German noun meaning a ‘species’ or ‘class’. It has been used by biblical critics to denote types or genres of literature which can be classified. A Gattung follows a certain conventional pattern appropriate to its social circumstances—e.g. in ancient Israel or the early Church—and has acquired its form through oral use such as public worship or preaching before being committed to writing. The term may be applied to an apocalypse or a piece of history, or even to an epistle, and denotes a larger unit than a single pericope. Gattungsforschung is the study of these literary types.