Monday, January 12, 2009

Computer Analyses of the Authorship of Hebrews

Apparently a group at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide in Australia has attempted to use a variety of methods of computer analysis for detecting authorship of literary writings. At least three of these studies have used Hebrews as a test case. The essays are available as PDF files:

Statistical Techniques for Text Classification Based on Word Recurrence Intervals

Who Wrote the Letter to the Hebrews? - Date Mining for Detection of Text Authorship

Advanced Text Authorship Detection Methods and Their Application to Biblical Texts

The first two essays conclude that Hebrews shows great similarity to Paul's writings. The last essay concludes that it is extremely unlikely that Paul wrote Hebrews. Hebrews, instead shows greater similarity to the Epistle of Barnabas, which they believe was written by Barnabas. The widely divergent results of these methods makes me question the effectiveness of such analyses.

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