Historical criticism, also known as the historical-critical method or higher criticism, is a branch of criticism that investigates the origins of ancient texts in order to understand “the world behind the text”. While often discussed in terms of Jewish and Christian writings from ancient times, historical criticism has also been applied to other religious writings from various parts of the world and periods of history. The primary goal of historical criticism is to discover the text’s primitive or historical and chronological context of the bible pdf meaning in its original historical context and its literal sense or sensus literalis historicus. The secondary goal seeks to establish a reconstruction of the historical situation of the author and recipients of the text.
That may be accomplished by reconstructing the true nature of the events that the text describes. An ancient text may also serve as a document, record or source for reconstructing the ancient past, which may also serve as a chief interest to the historical critic.
In regard to Semitic biblical interpretation, the historical critic would be able to interpret the literature of Israel as well as the history of Israel. In 18th century Biblical criticism, the term “higher criticism” was commonly used in mainstream scholarship in contrast with “lower criticism”.