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RE: [Synoptic-L] Poirier & length of Luke (and Acts)

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  • David Mealand
    Many thanks to David I for the informative reply, with the specific kind of evidential detail I hoped would be forthcoming. I can t take the issue further
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 3, 2012
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      Many thanks to David I for the informative reply,
      with the specific kind of evidential detail I hoped
      would be forthcoming. I can't take the issue
      further just at the moment - going out this evening,
      but I hope to follow up with some points which
      relate to Acts as well as to Luke in connection with
      this.

      David M.


      ---------
      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


      --
      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
    • David Mealand
      David Inglis provided detailed evidence for the view that the version of Luke known to (and further adapted by) Marcion lacked all of the first two chapters
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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        David Inglis provided detailed evidence for
        the view that the version of Luke known to
        (and further adapted by) Marcion lacked all
        of the first two chapters including the preface.

        The monograph on Acts by Patricia Walters showed
        that stylometric evidence points to differences
        between the style of the seams and summaries in
        Luke and those in Acts which are significant,
        often highly significant. This seems to indicate
        serious problems with the assumption of common
        authorship.

        Broad differences of style between Luke and Acts had
        been noted previously, but the significant differences
        in passages most likely to be editorial form an
        important body of fresh evidence. No longer can one
        rest content with the thought that one would expect
        some general differences of style given the greater
        emphasis on the Graeco-Roman context in Acts, or
        the presence of sources with more Semitic features
        prior to Luke.

        Walters' tests are robust. Using different criteria
        (5 of the most frequent words) and the same method on the
        same samples also shows significant differences. If
        the Luke samples and the Acts samples are each partitioned
        into two sub-samples of seams and summaries then these
        are internally coherent though externally disparate. A
        possible line of objection is that some of the Lukan
        seams contain some words inherited from Mark. If those sections
        are omitted then Walters results still stand, and the
        attempted rebuttal fails. Given that these additional
        tests all corroborate, and in no case cast doubt on the
        original results, it would seem that the authorship of Acts
        deserves serious reconsideration.

        So the further point is to ask whether one should link the
        contrasting style of seams and summaries in Luke and Acts
        demonstrated by Walters, with the evidence cited by David Inglis for
        the late addition of the first two chapters of Luke to that text.
        But that is something I would hesitate to do without sufficient
        further evidence to justify a single theory to resolve two
        puzzles about Luke and Acts which may or may not be related.
        It is always far easier to spin speculative theories than it
        is to grind out the hard evidence to give them evidential
        probability.

        David M.


        ---------
        David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


        --
        The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
        Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic On: Certain Stylometric Results From: Bruce David Mealand in a recent post cited certain stylometric results of Patricia Walters, and ended with a
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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          To: Synoptic
          On: Certain Stylometric Results
          From: Bruce

          David Mealand in a recent post cited certain stylometric results of Patricia
          Walters, and ended with a paragraph including this phrase: " So the further
          point is to ask whether one should link the contrasting style of seams and
          summaries in Luke and Acts demonstrated by Walters."

          In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which Patricia
          Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I
          respectfully doubt whether her conclusions can be accepted forthwith as
          "demonstrated."

          Her specific results aside, there is a more general point. As David himself
          points out elsewhere, stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style,
          but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed. That
          is exactly my own experience over many years with style tests (in English,
          Chinese, and more recently and tentatively Greek). What we ask, and what our
          tools are properly capable of giving us, are often divergent. This readily
          leads to misapplication and misinterpretation in use. It's perhaps
          questionable as methodology.

          Not that we aren't going to try, just to see what happens, but what happens
          should always be interpreted with appropriate reticence.

          If anyone ever used a style difference test to explore style differences
          (preferably within what is otherwise likely to be the work of one author), I
          suspect that we would immediately begin to see profoundly interesting
          results - answers to questions we have not so far chosen to ask, but which
          are there for the asking, any day of any week. All we have to do is use the
          screwdriver to drive the screw, and not to open the paint can.

          Warmly recommended,

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • David Mealand
          Bruce claims I said ... stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed. ... Not
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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            Bruce claims I said
            ---------
            stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style,
            but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were
            not designed.
            --------

            Not so. What I said was that stylometric tests tend to
            note genre differences as more prominent than source or
            author differences. Tests have to be structured to allow
            for this.

            I have no idea what people may have said at SBL.
            My point is that my tests corroborated Walters' findings,
            giving support I had not expected to a view towards which
            I had previously been resistant. I have read some of the
            reviews of the book and noted that most of the points made
            in resistance to the critique of Lukan authorship of Acts
            did not deal with the tests reported, but appealed to matters
            such as similar themes in both works, a line of argument I
            find particularly unconvincing but not surprising.

            David M.


            ---------
            David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


            --
            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
          • David Inglis
            I would put it this way: Stylometric tests look for patterns in the usages of various words or phrases when comparing two or more pieces of text. Depending on
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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              I would put it this way: Stylometric tests look for patterns in the usages of various words or phrases when comparing two or more pieces of text. Depending on what words or phrases are used in such a test, we may find patterns that we interpret as being related to genre, style, or authorship. Further, the selection and/or the grouping of the words or phrases used in any such test can affect the patterns seen, as can the particular statistical procedure used. Therefore, I would say that no individual stylometric test can be relied upon, but where several different tests all seem to be showing the same patterns (or lack thereof) of usage of words or phrases then we should be able to, at least, state that the patterns either exist or don’t. Whether this then can be attributed to style, authorship, or something else, is a different question.

              If we find that the same patterns do exist, or not (at a significant statistical level), in a number of different tests, and have structured our tests to eliminate (or at least minimize) genre differences, then we have a phenomenon that requires an explanation. The question then becomes whether particular patterns of usage are a reliable indicator of authorship or not, which appears to be the sticking point. However, I think we are on safer ground if we say that the lack of common patterns of usage is a good indicator of different authorship than common patterns of usage are an indicator of common authorship. In other words, I think we can at least eliminate some hypotheses in situations where we don’t find the patterns that the hypotheses predict.

              David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



              From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Mealand
              Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2012 9:24 AM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Length of Luke (and Acts)

              Bruce claims I said
              ---------
              stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed.
              --------
              Not so. What I said was that stylometric tests tend to note genre differences as more prominent than source or author differences. Tests have to be structured to allow for this.

              I have no idea what people may have said at SBL. My point is that my tests corroborated Walters' findings, giving support I had not expected to a view towards which I had previously been resistant. I have read some of the reviews of the book and noted that most of the points made in resistance to the critique of Lukan authorship of Acts did not deal with the tests reported, but appealed to matters
              such as similar themes in both works, a line of argument I find particularly unconvincing but not surprising.

              David M.



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            • Patricia Walters
              E: In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which Patricia Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I respectfully
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                E: In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which
                Patricia
                Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I
                respectfully doubt whether her conclusions can be accepted forthwith as
                "demonstrated."

                Walters: With all due respect, I cannot let this pass. I would be
                interested to know whether you were at my presentation, E. Mikeal Parsons
                was not convinced by my research, that is true. But, I count David E. Aune
                and Thomas H. Tobin, S.J., and Richard I. Pervo as experts -- and they
                were/are convinced. It is a controversial subject, since few have
                challenged the assumption of unitary authorship. Be careful of speaking to
                research you may not know enough about...

                Patricia Walters
                Rockford College

                --

                "To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the
                affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and
                endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the
                best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy
                child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because
                you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
                � Ralph Waldo Emerson


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              • E Bruce Brooks
                Patricia, I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as might have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                  Patricia,

                  I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as might
                  have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional idea,
                  but from people seemingly knowledgeable about stylometrics. They questioned,
                  in detail, both the method used and the validity of the associated
                  statistical interpretation of significance.

                  I might add that those wishing Richard Pervo's published opinion of
                  Patricia's book, who didn't receive it a few hours ago via E-mail from RBL,
                  can search it on the SBL site. Its last two lines are perhaps more guarded
                  than accepting. Anyway, here they are, verbatim:

                  "Patricia Walters has now nailed a thesis to the church door. It will be
                  interesting and, one may hope, informative to witness the reactions to her
                  reassessment of the evidence."

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: Synoptic In Response To: David Mealand On: Stylometrics From: Bruce In view of David s recent disclaimer, I am perfectly willing to assume sole ownership
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                    To: Synoptic
                    In Response To: David Mealand
                    On: Stylometrics
                    From: Bruce

                    In view of David's recent disclaimer, I am perfectly willing to assume sole
                    ownership of the following principle:

                    "Stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for
                    authorship, a matter for which they were not designed."

                    To which, as sole owner, I would add the following (adapted from the same
                    previous note):

                    "Use of stylometric methods to investigate authorship questions is in
                    principle a misapplication, and the results should always be interpreted
                    with appropriate reticence."

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                  • David Mealand
                    In reply to Bruce two sentences are more than enough. It is perfectly possible to test stylometric methods on works of known authorship as David Hoover has
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                      In reply to Bruce two sentences are more than enough.

                      It is perfectly possible to test stylometric
                      methods on works of known authorship as David Hoover
                      has done many times.

                      Concluding that results so far demand that previously
                      assumed conclusions be seriously re-examined is not the
                      same as pre-empting the end result of that process.

                      David M.


                      ---------
                      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


                      --
                      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                    • Stephen Carlson
                      ... I would not take the reaction to an oral presentation at SBL on something as technical and mathematical as this topic to be indicative of much of anything.
                      Message 10 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                        On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 4:47 PM, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>wrote:

                        > **
                        >
                        > I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as
                        > might
                        > have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional idea,
                        > but from people seemingly knowledgeable about stylometrics. They
                        > questioned,
                        > in detail, both the method used and the validity of the associated
                        > statistical interpretation of significance.
                        >
                        I would not take the reaction to an oral presentation at SBL on something
                        as technical and mathematical as this topic to be indicative of much of
                        anything. This is the kind of scholarship that needs to be published and
                        carefully considered. The value of the questions at such a session is to
                        make sure that they are (eventually) addressed in the publication.

                        Stephen
                        --
                        Stephen C. Carlson
                        Ph.D., Duke University


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