Running the Numbers on the Gospels

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  • Title: Running the Numbers on the Gospels: Statistical Analysis of the Gospel of Matthew
  • Author(s): Phillip T. Stephens
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Christian Right, Core Values, Foundation Values, Sermon on the Mount, Gospel of Matthew, Statistical Analysis
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i01/31-52
  • Citation: Stephens, Phillip T.. 2018. "Running the Numbers on the Gospels: Statistical Analysis of the Gospel of Matthew." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 8 (1): 31-52. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i01/31-52.
  • Extent: 22 pages

Abstract

The Christian Right polarized American society and politics with its vision of a Christ-centered nation. Advocates claim a scriptural basis for their beliefs, but many Christians question their interpretation of scripture and a few openly challenge their vision. When conflicting interpretations of scripture come into dispute, how can the conflicts be resolved? The following article proposes using a statistical analysis of scriptural topics discussed by Gospel authors—which received the most emphasis and which received the least. If we assume New Testament writers gave more weight to topics of greater importance to their churches, then acknowledging those preferences should lend credence to which side of the dispute the author leaned. This article will focus on the Gospel of Matthew to determine if, indeed, the weight the author lends to particular topics supports or undermines the Christian Right’s interpretations of Jesus’ message.