Enrico Tuccinardi; An Application of a Profile-Based Method for Authorship Verification: Investigating the Authenticity of Pliny the Younger’s Letter to Trajan Concerning the Christians. Digital Scholarship Humanities 2016 fqw001. doi: 10.1093/llc/fqw001
Pliny the Younger's letter to Trajan regarding the Christians is a crucial subject for the studies on early Christianity. A serious quarrel among scholars concerning its genuineness arose between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th; per contra, Plinian authorship has not been seriously questioned in the last few decades. After analysing various kinds of internal and external evidence in favour of and against the authenticity of the letter, a modern stylometric method is applied in order to examine whether internal linguistic evidence allows one to definitely settle the debate.The findings of this analysis tend to contradict received opinion among modern scholars, affirming the authenticity of Pliny’s letter, and suggest instead the presence of large amounts of interpolation inside the text of the letter, since its stylistic behaviour appears highly different from that of the rest of Book X.