The Critical Theology of Theodore Parker

By John Edward Dirks | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

BIBLICAL CRITICISM AND
CRITICALTHEOLOGY

AMONG THE EARLIEST of Theodore Parker's scholarly interests was his study of Biblical writings from the viewpoint of historical and literary criticism. He was one of the first theologians in America to appreciate the farreaching significance of this "scientific" methodology. He was convinced that from it would come a general advance in all the sciences, that it would give dignity to free inquiry in the most conservative areas of human learning, and that it Would support both moral and ecclesiastical reform.

His first introduction to the methods and scope of Biblical criticism was a result of his editorial work for The Scriptural Interpreter1 during his senior years at the Divinity School. in the course of his preparation of exegetical and historical articles, Parker became aware of the writings of such foremost German' scholars of the Old and New Testaments as Johann Gottfried Eichhorn and Wilhelm M. L. De Wette. This early interest, together with the encouragement he was given by his lifelong friend, Dr Convers Francis,2 and by such colleagues as George Ripley

____________________
1
This modest publication was founded in 1831 by Ezra Stiles Gannett for the purpose of family instruction. The complete file of this review is catalogued in the Boston Public Library.
2
Dr. Francis was first a minister in Watertown, Mass.; he later was invited to be professor of Biblical Theology at Harvard.

-33-

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The Critical Theology of Theodore Parker
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Biblical Criticism and Criticaltheology 33
  • Chapter 3 - The Religious Element in Human Nature 66
  • Chapter 4 - The Theology of Absolute Religion 111
  • Chapter 5 - Conclusion 130
  • Appendix 137
  • Bibliography 161
  • Index 165
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