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Title: A statistical investigation into the provenance of De Doctrina Christiana, attributed to John Milton.
Author: Tweedie, Fiona Jane.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3540 1128
Awarding Body: University of the West of England at Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 1997
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Stylometry; Quantitative linguistics