Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

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higher criticism the study of the Bible as to the authors, dates, and the like, as well as evidence concerning the meanings of the texts. (Cf. lower criticism).
lower criticism textual criticism and examination of the Bible. (Cf. higher criticism.)
self-criticism combined form of criticism.
textual criticism the scholarly study of a written text, as to determine authorship or the original or most authoritative version.