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Thursday, April 10, 2008  

Understanding the Hit Counts

In yesterday's post, I did a series of searches of the MT/LXX. First, I searched for all occurrences of the Hebrew word bara using the Merge command. This returned 54 hits. Then I searched for all the places where bara is translated with poieo in the Greek Septuagint. The number of hits returned was 30. Then I searched for all the places bara is not translated with poieo. This returned 39 hits.

Does anyone see a problem with those numbers? If there are 54 occurrences of bara and 30 of them are translated with poieo, we would expect our search for those cases which are not translated with poieo to number just 24 (54 - 30 = 24), not 39!

There's a logical explanation for these numbers, but I want to see if you can tell me what it is. Feel free to leave your explanations in the comments on this post, and I'll follow up with a more complete explanation.

In the first search where you merge the BHS and the LXX using the AND operator, each occurrence of bara and each occurrence of poiew are counted as hits separately--i.e. each pairing of bara/poiew counts as 2 hits (one for each word). So, the 30 hits reduces to 15 actual results.

In the other search--BHS NOT LXX--this phenomenon doesn't occur since negated search terms don't produce any counted hits. Thus, only the occurrences of bara in the result set are counted as hits, and the 39 hits equals 39 results.

Therefore, the problem with the calculation in the previous post is that you're including the number of hits on poiew from the first search. When you exclude those, the numbers work out as expected:

54 - 15 = 39

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