Re: [GTh] An Interesting GThomas "Link"
- Rick Hubbard wrote:
>Those who are interested may find the following link useful:I took a look at this site, Rick, and as you know, I'm sure, the usefulness
of indices of English translations of any text is severely limited by the
fact that translators almost never translate the same source-language word
or phrase consistently thruout the translated text. Also, they often use
the same English word to translate different source-language words in
different contexts. This leads to basically unreliable results from this or
any index/search function that transverses English translations. What would
make such functions basically reliable, I think, is either to index the
source language rather than the translation, or to use a certain kind of
English translation wherein each unique source-language word or phrase is
translated with a unique English word or phrase. Such translations exist,
but haven't enjoyed much popularity. Having tried to do this myself with my
own translation of Thomas, I know that it isn't easy, and that the
end-result is simply not as satisfying as a free-form translation. But the
other option (taking some account of the source-language) has an even
bigger problem - namely, how to do it?
Given these remarks on the unreliability of searches of English
translations, someone may think to ask, "But didn't Dave Hindley just do a
search for the English phrase 'Son of Man' in a translation of Justin's
works? And didn't you rely on those results?" Quite true (he admits
sheepishly), and that points up the problem, since Dave's search did indeed
give me a false sense of security. Fortunately, I only had a limited object
in mind - to show that Justin used the phrase at least once. Also
fortunately, the phrase in question was translated in the expected way. But
if I did a search of a politically-correct translation of Justin, wherein
'son of man' was rendered as 'child of humanity', I'd never find what I was
looking for, and I might well erroneously conclude that Justin was
unfamiliar with the term. Scary. The technology is trustworthy within its
limits, but those limits can be so easily overlooked.
- Mike, I am in full agreement with your assessment of the value of indices
and concordances of English translations (on the intratext site and
elsewhere). What I found much more interesting on this particular site,
however, was the construction of the "author's" canonical parallels (option
4 at the root page). Its my fault, I suppose, for not calling attention to
that in the first place.
At the same time, your criticism of the limitations of such search methods
points directly at a solution (although you don't exactly spell it out).
That solution would be to adopt the "technology" of English language
searches to original languages such a Coptic, Greek and Hebrew. The sticky
issue that requires compatible fonts for server (web-page) and client
(web-browser) are still problematic, but I suspect as the Unicode standards
continue to be refined, and as new Active Server Page (asp) capabilities
evolve, such a task will be fairly easy to accomplish.
Sound like this would be a good spare time project for you, Mike.
Humble Maine Woodsman
>>Fortunately, I only had a limited object in mind - to show thatJustin used the phrase at least once. Also fortunately, the phrase in
question was translated in the expected way.<<
Yes, the same problem we experience when using an English concordance
based on the KJV when we are normally reading the RSV or NRSV, etc.
This is, I think, the reason for the popularity of Strongs Numbers as
a tool among English-only readers.
It gets worse when we consider that advances in our understanding of
the texts means that the different translations, made over time, may
leave out verses contained in the others, etc. Strongs, I think, is
keyed to the KJV (I don't own a copy, preferring Youngs Analytical
Concordance when I have recourse to use one). Very messy stuff, and
Strongs cannot help with problems like this.
Young's, incidentally, has a section of the concordance dedicated to
showing all the English words used to render each Hebrew and Greek
(according to their lexical form, and ignoring common verbs or
particles, etc.). As a result, if you know the lexical form of a
Hebrew or Greek word, you can find the English renderings, and from
that look up each English word in the concordance proper. Kind of a
kludgey way to do it, but it works.
The GoT, though, is not an excessively long document. I suppose that a
crafty program developer could find a way to create a database program
that could make just such a search (going either direction if set up
right) much easier. <hint, hint>
Cleveland, Ohio, USA