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Thursday, June 12, 2008  

Fuzzy Amplifying

In a recent comment on my post about the INFER command, Rick Mansfield wrote:

Let's say I have a specific phrase in the Greek NT that I'm studying and I'd like to see where similar phrases occur in non-biblical works such as Philo and Josephus (Greek texts).

How would I do that kind of infer search?

Rick then answered his own question in a follow-up comment, where he surmised that this kind of search was better suited to the new FUZZY command.

Rick is exactly right. The INFER command is designed to look for any phrases which are similar between two texts. It's a broad search designed to reveal literary connections you may not previously have noticed. If you already have a particular phrase in mind, a FUZZY search will let you find similar phrases in other bodies of literature, without distracting you with other hits you're not interested in.

Okay, so how do you do it? Let's say I'm looking at the phrase monogenous huiou tou Theou ("only-begotten Son of God") in the Greek of John 3:18, and I want to find similar phrases in other Greek texts. The quickest way to do it is to select the phrase, then hold down the shift key while selecting another Greek text to search from the Resource palette.

If I do this and choose an extrabiblical text like the tagged Pseudepigrapha (Pseud-T), I find four instances of the phrase, "Son of God," but none contain the word monogenes, "only-begotten." The same is true of the Apostolic Fathers: many occurrences of "Son of God" but none with "only-begotten." The tagged Apocryphal Gospels (AGosp-T) have a couple of occurrences of the complete phrase, both of which appear in the Acts of Pilate. In the tagged Apologists (APOL-T), Irenaeus uses the phrase "only-begotten Son" (without "of God"), as well as the very specific "Only-begotten Son of the only God."

Holding down the shift key while selecting Greek texts from the Resource palette enabled me to do a FUZZY search to locate similar phrases very quickly.

Is it possible to do a FUZZY search when you don't know the exact phrase? e.g. - I know a verse that goes something like ...

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