New Testament Studies


Recent Advances in Computational Linguistics and their Application to Biblical Studies a

a1 Faculty of Theology, University of Navarra, 31080 Pamplona, Spain

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This article focuses on novel computer-based techniques for style characterization which have been tested on NT texts. The techniques are derived from the fields of information theory, communications engineering, and bioinformatics, and treat text as linearly sequenced information. They employ computer algorithms capable of detecting patterns in character strings, thereby permitting characterization of a given text or comparison of various texts. The application of the techniques to NT books has so far yielded results generally concordant with other methods, and suggest that the new techniques, if further refined, could complement other approaches to Biblical-textual questions.

Key Words: Stylistics; Biblical analysis; Computer analysis; Linguistics.


a The author wishes to express his gratitude to the following for providing invaluable assistance in the preparation of this article: Derek Abbott, Matthew Berryman, Vittorio Loreto, and William Teahan, for supplying information on experimental results and expert advice; Bernardo Estrada, Robert Kraft, and Réginald Ferdinand Poswick, for providing additional information on publications and institutions; Dither Ruiz and Vincent Hernandez for collaborating in the compression-technique experiments and the preparation of the figures.