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a method of textual analysis, applied especially to the Bible, in which the origin and history of certain passages are traced by isolating their literary forms, as miracle story, saying, or apothegm, on the assumption that they were fixed by oral tradition prior to compilation in written form.
literary criticism concerned esp with analysing the Bible in terms of the literary forms used, such as proverbs, songs, or stories, and relating them to their historical forms and background


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