The Role of Exodus 4:24-26 in the Book of Exodus
Chapter IV – Literary Critical [Source] Criticism, Form Criticism, Traditio-Historical Criticism, and Social Scientific Criticism 47
Chapter IV Literary Critical [Source] Criticism, Form Criticism, Traditio-Historical Criticism, and Social Scientific Criticism There are ways in which literary historical [source] criticism, form criti- cism, traditio-historical criticism, and social scientific criticism [includ- ing sociology, anthropology, ethnology, structuralism, intertextuality, and related disciplines] are distinct. But in some ways, they are insepa- rable from one another in attempting to deal with biblical texts and ideas. Several scholars apply these approaches to the interpretation of Exod 4:24-26. Briefly, this study sketches the fundamental aspects of each of these methods and their application to this text. Source criticism assumes that biblical works are the end result of earlier written sources. Following W. M. L. de Wette and K.-H. Graf, J. Wellhausen championed the view that a careful scholar can isolate four sources from the Pentateuch: J, E. D, and P based on differences of inconsistencies, repetitions and doublets, vocabulary variants or empha- ses, stylistic differences, and theological distinctions.1 Major scholars of this discipline identify Exod 4:24-26 as an earlier pericope of non- Israelite as well as Israelite origin. H. Gunkel and his followers generally assumed and accepted the approach and conclusions of Source Criticism, but insisted that addi- tional concerns of biblical study are also necessary, often dealing with a pre-literary level originally transmitted orally, which soon led to what scholars now call Form Criticism and Traditio-Historical Criticism. Form Criticism essentially attempts to address four aspects of a biblical text: (1) the extent of the pericope [beginning and conclusion], its struc-...
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