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Monday, September 08, 2008  

Creative Merging, Part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about how I had used the MT/LXX with the MERGE command to verify a claim made about how the Hebrew word for "head" (rosh) was translated by the Greek Septuagint:

In the LXX rosh is translated as hegemon, archon, archegos and chiliarch, and not as kephale

The gist of this claim is that in those instances where the Hebrew word for "head" is used in the sense of a "leader" (much as we would use a term like "head of state"), it is always translated into Greek by a word which explicitly refers to some kind of "leader," and is never translated by the Greek word for "head."

By searching the tagged Hebrew Bible for rosh and the tagged Septuagint for kephale, I then used the MERGE command to merge the results of those searches within the MT/LXX tool. This resulted in 305 occurrences where the Hebrew word rosh is translated by the Greek word kephale. Most of these cases were talking about the literal "head" of a person or animal, as opposed to referring to some kind of "leader." Being too lazy to wade through all 305 occurrences, I then began to look for a way to isolate those instances where "head" was being used to mean "leader."

I looked up rosh in The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT), and found the section dealing with rosh as "leader, chief". By command-clicking one of the Scripture references in that section, I opened a Text window containing all of the verses which HALOT lists as having that particular meaning. Now I just needed a way to limit my search of the MT/LXX to that specific list of verses.

I brought my MT/LXX tab to the front, then placed the insertion point in the argument entry box right after the two MERGE commands. I then used shift-command-A to insert another AND command, and shift-command-C to insert the CONTENTS command.

The CONTENTS command lets you use the verses displayed in another window or tab as part of your search argument. When you insert the CONTENTS command, a dialog will appear asking you which window or tab you want to link to. I chose the text window containing the list of verses from HALOT. The resulting search argument looked like this:

When I tried this search, however, it did not return any results. At this point, I had to entertain two possibilities. Perhaps the search had failed because I had constructed it incorrectly. Or perhaps I had constructed it correctly, and it was simply the case that rosh is never translated as kephale in that particular set of verses. If that was the case, that would tend to confirm the claim I was seeking to verify. But I wasn't convinced that I had constructed the search correctly, so I decided to try it another way.

Instead of placing the CONTENTS command in the main argument entry box, I decided to try to construct the search as a multi-field search. So I set the field of the second argument entry box to Entry (which in MT/LXX is the verse reference) and then placed the CONTENTS command there. Like this:

Unfortunately, that search wasn't successful either. So I took a hard look at the Tool window to see if I could detect an error in the logic of the search. A look at the Search within every pop-up menu gave me the answer. In my previous post, I explained that I had set this pop-up to Paragraph so that rosh and kephale would both appear on the same line. Since the verse reference in the MT/LXX is on a different line (and therefore a different paragraph) than the actual Hebrew and Greek words, the verse references represented by the CONTENTS command would never be found unless I changed the Search within every pop-up back to Article. If I did that, however, my search might return cases where rosh and kephale appeared in the same article, but not on the same line. In order to really get this search right, I needed a way to specify that the Hebrew and Greek words had to appear in the same paragraph, while the verse references represented by the CONTENTS command had to appear in the same article. Unfortunately, the Tool window only contains one Search within every pop-up menu, so I had no way to do this within a single MT/LXX window.

So I decided to try to extend my search by opening a second MT/LXX window and using the MERGE command once again. I simply merged this second MT/LXX window with the first MT/LXX window, then inserted the AND command and CONTENTS command in the main argument entry box, making sure that the Search within every pop-up was set to Article. Lo and behold, this search did return a handful of cases where rosh is used to mean some kind of leader and is translated into the LXX with kephale. The original assertion that this never happens would appear, therefore, to be incorrect.

By using the MERGE command, I was able to bring the search results from one window over into another window in order to extend the search. I know this kind of multi-window searching can seem a little complicated, and I'm sure I haven't explained it as clearly as I should, but I hope you've been able to glimpse some of the power provided by advanced search commands like the CONTENTS and MERGE.

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