Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages

The statistical study of Book of Mormon texts is a well-traveled road in Book of Mormon scholarship. However, in Book of Mormon Authors, Roger Keller shows that there is still valuable work to be done.

Keller acknowledges a great debt to previous statistical studies. The most famous of these is Wayne A. Larsen and Alvin C. Rencher’s “Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? An Analysis of Wordprints,” published in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B Reynolds (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1982). In this ground-breaking study, Larsen and Rencher use “wordprints,” patterns of language using numerous “function words” to establish the authenticity of various authors. Larsen and Rencher argue that because word are primarily set through function words, it would be very difficult for one author to imitate or emulate another author’s wordprint. Thus, a wordprint becomes a kind of linguistic “fingerprint.”

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