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Thread: New BW9 Feature - paragraph marks in Bible versions

  1. #1
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    Default New BW9 Feature - paragraph marks in Bible versions

    Ok, so in the older versions of BibleWorks paragraph marks are included according to the RSV. You can turn them on or off by going to the Options and under Option Flags | Browse Window, you can toggle them on or off.** Doing this won't make the versions appear in real paragraphs, but it will add a paragraph mark () to the appropriate verses where new paragraphs begin. Paragraphs can only begin a verse.

    However, a new feature has just been added to BW9 where you can add paragraph marks to all (?) the Bible (?) versions, by adding a plain text file to the \databases\ directory in BibleWorks with the name VERSION_ID.pat (e.g. kjv.pat, rsv.pat) which contains the verses that begin paragraphs, one per line.

    For instance the beginning of kjv.pat looks like this:
    Gen 1:1
    Gen 1:6
    Gen 1:9
    Gen 1:14
    Gen 1:20
    Gen 1:24
    Gen 1:26
    Gen 2:1
    Gen 2:4
    which means a new paragraph begins at each of those verses.

    Now, when you have paragraph marks toggled on, KJV will show paragraph marks according to KJV, while RSV will show them for RSV.

    At present, it's not clear whether users will have to contribute these files for other versions or whether anyone at BW is working on them. Also I'm not sure whether this paragraphing works in non-biblical works.

    Are there other questions people have about this new feature? Hopefully someone with more knowledge will answer them, because that's about all I have figured out so far.

    ADDED: ** You can now also toggle paragraph marks on or off by using the Browse Window Options Button (it's the one next to the walking shoes in the Browse Window), which is much more convenient!
    Last edited by Michael Hanel; 03-22-2012 at 05:12 PM. Reason: added new toggle feature in browse button
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  2. #2
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    Default A new version and a bit more info

    Okay, the BW9 Help file has been updated, so there's a bit more info about how paragraph marks work, including how they can work in the middle of the verse.

    Show paragraph markers
    If this option is checked, paragraph markers will be displayed in the Browse Window. By default the paragraph markers are the same as used in the RSV version so the paragraph divisions will be the same for all versions. If you want to have different paragraph breaks for each version create a text file containing the verse references which begin a paragraph. Name the file as the version ID with the .pat extension and place it in the BibleWorks databases folder. For samples of how to do this see the kjv.pat or rsv.pat file. When you run BibleWorks these .pat files will be compiled into .pac files if the pat files are newer than their corresponding pac files. You cannot place paragraph markers in the middle of a verse with this method. However, if a version already has paragraph markers embedded you can create an empty .pat file. This will tell the program to use the internal paragraph markers.
    So for instance, I built the files for the Tregelles texts (TRG1 and TRG2) and included paragraph marks in the actual text. With the latest update, there is a blank file for trg1.pac and trg2.pac. By using the blank file, BW now understands the internal paragraph marks as actual marks and so they can be toggled on and off just like the other paragraph marks, but now it can also include paragraph marks within the middle of the verses, which wasn't possible just one EXE version back

    Hard to say if they've yet finished tweaking this, but this is a great improvement because it means you can have paragraph breaks in the middle of a verse.

    Still no word on who is going to have to provide paragraph files for the other versions.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  3. #3
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    Well, I have to say I'd give no more than 1 cheer for this feature as I now understand its implementation. It is good to have paragraph markers at all, but....

    • Using the RSV as the reference version is simple, but the results are less than desirable. The obvious reason is that the paragraph markers then do not represent the actual decisions made by the translators of other versions. For instance, in 1 John RSV (followed by NRS) has a paragraph that begins at v 7 and runs through v 11. But NIV (2011) begins a new paragraph at v 9. So if you're viewing NIV and have paragraph markers turned on, you will be unaware of the actual NIV paragraphing. Frankly, I think the copyright owners could (and probably should) complain about this; but of course I don't know what's in the actual contracts involved.
    • I just tried creating blank .pat files for NRS and NIV, which resulted in no paragraph marks appearing. I presume this means that these versions do not have paragraph markers embedded in them. Until a user puts time into creating .pat files for these versions, then, the BW paragraph marker feature will not be reliable for them.
    • Paragraph divisions in the KJV? Have there been paragraphed versions of the KJV? I don't know much of the reprint history of the KJV, so I'm curious about where these divisions come from.
    • Which brings us to the really fundamental question why BW is, by default, verse-oriented in its browse display. Verses remain a functional and indispensable reference system, but surely no one any longer thinks they are meaningful or useful in the actual analysis of the text. The biblical writers did not write in verses (except for the psalmists and other poets), and their narratives and arguments do not have meaning verse-by-verse. No modern original-language edition and no contemporary translation divides the flow of the text by verses; nor, of course, do the ancient manuscripts. Verse-as-paragraph is a blip in the history of the biblical text and its time was already over when BibleWorks was first created. Whether or not the digital forms of the various versions come with paragraph markers embedded, BW's browse display should be (and long should have been, in my view) oriented to the paragraphs in the printed editions of the versions, since that is what represents the translators' actual judgments about the text and its units of meaning. Software should no more meddle with those divisions than it should with the wording.
    • Obviously I don't know what would be involved technically in the displaying of paragraphs rather than verses (with or without semi-accurate paragraph markers showing). But I know it's possible. I have the excellent Olive Tree Bible texts on my smartphone, and they show the paragraphs as in the print editions.


    OK, sorry for the rant, but this kind of touched a sore spot with me, one of the very, very few I have about BibleWorks. It would be great if users wanted to do accurate paragraph files for their favorite versions so the divisions could at least be displayed by markers. But (IMHO, as always) this is at best a halfway measure.
    Last edited by DavidR; 03-26-2012 at 11:34 AM.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    Well, I have to say I'd give no more than 1 cheer for this feature as I now understand its implementation. It is good to have paragraph markers at all, but....

    • Using the RSV as the reference version is simple, but the results are less than desirable. The obvious reason is that the paragraph markers then do not represent the actual decisions made by the translators of other versions. For instance, in 1 John RSV (followed by NRS) has a paragraph that begins at v 7 and runs through v 11. But NIV (2011) begins a new paragraph at v 9. So if you're viewing NIV and have paragraph markers turned on, you will be unaware of the actual NIV paragraphing. Frankly, I think the copyright owners could (and probably should) complain about this; but of course I don't know what's in the actual contracts involved.


    I don't think BW folks would say this is the best answer either. The RSV paragraphing was there already when BW9 was released. And it was provided as an attempt to show paragraphing, but with the caveat that it only represented the RSV tradition. The basic problem as I've heard it is that BibleWorks does not receive e-text's with paragraph marks in them already. So if they want to paragraph format it, they have to do the work themselves, and up to this point they have not. However it seems that since they have juiced up this feature so that it will now allow paragraphs from all the different versions things may be changing. Hopefully the different copyright holders are able to provide them a paragraph marked text and then I imagine the implementation could be a lot quicker. Otherwise who knows how long it will take. Anyway, my point is, this feature is still a work in progress, so I wouldn't give it a final judgment yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post


    • I just tried creating blank .pat files for NRS and NIV, which resulted in no paragraph marks appearing. I presume this means that these versions do not have paragraph markers embedded in them. Until a user puts time into creating .pat files for these versions, then, the BW paragraph marker feature will not be reliable for them.


    You are correct. If you simply create a blank .pat file, that will only show paragraph marks *if* the text is compiled with paragraph marks. For instance, this is how the Tregelles texts work. At present, if you do nothing, BW will default to using the RSV paragraph marks, and users should be aware of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post


    • Which brings us to the really fundamental question why BW is, by default, verse-oriented in its browse display. Verses remain a functional and indispensable reference system, but surely no one any longer thinks they are meaningful or useful in the actual analysis of the text. The biblical writers did not write in verses (except for the psalmists and other poets), and their narratives and arguments do not have meaning verse-by-verse. No modern original-language edition and no contemporary translation divides the flow of the text by verses; nor, of course, do the ancient manuscripts. Verse-as-paragraph is a blip in the history of the biblical text and its time was already over when BibleWorks was first created. Whether or not the digital forms of the various versions come with paragraph markers embedded, BW's browse display should be (and long should have been, in my view) oriented to the paragraphs in the printed editions of the versions, since that is what represents the translators' actual judgments about the text and its units of meaning. Software should no more meddle with those divisions than it should with the wording.


    The same could be said for poetic phrasing. Just like paragraph marking, it is an editorial decision, chosen by the translators. Thus far there has been nothing like that in BibleWorks. In the past BW has said that this is something that *is* possible, but it would require a lot of reprogramming on their part to change the way the Browse Window works and then to re-format all the texts. Essentially it would mean adding a lot more mark-up language to the texts, such as Logos, Olive Tree and Accordance do and then making the Browse Window able to interpret it. You can try campaigning for this, but in the past, people generally say, yes it's nice, it'd be good if we had it, but I would rather you not give up developing other features just to do this. Personally I think that programs like Olive Tree and BibleWorks are perfectly fine in parallel. They do different things and each one is better at what it does. The primary use of a program like Olive Tree is to read texts and so it is much more faithful to a print layout. But as far as I have used it, it's an awful analytical program. BibleWorks excels in analysis and the ease of using lexica and grammars is not surpassed by any other program (in this user's opinion). But it's not good at recreating the page of text as you'd see it in a book. I guess that hasn't bothered me a lot because there are other programs that do it and BW already excels at what it does. Others probably have different opinions, but that's at least where I'm coming from.

    In the end, I think you are correct in saying that this implementation is incomplete. I have no doubt that more work is being done to improve it, since it's already been through three improvements in the last week. But I'm not sure I'd guarantee that it's going to approach the level of completion that you're asking of it (e.g. to be like the printed lay out on the page rather than in verse by verse format). But I'm glad to hear your feedback, that's what helps them improve things.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Michael. I take your point about the different uses of Olive Tree and BW. I do have to say, though, that on my dear departed Palm Treo, Olive Tree could do some fairly sophisticated searches. Not with the Android app, however. I don't know about the iPhone version.

    Anyway, I kinda don't feel like hauling out my phone when I've got this great textual tool on my computer screen.

    I wasn't really expecting an instant response from BW to my suggestion/rant. I realize it would be a major project. Still, I think it's more than an aesthetic issue. Paragraph breaks are exegetical decisions, and knowing how translators have made those decisions is helpful in serious study. Honestly, I think having no paragraph markers at all would be better than having the RSV ones imposed on all versions without special extra work.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    • Paragraph divisions in the KJV? Have there been paragraphed versions of the KJV? I don't know much of the reprint history of the KJV, so I'm curious about where these divisions come from.


    To answer this small part of your question, the KJV has always at least had paragraph markers such as found in the new BW option, and that goes back to the original 1611. There have been some editions beginning in the 19th century in which the text was actually printed in paragraph form, but this has been the exception.
    καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι.

  7. #7

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    For the Gospels, at least, let's go back to the Eusebian kephalia!
    We actually do have them available for BW, but they are awkward to work with because they are only available as a whole bunch of synopsis files (one for each table).
    You can get it HERE on the Old in the New site.
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  8. #8
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    Thanks, Lee and Mark. I do think, now that you mention it, that I've seen paragraphed editions of the KJV, but as you say, not many. And the Eusebian Kephalia! Hadn't thought about those for a long time. But that would only be for the gospels in any case.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hanel View Post
    [/LIST]


    The same could be said for poetic phrasing. Just like paragraph marking, it is an editorial decision, chosen by the translators. Thus far there has been nothing like that in BibleWorks. In the past BW has said that this is something that *is* possible, but it would require a lot of reprogramming on their part to change the way the Browse Window works and then to re-format all the texts. Essentially it would mean adding a lot more mark-up language to the texts, such as Logos, Olive Tree and Accordance do and then making the Browse Window able to interpret it. You can try campaigning for this, but in the past, people generally say, yes it's nice, it'd be good if we had it, but I would rather you not give up developing other features just to do this. Personally I think that programs like Olive Tree and BibleWorks are perfectly fine in parallel. They do different things and each one is better at what it does. The primary use of a program like Olive Tree is to read texts and so it is much more faithful to a print layout. But as far as I have used it, it's an awful analytical program. BibleWorks excels in analysis and the ease of using lexica and grammars is not surpassed by any other program (in this user's opinion). But it's not good at recreating the page of text as you'd see it in a book. I guess that hasn't bothered me a lot because there are other programs that do it and BW already excels at what it does. Others probably have different opinions, but that's at least where I'm coming from.
    Hey Michael, I, for one, would love to see poetic formatting in BW. It is not just desirable; it can be critical to exegesis. In the Pentateuch, for example, the theology of the book is advanced in the poetic seams. Though others may have Olive Tree Software and may have it open side-by-side with BW, I don't have any Olive Tree products. I do have Logos and am able to see the poetic formatting there - though in the English versions, strangely, and not in BHS. Nevertheless, I consider it an inadequacy in BW that I am forced to open up Logos to view if any poetry is present. So, with the utmost respect, I would love to see the poetic formatting supplied with BW one day. Despite this critique, BW is still the best Bible software company on Earth.

    Irving
    Last edited by ISalzman; 03-27-2012 at 04:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISalzman View Post
    Hey Michael, I, for one, would love to see poetic formatting in BW. It is not just desirable; it can be critical to exegesis. In the Pentateuch, for example, the theology of the book is advanced in the poetic seams. Though others may have Olive Tree Software and may have it open side-by-side with BW, I don't have any Olive Tree products. I do have Logos and am able to see the poetic formatting there - though in the English versions, strangely, and not in BHS. Nevertheless, I consider it an inadequacy in BW that I am forced to open up Logos to view if any poetry is present. So, with the utmost respect, I would love to see the poetic formatting supplied with BW one day. Despite this critique, BW is still the best Bible software company on Earth.
    I'd be in agreement with that. Contemporary versions use poetic formatting a lot, not only in obvious places like the Psalms and many prophets but, as you say, in the Pentateuch. In the New Testament, it shows up in a number of places, including the hymn-like pieces in Revelation and the (apparent) hymns to Christ in Phil. 2 and Col. 1. Quotations from the Hebrew Bible are also often set off in some way, which would be another nice feature to see in BW (as long as we're compiling this formatting wish-list!).
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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