View Full Version : Paragraphs and poetry
02-11-2005, 05:50 PM
This is a copy of a suggestion sent to BW staff:
I would love it if the program would give us information about paragraphing and poetry designation in bible versions.
I enjoy using versions which I don't have in print form, but I don't know how those versions have divided up the text or where they mark it as poetry.
How hard would it be to design markers of this?
Ya can't buy 'em all!
02-12-2005, 08:44 AM
I would love it if the program would give us information about paragraphing and poetry designation in bible versions.I agree! This is actually one of the advantages of at least one other program, which retains bold and italicized text along with paragraphing information.
Even if coded designation like ^p, ^t or ^l, were inserted that could be toggled on and off, rather than the actual formatting itself were inserted, it would be worthwhile.
"Paragraphs and poetry" are actually part of the copyrighted scholarship that is poured into Bible translations, and to lose this information is to actually strip some of the value of a quality translation.
(Nice use of alliteration in your title, David! Profound poetry.)
02-12-2005, 12:03 PM
I'm a little divided because even though i know scholars much more educated than I have looked at the pages and decided what is poetry and what is not, it really is a judgment call on the part of the editor. It's not like the Bible was written that way. The best clue for divisions for me is always keeping an eye on the accent marks to see how they divide up a line. And in Greek there is nothing sacred about their paragraphs either. Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes not. But they're no better (or worse) than verse divisions which also sometimes get it right (and wrong). So i think it's a mixed bag. I suppose it'd be nice, but for the bible it doesn't really thrill me one way or the other. If it were a feature that could be turned off and on, that'd be swell though.
I think it'd be a great feature to have for other texts. For instance Josephus Antiquities 1:1. Did everybody notice how the Greek is A LOT longer than the English ;) That whole section is rather confusing, but if formatting and line breaks could be added to the text, it'd be a lot easier to figure out that it's an outline of his work, and the alpha, beta, etc. are like the table of contents. But the way its formatted now even though it says the same thing it's confusing. Or if more formatting of a verse were possible I would definitely put some of the works of Plato into BibleWorks. The reason I hold off now is because it doesn't break up nicely by the line as poetry like Iliad and the Odyssey do and the line breaks in Plato would be artificial and not helpful. But if it were possible to add line breaks, paragraph marks, I'd have the green light on that project. :)
02-13-2005, 09:54 AM
I'll third this request, or fourth it, whichever we're up to.
Michael's point is unassailable, as to the original texts. However, insofar as we're studying (and perhaps, in our work, commenting on) the translations themselves, paragraphs are indeed original to them, and part and parcel of their end-product.
Dale A. Brueggemann
02-13-2005, 11:39 AM
Even in the Hebrew, the Masoretes were aware of something different going on; hence, the different cantillation system for the Psalms. Of course, it wasn't a rigid "poetic cantillation" system, or it would have been used in poetry outside the Poetic Books. In fact, Ps 18 uses the special cantillation, and its twin uses the regular cantillation (2 Sam 22).
I'm all for scanning the poetry, at least in the English translations. And it would be nice for it to be something you could toggle (cf. toggling the accents in Hebrew).
02-14-2005, 04:59 PM
It's not like the Bible was written that way.
That's true to a point, but in the original languages, poetry will have a rhythm and grammatic parallelism that doesn't come through in the translated words themselves, but which is to some degree captured by modern typographic conventions. To the degree these conventions do capture such features of the original text, they really are part of the inspired text.
02-14-2005, 11:51 PM
... also, my main concern is that if you have an electronic copy of say the New Living Translation without the paragraphing and poetry markers, is it really the NLT?
02-15-2005, 07:06 AM
I spent a lot of time trying to re-add paragraph marks to English translations. I would love to see them in BibleWorks. In fact, that would be a compelling reason for me to upgrade to BW7 if it had them. Anything that would save me that much time is worth the $150 upgrade.
02-15-2005, 10:32 AM
... also, my main concern is that if you have an electronic copy of say the New Living Translation without the paragraphing and poetry markers, is it really the NLT? Right on! The bottom line, is that some would say that it actually does a small bit of violence to copyrighted material to eliminate the paragraphing of the text. Sure, the original texts did not have paragraph marks--or versification for that matter, but they didn't have vowels either, and in many cases they lacked spaces between words!
"Perhaps we could all save disk space if we eliminated vowels and spaces from our versions too!"
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