Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Righteous Phoenix

“And she also gave to her husband” (Gen 3.6). The word “also” is a word that suggests she also gave the fruit to others to eat, to cattle, beasts, and birds. All obeyed her, except for a certain bird named hol (phoenix), of which it is said, “I shall die with my nest, yet I shall multiply my days as the hol” (Job 29.18). The school of R. Yannai maintained: The hol lives a thousand years. At the end of a thousand years, a fire issues from its nest and burns it up, yet of the bird a piece the size of an egg is left; it grows new limbs and lives again.

“After their kinds they went forth from the ark” (Gen 8.19). Eliezer (Abraham’s servant) asked Shem, Noah’s oldest son: How did you manage to take care of the many kinds of animals? Shem replied: The truth is, we had much trouble in the ark. The creature whose habit it was to eat by day, we fed by day; the one who ate by night, we fed by night. As for the chameleon, my father did not know what it ate. One day, as my father was sitting and cutting a pomegranate, a worm fell out of it and the chameleon consumed it. After that, he would knead some prickly reeds infested with worms and feed it with them. As for the phoenix, my father found him sleeping in a corner of the ark and asked him: Why did you not request food? He replied: I saw you were busy, and I said to myself that I should not trouble you. Noah replied: Since you were concerned about my trouble, may it be the Lord’s will that you never die. Hence it is said, “I shall multiply my days as the phoenix” (Job 29.18)

from The Book of Legends, William Braude’s very enjoyable translation of Hayim Bialik and Yehoshua Ravnitsky’s Sefer ha-Aggadah, pp. 20 (from Genesis Rabbah 19:3), 28 (from b Sanhedrin 108b).

Posted in Judaica | 6 Comments

On Monsieur’s Departure

I grieve, yet dare not show my discontent;
I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate;
I dote, but dare not what I ever meant,
I seem stark mute, yet inwardly doe prate;
I am, and am not—freeze, and yet I burn;
Since from myself my other self I turn.

My care is like a shadow in the sun—
Follows me flying—flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lives by me—does what I have done;
This too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be suppressed.

Some gentler passion steal into my mind,
(For I am soft and made of melting snow),
Or be more cruel, Love, or be more kind,
Or let me float or sink, be high or low;
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die, and forget what love e’er meant.

Queen Elizabeth I, 1581

There is a very catchy tune based upon excerpts from this poem, performed by The Medieval Baebes, written by Michael Phipps and part of the soundtrack to The Virgin Queen.

Posted in Poetry | 10 Comments

Bible(doesn’t)Works

So, I’ve recently been working alot with BibleWorks, in getting the NETS version imported into it properly (no, don’t ask me for it), and then getting the verse mapping properly aligned with the Rahlfs Septuaginta Greek text and with the NRSV. Of course, if I had Accordance, I might’ve simply paid a nominal fee. Instead I’ve had to do it myself, because BibleWorks has run into licensing issues with Oxford, whatever they may be. (Maybe it’s because Oxford doesn’t want its text mangled!) I have had such a headache for a week. Anyhow, here are some notes on what I did.

First, because I am something of a perfectionist, I was unsatisfied with having the names of the books be the same as they are in the NRSV and just about every other version in BibleWorks. After all, we have in NETS 1-4 Reigns, not 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings, Makkabees not Maccabees, Esaias not Isaiah, and so on. But there is unfortunately no version-specific titling. So, this means I added entries to the master book name files, so that I could name them whatever I want. This also means that I had to make up some new book abbreviations. This is because BibleWorks is limited to a three-character alphanumeric code for all booknames. It’s a poor design, and this is a workaround.

Then, having imported the text, I wanted to be able to read it in the order in which is occurs in the actual NETS (or even LXX), but this is another thing you can’t have in BibleWorks (except as a help file, which is useless as it is not part of the usual toolset). The order is determined entirely by verse numbering. Of course, for various historical reasons, the versification of the Septuagint is an absolute nightmare. But throwing the text into the order of the versification is not an acceptable solution. There is also the serious drawback that sub-verses cannot be included (1a, 1b, 1c, etc). This results in several verses in the version being extremely lengthy, including the sub-verse numbers in brackets [a], [b], [c], etc. This latter is a disaster for mapping.

So, on that mapping thing. BibleWorks can only map one verse to another. A range of verses to be mapped to another range must have the same number of verses, and those verses must be valid, existent verses in their version. (Note also that in the stupid map files, you can only enter a maximum of one chapter’s range of verses; you can’t enter a range of chapters and verses, like 10:1-20:23.) However, if there are some verses which are not included in the version (and this happens alot in the LXX, where you might be missing a whole string of verse numbers, because they either sit somewhere else or were simply not included in the translation of the Hebrew/Latin tradition of versification on which the verse numbers are based), they display as blanks. This is annoying, but bearable when dealing with the version in browse mode. However, if your book name is the same as one in another Bible version, even if those blanks are not included as mapped to some other verses as parallel to some other version, you’re going to see those versions in parallel, even if you’ve specified that they’re actually parallel to something else. That’s just atrocious. So, you have to work around this by creating new Bible book codes and name. Then it’s almost bearable, except you’ll have to remember whatever weird abbreviations you were forced by this nightmare of bytes to utilize. As I said, it’s almost bearable, except in the case of those lengthy verses with sub-verses. This is truly unacceptable: all the parallels to those sub-verses end up aligned not in the order of the sub-verses to which they’re parallel, but in the order in which they occur in their own version. So it is completely useless to map these at all.

Now, in my specific mapping situation, I wanted two things: 1.) accurate mapping of the NETS to Rahlfs LXX text, and 2.) accurate mapping of the NETS to the NRSV. I put everything in the mapping file, had everything correct, and then looked at the results. It was a total mess! In Jeremiah, although my mapping file didn’t state for any of this to happen, I would see the NETS verse aligned properly with its NRSV equivalent, but then often also the NRSV equivalent of the same chapter and verse number of the NETS (which is completely wrong more often than not in Jeremiah). In a window displaying the Rahlfs, NETS, and NRSV, things were even more unpredictable. Fortunately, I discovered another workaround: keeping the two sets of mapping separate. I keep two separate files of the Rahlfs and NRSV maps and copy into the NETS version map file the mapping which I want to use. This will suffice, but I am nowhere near happy about it. I really am incensed that I have to do such a thing.

I should not have had to spend so much tiime to get this working properly. I should not have to work around so many limitations in the software itself. And in a program which is specifically designed for presenting parallel Bible texts, I should not run into any instance (much less dozens of them!) in which I cannot meaningfully present those parallels due to the software’s own seemingly arbitrary limitations. There should not be a case in using this supposedly powerful software that my sitting with two books and comparing the text “manually” happens to be easier and more accurate than using Bible(doesn’t)Works. My notes I put together for entering the mapping are more useful than the result of the mapping itself!

So, Accordance users, do you have problems like these? Do these problems exist in Accordance? Can Accordance do the following?:
1.) Present a version in its own proper order within the normal context of searching and display
2.) Include subverses as full verses for searching, etc
3.) Accurately align all verses and subverses without mysterious glitches
4.) Utilize any system of book names one wishes

At this point, I’m seriously considering a complete switch. I could go Mac, and then have Accordance. I’ve heard it’s a zillion times better, anyway. My recent experience has pretty well pushed me over the edge. If anyone has any experience with importing and mapping Bible versions in Accordance, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Biblical Studies | 24 Comments

Cleverness

ἔστιν πανουργία καὶ αὕτη βδέλυγμα
καὶ ἔστιν ἄφρων ἐλαττούμενος σοφίᾳ

There is cleverness that is also an abomination,
and there is a fool lacking in wisdom.

Wisdom of Sirach 19.23, Rahlfs-Hanhart and NETS

Posted in Biblical Studies | Leave a comment

Simon Magus

Since his mind was deranged and deluded by the devilish deceit in magic, and he was always ready to display the barbarous deeds of his own wickedness and demon’s wickedness through his magic arts, he came out in the open and, under the appearance of Christ’s name, induced death in his converts by slipping a poison into the dignity of Christ’s name—as though he were mixing hellebore with honey—for those whom he had trapped in his baneful error.

Since the tramp was naturally lecherous, and was encouraged by the respect that had been shown to his professions, he trumped up a phony allegory for his dupes. He had gotten hold of a female vagabond from Tyre named Helen, and he took her without letting his relationship with her be known. And while privately having an unnatural relationship with his paramour, the charlatan was teaching his disciples stories for their amusement and calling himself the supreme power of God, if you please! And he had the nerve to call the whore who was his partner the Holy Spirit, and said that he had come down on her account. He said, “I was transformed in each heaven in accordance with the appearance of the inhabitants of each, so as to pass my angelic powers by unnoticed and descend to Ennoia—to this woman, likewise called Prunicus and Holy Spirit, through whom I created the angels. But the angels created the world and men. But this woman is the ancient Helen on whose account the Trojans and Greeks went to war.”

St Epiphanius, Panarion, 2.2,2-4. Charles Williams’ translation.

Posted in Patristics | 2 Comments

NETS Corrigenda

If you have a copy of the New English Translation of the Septuagint (Oxford, 2007), then you’ll likely want to correct the following:

1.) Iezekiel 37.23: “recue” should read “rescue”

2.) Sirach 28.24-25: The second “25b” should read “25a” so that the verses progress thusly: 24a, 25b, 24b, 25a

3.) 3 Reigns 4.9: “Mackemas” should read “Machemas”

4.) Proverbs 24.23: “judgement” should read “judgment”

5.) Iezekiel 30.17: “Bubastus” should read “Bubastis”

6.) 1 Makkabees 2.32; 5.5; 10.77: “marshaled” should read “marshalled”

7.) Numbers 1.33: “(34)” should read “(35)”

8.) 3 Reigns 16.28c: “(22.46)” should read “(22.45)”

9.) Esa 38.14: “(5)” should read “(15)”

I discovered these in the course of working on the text for a concordance to the NETS, which I’ve mentioned before. There are also some of what I would call “mismatches,” that is, cases in which the spelling is inconsistent in view of other usage in the NETS. These are too numerous to list here (because I’m lazy!). One is “David” in 2 Reigns 4.8, 9, 12; 3 Reigns 11.27, rather than “Dauid” as elsewhere, passim. Another pair is “Dositheos” (Est OG 10.3; 2Mak 12.19, 24, 35) and “Dositheus” (3Mak 1.3). I’m forwarding the complete list to the editors, and hopefully there will be a corrected reprinting, eventually. The above, however, are the only real mistakes that I’ve found.

Posted in Biblical Studies | 8 Comments

Hmm

So, if one is neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed, would one be whelmed?

And isn’t that just so fine, to be whelmed?

UPDATE:
Rather NOT. See the comments!

Posted in Philosophia | 4 Comments