CFP: Call for Papers - Mathematically Modeling Early Christian Literature: Theories, Methods, and Future Directions

Submission deadline: October 31, 2024

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for a topical issue of Open Theology


Open Theology ( invites submissions for the topical issue “Mathematically Modeling Early Christian Literature: Theories, Methods, and Future Directions,” edited by Erich Benjamin Pracht (Aarhus University, Denmark).


The application of mathematical methods, such as those derived from probability theory, is a specialized approach to the reading of ancient texts that falls within the much broader field known as the “Digital Humanities.” Mathematical operations undergird all computational approaches to ancient literature. Stylometry, for instance, is the quantitative study of language and thereby utilizes algorithms to produce results. In this issue, we reflect upon and deploy mathematical models to enrich our interpretation of early Christian texts. Previous scholars have already employed computational approaches. Accordingly, the purpose of this issue is to consider the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies, the assumptions made in previous computational scholarship, and the best ways to employ corpus linguistics software as an exegetical tool. Does it make a difference, for example, whether we use Euclidean distance or cosine similarity to measure the closeness of two given corpora? Do previous studies adequately consider the distribution of their data or are there unstated assumptions in this regard? What difference does it make if we describe Paul’s writing habits in terms of Power law behavior as opposed to, say, an exponential law?

In this issue, mathematical methods are not an end in their own right, but a means by which we make contributions to scholarship in the qualitative tradition. We take as starting points previous discussions of important issues, such as the authorship of the Pastoral Letters or the Synoptic Problem, and consider how quantitative approaches can best advance these conversations.

Because Open Theology is published under an Open Access model, as a rule, publication costs should be covered by Article Publishing Charges (APC), paid by authors, their affiliated institutions, funders or sponsors. Authors without access to publishing funds are encouraged to discuss potential discounts or waivers with Managing Editor of the journal Katarzyna Tempczyk ([email protected]) before submitting their manuscripts.


Submissions will be collected September 1 - October 31, 2024, via the on-line submission system at

Choose as article type: Mathematically Modeling Early Christian Literature.

Before submission the authors should carefully read the Instruction for Authors, available at: 

All contributions will undergo critical peer-review before being accepted for publication.

Further questions about content for this thematic issue can be addressed to Dr Erich Benjamin Pracht ([email protected]). In case of technical problems with submission please write to [email protected].

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