Friday, August 07, 2009

Tim Finney on Analysis of Textual Variation

Tim Finney has emailed to say that he has finished the fifth chapter of his electronically published book entitled Analysis of Textual Variation. The book, he claims, is a step in the direction of creating a method whereby a quantitative assessment of the question of the reliability of the scribal copying process of the Bible could be made. (Update: Tim writes: "
Unfortunately, the part of the book which is to address such things remains in my head!") It also contains extensive discussions of various statistical and analytical models applied to the textual criticism of the Bible (with special attention to the Epistle to the Hebrews).

Here are the chapter headings:

1. Introduction
2. Encoding textual variation
3. Dissimilarity
4. Exploratory multivariate analysis
5. A survey of textual space
(Up-date: I have removed the links after advice from Tim, since his regular up-dates can result in lost links or presumably to old links linking to old versions; so use the PURL link above)

5. A survey of textual space

I'm sure Tim would love some interaction on the book, and I wonder about the best way to facilitate that. We could certainly host a review session, or a chapter-by-chapter discussion. What do you think?


  1. I think the first step would be for Tim to (re)write this document for a much larger audience, since its current form is going to limit the number of participants rather significantly. This will open up the discussion to those scholars in other fields besides TC. Additionally, you might want to have a separate discussion with those in the Statistics/Probability field. Combining these two fields is not an easy task. Many will, of course, participate, but few of those would actually be qualified.

    The total number of TC scholars is not that large. TC writers are just going to have to learn to write in such a way as to bring many competent scholars in other fields into the discussion.

    Mitch L.

  2. Sorry if my style limits the audience. I've tried to make things comprehensible. The statistical stuff is a shock to the system, but I think that we need to take it on board as a field.

    Tim Finney