On Biblical Commentaries
In the nineteenth century a major influence on great biblical critics such as W. M. L. de Wette, Julius Wellhausen and D. F. Strauss was the burgeoning discipline of historical writing in the German-speaking world. To suggest that biblical study became increasingly historical-critical during that period, so that a fresh paradigm is needed to make biblical study relevant to the concerns of religious believers, is to argue in the face of the evidence. In the same way, biblical historians subjected the historical books of the Old Testament, the Gospels and Acts to a critical scrutiny that asked what really happened as opposed to what the writers of those books believed had happened. Historical critics, it is usually said, are interested in genetic questions about the biblical text. There is a tradition in German scholarship of tracing the origins of historical criticism not the Enlightenment but the Reformation. Rather. Biblical criticism is concerned with the plain sense' or natural sense' of the text.