Programmers, please read!

From: Shaughn Daniel (
Date: Tue Feb 06 1996 - 22:43:14 EST

Dear B-Greek (especially the programmers),

I'm posting this here for two reasons: 1. there are people on this list who
are programmers & publishers (and I haven't taken the time to figure out
their addresses and make an address book for them and all that jazz), and
2. this relates directly to the "in-between-the-lines part of so much
exegetical work that takes place here.

The implications of the synchronic method "over", but not to the
depredation of, the diachronic method proposed in modern evangelical
thought on semantics means that true and competent scholars must read every
major and minor document in ancient Greek literature to responsibly write a
dictionary entry for an ancient Greek word. This can only be done on a
collective basis. The Internet and cross-platform programming is a good
collective basis. I do not know if you fully understand the implications of
this, but it means translating some 58 million Greek words in their
contexts into a new dictionary of ancient Greek altogether which may bring
new perspectives (perhaps not at the level of the Koine perspective in
magnitude, but at least not too far under it), maybe even more series such
as Louw & Nida's, for example, but for the Hellenistic period and the
Classical Period, and the Ancient Jewish-Greek-speaking Community, etc. Do
you know how long it takes to read 58 million words in a 'dead' language? I
cannot imagine of anyone having done it, but if they have, then let me know
who they are, because I am coming to learn from them, if they will take me!

The mere process of reading the primary literature could be greatly
simplified if there were a multimedia project which took the Greek texts,
developed a program which would take one step-by-step, from the beginning,
of learning the alphabet all the way up to being able to flip a switch to
hear voice books in computerized or professional ancient Greek, recast by
digitized actors in ancient Greek vogue discerned from ancient Greek
pottery. Then, in a sense, ancient Greek becomes a living language all over
again! It recreates in the virtual world of education--a world online.

Fortunately, many new doors are opening for "faster" ways to the goal
through the collective work of the web. I hope that if you think about what
your next big project in programming for ancient Greek stuff will be, that
you will think about this big picture that I have suggested. We might even
see a day when you can program a cgi to bootstrap onto the resources of
Perseus 2.0 and others to recreate the ancient world. It seems that the
programming jobs are just being born for you left and right to make
interactive programs to work with them.

My part here was in sharing my desires as a potential customer of you,
professional C or C++ programmer, and continual learner (I'm not even past
Hypercard =( ). I thought you would appreciate knowing this. Thanks for
taking the time to read it and for those who are dedicating, or have
dedicated, their programming talents to these areas.

Shaughn Daniel
Tuebingen, Germany

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