Probability of Intertextual Borrowing: A Methodology for Determining the Likelihood of Literary Dependence and the Direction of Borrowing between New Testament Books

Bibliographic Information: 

Myers, Elizabeth A. Probability of Intertextual Borrowing: A Methodology for Determining the Likelihood of Literary Dependence and the Direction of Borrowing between New Testament Books. Cody, WY: Pistos Ktistes Publishing LLC, 2020.

Description
The curious presence of numerous literary parallels between the New Testament writings is one of the most enigmatic phenomena of biblical literature. What might explain the presence of these parallels? What is their significance? The phenomenon has raised the intriguing possibility that the authors of NT books which contain parallel texts may have borrowed material from one another. Such a possibility could lead to far-reaching implications, not only for matters pertaining to origin of the NT documents, but also for exegetical study of the interdependent NT books. The true significance of parallels for the likelihood of intertextual borrowing, however, has been shrouded in mystery throughout the long history of NT scholarship, primarily due to the lack of commonly accepted methods and defensible criteria for evaluating the parallels. This book introduces an innovative assessment methodology that can objectively gauge the significance of literary parallels for the likelihood of borrowing by the authors.

Approaching the task as a mathematical probability analysis, Probability of Intertextual Borrowing first explains in detail how the likelihood of a direct literary connection and the most likely direction of borrowing can be determined by applying probability theory to literary parallels observed between NT books. Readers are then guided through two practical applications which demonstrate both usage and reliability of the methodology: First, a case involving two books that bear little resemblance to one another (James and Philippians), and second, a case involving two NT books that exhibit many striking literary parallels (2 Peter and Jude). The book includes critiques of published methods and traditional criteria used to evaluate intertextual parallels. Practical demonstration involves specification of criteria for selecting literary parallels to be included in the analyses, identification of parallels between the documents of interest that satisfy the selection criteria, demonstration of how to use the defined scoring scheme to extract the necessary data from each literary parallel, step-by-step execution of the probability calculation with actual data, and explanation of how to interpret the results. The book includes 46 figures, 56 tables, appendices with supporting data, an extensive index of Scripture and other ancient sources, and an index of modern authors.

Publisher: 
Pistos Ktistes Publishing LLC