Falsifiable Hypotheses, Alternate Hypotheses and the Methodological Conundrum of Biblical Exegesis

Cynthia Edenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has become fashionable to bemoan the state of diachronic biblical criticism since the application of its method involves subjective judgments. Should diachronic criticism be laid to rest? This programmatic essay engages Popper's view of scientific propositions as falsifiable hypotheses, and reevaluates the importance of alternate hypotheses. The discussion considers the way the different purposes of scholars inform their practice of method and their evaluation of opposing explanations. The methodological observations are illustrated with examples from the Covenant Code and Deut 1-12.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-401
Number of pages19
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH.


  • Covenant Code
  • critical methodology
  • Deut 1-12
  • Hermeneutics
  • Judg 19-21

RAMBI publications

  • Popper, Karl R -- (Karl Raimund) -- 1902-1994 -- Criticism and interpretation
  • Bible -- Exodus -- XX, 22-XXIII, 19
  • Bible -- Deuteronomy -- I-XII -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc -- Methodology


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