Stylometric Authorship Studies in Flavius Josephus and Related Literature

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The major contribution of this study to scholarship is its demonstration of the unlikelihood that Josephus wrote 4 Maccabees or De Universo, and it also reveals the basic stylistic uniformity of Josephus' works. While various historical and literary concerns are evaluated, the central scholarly tool employed in this study is stylometry, a statistical method for quantifying stylistic features of a literary composition. An important finding is that if Josephus did use certain sources for portions of his works, he has changed them so much stylistically that it is impossible to discern them. Finally, the book establishes a simple, yet powerful, stylometric method which may be used for many other studies of disputed authorship.


"What distinguishes Williams' work, however, is the elegant clarity and consistency of his methodological exposition. Especially helpful for the uninitiated is his brief survey of research in stylometry. . . . a welcome addition to the Josephan literature. When combined with traditional methods, Williams' stylometric approach will stimulate new insights into old problems." - Shofar

"This work is an important pioneer methodological study in determining authorship. Williams has taken almost every conceivable precaution to determine that his tests are fair, representative, diverse, and thorough. . . . Williams' work, because it is so careful and scientific methodologically, is truly trail-blazing." - Louis H. Feldman

"Williams has provided a readable, documented description of one methodology which should be employed in answering some of the knotty problems concerning the authorship of works in antiquity." - John Kampen

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