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Logotechnical Analysis

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  • Michael Grondin
    Rick Hubbard has been kind enough to do some research into the area of numerical biblical studies, and has passed the results along to me. Turns out that one
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 17, 2010
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      Rick Hubbard has been kind enough to do some research into
      the area of numerical biblical studies, and has passed the results
      along to me. Turns out that one Casper Labuschagne, a retired
      Professor of Theology now living in the Netherlands, has done a
      great deal of work in this area, particularly on Psalms. (As readers
      may recall, the Laura Joffe article which I've mentioned at times
      also has to do with Psalms.) See: http://www.labuschagne.nl/

      Labuschagne has hooked up with an outfit called 'Bibal.net' and
      a project called 'Logotechnical Analysis'. There seem to be two
      general introductions to the subject, one by Labuschagne himself
      and the other co-written by one John Burnett:

      http://www.labuschagne.nl/aspects.pdf
      http://www.bibal.net/04/logo/logotech.html

      I'm still in preliminary investigations of this work, but two points
      are already clear:
      (1) Labuschagne notes criticism of his work based on the fact that
      various mss of Psalms differ on word-counts, etc. Fortunately, my
      own work is immune to that criticism, since it focuses on a single
      manuscript.
      (2) Labuschagne and his group don't count anything smaller than
      words. As he writes:

      > The logotechnical analysis is primarily concerned with words
      > (logos-technique!) as the smallest basic building blocks of a text.
      > Syllables or morae do not function as building blocks and cannot
      > contribute anything to our understanding of the structure of a given
      > text. Therefore, I consider counting them a waste of time.

      If he's right that letter-counting wasn't one of the numerical techniques
      used in the Hebrew Bible, then it may be original with Coptic Thomas.
      In any case, I assume that he has a familiarity with numerical Bible
      studies that I lack, and the clear implication of his remarks is that he's
      not aware of any credible studies based on the counting of items
      smaller than words. But we know that the designers of Coptic Thomas
      counted letters. They did it in the Prologue (where counted letter-
      segments *do* "function as building blocks"), and they did it with respect
      to the set of Greek words and names that they used. So as far as this
      little survey of "Logotechnical Analysis" goes, then, it appears that the
      level of detailed composition exhibited by Coptic Thomas is unknown
      to them, although Psalms provides a *general* precedent to the notion
      of numerical composition of a text.

      Mike Grondin
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