View Full Version : Synoptic GSE attempt

03-11-2009, 11:44 PM
G'day all,

I'm attempting to find verses in the synoptic gospels which are noticeably similar, but where one or more of the evangelists has changed the tense form of the verb in the verse. I realize that this is not a 10 second search using the GSE, but because the BW synopsis tool doesn't line up corresponding verses (which a hardcopy of Aland does a better job of - this isn't a complaint, just an observation...), it's hard to do it 'by hand', even after applying a morphological color scheme.

I realize that the parameters for locating similar verses across synoptics is rather arbitrary, but I started with identifying where 2 identical nouns occur in both verses and the verb is the same lexeme but a different tense form. (*Ultimately, I'd love to incorporate L-N to search for verbs with the same semantic domain...but that can come later if possible*).

I though I'd figured it out, and ran the search I've attached to this post. However, the results (which were search limited to Matthew-Luke) appeared to give almost, if not all, the verses in the synoptics.

So my question is, what am I doing wrong? Is there a better way to search for what I'm looking for short of visually scanning the 367 pericopes in Aland?



(I'm using BW7 at the moment if that matters, although hopefully my upgrade isn't too far away...)
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Glenn Weaver
03-12-2009, 10:57 AM
Hi Dan,

Here is a lengthy response to you. I hope that it is helpful. It isn't as automated as you would like, since BibleWorks does not provide a word-for-word correspondence between individual words in the Synoptic Gospels. But these instructions may still be of help to you.

Comparing Vocabulary in Synoptic Gospels Pericopes
Here is one approach to comparing the verbs within a Synoptic Gospel Pericope. In this example we are trying to find all the verb lemmas that appear in more than one book within the pericope, but which do not have the same form.

First, create custom search limits for each of the Synoptic Gospel Pericopes. If you are using the Aland pericope numbers, I suggest naming them something like "za14, za15, etc." so that it is easy to enter the search limit on the Command Line. I suggest adding the "z" in front of the "a" so that the Aland pericope custom search limits appear at the bottom of the list of custom search limits, since there will be a lot of them. [For more information, Chapter 50 of the BW8 Help file discusses how to create custom search limts.] For "za14", set the search range to "mat 3:7-3:10;luk 3:7-3:9".

Open the Synopsis Window, select "File | Open", then select "Aland (greek)" as your Synopsis Window file, so that it will display the BGT Greek text. Close the Synopsis Window for now. We will use it later after we conduct a search.

With the pericope custom search ranges created, now we will go through each pericope and search for verbs. Set the BGM as your search version, and the companion text BGT as a display version. Start with the first pericope and proceed through the last pericope. (Some pericopes can be skipped, as they only contain passages from one book.) For our example we will use Aland pericope 14, containing texts from Matthew and Luke.
On the Command Line enter the custom search range "za14" and press Enter on your keyboard. Now we will search for all the verbs in this pericope. Type ".*@v*" on the Command Line and press Enter.

Now we will use the Word List Manager to gather the words found in our search, so that we can identify words that appear more than once in the pericope. Open the Word List Manager (WLM). Click the "Load or Generate Word List" button. With the BNM as your version, select as the source "Load highlighted words from last query." You do not need to change the Verse Range Limits from the default settings. Uncheck all the checkboxes under "Other options". Because we are looking for verbs that have the same lemma but which have different forms, we uncheck the morphological form. (This decision will become more clear once we display our search results in the Search Window.) Press "Create list".

The word list that appears in the WLM contains all the verbs found in all the verses contained in the pericope. The only words important to our study are those that appear more than one time in the pericope, since they are the only ones that could possibly appear in more than one book. Select a new tab in the Search window. The new tab will contain the same search limits as the previous tab. In turn we will double-click each word that appears more than once in the WLM. Double-clicking on a word in the WLM searches for that word and displays the search results in the Search Window.

The first word that we double-click is LEGW, which appears 6 times in the word list. After double-clicking the word, the search results appear in the Search Window. The only valid searches for our purposes are ones that appear in more than one book. The lemma LEGW appears in both Matthew and Luke, so this is a valid search. Notice that the forms of the word appear in the Search Results. If all the forms of the word are the same, then the search is invalid for our purposes. But for this example, there are three forms shown in the Search Window. (There are a total of 6 occurences, so 2 of the forms are not show. Be sure to check all forms of the word in the pericope, as some may not appear in the Search Window. You may want to show the entire verse in the Search Window to see all the forms in each verse. To show the entire verse, right-click within the Search Window, then select "Listbox Content Options | Show Entire Verse Wrapped".)

Now we will use the Synopsis Window to see the word forms in context, so that we can visually determine if the words with different forms correspond to one another. First select the first reference in the Search Window. Now open the Synopsis Window. The Synopsis Window will open to the correct pericope. The search results will be in yellow. The only search results that are valid for our purposes are the ones with differing forms. Notice that the first entry in each book correspond in the context, but have different forms. Therefore, this is a valid hit. Take notes on this occurrence, then close the Synopsis Window.

Return to the WLM. Double-click on the remaining words that appear more than once in the pericope. The ones that have different forms are potentially valid items for our purposes. (The remaining verbs all have the same forms, so the only valid words were the first occurences of LEGW in Matthew and Luke.)

Using Louw-Nida Semantic Domains to Compare Vocabulary in Synoptic Gospels Pericopes
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You can conduct searches using Louw-Nida Semantic Domains within Synoptic Gospels Pericopes. Doing so will take a bit more work and more evaluation on your part, since there is no lemma similar between each word.

The steps are similar to the ones given for comparing verbs. Essentially, you will use the Aland custom search limits to limit the searches, then conduct searches through each Aland pericope. For each pericope you will search on each Louw-Nida domain. (This will be lengthy, since there are 93 domains.) In BibleWorks 8 the easiest way is to use the Semantic Domain search on the Command Line. Right-click within the Command Line to open the context menu. Select "Insert Louw-Nida Domain Code". Select one domain within the Louw-Nida Domains window, then click "Insert" and close the Louw-Nide Domains window.

The domain entered on the Command Line can be treated like a word. In our case we want to add @v* after the "word" to limit the searches to only verbs. For example, the first Louw-Nida domain appears as ".<1.1-105>" when entered on the Command Line. Add "@v*" immediately after the domain code, so that it appears as ".<1.1-105>@v*". Press enter to run the search. The returned search results will be each verb that is contained within that semantic domain.

Select the first verse in the search results, the open the Synopsis Window. Now you must evaluate each highlighted search result in the Synopsis Window to determine what words correspond to each other. It isn't an automatic process, but may indicate similarities that are otherwise missed.