Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The modern scholarly engagement with the Bible and the Quran in the western world has been dominated by what is customarily called ‘historical criticism’ or ‘the historical-critical method’. Hence, any student of historical interactions and structural homologies within the Abrahamic family of religions does well to give some thought to the hermeneutical underpinnings of this particular approach to scriptural interpretation. This chapter is meant to assist in such a self-reflective endeavour. After a concise sketch of the basic assumptions governing pre-modern scriptural exegesis, the chapter employs Benedict Spinoza’s (d. 1677) Tractatus theologico-politicus (1670) as a point of departure for characterizing the key features and presuppositions of historical-critical hermeneutics. It then considers the latter’s putative debt to miscellaneous ancient, medieval, and early modern developments and provides a summary account of the subsequent history of historical-critical readings of the Bible and the Quran.

Keywords: Spinoza, Bible, Quran, scripture, exegesis, hermeneutics, historical criticism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.