Let's say I want to compare the vocabulary of the Greek Septuagint with that of the Greek New Testament. In one Search window (or tab in the workspace), I choose GNT-T as my search text, click the Search for Words radio button, type an asterisk to find every word, and click OK. In another Search window, I choose LXX1 as my search text, then type an asterisk (*), followed by the at (@) symbol, followed by a minus sign (-). I then choose HITS from the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu. Provided I only have two Search windows open, the HITS command will automatically link to my window containing the GNT-T. Otherwise, I'll have to select that window from a list.
If I haven't lost you yet, the search criteria in the window containing LXX1 should look like this: "*@- [HITS GNT-T]"
This search will find every word (*) in the LXX1 which (@) is not (-) contained in the GNT-T ([HITS GNT-T]). Pretty cool, huh? (Okay, so it's really pretty geeky! Work with me here!)
Now, to examine the words that were found, I click the Details button and view the Analysis Tab. This gives me an alphabetical listing of every word that was found. To see which words are used most frequently, I can choose "Set Analysis Display..." from the Display menu, and then choose "Count Down" from the Sort pop-up menu.
At this point, I notice that the vast majority of words which are unique to the LXX are proper names. To filter those out, I go back to my search, type another at symbol (@) and minus sign (-), and then choose "Noun" from the "Enter Grammatical Tag" submenu of the Search menu. In the dialog box, I choose "properName" from the Class pop-up menu and click OK. My search argument now looks like this:
"*@- [HITS GNT-T] @- [NOUN properName]"
Now, at this point, I'm not even sure Accordance will let me do a search containing two at (@) symbols, but if it works, this search should find:
every word (*) in the LXX1 which (@) is not (-) contained in the GNT-T ([HITS GNT-T) and which (@) is not (-) a proper noun ([NOUN properName]).
I cross my fingers and click OK, and lo and behold, it works! Well, at least I think it works. The search takes a long time on my G3 PowerBook, so while I wait, I check all the Mac rumor sites for any hint of an upcoming G5 PowerBook! ;-)
When the search is finished, I find that it has, in fact, worked the way I had hoped, and my Analysis now shows everything but the proper names.
I've still got a pretty long list, however (nearly 6000 words). So I'd like to filter my search further to find only those words which are used 50 or more times. To do this, I go back to my search, enter yet another at (@) symbol, and then choose "COUNT" from the "Enter Command" submenu of the Search menu. I type "50-6500", and my search now looks like this:
"*@- [HITS GNT-T] @- [NOUN properName] @ [COUNT 50-6500]"
I click OK, and while waiting for the search to finish, I start Googling for "Big Foot", which is apparently easier to locate than the fabled G5 PowerBook for which I long! ;-)
In addition to inflaming my desire for a faster computer, this search ultimately does what it's supposed to do, and my Analysis now lists every word in the Septuagint which does not appear in the Greek New Testament, which is not a proper noun, and which is used 50 or more times. Whew!
Okay, so if you're not interested in comparing New Testament and Septuagint Greek, what can you take away from this little odyssey of mine? Here are a few tips:
- Use the Hits command in conjunction with the at symbol and minus sign to compare vocabulary between different texts or parts of a text. You might compare the vocabulary of the New King James with that of the KJV, or compare the Aramaic of the Bible with the Aramaic of the Targums. Or you might compare 1 Peter with 2 Peter, or the Pastoral Epistles with the wider Pauline corpus. There's all kinds of possibilities here.
- Use the at (@) symbol to search for words which meet multiple criteria. Think of the at symbol as joining words with tags, key numbers, word counts (a l‡ COUNT command), and hit lists (a l‡ HITS command). And get in the habit of reading the at (@) symbol as meaning "which." For me, at least, this helps to reinforce what the at symbol is doing.
- Use the Details button to get an overview of what was found by a search. The big picture perspective which the Analysis, Plot, Table, and Concordance provide can help you zero in on ways your search might need to be refined.
- Get in the habit of building your searches incrementally. Try something, examine the results, and repeatedly refine your search until you get the results you are looking for.