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The New Testament and Criticism Paperback – April 10, 1967
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About the Author
George Eldon Ladd (1911–1982) was professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. His numerous books include The New Testament and Criticism, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, and Theology of the New Testament.
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1966's THE NEW TESTAMENT AND CRITICISM remains a useful book on the inspiration and interpretation of the New Testament. Ladd argues that the development of "critical" approaches to the New Testament is a fact which, notwithstanding the possibility of abuse, is here to stay. For example, textual criticism has shown that the text behind the Authorized Version is almost certainly less reliable than texts that have been recently discovered. The modern view that Mark's Gospel was written first and that Matthew and Luke used Mark plus a "Q" source, although not certain, is highly probable. He discusses textual criticism, linguistic criticism, literary criticism, form criticism, historical criticism, and comparative religion criticism. One of the best features of this book is that Ladd works his way through certain problems, such as the ending of Mark, the difficult passage in Philippians, the differences between the Synoptics and John among other issues. This gives the student insight into just how complex biblical interpretation can be.
Ladd's presentation of these topics is even handed. He concedes that critical approaches are often used by liberals to reach negative results based on their presuppositions. At the same time, when used "critically," critical methodology leads to fairly conservative conclusions about the New Testament.
As I said, THE NEW TESTAMENT AND CRITICISM remains a valuable guide to New Testament criticism from a moderately conservative approach. I'm not aware of a more recent book that covers these topics from a similar position.