A statistical investigation into the provenance of De Doctrina Christiana, attributed to John Milton.
The aim of this study is to conduct an objective investigation into the provenance of De Doctrina
Christiana, a theological treatise attributed to Milton since its discovery in 1823. This attribution
was questioned in 1991 provoking a series of papers, one of which makes a plea for an objective
analysis, which I aim to supply. I begin by reviewing critically some techniques that have recently
been applied to stylometry. They include methods from artificial intelligence, linguistics and
statistics. The chapter concludes with an investigation into the QSUM technique, finding it to be
invalid. As De Doctrina Christiana is written in neo-Latin I examine previous work carried out
in Latin, then turn to historical issues and examine issues including censorship and the physical
characteristics of the manuscript. The text is the only theological work in the extant Milton
canon. As genre as well as authorship affects style, I consider theories of genre which influence
the choice of suitable control texts. Chapter seven deals with the methodology used in the study.
The analysis follows in a hierarchical structure. I establish which techniques distinguish between
Milton and the control texts while maintaining the internal consistency of the authors. It is found
that the most-frequently-occurring words are good discriminators. I then use this technique to
examine De Doctrina Christiana and the Milton and control texts. A clear difference is found
between texts from polemic and exegetical genres, and samples from De Doctrina Christiana form
into two groups. This heterogeneity forms the third part of the analysis. No apparent difference
is found between sections of the text with different amanuenses, but the Epistle appears to be
markedly more Miltonic than the rest. In addition, postulated insertions into chapter X of Book I
appear to have a Miltonic influence. I conclude by examining the hypothesis of a Ramist ordering
to the text.