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The academic study of scripture from the 19th century until the 1980s was almost exclusively the domain of biblical and orientalist scholars who focused on the content and form of particular religious texts and on questions of the history of origins, the history of causes, and conditions that produced specific texts. In recent decades, historians of religions such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith and William A. Graham have advanced an alternative model of scriptural study that gives priority instead to the concept and functions of scripture as a cross-cultural religious category. Scripture as a concept in the history of religions is primarily a relational category that refers not simply to a text but to a text in its relationship to a religious community for whom ...

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