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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Thursday, September 25, 2008  

Taking The Typical Tasks Test, Take Two

In my previous post, I showed how Accordance can easily accomplish some of the "typical tasks" which Mark Vitalis Hoffman of Biblical Studies and Technological Tools enumerated in a recent post. In this post, I'll finish subjecting Accordance to Professor Hoffman's "typical tasks test."

Still in Mark 16.6, what is known about Nazareth? Find it on a map. (On a map in the program or linked out to an online map.)

To do this, simply select the word "Nazareth" and click the Map button of the Resource palette. A new map will open with Nazareth highlighted and centered on the map.

Want to know more? Simply double-click Nazareth on the map to look it up in a dictionary. I have my map set to amplify to the Bible Lands PhotoGuide, which gives me a detailed description of the site, along with forty photographs of the modern city and the reconstructions and reenactments of Nazareth village.

Returning to the map, I can customize the Map layers to reflect the time period I'm interested in. For example, I might choose New Testament sites as the Site layer, New Testament Palestine as the Region layer, and any of a number of animated Route layers associated with the life of Jesus. Here I've chosen The Birth of Jesus layer, which shows Jesus' parents' journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, their exile into Egypt, and their eventual return to Nazareth.

Where else is [Nazareth] mentioned in Mark, the NT, the Bible, the extra-biblical literature?

There are a number of ways you can go here. The easiest from a lets-get-the-information quickly standpoint is to select the word Nazareth and click and hold on the Search button of the Resource palette to select a Search All group. Professor Hoffman mentioned Biblical and extrabiblical texts, so I could just choose [All Bibles]; but I could also choose [All] to search all my tools as well. If I wanted to narrow my search down, I could set up a specific group of modules to search. Whatever subset of my library I decide to search, I'll end up with a Search All window listing all the modules containing the word "Nazareth." I can then click the modules I want to check out further and explore the hits. For example, Nazareth is mentioned several times in the second and third infancy narratives of the Apocryphal Gospels module, as well as by Irenaeus and Justin Martyr of the Apologists. I did this search in English, but I could easily have selected the Greek word Nazarenon in Mark 16:6 and done my search in all the tagged Greek texts. If I wanted to find both Nazarenon (Nazarene) and Nazara (Nazareth), I would simply use a wildcard symbol to broaden the search.

How can I notate and save the work I've done? What are the options for marking up the text? For making my own notes that are attached to the text? For exporting text to a word processor?

With respect to user notes, you can create a user notes file (or several for different purposes) and attach a note to each verse of the Bible. These can then be displayed in a parallel pane or a separate window or tab. A red dot appears beside any verse containing a note.

As for marking up the text, you can create a wide array of highlight styles and highlight whole verses or any part of a verse. If you highlight the whole verse, the highlighting will appear in every translation. If you highlight a portion of a verse, that highlighting will be translation-specific. You can hide the highlighting when you don't want to see it, and you can search by highlight style.

As far as exporting to a word processor is concerned, you may not want to go outside of Accordance. Creating a user tool may be a better route for producing papers and sermons you'll want to be able to search later on. Of course, if you do want to copy to a word processor or other program, there's copy-paste and drag-and-drop, along with the ability to copy according to a custom citation style, various export options for Greek and Hebrew, even the ability to copy original language text as transliteration.

What other issues should I be aware of relating to Mark 16.6? Are there text critical issues? Do scholars note anything special?

With respect to text-critical issues, I opened a pane containing the NA27 Apparatus, and saw that there are textual variants of the part of this verse which reads, "Look! The place where they laid him." Codex Bezae and Codex Washingtonensis both have different readings, and since both of those are available in Accordance, I opened them in parallel with the NA27 and compared the three readings. Instead of the interjection ide ("Look!"), Codex Bezae (D) has the imperative eidete ("See") and places the noun topos ("place") in the accusative. A literal translation would be, "See there his place, where they laid him." Codex Washingtonensis (W) has a similar reading, but places topos in the nominative, so that it reads something like, "Look there. This same place is where they laid him."

These two codices also contain another significant variant which is not mentioned in the NA27 Apparatus, but which is mentioned in the CNTTS Apparatus and which is obvious if one uses the compare text feature to highlight the differences between the NA27 and these codices. Instead of me ekthambeisthe ("Do not be alarmed"), D and W read me phobeisthai ("Do not be afraid").

The CNTTS Apparatus listed other variants as well, but most of those were minor differences in spelling.

With respect to whether scholars note anything special about this verse, that's one of those questions which leaves you wondering what specific thing the professor has in mind! But I took a stab at looking for other issues by consulting Word Biblical Commentary. Word mentioned a parallel to this verse in the Testament of Job 39:11-12. I therefore opened the tagged Greek Pseudepigrapha and checked it out. I found that while there is a loose conceptual parallel to Mark 16:6, the vocabulary is completely different. I'm therefore not sure the Pseudepigraphical reference sheds much light on Mark 16:6.

I've now finished running through Professor Hoffman's list of typical tasks, and I hope I've shown that it's relatively easy to perform each of them using Accordance. I actually could have streamlined things a bit more by setting up custom arrangements of modules as Favorite Workspaces, Text and Tool Sets, or Search All Groups, but I wanted to tackle each of these tasks from the standpoint of a basic setup. In the final analysis, Accordance is designed to perform these "typical tasks" in a way which is simple and straightforward.





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