The Critic at Work: Coming of Age
This chapter flows from the proposition that critical history attempts to apply criteria of facticity to literary texts and that redaction criticism in particular looks for traces of editorial activity — redactional fingerprints — on the work. Two cases in point: the Gospels’ Infancy Narratives dealing with Jesus’ birth and early years and the parallel passages in Muhammad’s Life concerning the Prophet’s earliest years in Mecca. Both the supernatural elements and the tendentiousness in the texts indicate that in both instances the reader is in the presence of myth and legend rather than history.
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