Correction of a BAR quote attributed to me

Paul A. Miller (
Sat, 02 Nov 1996 03:54:16 -0800

SUBJ: Beware of interviews

When I taught at Indiana University I knew quite a number of professors who
simply refused to talk with the press. Their feeling was that there was
little to gain from the experience ....but a great deal to lose when one is
misquoted. I understand such trepidation. Interviewers don't always "hear"
what we say .... and it gets downright frightening when they put quotation
marks around something. (Thus, as we all know, don't believe everything you

CASE IN POINT: in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review I am
quoted concerning The GRAMCORD Institute's Biblical language research and

My original statement was that The GRAMCORD Institute was unique among
publishers in its financial commitment and active involvement in the editing
and revision of morphological databases for all three Testaments and that
our goal was to provide the most reliable access to the original language
databases possible.

That is a MUCH different statement from what appeared in
the author's original draft and then appeared in final print. (Moreover, in
view of the complexity of the Biblical texts, no one will EVER be able to
claim "completely reliable access" as quoted in the article; that is an
absurd notion if interpreted to mean 100% perfect data.)

In defense of the article's author, he emailed me the draft in early
September so that I could make suggestions. He apologized for the confusion
and promised that the misquote would be removed in production -- and I even
got a copy of his email to BAR. Obviously, something went awry and the
statement appeared uncorrected in BAR despite the author's best efforts.

That misquote is sufficiently embarrassing to me but I am at least thankful
that another more outrageous "quotation" WAS removed before publication in
an issue some time back. It quoted me as saying that the Institute was
correcting thousands of errors in the Masoretic Text! I shudder to think of
the flaming -- and charges of blasphemy -- I might have received from some
of BAR's more conservative readers had I not seen that draft! [Obviously, what I
actually said was that we were systematically making thousands of additions
and revisions to our Biblical text grammatical databases.]

Anyway, if any member of this list was thinking of reproving me for my
"strange" statement in Biblical Archaeology Review: "I didn't, so please

[And you can quote me on that.]

Paul A. Miller

P.S. As I think about it, I am hoping that Professor Hobbs has an amusing
anecdote to share in this vein.

Prof. Paul A. Miller (Email:
The GRAMCORD Institute
2218 NE Brookview Dr., Vancouver, WA 98686, U.S.A.
Voice (360)576-3000; FAX (503)761-0626; Webpage:
Computer-Assisted Biblical Language Research (IBM & MAC)