What Is Social-Scientific Criticism?

By John H. Elliott | Go to book overview

Introduction: Two Scenarios

The aim of this study is to give an account of social-scientific criticism of the New Testament and its environment, the rise of this method, its practitioners and die foci of their work, and the details of the method itself, its presuppositions and procedures. We will conclude with a consideration of some recent assessments and a summary of its provisional contributions. Four appendices and a glossary of selected terms detail and clarify various features and terms of our discussion. Finally, two bibliographies list (a) exegetical and related studies along social-scientific or social-historical lines and (b) works in the social sciences and social history also mentioned in this study or recommended for further reference.

This study is written as a basic introduction to the contribution of social-scientific criticism to the several operations of biblical interpretation that are described in the Guides to Biblical Scholarship series. It is designed primarily for beginning students and general readers of the New Testament, but the interest of exegetical “veterans” would also be most welcomed.

Chapter 1 defines the method and the goal of social-scientific criticism and shows how this method relates to the other subdisciplines and operations of exegesis in general. The two chapters that follow it situate the emergence of this method within the recent history of biblical and particularly New Testament scholarship. Thus, chapter 2 explains how this method was developed to address questions that were raised but not adequately and systematically resolved by earlier exegetical approaches; and chapter 3 offers a chronological sketch of the rise of this method since the 1970s, together with a description of some of its major practitioners and examples of their work. Chapters 6 and 7 review and discuss repre-

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What Is Social-Scientific Criticism?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction- Two Scenarios 1
  • 1 - What Is Social-Scientific Criticism? 7
  • 2 - Why the Need for Social-Scientific Criticism? 9
  • 3 - The Recent Emergence of Social-Scientific Criticism 17
  • 4 - The Method in Operation- Presuppositions 36
  • 5 - The Method in Operation- Procedures 60
  • 6 - Critical Assessments 87
  • 7 - Achievements and Contributions 101
  • Appendix 1 107
  • Appendix 2 110
  • Appendix 3 122
  • Appendix 4 124
  • Glossary 127
  • Abbreviations 136
  • Bibliographies 138
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