Pliny’s Letter about Christians

Professor Larry Hurtado evaluates the hypoteses formulated by Enrico Tuccinardi on possible interpolations on Pliny’s letter on Christians.
An important reading for those interested in early Christian history.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Among ancient sources used by historians to chart the rise of early Christianity, Pliny the Younger’s letter to Emperor Trajan is commonly taken as crucial.[1]  In a newly-published article, however, Enrico Tuccinardi employs some recent method-developments in stylometric analysis of texts and presents the proposal that the letter has interpolations (putatively inserted by Christians, I presume).[2]

As I am among those (many, I suspect) scholars not engaged or expert in stylometric analysis, I have had to devote a good deal of time trying to absorb at least the basics of some recent developments in methods in order to engage (or even to understand) Tuccinardi’s article (and the bibliography to Tuccinardi’s article is a good guide to the relevant literature). That various methods are still being developed and refined suggests that the aim of producing an authorship test sufficiently reliable to be used in law courts, for example, has…

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