View Full Version : I need help with Project

09-20-2006, 02:25 AM
I am going to have to give a presentation in my Math class on statistics. I decided that I am going to do a statistical analysis of the Book of Hebrews and compare it with Romans. I am going to try to show that Paul may not have been the author of Hebrews. Here is my question. How do I find out the number of nouns, adjectives, prepositions, verbs, adverbs, participles, infinitives, conjuctions, etc in each book? I know that I have asked a lot of questions similar to this, and I thank you all for your help. If I were not in school, then I would have more time to figure this out, but as of now I am not able to sit down and go through the guides. Please help if possible. Break it down as simple as you can, step by step. Thank you so very much!


Dale A. Brueggemann
09-20-2006, 05:00 AM
I am going to do a statistical analysis of the Book of Hebrews and compare it with Romans. I am going to try to show that Paul may not have been the author of Hebrews.

Since language is the result of art rather than science, and vocabulary is the result of subject matter, audience, and so forth, I'm doubtful about the usefulness of statistical studies like this.

But if you would like to see how one scholar does statistical analysis and relates it to questions of authorship and unity, see the various works by Yehudah Radday, such as the following:

Title: Suggestions for standardizing biblical Hebrew text analysis for eventual computer-aided processing.
Author: Radday, Y T
Source: Bible et informatique p 287-293. Paris : Champion-Slatkine, 1986.

Title: Genesis: An Authorship Study in Computer-Assisted Statistical Linguistics
Author: Radday, Yehuda T; Shore, H
Publisher: Rome : Biblical Inst Pr, 1985.

Title: Statistical analysis of formal criteria.
Author: Shore, Haim; Radday, Yehuda T
Source: Genesis p 52-190. Rome : Biblical Institute Pr, 1985.

Title: Genesis, Wellhausen and the computer.
Author: Radday, Yehuda T; Shore, Haim; Pollatschek, Moshe A; Wickmann, Dieter
Source: Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 94 no 4 1982, p 467-481.
Abstract: An investigation, by means of computer-assisted statistical linguistics, of the validity of the documentary hypothesis in Genesis showed that there is no reason for separating the Jahwist from the Elohist. P, however, displays different language behavior from either which seems to be attributed to the content of text blocks ascribed to P. It also emerged that changes in diction are observable which are due to the difference between the words of the narrator and direct speech as well as to the slowly altering literary technique from beginning to end.

Title: Book of Judges examined by statistical linguistics / by Radday, Yehuda T...[et al.]
Author: Radday, Yehuda T
Source: Biblica 58 no 4 1977, p 469-499.
Abstract: This enquiry investigates the homogeneity of the Book of Judges. Almost 40 formal language criteria, e.g. the use of particles, word length and transition frequencies between word categories, are used and statistically processed. The most salient results are that a) chs 1-12 and the Samson Cycle (SC) must be assumed to originate in different sources; b) SC is homogeneous; c) chs 17-21 are homogeneous; d) SC and chs 17-21 are heterogeneous in relation to each other; e) the comparison between chs 1-12 and 17-21 shows this to be a borderline case.

Title: Unity of Zechariah examined in the light of statistical linguistics.
Author: Radday, Yehuda T; Wickmann, Dieter
Source: Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 87 no 1 1975, p 30-55.
Abstract: Die Untersuchung befasst sich mit der Frage, ob im Lichte der Linguistik die Annahmen eines neuen Verfassers von Sach 9 an und/oder eines weiteren Verfasserwechsels nach Sach 11 gerechtfertigt sind. Ferner soll mittels der Statistik das Gewicht der Gründe quantifiziert werden, die für den möglichen Wechsel der Verfasser innerhalb des Buches vorgebracht, und in Wahrscheinlichkeitswerten ausgedrückt werden. Hinsichtlich der vermuteten Zäsur zwischen Sach 8 und 9 gibt es nach der Untersuchung keinen ausreichenden Grund dafür, die Nullhypothese eines gemeinsamen Ursprungs von Sach 1-8 und 9-11 abzulehnen. Die gleichen Berechnungen in bezug auf die zweite vermutete Zäsur zwischen Sach 11 und 12 ergeben nicht mehr als 0,2‘ d. h. dass Fälle wie Sach 1-11 und 12-14 oder andere, die noch mehr Unterschiede aufweisen, bei 1000 Experimenten im Durchschnittnur zweimal vorkommen.

Title: The unity of Isaiah in the light of statistical linguistics
Author: Radday, Yehuda T
Publisher: [S.l : s.n.], 1973.

Title: Computerized statistical linguistics and the problems of the unity of the Book of Isaiah.
Author: Radday, Y T
Source: Proceedings of the 5th World Congress of Jewish Studies, v 4 p 247-250. Jerusalem : World Union of Jewish Studies, 1973.

Title: Two computerized statistical-linguistic tests concerning the unity of Isaiah.
Author: Radday, Y T
Source: Journal of Biblical Literature 89 S 1970, p 319-324.

Glenn Weaver
09-21-2006, 09:30 AM
Dale Brueggemann's cautions are valid. To find the number of specific words in a book, there is a Study Guide in BW7 that addresses this question. The Study Guide is titled "Finding All the Verbs in a Book."

After you do your search, as described in the Study Guide, then you can open the Detailed Statistics Window (on the main BW menu, select Search, then choose Detailed Statistics Window) to show a graph of the your search results. There are a number of options in the Detailed Stats Window that you can choose to show the results. You can also export the graph, or export the statistics as a file you can open in Excel.

Hope this helps.

09-23-2006, 09:00 AM
Dale and Glenn make good points.
It is amazing what BibeWorks can do. But we need to evaluate whether our studies prove what we think they prove.

I think some valuable work could be done showing how to determine whether our results are proving our hypotheses.

09-23-2006, 06:30 PM
I am not setting out to prove Paul is or is not the author of Hebrews. I likewise do not believe that a study like this can completely prove authorship. It is more of a interest of mine, and I had to come up with a project for my math class on statistics. That is the whole reason why I am doing this.

09-23-2006, 09:37 PM
I am not setting out to prove Paul is or is not the author of Hebrews... and I had to come up with a project for my math class on statistics. That is the whole reason why I am doing this.

I've read a decent amount of Shakespeare, and although I wouldn't swear to it, I believe that if one erected a statistical model similar to the one you are considering on Hebrews, such as number of hapax, and so forth, that it could easily be shown "statistically" that Sheakespeare was not the author of Shakespeare from one work to another.

Wouldn't it be interesting to apply the same statistics to say, several plays of Shakespeare as to Paul and Hebrews, and then see how the two sets fare with each other.

It still wouldn't tell you who the human author to the book Hebrews was, but it would sure generate some statistics.

Of course, I can't remember who said it -- Calvin I believe -- but the human author of Hebrews is really not too relevant since the real author is the Holy Spirit, whoever the human amanuensis or other instruments were.

Nevertheless, for anyone who wants to read a very thorough defense, both theologically and grammatically, of Pauline authorship to Hebrews, read John Owen's massive seven-volume work on the subject, beginning with volume I (volume 17 in "Works"). Owen doesn't solve the problem of course, as no one but God really can, but he does handle the matter very thoroughly.

And of course, much of Shakespeare is right out of the Bible --

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixt
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O, fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature,
Possess it merely...

So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven,
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!...

My father's brother; but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month;
ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married -- O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!"
Hamlet, Act I, Scene II.