What it does is recover older stages of biblical traditions by identifying primary literary or oral genres or “forms” as well as by establishing, as far as possible, the live setting of these forms so as to understand how they functioned within their respective social contexts. Form criticism emerged during the time of the Protestant concern with the origins of religion back to the rise of the unified German state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Hermann Gunkel was particularly credited to have produced the first modern form-critical research sometime between 1862 and 1932. Throughout the twentieth century, the method has served as one of the primary exegetical tools in the scholarly interpretation of the biblical literature. It works well, in the analysis of biblical text, with other critical methodologies like textual criticism, redaction criticism, historical criticism, among other methodologies within the broader context of literary criticism. Form criticism looks primarily not for the date or the origin of a text or for sources from which it may have been composed; instead, it looks for the function of the text the way in which it may have been utilized. For example, in the New Testament: when a passage talks something about the life of the church but not about the teachings of Jesus, then form criticism would say it implies that the saying or the teaching did not originate from Jesus. Form Criticism.
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