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Ben Spackman
04-29-2006, 06:23 PM
I'm also sending this to the Bw email address, but I thought there might be some users who would find it useful.

In using the CAL (Aramaic) lexicon, I wondered what all the numbers were at the left of the glosses. Since I happen to have the Targumim in Logos format as well, I pulled it up there. Check out the comparison below.

THe BW version (right) for each gloss has 0+ a morphology coding digit (for the verbal stem)+ number of the gloss. The other version (left) has gotten rid of the 0, translated the coding digit into the stem, and left the gloss numbers.

I find the version on the left much easier to use, because you don't have to know, for example, that 061 (on the right) indicates the first gloss for the ettaphal stem (equivalently named on the left). I suspect several BW users, like myself, didn't know that these numbers in BW could indicate verbal stem. I even wondered several times why the CAL editors had opted to simply run all the stems together.

After discovering this, I looked in the help file, which doesn't give any indication that these middle digites are morphology codes, nor does it give a chart with 1=Pe'al/G 2=Pa''el/D, etc., which is the way I would like to see it, with both the semitic stem name, middle-aleph indicated (pe'al, pa''el, etc.) AND the cross-language stem name, G, D, etc.

It does list morphology codes for the command line, which presumably match the lexicon coding, ie. "V02" =pael, etc.

At the very least, something needs to be added to the help file to clarify the numbers in the CAL. Ideally, it would be changed to look more like the version on the left.

Thanks.

jdarlack
04-30-2006, 04:57 PM
Good point Ben. The more that the "coding" can be translated into human readable form, the better.

I'm also curious. Will BW ever make the full parsing (http://accordancebible.com/about/articles/targ.php) of each word in CAL available?

Ben Spackman
04-30-2006, 08:15 PM
Good question. I didn't realize there was a more fully parsed version available.
It's not in Logos either.

( I compared the Accordance screen shot with the info available in BW. Accordance gives it as a pael f. participle, etc. BW/Logos just list the stem.)

jakemccarty
05-01-2006, 01:11 PM
Additionally, the notes by Sperber are done incorrectly in BW.

I'm also extremely perplexed about the non-inclusion of Jastrow. I believe it's even out of print and available as a PDF in public domain. Accordance will be offering (wisely) Jastrow.

My wife (who focuses on Aramaic in her PhD work) is very, very frustrated with the way that BW's has dealt with their Aramaic (and by extension Syriac). She studies Aramaic nearly every day, but does not even bother to use Bibleworks because of the errors you have already mentioned as well as its incorrect treatment of Sperber, its failure to include the most well-recognized dictionary, and not even including the Syriac Peshitta of the Old Testament, which is admittedly far more important than the Syriac NT. If only the Targums were written in Greek!

jdarlack
05-01-2006, 01:54 PM
Additionally, the notes by Sperber are done incorrectly in BW. ¶ I'm also extremely perplexed about the non-inclusion of Jastrow. I believe it's even out of print and available as a PDF in public domain. Accordance will be offering (wisely) Jastrow. ¶ My wife (who focuses on Aramaic in her PhD work) is very, very frustrated with the way that BW's has dealt with their Aramaic (and by extension Syriac). She studies Aramaic nearly every day, but does not even bother to use Bibleworks because of the errors you have already mentioned as well as its incorrect treatment of Sperber, its failure to include the most well-recognized dictionary, and not even including the Syriac Peshitta of the Old Testament, which is admittedly far more important than the Syriac NT. If only the Targums were written in Greek!Hold on, hold on, hold on... How does BibleWorks not handle Sperber correctly? Is your wife using the color files?

Regarding Jastrow, while it does exist in public domain, and it is available in PDF, NO ONE has scanned it into actual text. I'm happy that Accordance is doing it. Even for them this would be a huge project. I don't know if BW has plans to do it, but I do know that it will involve a great deal of up-front expense.

Regarding the Syriac OT, I agree that this is much more important than the NT Peshitta! I also seem to recall that BW contacted the folks at the Peshitta Institute (http://www.leidenuniv.nl/gg/vakgroepen/peshitta/pil_menu.html) in order to get a hold of their files (http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/Peshitta.notice.html). So the database is on BW's radar screen. Whether perceived demand will justify the cost of inclusion, or whether they will be willing to make it available as an add-on is of course up to them (and how much demand is shown on the part of BW users).

Michael Hanel
05-01-2006, 02:41 PM
My wife (who focuses on Aramaic in her PhD work) is very, very frustrated with the way that BW's has dealt with their Aramaic (and by extension Syriac). She studies Aramaic nearly every day, but does not even bother to use Bibleworks because of the errors you have already mentioned as well as its incorrect treatment of Sperber, its failure to include the most well-recognized dictionary, and not even including the Syriac Peshitta of the Old Testament, which is admittedly far more important than the Syriac NT. If only the Targums were written in Greek!

Since I don't use Aramaic much (at all), I can't comment on the quality of any of that in BW. I'm sure you and your wife know how things happen in the real world though. I'm not saying that this is wrong or not, but I think we must be honest about what does exist in the market out there (not specifically in BW, although BW does reflect the market for obvious reasons!!): a general bias toward having more and better Greek resources over Hebrew.

That being said, Aramaic is even more sparse. How many Aramaic workbooks, grammars and Lexica are out there? Once we get into languages which are not directly related to the Hebrew Bible and the Greek NT/LXX things become more spare. I'm not saying Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, etc. aren't important, just that the markets for that material would be sub-groups of smaller groups out there. I would assume that's why Accordance does include them, but, as has been noticed, they are rather pricey.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that I don't directly fault BW for this, just part of the realization that PhD students need very specialized products and indepth research pools. I am not overly surprised that BW can't meet those needs alone. As it turns out books still are necessary! I'll be darned.

Long and short of it: I hear your requests, but I'm just wondering if these Aramaic additions could really find a large enough group to support them. In general, if the market is there, you can be sure BW will get there to cover that need.

jakemccarty
05-01-2006, 11:16 PM
Long and short of it: I hear your requests, but I'm just wondering if these Aramaic additions could really find a large enough group to support them. In general, if the market is there, you can be sure BW will get there to cover that need.[/quote]

Fair enough. In principle you're right, however, in practice I wouldn't say these resources are quite as obscure as they might initially sound. Furthermore, the way that the Targums are integrated isn't done correctly--in fact, their present state makes them less useful to the average user with little, if any, Aramaic. So my advice: 80% of the leg work is done with the Aramaic, now the other 20% will make the Aramaic useful.

I'm probably just really frustrated that I've invested so much money in Bibleworks, having high hopes that things would be a bit more balanced between the OT and NT, only to see that things heading in the other direction. Their software (in my opinion as a luddite) is far superior and far more affordable to Accordance, and I only wish their foci were more within my ken.

In general, my impression is that Bibleworks does not penetrate in non-seminary theological institutions, especially among OT/HB students. The software is great, and relatively speaking, affordable, and if BW were able to show that this market base was important, I think they'd have better success. Classic statement: my friend at Harvard (PhD) said "what's Bibleworks?" That isn't the only time I've heard that. After all, these will be the future teachers at seminaries, theological/divinity schools, and universities.

MBushell
05-02-2006, 02:22 PM
There are a lot of issues in this thread. I'll take them one at a time:

1. Ben's suggestion about the way the CAL lexicon entries are displayed is easy enough. I will add it to my list and we'll get to it as soon as feasible.

2. I don't know of a more fully parsed version. We use what we got from CAL. We could conceivably extend the parsing but are hoping that CAL will eventually do that. Remember that we do not charge for these data files. We do the best we can at putting the files out in a way that faithfully reproduces what CAL gives us. Accordance has fuller parsing but it does cost you. The question is whether people are willing to pay a lot more for improvements in what CAL provides. We try to provide as much as possible and charge as little as possible.

3. If someone can tell me (e-mail me directly) how Sperber is handled incorrectly, we'll fix it.

4. Jastrow is available only in PDF form as scanned images. Scanning and proofing it would be hugely expensive and we do not sell PD works, so we would have to absorb the cost. We routinely do that but it is not clear that the number of people who would benefit is large wnough to justify the cost (probably on the order of $50k-$100k). We are open to input on the matter.

5. I believe that our balance between OT and NT tools roughly reflects the desires of most of our users. Having said that, I think it is unfair to say that we ignore the OT at the expense of the NT. The 7.0 release adds several new OT specific items, including the Tov-Polak database, newly revised and free to 7.0 users. We also just posted a newly corrected edition of the BDB, also provided without charge. In fact we scanned and proofed the entire BDB at our expense and provided it without charge to users. We also have a large number of OT specific databases in the works that I cannot tell you about. Just suffice it to say that we are not ignoring this area of need.

6. Keep in mind that BibleWorks can't solve everyone's problems. No one can do that. We are trying to meet as many needs as we can, and do it in a ways that doesn't require you to invest thousands of dollars. Our philosophy is that first priority goes to what we can get in the base package and thus distributed to the most people. That way the tools actually get used by the most people. We do provide some tools that appeal only to a very few people, but we have limited resources and have to keep in mind the needs of the majority of our users.

7. We have not gotten a lot of feedback on the CAL Aramaic additions. We'd be more than happy to address any issues that people have with the implementation. It may be that there are just misunderstandings about how to use the databases in BibleWorks.

8. FYI we have recently compiled an internal list (based on inhouse knowledge and user input) of the 25 most critical tools for both NT and OT exegesis. We will over the next couple of years chip away at the list. Don't assume when you offer your critiques of BibleWorks, that we are standing still. We are not. And we do listen intently to suggestions.

Hope this helps somewhat.

Mike

Ben Spackman
05-02-2006, 03:26 PM
Many thanks Mike.

FWIW, I use the Targumim tools probably 4-5 times/week, and I'm extremely grateful they are there. I'd like to see more, but I sadly have to agree with what was said above- demand will probably never justify production of things like Jastrow, and that's a business decision I understand. Even here at the University of Chicago, Aramaic courses never have more than 3-4 people in them.


We use what we got from CAL. Hopefully, the CAL will go further, and release more detailed files.



We have not gotten a lot of feedback on the CAL Aramaic additions.
I'm very happy to see them. It would probably be very difficult (coding/fonts, etc.), but I wish they were available with the "original" Babylonian pointing system. The transfer into Palestinian vocalization can have problems, as my advisor pointed out with lots of red pen when I used the text as such for a paper.


In short, lots of appreciation from this end :)

MBushell
05-02-2006, 03:45 PM
One more thing I forgot. Towards the end of the 7.0 development cycle we employed a haf dozen seminary profs and students to proof the entire set of lexicon links for the BDB, HALOT and the new Holladay lexicons. That means when you put the mouse cursor of s Hebrew word you can now jump to one of these lexicons **reliably**. It was hit or miss before because we had never actaually hand checked each word in the OT for the proper lexicon meaning in context. As you know, you can't just look up a lemma based on spelling. They have to be hand tuned in context. We corrected literally tens of thousands of links. It was expensive and time consuming. But we did it because we do in fact have a strong commitment to supporting our Hebrew OT users. This was a major improvement, arguably the most important new feature, though it doesn't get much press. And it does show I think that the Hebrew OT isn't getting shorted.

For what it's worth.
Mike

jdarlack
05-02-2006, 03:50 PM
We also have a large number of OT specific databases in the works that I cannot tell you about. Just suffice it to say that we are not ignoring this area of need.Oh, now that's exciting! What are they? What are they? I can't help but be like a kid a few days before Christmas here!
FYI we have recently compiled an internal list (based on inhouse knowledge and user input) of the 25 most critical tools for both NT and OT exegesis. We will over the next couple of years chip away at the list. Don't assume when you offer your critiques of BibleWorks, that we are standing still. We are not. And we do listen intently to suggestions.Great idea! I know it can't be shared for the sake of keeping "trade secrets" but I'd love to see that list if only for the sake of our library's reference collection!

PS: I removed my last statement from the post I put up above. While other software platforms do have a large number of excellent Hebrew databases, the cost analysis still leads me to believe that BibleWorks is the best exegetical bang for anyone's buck.:)

Michael Hanel
05-02-2006, 04:42 PM
6. Keep in mind that BibleWorks can't solve everyone's problems. No one can do that. We are trying to meet as many needs as we can, and do it in a ways that doesn't require you to invest thousands of dollars. Our philosophy is that first priority goes to what we can get in the base package and thus distributed to the most people. That way the tools actually get used by the most people. We do provide some tools that appeal only to a very few people, but we have limited resources and have to keep in mind the needs of the majority of our users.



This one seems really important to me only because I am aware that there are other tools in Biblical software out there, but one of the biggest reasons BibleWorks gets my continuous support is that I can actually afford the tools in BibleWorks whereas I can't afford the tools in the other programs. And I do also understand that to many people BibleWorks costs are still steep (if college/seminary students are part of the younger spectrum of the demographics), but at least in my mind BibleWorks fills my needs (and usually exceeds them) and is within a price range that I can still make.

It can be a tough place to be though, knowing that you could do more by charging more, but you guys (in my mind) do an excellent job of maintaining the balance, which is especially difficult when there are users like me who always love to add things to the BibleWorks wish list :)

Ben Spackman
05-02-2006, 04:51 PM
Agreed.

BW is my primary tool, and everything else is secondary. Now, (contrary-to-fact conditional to follow) if I were a rich disciple of the Macintosh Temple, with a 30-inch LCD and money to burn, perhaps I'd consider thinking about maybe trying Accordance. ;)

However, since none of those things are likely to happen in the future, I will continue to use and recommend BW to all my graduate friends, and do what little I can to improve it.

jakemccarty
05-02-2006, 06:56 PM
[quote=Ben Spackman]Agreed.

BW is my primary tool, and everything else is secondary. Now, (contrary-to-fact conditional to follow) if I were a rich disciple of the Macintosh Temple, with a 30-inch LCD and money to burn, perhaps I'd consider thinking about maybe trying Accordance. ;)

Agreed, but I would only add the caveat of being stuck with a MacIntosh and the fact that I don't think the software is as good as Bibleworks. So if I had money AND TIME to burn, only then would I consider the same.

1. I will address the issue with Sperber in a bit more detail after finals week.

Mike:

Thank you for your helpful and encouraging answers. If the cost is ca 50k for Jastrow (ouch!)--I thought it'd be much more simple--simply runnng everything through a good scanner that would magically pick everything up, then I can definitely see your reservation.

Regarding the correction of roots, what was the exact logic? Often with homonymns HALOT suggests a separate root based upon cognate evidence. Take for example Exodus 23.5 where the *ZV occurs three times, the first being related to its general gloss "abandon" while that could not be the meaning in second/third uses. When I scroll over the cursor, only root one pops up--and not the proposed root two of *ZV which in South Arabic appears to mean "restore" and in Ugaritic (*DV) which definitely means "offer" or the like in KTU 1.23. I think that HALOT's suggestion is correct, and the homonymn must be connected to *ZV II. Is this a mistake or does it reflect one's judgment?

I'm glad to hear that works are in the pipeline. I've heard Greenspahn as an Aramaic suggestion in the past, and if that is a suggestion, I strongly suggest that you do not include a workbook as the "reference work" but Rosenthal's grammar.

Also, although not yet printed, Huhnergards grammar of historical Hebrew grammar will be one of the most important publications for Hebrew this decade.

Would anybody care to publicly list several works that they think will of most help for the BW's on this domain. Perhaps we can, collectivally, tweak a few ideas.

My list of super important works:

Rosenthal
Huhnergaard
NW Inscriptions
Parsed Mishnah
English Mishnah Translation
Kutscher's History of Hebrwe Language
Dead Sea Scrolls ENglish Translation (Vermes)
Grammar of Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew Qimron
Lambdin's Hebrew Grammar
? Jastrow
?A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Arnold and Choi)
?TDOT

Please do not include:
Greenspahn--workbook not reference
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew--does not treat historical issues and appears to represent highly revisionist agenda
NIDOT

MBushell
05-02-2006, 07:57 PM
Ben,

I posted a new CAL Lexicon. Hopefully the stems are spelled out correctly now. I used the numbers in the morph tagging. It's the only documentation we have from CAL. Let me know if you see problems.

Jake,

I can't say much about why individuals selected a particular lexicon entry. You'd have to ask them. But I think they were pretty careful, though there are bound to be mistakes. But keep in mind that they did not try to second guess the homonym numbers assigned in the Westminster Morphology database., unless it was an egregious error. When the WTM assigns a homonym number, that is usually what they used. In this case the WTS dudes assigned all three occurrences to the same homonym. In cases where the WTS did not assign a homonym (and it is not complete in this regard) our editors picked one based on context and often whether or not the verse is cited in the lexicon.

Mike

Ben Spackman
05-02-2006, 11:55 PM
I posted a new CAL Lexicon.

Downloaded and installed.

Excellent work! Many many thanks for the quick response!

:D

jfidel
05-03-2006, 08:22 AM
I am curious as to why this resource is only available in the Word Analysis Box and not in the Lexicon section of BW?

Should it not appear as a lexicon also?

John Fidel