The Final Form of the Text
The final form is the text which the Jewish and Christian community has canonized, their authoritative text. There are three separate, though often closely allied, interests at work in the new direction in Old Testament study. The first is a theological movement of which the various varieties of canonical criticism or the canonical approach are particularly significant examples. The second major influence propelling us towards the final form of the text is the newer literary criticism, of the kind associated with Robert Alter, which tries to approach the biblical text in much the same spirit that one would approach a modern novel, reading it as a finished product. The third factor which may be less obvious, but which probably affects the first two, is sheer disillusion with the work of traditional historical criticism, a feeling that it has run out of steam.