[b-hebrew] Wellhausen and statistical text analysis

Christopher Kimball transcriber at tanach.us
Wed Dec 26 15:38:08 EST 2007

Technology exists for quantitatively comparing two texts.  It gives 
statistical measures as to whether word usage and grammar in the same in 
the texts.  Legal cases establishing authorship/non-authorship have been 
based on such measures and statistical measures can convince juries of 
reasonable people.  But that's NOT the essence of the problem of the 
Documentary Hypothesis (DH).

The problem is in splitting a single text into pieces without inducing a 
particular result.  Given a machine generated, homogeneous text, one can 
split the text arbitrarily so as to achieve desired statistical 
differences.  This is the root problem of the DH. The DH is a subjective 
splitting that inherently achieves its goals.

The value of the DH is in recognizing the Torah is a composite document 
reflecting different traditions.

Chris Kimball

Redding, CT

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