Re: Bible Software

From: Paul A. Miller (
Date: Thu Nov 30 1995 - 17:11:36 EST

>From: "Maurice A. O'Sullivan" <>
>Subject: Re: Bible Software
> "Alan D. Bulley" <> wrote:
>>>Yet one thing is lacking in acCordance 1.1: the ability to read
>the PHI and TLG disks. The Gramcord people tell me this is something they
>are looking into, but not to hold my breath.<<
>Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

I am not certain what is meant by "not to hold my breath." :)

Our acCordance system continues to evolve and we have been releasing new
databases for it every few months.(I admit that we have not been able to
produce new add-on titles as fast as we would like, but our users seem to
appreciate what we have released.) Accordingly, the TLG CD-ROM is on the
list but other major projects are underway as well. In part the TLG has not
been on the very top of our priority list because the Associate Scholars of
The GRAMCORD Institute tend to concentrate on grammatical/syntactical
research and the TLG material is not presently grammatically tagged. Also,
there are a number of public domain programs available for using the TLG
CD-ROM (on both IBM and Mac) and so we haven't had as much demand for
TLG-compatibility as we have for various other items.

In general it is worth noting that the Institute's project priorities depend
upon the interests of our Associate Scholars, the availability of staff time
and expertise for a given project, available funding, and the nature of the
vast array of requests coming from our consortium of institutions and
individual users. The GRAMCORD Institute is a non-profit organization. As
such, our Board of Directors makes project decisions based upon criteria
quite different from the average commercial publisher who is by necessity
responding to stockholders and market demographics.

Furthermore, unlike most commercial publishers, we are VERY HEAVILY involved
in database creation and editing. Because of the expense and staff hours
involved, we must set priorities. (Until, at least, someone decides to
donate such a large sum that we are able to undertake all of our proposed
projects concurrently!) At present, we are actively doing major revisions of
three grammatical databases. The Revised Westminster/GRAMCORD Institute
Morphologically Tagged Hebrew Masoretic Text Database will be released in
the spring; this joint project between the Institute and Dr. Grove's
Westminster team incorporates many important enhancements including the
lemmatization of homographs. (This Institute-funded revision will be
published exclusively by The GRAMCORD Institute.) The Revised LXX Morph.
Database and the new GRAMCORD Expanded Greek New Testament database should
be announced soon after that time. (The Revised LXX Morphological Database
is particulary important because the original version distributed by CCAT et
al was largely "machine-tagged" and most users have discovered that there is
plenty of room for improvement in the tag data. I hope to post more details
concerning these revisions in early 1996.)

At any rate, I mention all of this to reiterate that almost everyone
associated with The GRAMCORD Institute is indeed interested in the TLG
material -- particularly the extra-Biblical Koine -- but we do not plan to
announce TLG support till next year. We prefer to delay projects until we
can "do them right" rather than just release something in order to list
another title in our list of add-on databases. (I should also mention that
editing/expanding the standard databases -- something most commercial
publishers do not do -- is very expensive. Our Revised Westminster/GRAMCORD
Institute HMT Database project is already "way into" the five figure range.)

While we do not claim to be "all things to all men", we are apparently
filling some important needs within the academic community. AcCordance
continues to receive favorable reviews. (Since others have "blown their own
horn" in this forum, I will cautiously do likewise. The last issue of
Biblical Archaeology Review described it as "the best Biblical studies
software on ANY platform." Christianity Today and Old Testament Abstracts
have recently published similar reviews.) Our software is not meant for
everyone -- and is certainly not targeted for the general "marketplace" --
but if someone is doing the kinds of research we are doing, he/she will
probably appreciate what we are trying to accomplish in sharing our tools
with our colleagues.

I make these digressions in responding to this thread just to provide a
little bit of balance to the recurring discussions of Biblical studies
software. Also, I have seen a few forum postings and received several emails
that indicate that a certain amount of misinformation has sometimes been
unintentionally propagated.

At any rate, everyone interested in Biblical language software would do well
to consult the CHORUS homepage at the University of Toronto. (The WWW
address for it is rather long, so you may want to visit the "under
construction" GRAMCORD Institute homepage at and
simply follow the link to Harry Hahne's excellent paper posted on the CHORUS
site.) Mr. Hahne does a great job of pointing out critical factors one
should consider in relying upon original language concordance software.

Those of you with additional questions or comments are encouraged to contact
us "off list" via our email address or through our under-construction WWW
page. (see below)

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; Homepage:
Computer-Assisted Biblical Language Research (IBM & MAC)

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