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Stylometric Analyses of the Book of Mormon: A Short History

TitleStylometric Analyses of the Book of Mormon: A Short History
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRoper, Matthew, Paul J. Fields, and G. Bruce Schaalje
JournalJournal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture
KeywordsAuthorship; Book of Mormon; Stylometric Analysis; Stylometry; Wordprint

The abundance of skeptical theories about who wrote the Book of Mormon has led many scholars to seek scientific data to discover the answer. One technique is stylometry. Having first been developed in the 1850s, stylometry seeks to find the “wordprint” of a text. Although these stylistic studies are not as accurate as a human’s fingerprint, they can give researchers a good idea either of differences in style between authors or of who might have written a text from a list of possible authors. Beginning in the 1960s individuals have completed four major stylometric studies on the Book of Mormon, studies that varied in both findings and quality of research. In addition to these four studies, this article presents a fifth study—using extended nearest shrunken centroid (ENSC) classification—that incorporates and improves on the earlier research.