Re: A syntactical database of the NT

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 10:46:40 EST

On Fri, 27 Nov 1998 13:55:57 -0500
Randy LEEDY wrote:

>I don't recall your ever having referred to such a project in email
>we've exchanged over the past two or three years. I'm sorry if I've
>simply forgotten.

I'm pretty sure that I mentioned it, though our main dialoguing has
been about the GNT and the initial work on this project was done in
the Hebrew OT.

>Your description sounds very much like what I have in mind, although
>it sounds as if it may be years and years from realization. I don't
>want to take more of your time just now (I know you're trying to
>recover from SBL), so I won't pursue some of the questions I have,
>which you may not be at liberty to answer anyway.

Well, it depends... Both Kirk and Vince would like to have serious
help with the OT. I've, in essence, already gathered all of the NT
data in the process of diagramming the whole NT, ie., I've made the
decisions, and I've already begun to do the encoding work. If I can
ever get the final 3.0 of the MorphBHS and 2.0 of the MorphLXX out,
I can turn my full attention to that work (I'm shooting for the first
of the year). I don't think it will be that daunting once I actually
get to it.

>I can see the value of trying to work within a standard tagging scheme
>if possible. However, though I know nothing about the schemes you're
>talking about, I wonder if you're trying to pour new wine into old
>wineskins. If the existing schemes don't allow for essential features
>such as tagging alternative syntactical connections, then it looks to
>me as if they simply won't work. Is the value of using a standard
>scheme really such that it would be unwise to custom design something
>new for precisely the purpose at hand? I really think that what I have
>in mind should be doable for the NT within a few years' time, even
>starting from scratch, if the resources can be lined up for it
>(there's the rub, no doubt).

I didn't mean to imply that one "couldn't" do alternates in TEI, its
just that we'll have to use a different "tag" to do it; for example,
they have alternate-type tags for use in text critical documents.

>I'm torn between posting this to you privately or keeping it on the
>list. My main reason for keeping it on the list is to try to gauge the
>amount of interest in this idea and to gather some input about what
>features such a database should have. If you're interested in hearing
>more of my thinking on this topic, I'd be glad to discuss it further
>with you either on- or off-list, at the time least inconvenient for

I'm sure that Carl or Jonathan will let us know if we are wasting bgreek
bandwidth on this...

The other posts on this topic were correct on both counts, as I see it;
the format is not as important as the data, but the major thing is the
type of data to be encoded. At present I'm inclined, as you appear to
be from our discussions of your previous work, to make a purely
structural first pass thru the text; head of phrase, subject, objects,
genitive connections, prep +, a few other such things. These are the
basic things that the OT Syntax encoding is doing, esp., since they
tend to be theory neutral.

Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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