What is Redaktionsgeschichte by Robert Stein


This article looks at defining Redaktionsgeschichte. It compares it with form criticism. Form criticism is interested in analyzing each supposed source that makes up the gospel. Analysing the tree instead of the forest. If the gospel writers only copied sources and put these together without much thought or editing then this may be enough. However, it is unlikely that this is the case and so a holistic overview is needed. It also states the need for, and respect of, the different types of biblical criticism. It mentions that the Gospel writers had a more important job than just copying and pasting material together. They had their own theology and arranged material accordingly. It also mentions that oral traditions have the tendency to scatter material. People may just learn a part of what they heard and pass that on, and so on and so on.

The pioneers of  Redaktionsgeschichte were Conzelmann and Marxsen. Conzelmann came first in 1954 with Die Mitte der Zeit in which he sought to ascertain what distinguished Luke from his sources. Marxsen then did something similar for Mark’s Gospel, Der Evangelist Markus. However, Marxsen started off his work by defining the term Redaktionsgeschichte and the subsequent discussion revolved around this definition.

Marxsen speaks of three separate “Sitz im Libem” (‘settings in life’) that are necessary for investigating the gospels: the relationship to the historical, earthly Jesus; the relationship to the oral traditions of the early church and finally the relationship of the gospel to the theological views of the gospel writer. The former two are not new, the latter is and is Redaktionsgeschichte versandapotheke cialis.

The important questions of Redaktionsgeschichte are:

(1) What unique theological views does the evangelist present which are foreign to his sources?

(2) What unusual theological emphases does the evangelist  place upon the sources he received?

(3) What theological purposes does the evangelist have in writing his gospel?

(4) What is the Sitz in Lebem (‘setting in life’) out of which the evangelist writes his gospel?


Geoffrey Buswell completed and English translation of Conzelmann’s work in 1960: The Theology of St Luke.


Robert H. Stein, “What is Redaktionsgeschicht,” Journal of Biblical Literature 88.1 (March 1969): 45-56.