Re: Bible Windows - mostly off topic

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 13:20:29 EDT

One important attribute that all the different commercially distributed
biblical language research systems have in common is that they employ an
approach to language which is either pre-modern (19 century) or at best, a
sort of minimal subset of "Standard Theory" (Chomsky c.a. 1965). I have yet
to see an implementation of a "Functional" approach to grammar in the form
of a BHS or GNT database. I consider this essentially a failure of nerve on
the part of the developers.

The current BHS and GNT databases are all structured around *formal*
language features (morphology, word order, etc.). This is easy to do because
there isn't much in the way of argument about what constitutes the *formal*
language features.

A BHS or GNT database structured according pragmatic, semantic and syntactic
functions is NOT easy to implement and for that reason none of the
commercially distributed biblical language research systems have such a
database. Every now and then someone tells us they are developing a database
like this but it never arrives. I suspect we will be throwing away our BAGD
3rd edition to buy the 4th edition before we see a "Functional" database of
the GNT or BHS.

The current databases are useful for a limited range of tasks, but once you
start thinking about language in a manner which transcends "Standard Theory"
you are going to find yourself using these databases less and less for
serious work. You will still use them however to discover patterns of formal
language features.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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