I realize this is a broad question and if you want to close it I understand entirely but I can't think of a better place to ask.

From my own reading, I believe there are statistical methods which can be applied to give a text a "fingerprint"--frequency of certain words in the text, consistent misspellings of some words and things of that nature, I'd guess. It seems this "fingerprint" can be used to help to identify probable authorship--two texts which have very similar fingerprints are more likely to have been written by the same author. If I wanted to get an introduction to the subject:

1.) What's the proper name for such a field of study? (I ask this so I'll know what I should be searching for at libraries and such.)

2.) Could anyone recommend an introductory (think 1st year college) text on the subject?

As I say, I know this is a broad question but I can't think of a better way to ask it. Feel free to edit mercilessly.

By the way, I don't think I've tagged this question correctly either but since I'm not sure of the proper terminology, I'm unsure how to tag it.


This type of analysis is actually not a structural one, but a linguistic one. This field is referred to Forensic Linguistics or Stylometry.

There is some dispute as to the accuracy of such endeavors is reliable enough to tell us much..

There are several books on the subject that you may find suitable including one Stylometric study of the New Testament.

The mark of a good commentary, while it typically doesn't provide a forensic analysis will provide a good structural analysis. The Word Biblical Commentary series (for example) typically includes a Form/Structure/Setting section which will analyze the structure of the text and point out any chiasmus, parallelisms or other notable interests in the structural composition, formula and layout of the text with most authors providing a high level overview of an entire book as well as closer looks at particular secions and pericopes.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.