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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although biblical criticism in the early modern period is often identified with the rejection of tradition, a closer examination reveals a more complex effort to investigate the literal sense while retaining the authority of Christian culture and Antiquity. This chapter traces the development of early modern biblical criticism in relation to changing attitudes toward early Christian interpreters. Focusing on the Republic of Letters and figures such as Erasmus and Hugo Grotius, it also examines the pivotal contribution of French Oratorian Richard Simon. Simon is important not only for his critical histories of biblical literature but also for his articulation of the relation between criticism and traditional authority. Finally, this chapter considers the ways that Simon’s conception of criticism paved the way for academic interpreters in the eighteenth century, notably Johann Salomo Semler.

Keywords: Republic of Letters, Erasmus, Hugo Grotius, Richard Simon, Johann Salomo Semler, early modern biblical criticism, early modern patristics

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