Some apparently incorrect Clause Search results

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jul 7 2015 7:50 AM

I sent these corrections in by email on October 9th, 2014 to data@logos.com, but haven't received any response yet, so I thought I'd post them here in a new thread.

If you run a Clause Search for subject-lemma:אֱלֹהִים verb-morph:V????P (i.e. a search for clauses where the subject of the clause is e/Elohim and the verb is in plural), there are a large number of hits where אֱלֹהִים is not in any way a subject in the phrase, not even in a broad sense of being included in a prepositional phrase which modifies the subject. In fact, oftentimes אֱלֹהִים is the object within the clause.

Examples of false hits are:

Judg 20:2

1 Sam 8:8

2 Kings 17:7

2 Chr 11:1636:16

And there are more false hits than these…

I wonder if these errors (supposing they are errors - please let me know if I'm misinterpreting these results) are indicative of broader problems regarding the classification of subjects of clauses (or of other types of classification).

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Peter Venable | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 7 2015 11:01 AM

In Judges 20:2, the subject (as analyzed by Andersen and Forbes, shown above) is discontiguous. The lemma אֱלֹהִים occurs in the gap, not being part of the subject, but it is inside the span covered by the subject. That probably explains the error. 

I'll see if I can get it fixed...

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 7 2015 11:15 AM

Thanks, Peter. Please do check if this same error is present in the other passages as well. The subject-lemma has seemed quite unreliable and hopefully this explains why...

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Peter Venable | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 10:07 AM

I looked at some more of the passages you mentioned:

The first few look OK to me.

In 1 Sam 8:8, אֱלֹהִ֣ים appears inside the subject of the clause וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים ("served other gods")

2 Kings 17:7 is similar.

In 2 Chr 11:16 the subject of a clause is מִ כֹּל֙ שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַ נֹּֽתְנִים֙ אֶת־לְבָבָ֔ ם לְ בַקֵּ֕שׁ אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל which again meets your search criteria.

2 Chr 36:16 does seem incorrect, again caused by a syntax graph with crossing lines.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 10:19 AM

I don't have an opinion since I don't read Hebrew but it is starting to appear that just as there are alternative text resources there should be an alternative syntax resource ... I'd originally requested the ability to attach notes of alternative/disagreement to the syntax display but given the effects on other parts of the system, it seems as if an alternative syntax resource is more appropriate.

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 4:58 PM

MJ. Smith:
it seems as if an alternative syntax resource is more appropriate.

The crossing lines, or "gap" phenomena is the bane of both Hebrew and Greek Syntax Search as it is virtually impossible to get complete, correct results for some searches. You have to know the missing/incorrect results to begin to make allowances e.g. there are at least 4 results missing from a normal search for Genitive Absolute.

Having alternative Syntax resources will not improve the situation unless the problem of "gaps" is resolved. An analysis that produces no "gaps" may only disguise the issue with results, so the resolution lies with the search software and database representation IMHO.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 4 2015 6:53 AM

Peter Venable:

I looked at some more of the passages you mentioned:

The first few look OK to me.

In 1 Sam 8:8, אֱלֹהִ֣ים appears inside the subject of the clause וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים ("served other gods")

2 Kings 17:7 is similar.

I think it's important to distinguish between "correct" in the sense that Logos reflects the work of Andersen and Forbes, and "correct" in the sense that the analysis is actually true. 

In both of these cases, Logos correctly reflects the results of the analysis of Andersen and Forbes. But the analysis of Andersen and Forbes is incorrect, so Faithlife's analysis is also incorrect.

In both of these cases, in Hebrew, "other gods" is an object, not a subject. 

Note that in both cases, AF correctly notes that the verb in question is transitive. It requires an object. That object is "other gods". The subject in both cases is implied (within the clause anyway), and is the people of Israel.

But don't take my word for it - this is according Faithlife's own analysis! If you right click on the verbs in question, Logos will suggest for you the subject of the verb in the right click menu... and it does so correctly. In 1 Sam 8:8, the implied subject is "Israelites", and in 2 Kings 17:7, the implied subject is "Kingdom of Israel."

Peter Venable:

In 2 Chr 11:16 the subject of a clause is מִ כֹּל֙ שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַ נֹּֽתְנִים֙ אֶת־לְבָבָ֔ ם לְ בַקֵּ֕שׁ אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל which again meets your search criteria.

OK. Here we have an entire relative clause that is acting as a subject. Agreed this is fine. As well, Andersen-Forbes correctly identifies "YHWH the God of Israel" as direct object of the verb "to seek". And, searching for object-lemma:אֱלֹהִים correctly returns that part of the larger "subject clause".

Regarding MJ's suggestion of multiple syntax databases, I think Faithlife already offers multiple syntax databases. The Clause Search, even if it was based on AFAT, is not AFAT. And, hopefully it should correct errors that are found in AFAT.

As well, the classification of the implied subjects of verbs is a third syntax database (very simple obviously). And, in these cases that I found in which AFAT is wrong, the implied subjects database has been correct.

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