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Thread: Search for questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Default Search for questions

    Is it possible to do the following? If so, how?

    I want to search for (as an example) every question asked in the four gospels, preferably in an Englsih version.

    Is it possible to search for the "?" character?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Type "~\?" (without the quotation marks) on the command line and hit ENTER.
    This is called a regular expression search. You can read more about it in the BW Help contents.
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Thanks, Mark.

    I had tried a regular expression, but missed the '~', so it hadn't worked.

    Stephen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    392

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    I second the thanks. I've used BW for many years without ever searching for a regular expression (I'm embarrassed to say). I wouldn't have thought that searching for ? was possible, and it's good to know that it is. Now I've got something new to explore in this remarkable tool!
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  5. #5

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    For future reference (and combining some other earlier threads):

    As noted above you can use a regular expression to search for question marks (or other punctuation) like this:
    • Type "~\?" (without the quotation marks) on the command line and hit ENTER.

    BUT, note that it only works for English.

    For Greek (actually this method works for any language), you need to use the Graphical Search. Attached is a QF file that will find all the question marks in the BNT Greek text. (This updates an older QF file I uploaded which had a mistake in it.)
    The trick here is two-fold:
    • You search for any two words (the two asterisk boxes), but in the ordering box
      • Click on Punctuation > Require
      • Type in the punctuation mark you want in the Custom punctuation box. (Note: The punctuation may not look like what you think. E.g., to search for the question mark in the Greek text which is a semicolon, just hit that key on your keyboard and don't worry what shows up in the box.)
      • Click OK

    • Next, at the top of the Graphical Search window
      • Click Query > then the Flags tab
      • Check the box "Cross verse boundaries"
      • Click OK (We need to do this step to find punctuation between 2 words that comes at the end of a verse)

    • Go ahead and run the query


    NOTE: In your search results window, when the first word is highlighted, it means that the punctuation was actually at the end of the previous verse.


    questions in BNT.qf
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    392

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    Yet more thanks, Mark. The GSE is another area of profound unfamiliarity for me, so this was also interesting. I ran the search on the gospel of John, imported the results to the Verse List Manager, and then did the search for ? on John in the NRSV. Importing that to the VLM showed that the verses are identical, as they ought to be.

    This raised some interesting points about the gospel of John. For one thing, it has significantly more questions than the other gospels. Just in terms of verses (I haven't figured out how to get it to do a pure hit count), about 16.5% of John's verses have hits, compared with 13.4% for Matthew and 12.2% for Luke; Mark has 14.7%, closer to John.

    For another thing, following up on your note that when the first word is highlighted, the question mark was actually at the end of the previous verse, I found that in every single case of this in John, the verse with a question mark at its end (there are about 22 of them) is followed by a verse that also has a question in it. Jesus evidently answers a question with a question a lot in John. I didn't do that comparison with the other gospels, though.

    So thanks to you also, sdd, for bringing this up!
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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