Modern Believing

The Value of Biblical Criticism

Modern Believing (2020), 61, (4), 314–325.


Biblical criticism is the application to the biblical text of critical enquiry such as can be applied to any other text, and especially to obscure or puzzling ones. This is illustrated through a short analysis of some of the background and context of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, and the same questions are then put to 1 Corinthians 13. In both cases it is shown that we understand the text better by attending to its original context, its genre and the thought-world within which it was written. Such criticism gives depth to the study of the text, and does not reduce its power or profundity as is sometimes feared. Biblical criticism is an exciting pursuit, and even if not essential for all Bible readers it is very much to be recommended.

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Author details

Barton, John