Statistics and Biblical Studies

Anybody else notice how, in this recent Jesus Tomb hullabaloo, biblical scholars are all of a sudden willing to enter the arena of statistics and note seemingly obvious problems with statistical studies?

Yet in the area of authorship of the Pastorals, where statistics play a central part in the case for pseudepigraphy, most biblical scholars turn their heads and say, “I’m not a statistician, but the statisticians say … ” as a positive case?

Why are P.N. Harrison’s numbers and approach still being used as groundwork for pseudepigraphy when problems with his methodology have been thoroughly documented? (e.g. Donald Guthrie here and here) And why don’t more people engage the statistics as they are in this Jesus tomb crud? Why do most just say “yup” and move on?


  1. Fine point Rick.
    I find more and more scholars bypassing the statiscal argument. They may give ti a nod, but they perceive the real problem as elsewhere. Often, I get the sense that there is a prior presupposition that the Pastorals do not fit Paul.

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