An Israeli algorithm sheds light on the Bible

Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.

The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.

The program, part of a sub-field of artificial intelligence studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential applications _ from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the Bible provided a tempting test case for the algorithm’s creators….
“We have thus been able to largely recapitulate several centuries of
painstaking manual labor with our automated method,” the Israeli team
announced in a paper presented last week in Portland, Oregon, at the annual
conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics. The team
includes a computer science doctoral student, Navot Akiva, and a father-son
duo: Nachum Dershowitz, a Tel Aviv University computer scientist, and his
son, Idan Dershowitz, a Bible scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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The conference paper in question is available here:


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