Computational Stylometric Approach to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Towards a New Research Agenda

in Dead Sea Discoveries
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Abstract

The question of how to classify the different texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a central issue in scholarship. There is little agreement or even little reflection, however, on the methodology with which these classifications should be made.

This article argues that recent developments in computational stylometry address these methodological issues and that the approach therefore constitutes a necessary addition to existing scholarship. The first section briefly introduces the recent developments in computational stylometry, while the second tests the feasibility of a stylometric approach for research on the Scrolls. Taking into account the particular challenges of the corpus, an exploratory methodology is described, and its first results are presented. In the third and final section, directions for future research in the field are articulated.

Computational Stylometric Approach to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Towards a New Research Agenda

in Dead Sea Discoveries

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    Frequency table of character trigrams (cropped).
  • View in gallery
    Cluster Analysis of DSS and HB.
  • View in gallery
    PCA of DSS and HB.

    Note: Please note that this graph is intended to illustrate the overall feasibility of the method advocated with this paper. Forthcoming studies will assess the different factors affecting the clustering in more detail, and will provide detailed analyses of text classifications.

  • View in gallery
    PCA of four largest non-biblical scrolls.

    Note: Please note that this graph is intended to illustrate the overall feasibility of the method advocated with this paper. Forthcoming studies will assess the different factors affecting the clustering in more detail, and will provide detailed analyses of text classifications.

  • View in gallery
    Cluster Analysis of four largest non-biblical scrolls.
  • View in gallery
    Cluster Analysis of DSS.
  • View in gallery
    PCA of DSS.

    Note: Please note that this graph is intended to illustrate the overall feasibility of the method advocated with this paper. Forthcoming studies will assess the different factors affecting the clustering in more detail, and will provide detailed analyses of text classifications.

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