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RE: [John_Lit] statistical analysis

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  • Staley, Jeffrey
    I am doing a discourse/literary analysis looking for unifying features in John for my PhD. Steven, this sounds interesting. What counts/will count as
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 28, 2002
      I am doing a discourse/literary analysis looking for unifying features in
      John for my PhD.

      Steven, this sounds interesting. What counts/will count as "unifying
      features" do you think?

      Jeff Staley
    • StevenGunderson@aol.com
      Jeff, I am looking for unifying features on a linguistic level, patterns of clause structure, word order, etc. I am also thinking of literary structure. An
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 29, 2002
        Jeff,
        I am looking for unifying features on a linguistic level, patterns of clause
        structure, word order, etc. I am also thinking of literary structure. An
        example is Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. Both stories begin with
        metaphor taken literally (and similar metaphor - water, wind, etc). Both
        stories are 'bordered' by 'believers'. With Nicodemus it is 2:23-25 and with
        the woman it is 4:39-42. The use of perfect verbs, and similar domain words
        also tie the two sections together. This was my paper at SBL and Stan Porter
        is going to print it in the next JSNT supplement series from Sheffield
        Academic Press. I am arguing that John is much more unified than we think.
        Steve


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • kymhsm
        Dear Steve, ... patterns of clause structure, word order, etc. I am also thinking of literary structure...I am arguing that John is much more unified than we
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 29, 2002
          Dear Steve,

          In response to your:
          >>> I am looking for unifying features on a linguistic level,
          patterns of clause structure, word order, etc. I am also thinking of
          literary structure...I am arguing that John is much more unified than
          we think.>>>

          I think your final comment is an understatement. There seem to be
          many ideas about the structure of the FG and what it is that unifies
          it. May I commend my own. Though few seem keen to consider it, I
          believe the primary unifying factor in John's gospel is his use of
          Genesis 1&2 as a framework for 1:1 - 20:29. While new work is making
          my website increasingly primitive and in need of a major overhaul, it
          is there if you wish to consider it.

          With the Genesis structure, John is comprised of 70 chiastic
          structures (many of which have been corrected and/or refined since
          the website was built) which, with chiasms of chiasms, John used like
          tiles in a mosaic so that the autograph was actually pictorial as
          well. It was built into an image of the risen Christ (as per 20:26-
          27).

          My website is http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/sherpub if you wish to
          take a look. The Genesis structure and its significance will be found
          in Parts 6 and 7.

          Kym Smith
          Adelaide
          South Australia
          khs@...
        • Thatcher, Tom
          Steven, I hope this letter finds everyone well. I recently edited a book with Robert Fortna called Jesus in Johannine Tradition which includes an essay on
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 30, 2002
            Steven,

            I hope this letter finds everyone well. I recently edited a book with
            Robert Fortna called "Jesus in Johannine Tradition" which includes an essay
            on the Signs Gospel by myself and a gentleman named Tom Felton. Actually,
            some people on this list may have seen that book and that essay, and may
            have been surprised to see my name on it because my own approach to John's
            composition-history is not generally supportive of a Signs Gospel theory (or
            any source theory, for that matter--my focus is on folkloristics and oral
            composition). I co-authored the article because the statistical data Felton
            sent to us was fairly raw, and as he did not have time to do significant
            revising I had to rework the article so much that I felt unethical not
            putting my name on it.

            Anyway, you may want to look at Felton's essay, and after that possibly
            contact Felton to ask him about his research. He's in statistical analysis
            and has done a lot of work with stylometry, which is the current hi-tech
            version of style analysis. This is the stuff you hear about in the news
            from time to time where someone is arguing that Shakespeare didn't write one
            of his plays, or that Lincoln didn't write the Gettysburg Address, etc. The
            stylometry folks claim that they use models which are much more
            sophisticated than the old "word count" approach. Felton had done that kind
            of research some years ago on FG, and that's why we brought him into the
            Tradition book. But if you look at the article I mention, you will notice
            that it doesn't actually include reports of the raw data conclusions Felton
            came to, because we (Fortna and I) judged that stuff to be too complicated
            for our book. It's serious statistical stuff, and even now I doubt that I
            understand half of it.

            I mention all of this to identify Tom Felton as a possible source for some
            of that statistical hard-data. But again, check the chapter I mention, and
            if it seems at all useful write to me offline and I'll send Felton's contact
            information.

            As a sidebar, though, let me say this. In wading through that essay with
            Felton and in talking to some of our people here who teach statistics, I
            became increasingly skeptical of the legitimacy of this kind of enterprise.
            It doesn't sound to me like you're doing exactly the same thing; I'm
            thinking here of the whole statistical paradigm issue.

            The basic problem seems to be that statistical analysis can make sound
            observations about relationships among known quantities, but is very
            dangerously subjective when used to "discover" what has not already been
            identified. In this case, it could isolate a Signs Gospel from FG if you
            know for certain that an SG exists, but is not capable of demonstrating the
            existence of an SG if you don't already have some reason to believe one
            existed.

            I need to think through whether the same thing would apply going the other
            way--whether you could use that type of analysis to prove the unity of FG
            without presuming that unity before your analysis. Your research might help
            me with that in the long run.

            Respectfully,
            --tom

            Tom Thatcher
            Cincinnati Bible Seminary
            2700 Glenway Ave.
            Cincinnati, Oh 45204
            (513) 244-8172
            tom.thatcher@... <mailto:tom.thatcher@...>
            "the truth will set you free"
          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
            ... Could you explain this argument a bit more? Suppose I want to test a hypothesis that a signs source exists. Couldn t I isolate the verses that I think
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 30, 2002
              Tom Thatcher wrote:

              > The basic problem seems to be that statistical
              > analysis can make sound observations about
              > relationships among known quantities, but is very
              > dangerously subjective when used to "discover" what
              > has not already been identified. In this case, it
              > could isolate a Signs Gospel from FG if you know for
              > certain that an SG exists, but is not capable of
              > demonstrating the existence of an SG if you don't
              > already have some reason to believe one existed.

              Could you explain this argument a bit more?

              Suppose I want to test a hypothesis that a signs
              source exists. Couldn't I isolate the verses that I
              think could have come from a signs source, do a
              stylometric analysis of these verses and compare the
              results to a stylometric analysis of the rest of John
              to see if a significant difference is observed?

              If there is a significant difference, this would be
              supporting evidence for a signs source, wouldn't it?
              One would need other arguments, of course, but a
              difference in style would be consistent with reliance
              upon a source. If there is no difference in style,
              then this would be strong evidence against reliance
              upon a signs source, wouldn't it?

              On the other hand, I have a basic question about
              assumptions that are often made concerning differences
              of style. Why do we assume that a difference in style
              means a difference in authorship? I don't write
              everything using the same style. If we find a
              difference in style -- say, between John's Gospel and
              one of the letters -- should we assume a different
              author for each? Why?

              Jeffery Hodges

              =====
              Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
              Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
              447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
              Yangsandong 411
              South Korea

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            • Maluflen@aol.com
              In a message dated 1/30/2002 7:18:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, jefferyhodges@yahoo.com writes:
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 30, 2002
                In a message dated 1/30/2002 7:18:28 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                jefferyhodges@... writes:

                << On the other hand, I have a basic question about
                assumptions that are often made concerning differences
                of style. Why do we assume that a difference in style
                means a difference in authorship? I don't write
                everything using the same style. If we find a
                difference in style -- say, between John's Gospel and
                one of the letters -- should we assume a different
                author for each? Why? >>

                Jeffery: you raise a good point here, but there are probably likely vs.
                unlikely parameters of variation of style within which a single author would
                write. E.g., the Pauline letters are not all identical in style, but, say,
                Hebrews departs sufficiently from Pauline style as to lie outside the likely
                parameters of a single author's range of styles. On the other hand, the
                example you raise of the difference between the style of John's Gospel and
                that of a Johannine letter may not yield a decisive result. However, in
                addition to in itself inconclusive stylistic variation, one might use other
                than strictly stylistic arguments to make a cumulative case in one or the
                other direction as well. Does that make sense?

                Leonard Maluf
              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                ... parameters ... between ... sense? It makes sense to me. I agree that arguments about authorship would have to be cumulative -- though a totally different
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 30, 2002
                  Leonard Maluf wrote:

                  > Jeffery: you raise a good point here, but there are
                  > probably likely vs. unlikely parameters of variation
                  > of style within which a single author would write.
                  > E.g., the Pauline letters are not all identical in
                  > style, but, say, Hebrews departs sufficiently from
                  > Pauline style as to lie outside the likely
                  parameters
                  > of a single author's range of styles. On the other
                  > hand, the example you raise of the difference
                  between
                  > the style of John's Gospel and that of a Johannine
                  > letter may not yield a decisive result. However, in
                  > addition to in itself inconclusive stylistic
                  > variation, one might use other than strictly
                  > stylistic arguments to make a cumulative case in one
                  > or the other direction as well. Does that make
                  sense?

                  It makes sense to me. I agree that arguments about
                  authorship would have to be cumulative -- though a
                  totally different style would be pretty convincing to
                  me, I suppose.

                  It would be interesting to find out if my own
                  different styles differ so much as to be read
                  stylometrically as different authors's styles or if my
                  various styles share enough in common to be read as
                  one author's syle.

                  Of course, a postmodernist understanding of personal
                  identity (or lack thereof) might allow for a single
                  author who is also different authors -- so perhaps the
                  distinction would be meaningless these (postmodern)
                  days.

                  Jeffery Hodges

                  =====
                  Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                  Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                  447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
                  Yangsandong 411
                  South Korea

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