PDA

View Full Version : Scholarly literature use of BW



Noel Fitzpatrick
09-30-2009, 09:44 PM
I would be very grateful if you could, please, sent me some references to scholarly papers that use BW to solve problems in biblical research.

Thanks & regards.

jimofbentley
10-01-2009, 02:04 AM
I would be very grateful if you could, please, sent me some references to scholarly papers that use BW to solve problems in biblical research.

Thanks & regards.

I'm not sure what you exactly mean by "solve problems", but I used Bible Works constantly in the preperation of my PhD thesis: searching, analyising, just about everything. It was invaluable. It enabled me to observe many things that would have been overlooked otherwise, and helped me to discover numerous important points that greatly assisted my analysis.

It has now been printed:

James T Sparks The Chronicler's Genealogies: Towards an Understanding of 1 Chronicles 1-9 (Atlanta: SBL; 2008)

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-01-2009, 10:22 AM
Thanks for your reply, James. Congratulations on your studies. What I had in mind are references to articles in research/scholarly journals, as our library subscribes to electronic versions of a large range of journals, even though the book collection is not very extensive.

By "solve problems" I mean using BW to answer questions of interest to those involved in Bible study.

At present I am comparing the Pastoral Epistles with other writings to see if the topics/words considered could throw light on the date of the PEs.

Soxfan23
10-01-2009, 12:10 PM
I would imagine that the majority of scholars utilize Bible software these days, and I would imagine that the majority of biblical studies articles have some type of search they used Bible software with. However, whenever I have seen statistics cited in a scholarly work that were undoubtedly performed in Bible software, they never cite a source or anything. Because of this, I have never seen Bibleworks or any other software cited in an article or book when giving search criteria or statistical information.

Michael Burer references Bibleworks in his latest "A New Reader's Lexicon of the NT," saying that for all of the statistical information contained therein he used Bibleworks for. That's about the only thing I know of, other than Bibleworks reviews in journals and such.

Michael Hanel
10-01-2009, 12:45 PM
I would imagine that the majority of scholars utilize Bible software these days, and I would imagine that the majority of biblical studies articles have some type of search they used Bible software with. However, whenever I have seen statistics cited in a scholarly work that were undoubtedly performed in Bible software, they never cite a source or anything. Because of this, I have never seen Bibleworks or any other software cited in an article or book when giving search criteria or statistical information.

Michael Burer references Bibleworks in his latest "A New Reader's Lexicon of the NT," saying that for all of the statistical information contained therein he used Bibleworks for. That's about the only thing I know of, other than Bibleworks reviews in journals and such.

Also see Philip Brown and others who did the reader edition of the Hebrew Bible for Zondervan. I assume most scholars today use Bible software in some form, but I don't consider it necessary for them to cite that unless it really has something unique to do with their argument, like a certain database only available in a Bible program with information that is otherwise not standard knowledge.

bigjim55
10-02-2009, 09:51 AM
Noel,

You might find some help right in the BW forums -- where various folks ask questions about doing research using BW and others offer answers.

Also, there is a e-newsletter you can sign up for that sends tips for profs and others on how to use BW in the classroom (but these tips can be very helpful for any researcher).

Go to http://www.bibleworks.com/classroom/ to see the long list of tips already posted. Then sign up for the tips and you will get them emailed to you as we post them.

Jim B

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-02-2009, 12:20 PM
Thanks to all.

As a retired scientist I am surprised that references to BW are not made in the literature. In science the specialist equipment used is noted. I also think that not giving BW references is a pity. How else can one be sure one is duplicating reported studies? In science reproducible results are important.

Again it may be due to the different outlooks of physical scientists and those trained in the humanities.

However I still would like to see some reputable published studies that acknowledge BW.

Would BW itself like to request scholars to acknowledge it?

Dale A. Brueggemann
10-02-2009, 04:39 PM
As a retired scientist I am surprised that references to BW are not made in the literature.... Again it may be due to the different outlooks of physical scientists and those trained in the humanities.... Would BW itself like to request scholars to acknowledge it?

You answered your own question when noting the difference between the hard sciences and the humanities. There's no convention for citing the "format" in which you checked the primary sources. Indeed, the main citation complaint you hear for texts available in Bible works as that scholars tend to want to be able to cite the page number of works included that are published in print. No one expects that readers should have to purchase Bible Works or any other software package to check the citations and their context.

As for work that involved extensive data mining, authors will occasionally cite their software if the results would not have been readily available by other means. But as for checking how many times the niphal of a lexeme occurs, or how many times a particular grammatical construction occurs, that's not likely to be cited.

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-03-2009, 04:11 PM
Many thanks for your reply, Dale.

Scientists want to see reproducible results. Unless they can, in general, reproduce the work reported they are not convinced, hence the necessity to give the method used and the major equipment (experimental details).

Thus, scientists are a skeptical lot, like Thomas:

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Jn 20:25.

ISalzman
10-03-2009, 04:57 PM
Many thanks for your reply, Dale.

Scientists want to see reproducible results. Unless they can, in general, reproduce the work reported they are not convinced, hence the necessity to give the method used and the major equipment (experimental details).

Thus, scientists are a skeptical lot, like Thomas:

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Jn 20:25.

Noel, the one thing that you've got to keep in mind is that Bible Study software is just a means and a tool toward an end. People can actually study every usage of (for example) the Hebrew verb ra'ah in the niphal stem using a good concordance such as Even-Shoshan. That's how they actually use to do it before the advent of computers and computer-aided research tools, amazingly enough! We might not believe it but they did! What's really amazing is to look at the incredible competence and thoroughness the Masoretes had with the Hebrew Scriptures. Most people don't bother to look at the incredible observations noted in the Masorah Parva. The Masoretes could actually tell you all the other places in the Hebrew Bible where a certain grammatical construction could be found. And this, long before computers were ever invented.

My point is that bible research could be accomplished in a variety of different ways, bible software being one of them. So, when you get down to it, I don't think it's vitally crucial to specify which brand of software you used in your research. This one might use BibleWorks. That one might use Logos. Another might use Wordsearch. When you get down to it, it doesn't really matter.

And there is one more thing that I would add, and I think this is significant. Any bible software will only be as good as its databases are coded correctly. The truth is, there are errors in some of the best morphological databases out there. I have seen, believe it or not, words coded incorrectly in the Westminster Morphology. So, even with a great software platform like BW - and I love BibleWorks - there's no guarantee that you're going to wind up with 100% precision all the time.

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-04-2009, 11:00 AM
Dale,

many thanks.

Your post strengthens my original query. If there is a fault in BWs and one uses it the conclusions may not be valid.

Perhaps I will modify my original query. Could someone please give me examples of studies in refereed, peer reviewed. scholarly, academic journals (tautology used for clarity!!) that could have used BW, so I can see the type of conclusions in biblical research that computers can facilitate?

Dale A. Brueggemann
10-05-2009, 08:58 PM
Perhaps I will modify my original query. Could someone please give me examples of studies in refereed, peer reviewed. scholarly, academic journals (tautology used for clarity!!) that could have used BW, so I can see the type of conclusions in biblical research that computers can facilitate?

It's not a convention in our field of study, although I do seem to remember some early citations of Ibycus and Gramcord, when the tools we now take for granted were first available. I think I remember some by D. A. Carson and perhaps you could find some cited by Paul Miller.

SkipB
10-06-2009, 12:27 AM
When I began doing research for my dissertation, I had not yet purchased BibleWorks 3.5 as I recall. I did have access to early editions of texts from CCAT and Bob Kraft's book on programming textual analysis. I constantly checked my results against both Mandelkern, Lisowsky, and Hatch and Redpath (LXX). The religion and classics departments shared an Ibycus machine. I used that to scan non biblical material to look for a particular Greek construction that I was trying to demonstrate was relatively rare (apart from LXX use to render a Hebrew idiom). This was a minor step in my whole project, but would have been nearly impossible without a computer.
At every step my adviser insisted I check everything with a printed resource. If I could not make my point with the standard references I could not introduce it. For me the computer just narrowed the field and I confirmed everything from printed editions.
The field has changed significantly in the last 25 years, but scholarly citation of electronic tools seldom rises above an occasional acknowledgment in the front matter of someones work. Yet my seminary students probably would have no clue how to write a paper without Bible software. I am often concerned that they have a false sense of their own abilities. They are able to submit work that has an appearance of sophistication in the biblical languages that is not supported by their actual experience. When they quote a Greek or Hebrew passage, I may ask them to sight read and translate from their own paper. If they can't easily do that, I question the validity of their use of the evidence. But then I am always pushing to make them readers of the text, not technicians of a database.
Sorry if that rambles, just some random thoughts.

ISalzman
10-06-2009, 10:21 AM
Sorry if that rambles, just some random thoughts.

Actually, they were excellent thoughts. Thanks for that, Skip.

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-07-2009, 12:17 PM
Many thanks to all.

I still think it is a pity that references to BW are not given. The research may have been impossible without BW, yet it is not referenced. Sounds like Hamlet without the prince.

ISalzman
10-07-2009, 01:07 PM
Many thanks to all.

I still think it is a pity that references to BW are not given. The research may have been impossible without BW, yet it is not referenced. Sounds like Hamlet without the prince.

If it makes you feel any better, Noel, you've got my vote to be our resident BibleWorks "referencer" from now on! Assuming, of course, that you choose to produce a scholarly work, and that you use BibleWorks in the process.

Noel Fitzpatrick
10-07-2009, 02:23 PM
Isalzman,

I read your post and understand your meaning!!