Posted quite late because I’m retro-cool, here’s a really interesting article about software designed to suss out the various authors of the Bible.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about the documentary hypothesis much here – mainly because, other than knowing about it, I don’t have a whole lot of information regarding where the current research is. But the basic idea is that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) was a cobbling together of stories from several different sources. I’ve pointed out some of the more obvious examples of this, of which the best known is probably the dual creation stories of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

But it’s not always that obvious. Most of the time, we can guess at the author based on things like what kinds of words the various authors prefer using – particularly things like the titles used to refer to God. I want to save a more in-depth discussion for a later post, but it’s pretty easy to see how a pattern-finding algorithm could isolate the various authors far more efficiently than any human.

Go ahead and read the whole article. It’s not terribly detailed, but interesting nonetheless.

Of course, as with any pop-media article on this topic, they have to include the little “but your beliefs might be correct too!” disclaimer:

What the algorithm won’t answer, say the researchers who created it, is the question of whether the Bible is human or divine. Three of the four scholars, including Koppel, are religious Jews who subscribe in some form to the belief that the Torah was dictated to Moses in its entirety by a single author: God.