Hermann Gunkel, a high-ranking biblical scholar, was born in Springe, Germany, near Hanover, and obtained his formal education at the Universities of Gottingen, Giessen, and Leipzig. After teaching New Testament for one year at Gottingen in , Gunkel devoted the rest of his academic career to Old Testament studies at Halle , Berlin , and Giessen before returning to Halle Gunkel's methodological insights and conclusions are most readily evident in two masterful commentaries on Genesis and Psalms Above all, Gunkel emphasized the significance of the community as opposed to individual biblical authors and spelled out the ways in which tradition is handed down orally within the community. His isolation of various family and cultic legends in the book of Genesis and his identification of different types of psalmic compositionsuch as the psalm of individual thanksgiving, royal psalm, and hymnin the book of Psalms has assuredly shaped subsequent scholarly treatment of not only these two key Old Testament books but also other books in the biblical canon. The Psalms : A Form-critical Introduction.
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A leading member of the History of Religions school , he stressed the literary values of the Old Testament by comparative study of the legends on which it draws, particularly in Genesis , Psalms and the Prophets, on which he published works in , , and Hermann Gunkel. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Form criticism is the English name for the study of the literature of the Bible that seeks to separate its literary units and classify them into types or categories Gattungen according to….
Form criticism , a method of biblical criticism that seeks to classify units of scripture into literary patterns such as love poems, parables, sayings, elegies, legends and that attempts to trace each type to its period of oral transmission. The purpose is to determine the original form and the relationship of…. Developed within German biblical studies of the…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address.
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Gunkel was born in Springe , Kingdom of Hanover ,  where his father and grandfather were Lutheran pastors. He eventually taught at both universities in addition to those of Berlin and Halle. However, he was soon transferred to Halle and told to concentrate on the Hebrew Bible by the Prussian academic appointments authority. He went on to teach in Berlin , where he made many inter-disciplinary contacts. In , he produced the first of three editions of commentary on Genesis, Genesis Translated and Explained.