Re: Morgenthaler' book on NT statistics

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 13:30:35 EST

<x-flowed>To: Ruben Gomez,

<< I would very much appreciate some informed opinions on R.
Morgenthalers's book Statistik des neutestamentlichen Wortschatzes
(Zurich/Frankfurt am M.: Gotthelf, 1958). I would also value any practical
advice on readability (is it a must to know German in order to use it?),
availability (either new or second-hand), address (preferably on-line)
where I could get it, etc. >>

Part of the book can be used without knowing any German, but there are
about 60 pages of text written in German. I own the book, but can't read
German. Furthermore, it is based on an older critical edition of the NT,
and so it almost makes its data worthless (especially if one's goal is
precise data on the new Nestle-Aland/UBS Greek texts). One can still find
copies of Morgenthaler's book at used book stories, I paid $47 for my copy
(at least I remember seeing copies listed in catalogues of used books which
have recently crossed my desk). Price and availability will (no doubt)
vary. You might check:

A more important work, and one still in print, is "Comparative Studies in
Recent Greek New Testament Texts" by David Holly (Rome: Biblical Institute
Press, 1983). Its data is based on the 25th and 26th editions of the
Nestle-Aland texts.

Years ago, I wrote a computer program to count words using a CCAT
electronic text of the UBS Greek NT. I compared it with Holly's data, and
actually found a couple of errors in Holly's count (as well as errors in
the particular CCAT text which I had at that time). Given that Holly did
his counting by hand and didn't use a computer, his information is
amazingly accurate. If I remember correctly, I only found two mistakes. In
addition, there are a number of methodological issues which one should be

Another important work which counts words is "New Testament Vocabulary" by
Frans Neiryck and Frans Van Segroeck (Leuven University Press, 1984).

If anyone is interesting in creating a computer program which counts words
of the NT or something similar, or if one is just interested in the
methodological issues, I would be more than willing to discuss (off-list)
what little I learned when I wrote my computer program. (I'm self-taught in
the "C" programming language. I gave up computer programming as a hobby
shortly after C++ became popular.)

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
Disclaimer: "I'm just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree),
what do I know?"

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