The term historico-critical is used to describe a bundle of approaches to studying the biblical text which seek to uncover the history of the production of the text as we have it.

Thus textual criticism seeks to reveal the history of the transmission of the text and to identify families of manuscript which have been copied one from another, and therefore to recover something closer to the text before copyists errors crept in, "the original text".

Form criticism often looks for a more original oral form "behind" the written words (of a prophet for example).

Source criticism looks for evidence of a work being compiled from other previous works.

Redaction criticism would build on the results of a source critical approach to identify the interests and concerns of those who compiled the text.

Historico-critical approaches are essentially diachronic, however it is also possible to study the text as it is - synchronically - without asking where it came from or how it came to us. The approach in this commentary is usually synchronic and historico-critical questions will rarely be asked.


This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.