form criticism

Life is organized by repeated elements. In particular, speech and writing are organized using patterns (forms) which are adapted (see genre) and formulae which are repeated. The cultures of the biblical authors also had such conventional elements. Their study is important to understanding the messages the authors may have conveyed to their first readers or hearers. Particular genres also have their typical settings (see Sitz im Leben).

A good example of the strengths of form criticism can be found in Wolff (242-245) discussing the "Woe oracle". In many ways his commentary typifies both the dangers and advantages of this approach.


This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.