Computer-Assisted Analysis of Parallel Texts in the Bible. The Case of 2 Kings xviii-xix and Its Parallels in Isaiah and Chronicles

in Vetus Testamentum
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Abstract

In literary-critical and text historical studies of the Bible the comparison of parallel texts plays an important role. Starting from the description of the proximity of parallel texts as a continuum from very close to very loose, this article discusses the way in which the computer can facilitate a comparison of various types of parallel texts. 2 Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 37-38 are taken as an example of two closely related texts. The Kings chapters and their parallels in 2 Chronicles 32 occupy a position at the other side of the continuum. These chapters differ so much, that it is sometimes impossible to establish which verses should be considered parallel. The computer-assisted analysis brings to light some striking correspondences, that disappear in traditional synopses, such as Ben David's Parallels in the Bible. These observations have an impact on our evaluation of the Chronicler's user of his sources and his literary taste.

Vetus Testamentum

A Quarterly Published by the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament

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