CRITICISM, HIGHER. Higher Criticism is the common, but rather unfortunate, designation of the modern critical study of the Bible. " Part of the phrase ` Higher Criticism ' is a mere accident. Crit icism, in its earliest stage, took the form of text-criticism. When, at a more advanced stage, it entered upon the inner study of Scripture, it called itself `higher' in order to distinguish itself from the criticism of the text as a ' lower,' or preparatory form of study. The ad jective is the result of a bare historical incident, having no merit in itself, deserving to be retained—if retained at all—solely on the ground of present convenience" (Henry S. Nash). As Prof. Nash says, the term " higher " offends people by suggesting a kind of superi ority. Dr. C. A. Briggs (lair.) explains in a very interesting way the questions which the Higher Crit icism has to answer and the scientific principles by which it determines the questions. The questions are four. (1) As to the integrity of the writings; (2) As to the authen ticity of the writings; (3) As to literary features; (4) As to the credibility of the writings. The principles are six. (1) The writing must be in accordance with its supposed historic position as to time and place and circumstances. (2) Differences of style imply differences of experience and age of the same author: or, when sufficiently great, differences of author and of period of composition. (3) Differences of opinion and conception imply differences of author when these are sufficiently great, and also differences of period of composition. (4) Citations show the dependence of the author upon the author or authors cited, where these are definite and the identity of the author cited can be clearly estab lished. The other two principles relate to: (5) Positive
testimony as to the writing in other writings of acknow ledged authority; and (6) The silence of authorities as to the writing in question. As to Silence, there are a number of considerations. (a) Silence is a lack of evidence when it is clear that the matter in question did not come within the scope of the author's plans and Purposes. (b) Silence is an evidence that the matter in question had certain characteristics which excluded it from the author's argument. (c) The matter lies fairly within the author's scope, and it was omitted for good and sufficient reasons which may be ascertained. (d) The silence of the author as to that which was within the scope of his argument was unconscious and therefore ignorance is implied. (e) When the silence extends over a variety of writings of different authors, of different classes of writings and different periods of com position, it implies either some strong and overpowering external restraint such as divine interposition, or eccles iastical or civil power; or it implies a general and wide spread public ignorance which presents a strong pre sumptive evidence regarding the reality and truthful ness of the matter in question. See further C. A.
Briggs, 1906. See also for the history : C. A. Briggs, Hex.; Archibald Duff, History of O.T. Crit., 1910; M. R. Vincent, Text. Crit.