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The Damnation of Theron Ware Historical Context

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Higher Criticism

The "higher criticism" that Forbes and Ledsmar are so familiar with in the novel refers to a method of Biblical criticism that began in Germany in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Higher criticism brought a radically new approach to the study of the Bible. Using historical research and literary analysis, scholars endeavored to reach accurate conclusions about the authorship, date and place of composition of the Old and New Testaments. For example, traditionally it was believed that the first five books of Genesis, known as the Pentateuch, were all written by Moses. But the higher criticism revealed many inconsistencies and contradictions in the Pentateuch, which led scholars to conclude that it was in fact a composite work by several different authors (none of them Moses), reflecting different religious places and traditions.

Significant books reflecting the new approach to the Bible included Essence of Christianity...

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