Five speakers from Logos Bible Software will be presenting a total of nine papers at ETS and SBL conferences this year. We hope to see you there!
Wendy Widder will present The Court Stories of Joseph (Gen 41) and Daniel (Daniel 2 and 4) in Canonical Context: A Theological Paradigm for God’s Work Among the Nations as part of the Old Testament Narrative Literature session—Wednesday, November 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. in the Ruth room of the Hilton Baltimore.
This paper asserts that the canonical context of the accounts of Joseph in Genesis 41 and Daniel in Daniel 2 and 4 creates a paradigm for how God uses his people among the nations, where they spend the majority of their history. It begins by considering critical scholarship on the “court stories” of Joseph and Daniel. Then it evaluates each account in its own narrative context before comparing and contrasting the two narratives. Finally, it explores the canonical context of the two accounts and their theological significance in the narrative of the Old Testament, as well as the implications of this theological significance in the New Testament.
Steve Runge will present The Greek Article: A Cognitive-Functional Approach as part of the New Testament Greek Language and Exegesis session—Wednesday, November 20, from 9:20 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., in the Johnson B room of the Hilton Baltimore.
This paper provides a unified understanding of the article by describing its function as primarily cognitive rather than grammatical. From this perspective, articular reference signals “identifiability,” i.e. that the writer assumes the reader possesses knowledge of the referent, and is able to distinguish it from among other competing referents. Chafe states, “An identifiable referent is one that is (a) assumed to be already shared, directly or indirectly, by the listener; (b) verbalized in a sufficiently identifying way; and (c) contextually salient” (1994:94). Identifiability may be established textually (i.e. previous reference), situationally (i.e. from the immediate physical context), or inferentially. Understanding this last method of inference is the key to unifying our understanding what seem to be disparate uses of the Greek article.
Dr. Runge will also be participating in a panel discussion from 11:00 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. with Ronald D. Peters and Denny Burk, moderated by Dan Wallace.
Sean Boisen will present The Bible Sense Lexicon: A Semantic Database for the 21st Century as part of the NextGen Biblical Studies Technologies session—Sunday, November 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Carroll room of the Hilton Baltimore.
The conception of a lexicon as a semantic database is a new development in the lexicography of biblical languages. As a matter of necessity, dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek have traditionally been organized as print resources with a linear, alphabetic arrangement of independent entries, centered around headwords. Having been conceived of as a semantic database from the outset, the Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL) overcomes many limitations associated with print resources. Adapted from the work of the English WordNet project (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/), the BSL is organized around senses as the primary units, rather than lemmas or headwords. This inverts the traditional association between words and meaning, asking the question “what linguistic forms express this sense?,” rather than “what meanings does this word have?” Meaning is also represented as a set of relationships between senses, not just a gloss or definition. For example, the synonymy relation groups words that can express the same sense. The hypernym/hyponym relation associates senses along the dimension of generality and specificity, indicating that, e.g., a “family” is a kind of “social group.” This facilitates exploring related meanings (other kinds of “social groups” include “band,” “clan,” “tribe,” etc.). The BSL also coordinates senses across all the biblical languages, allowing exploration of how meanings are expressed throughout the biblical text. The BSL is accompanied by a comprehensive annotation of the biblical text with contextually disambiguated senses, which enables semantic search and concordances, along with other meaning-based analysis of the corpus.
Jeremy Thompson will present Metaphor Identification and Practical Lexicography of the Hebrew Bible as part of the Metaphor Theory and the Hebrew Bible session—Sunday, November 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Holiday 1 room of the Hilton Baltimore.
This paper emerges out of recent work on the Bible Sense Lexicon, a new lexical semantic database which covers both the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament. In this project, our lexicon team explicitly captured metaphorical senses of words, so that users of the lexicon could search them in the biblical text and explore their hierarchical relationships to other senses. In this paper, I will give a brief background of the Bible Sense Lexicon, focusing on the Hebrew language material. The overall theoretical background of the lexicon finds its roots in work done at Princeton University on English WordNet. I will discuss the principles used for identifying which metaphorical senses merited their own entries in the lexicon and mention some practical problems in applying these principles consistently, which may provide some insight into metaphor theory, in general. These principles drew heavily on those outlined in the Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography. Finally, I will demonstrate how this tool allows users to explore metaphors in a way that has not been possible before by using examples such as “hand” and “house.” This demonstration will focus on both the search and hierarchy features of the tool.
Wendy L. Widder will present Teaching “in the Hand of God” (beyad ’el) in Job 27:11: YRH-Hiphil in Transitive Clausal Constructions with Prepositional Phrases as part of the Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew session—Sunday, November 24, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in room 318 of the convention center.
The difficulty of translating the clause “’ôreh ’etkem beyad-’el” in Job 27:11 is evident in English translations, which variously understand the bet of “beyad ’el” to indicate either the content or the instrument of Job’s instruction. Further, translations which interpret the bet as an indicator of content differ in their understanding of whether the bet simply marks the object or whether it heads an adverbial adjunct. The question of this paper is whether an analysis of yrh-H in its clausal constructions can offer a way through the difficulty of translating “beyad ’el” in Job 27:11. The paper first examines transitive clausal constructions in which yrh-H has only two clear arguments: an Agent and a Recipient. Then it considers clausal constructions in which yrh-H has two clear arguments plus a third constituent, namely, a prepositional phrase. It analyzes these clausal constructions to determine whether the prepositional phrases function as third arguments or as adverbial adjuncts. In this analysis, the paper gives special attention to clausal constructions of yrh-H in which a bet-prepositional phrase is one of the clausal constituents. The paper concludes by offering a new angle from which to consider what Job claimed to teach his friends.
Sean Boisen and Jeremy Thompson will present The Bible Sense Lexicon: A Practical Tool for Lexical Semantic Analysis as part of the Bible Translation session—Monday, November 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the room 324 of the convention center.
Lexical semantic analysis, both across the biblical vocabulary as a whole and in specific passage contexts, is an essential step in Bible translation. This paper will introduce the Bible Sense Lexicon, a practical organization of biblical Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic vocabulary into senses and semantic relationships. The approach builds on the foundation of the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains (Louw & Nida, 1989), as well as the work of the English WordNet project (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/), to provide a comprehensive, cross-language semantic analysis of content vocabulary (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs). Like WordNet, the Bible Sense Lexicon characterizes meaning as a set of multidimensional relationships between words and senses, using notions like synonymy, generality (hypernym/hyponym), part/whole relationships (holonym/meronym), and cultural scenarios. The lexicon component is comprised of more than 12,000 senses. This includes numerous characterizations of non-literal usage of one term to express a different sense: for example, “power” conceptualized as “hand,” or “family” conceptualized as “house.” In addition to the lexicon component, the project has also fully annotated the biblical text with contextually disambiguated senses, identifying which of several possible senses for a term is used in a given context.
Derek Brown will present Second Corinthians 7:5–16 and Paul’s Care for His Churches as part of the Second Corinthians: Pauline Theology in the Making session—Monday, November 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Johnson B room of the Hilton Baltimore.
Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian church was unique among his relationships with the churches he founded. It was, at times, a trying and strained relationship: his work in Corinth necessitated an eighteen-month stay, multiple visits, and perhaps some five letters. At the same time, Paul clearly considered the Corinthians to have special status among his churches and unique significance for his apostleship (see 1 Cor 9:1). 2 Corinthians 7:5–16 represents a key moment in the history of Paul’s labor among the Corinthians. This paper will examine the significance of 2 Cor 7:5–16 for Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian church by comparing it the parallel account 1 Thess 2:17–3:10. In both passages Paul recounts 1) learning about the welfare of one of his churches 2) from one of his closest co-workers; in both cases 3) he expresses his relief (2 Cor 7:6–7; 1 Thess 3:6–8) and, more importantly, 4) his (eschatological) joy that his labor has not proved to be in vain (2 Cor 7:7, 9, 13, 16; 1 Thess 2:19–20; 3:9). The comparison between 2 Cor 7:5–16 and 1 Thess 2:17–3:10 highlights the centrality of Paul’s churches for the fulfillment of his apostolic task and, hopefully, will further discussion concerning the place of 2 Cor 7:5–16 in the sequence of Paul’s writings to the Corinthians.
Jeremy Thompson and Sean Boisen will present The Bible Sense Lexicon: WordNet Theory Adapted for Biblical Languages as part of the Biblical Lexicography session—Monday, November 25, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Douglass room of the Hilton Baltimore.
This paper will provide an introduction to the Bible Sense Lexicon, which is a practical adaptation and application of the theory underlying English WordNet to Biblical Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The first section of the paper will discuss WordNet’s theoretical underpinnings emerging from the field of psycholinguistics, as well as WordNet’s wider uses in the fields of lexicography and Natural Language Processing. Lexical relationships that play a significant role in WordNet will receive particular attention. These relationships include, but are not limited to, synonymy, hypernymy/hyponymy, and holonymy/meronymy. The second section of the paper will focus on how the Bible Sense Lexicon applies Wordnet’s framework to the languages of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament and extends it in many ways through the manual annotation of text. After first enumerating some of the challenges that required adaptation of WordNet’s theory, the place of synonymy, hypernymy/hyponymy, and holonymy/meronymy in the Bible Sense Lexicon will be discussed using examples from the Bible Sense Lexicon tool within version 5 of Logos Bible Software. The paper will conclude by highlighting the importance of the extension of WordNet theory by the manual annotation of Biblical text with senses. Annotation of text with senses, whether of the text of the Bible or otherwise, is most often either done automatically or only on a small scale. The manual annotation of the entirety of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament along with the process of lexicon building has resulted in a tool that is lexicon, thesaurus, semantic hierarchy and semantic concordance all in one.
Steven E. Runge will present The Perfect, Markedness, and Grounding as part of the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics session—Tuesday, November 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in room 327 of the convention center.
Porter has postulated a prominence hierarchy of verbal aspect on the basis of material, implicational, distributional, positional and cognitive markedness. He treats these as quantitative factors which form “a cline of markedness values, from the least to the most heavily marked” (2009:56). On this basis, the Perfect is considered the most marked, followed by the Present and the Aorist tense-forms, respectively. The more a tense-form is marked, it is claimed, the more prominent the information it conveys. These claims are made without respect to genre, with the Perfect always being the most prominent. A survey of the works on which Porter’s claims are based reveals some significant contradictions. First, the linguists Porter cites treat material, implicational, distributional and positional markedness as qualitative—not quantitative—attributes. These qualitative attributes guided typological classification of forms in order to draw conclusions about which ones are more likely to use explicit morphological markers and which are not. At no point are they conceived of as a ranked cline, or as directly contributing to prominence. Second, these linguists all attribute the prominence associated with a given form to the role it plays in advancing the discourse in a given genre. Perfective forms are considered more salient than imperfective in narrative based on their role in advancing the plot. In contrast, the Present tense-form is considered more salient in non-narrative based on its role in advancing the discourse. The survey reveals no claims that a single aspect is most prominent across all genres, nor is the Perfect tense-form considered the most prominent in any genre. This paper substantiates these claims, offering an alternative account of the Perfect tense-form’s relationship with its counterparts.