sacred scripture, they begin to explore how the Bible developed into its final form.

1830-02-24 00:00:00

The Q Source

New Testament scholars propose that "Q," a hypothetical source of sayings about Jesus, contributed to both Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Key Ideas in Biblical Scholarship

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