Data Errors: Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament Errors and Future Revision

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This post has 15 Replies | 3 Followers

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Aug 15 2013 10:59 AM

First, I would like to state that I have tremendous respect and gratitude for Steven Runge and his work at Logos, along with everyone who has contributed to original language research and tool development. Recent projects like Lexham Discourse Series and the Bible Sense Lexicon are very exciting! In fact, the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (LDGNT) and Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible (LDHB) are my most used resources alongside my lexical resources and other biblical texts. So, I hope what I write below will be taken as constructive criticism. I am passionate about these resources!

Having stated that, I recently posted a brief review on LDGNT in part to call attention to the resource's abundant errors, which I have not seen addressed elsewhere. I would like to know if Logos plans on thoroughly revising LDGNT and addressing its copious errors. The two most relevant paragraphs from my review are pasted below. In addition, I have used the typo feature to send in examples of, I think, clear errors. That said, the errors in LDGNT are too numerous to address them that way. Here is a portion of my review:

(EDIT: The following two paragraphs will not indent, so I am adding a set of quotation marks to them.)

"Unfortunately, LDGNT (or at least large sections of it) is filled with errors of omission and commission, so although I have recommended it in the past, I would only do so now with great caution and hesitance. For example, in some sections of 1 John, Jude, and Revelation, it is as if the database did not undergo thorough and competent editing. Not only is it surprising that so many errors slipped through the cracks, but it is even more surprising that they have not been noticed or corrected over several years. In Jude, for example, not even a single near demonstrative pronoun is labeled. That should be rather simple analysis. Also, throughout the aforementioned books, there are many mislabeled focal constituents. Clause-final focal constituents are often unlabeled. There are odd glitches with quotations marks appearing around individual words (e.g., John 3:7–8, 11a; Acts 1:18-22; Rev 11:2–3). Right-dislocations and other discourse features sometimes go unnoticed. Altogether, the errors of omission and commission add up making them common and expected features of LDGNT (or at least substantial portions of it). By contrast, Stephen Levinsohn’s BART Displays, which are similar to LDGNT but are specialized for translators, are meticulous with very few errors indeed, at least to the extent that I have used them. Nobody should expect perfection with something as complicated as discourse analysis and information structure. That said, LDGNT (or at least large sections of it) has far too many errors years after it has been released. Runge and Logos should commit to making LDGNT in its entirety at least as accurate and as useful as Levinsohn’s BART Dislpays. Another nice feature of Levinsohn’s work is that he places asterisks next to sentences that are exegetically debatable due to ambiguous constituent order. On the plus side for LDGNT, it labels some features that Levinsohn’s work does not.

I would recommend LDGNT mostly to those who read Greek, who are lifelong committed students of Greek, and who are increasingly competent to assess many of LDGNT’s conclusions. Even then, be aware that the product retains many errors and that some sections probably should not have been released. I would love to give LDGNT 5-stars and my unqualified recommendation, but until it undergoes thorough revision, I will refrain from doing so. Despite this critical review, I can say that I am tremendously thankful for Runge’s work, his discourse resources, and his 5-star grammar. I expect that LDGNT will undergo much needed revisions, hopefully beginning in the near future. Presently LDGNT raises doubts concerning not only itself but the future of Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible (LDHB), a project that is currently underway. Logos may want to consider hiring Stephen Levinsohn as an additional consultant and an exceptional scholar. I presently give LDGNT 3-stars, although some sections I would rate lower and others higher. I will continue reading through LDGNT and will revise my review if LDGNT undergoes substantial future revision."

I would greatly appreciate if Logos and/or Runge would look into these issues. Thank you for supporting your work and for providing genuinely useful research and tools!

Posts 221
André Kamphuis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 11:17 AM

Thank you Adam for this review. I agree with your assessment. This is my most used resource, and I love what it offers, but I also am disappointed that so many reported errors are still not corrected. I hope that Steven Runge will notice your post and maybe give his comment.

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 11:49 AM

Yes Yes Yes

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 2:12 PM

André Kamphuis:

Thank you Adam for this review. I agree with your assessment. This is my most used resource, and I love what it offers, but I also am disappointed that so many reported errors are still not corrected. I hope that Steven Runge will notice your post and maybe give his comment.

André and Lee,

Thank you for your feedback. I am grateful that I am not the only one who has come to this conclusion. My hope is that iron would sharpen iron, and that LDGNT and LDHB would be all the more useful for translators, preachers, bible students, scholars, and exegetes.

Posts 56
LogosEmployee
Steve Runge | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 2:23 PM

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the comments, they were just brought to my attention or I would have responded earlier. Unfortunately, your review on the LDGNT product page cuts off the critique part of your comments. At any rate, here is some background.

You mentioned Levinsohn's enhanced BART displays, which are excellent. Those come about from Stephen doing his analysis, comparing it with mine, then noting the differences. In some cases he changes his analysis, but in far more cases I change mine. The small remainder we sort out after some back and forth. If he has released the display for that book, then I have his comments in my Inbox.

I said "Inbox" because my inbox of his comments is backed up at the moment due to my parents' health issues. All of my current projects are months behind. I have comments on the first part of John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Jude, John's epistles and Revelation. I have completed the changes for the first half of Luke, but the second half waits. I believe Matt, Mark, Rom, 1 Cor. and the remainder of the Paulines are done. Again, if the BART display has been released, then he has checked my work.

Know that I am committed to ongoing improvement of the database; I would not have asked for Levinsohn's feedback if I wasn't. The GNT database was completed alone; there really was not another option at the time. I reviewed my own work, but know that there were inevitable omissions.  I have now have partnered with Josh Westbury on the Hebrew Bible version, and we are reviewing each other's work for the very reasons you raise. When we first began the GNT project this was not possible. The decision was made to release it and make corrections along the way, which we have been doing over the years.

Regarding Jude (and I'll add 2 Corinthians too), the information structure and referential issues were complex enough that I know I did not attend as much as I should have to the thematic highlighting devices. I worked through a revision of Jude in late June as part of a conversation with a doctoral student, but I do not think those changes have been released yet. I have 4-5 weeks worth of editing to catch up with what Levinsohn has sent me.

I apologize for not getting these changes pushed out sooner. There is a constant balancing act between revising existing things and completing new ones. I am doing my best to get the Romans High Definition Commentary out the door before taking on anything else like these revisions.

I am sorry that you have gotten the incorrect impression that Logos or I am not interested in the accuracy of this data. I understand that the mistakes you have seen have undermined your confidence in the project. There are some quibbles about your assessment, like not every demonstrative pronoun used is thematically motivated, so not every demonstrative will have a label. But we are in agreement that revisions are needed. Please know that they are underway, and that I have sought to be responsive to issues raised in the past. However unless things change, it will be late September before I will be able to address Levinsohn's backlogged comments.

Again, thanks for the feedback, I hope these comments help to clarify things.

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 3:15 PM

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the comments, they were just brought to my attention or I would have responded earlier. Unfortunately, your review on the LDGNT product page cuts off the critique part of your comments. At any rate, here is some background.

You mentioned Levinsohn's enhanced BART displays, which are excellent. Those come about from Stephen doing his analysis, comparing it with mine, then noting the differences. In some cases he changes his analysis, but in far more cases I change mine. The small remainder we sort out after some back and forth. If he has released the display for that book, then I have his comments in my Inbox.

I said "Inbox" because my inbox of his comments is backed up at the moment due to my parents' health issues. All of my current projects are months behind. I have comments on the first part of John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Jude, John's epistles and Revelation. I have completed the changes for the first half of Luke, but the second half waits. I believe Matt, Mark, Rom, 1 Cor. and the remainder of the Paulines are done. Again, if the BART display has been released, then he has checked my work.

Know that I am committed to ongoing improvement of the database; I would not have asked for Levinsohn's feedback if I wasn't. The GNT database was completed alone; there really was not another option at the time. I reviewed my own work, but know that there were inevitable omissions.  I have now have partnered with Josh Westbury on the Hebrew Bible version, and we are reviewing each other's work for the very reasons you raise. When we first began the GNT project this was not possible. The decision was made to release it and make corrections along the way, which we have been doing over the years.

Regarding Jude (and I'll add 2 Corinthians too), the information structure and referential issues were complex enough that I know I did not attend as much as I should have to the thematic highlighting devices. I worked through a revision of Jude in late June as part of a conversation with a doctoral student, but I do not think those changes have been released yet. I have 4-5 weeks worth of editing to catch up with what Levinsohn has sent me.

I apologize for not getting these changes pushed out sooner. There is a constant balancing act between revising existing things and completing new ones. I am doing my best to get the Romans High Definition Commentary out the door before taking on anything else like these revisions.

I am sorry that you have gotten the incorrect impression that Logos or I am not interested in the accuracy of this data. I understand that the mistakes you have seen have undermined your confidence in the project. There are some quibbles about your assessment, like not every demonstrative pronoun used is thematically motivated, so not every demonstrative will have a label. But we are in agreement that revisions are needed. Please know that they are underway, and that I have sought to be responsive to issues raised in the past. However unless things change, it will be late September before I will be able to address Levinsohn's backlogged comments.

Again, thanks for the feedback, I hope these comments help to clarify things.

Hi Dr. Runge,

Thank you for your gracious reply. I appreciate very much!

First, I am sorry to hear about your parents' health. I will be sure to pray for you, your parents, and your family.

As for LDGNT, I was just reviewing it as it stands several years after its release. You and everyone else are free to judge if I presented an accurate assessment of its present state. Logos products can be difficult to judge because they sometimes have you pay first and then deliver the final product years later. At least with LDHB, I know that it is presently in beta. For whatever reason, this was not clear to me with respect to LDGNT. That said, I am greatly encouraged to hear that you are working on it (along with many other things) and that you are working with both Stephen Levinsohn and Josh Westbury. This sounds like an all-star team in my book!

Also, I am aware that demonstrative pronouns have other functions such as spatial and cataphoric reference. I tried to keep my review somewhat brief without getting into every little detail. So I agree with you here, and I apologize if I made it sound more simple than it is. That said, if it were made clear that LDGNT is a beta product, then I would not have been so surprised that none of the above-mentioned demonstratives in Jude are labeled.

All in all, your comments are extremely helpful. I will be glad to continue recommending LDGNT especially after your explanation and after seeing what you and Levinsohn have accomplished with the BART Displays. I patiently look forward to your progress on all of these projects and will update my LDGNT review in the near future. Also, I hope you see it as a complement that I use LDGNT and LDHB on a daily basis and took the time to review it. I have benefited tremendously from your labor. I appreciate it greatly!

Blessings to you and your family,

Adam

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 3:32 PM

@Dr Runge:

I don't know if this offers some encouragement, but the LDGNT was a key factor leading me to acquire the Logos package. Keep up the good work.

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 15 2013 7:21 PM

Lee:

@Dr Runge:

I don't know if this offers some encouragement, but the LDGNT was a key factor leading me to acquire the Logos package. Keep up the good work.

YesYesYes

Posts 21
LogosEmployee

One other thing, Adam. I did not know enough about databases at the time to label the LDGNT a beta when we first released it. I know enough now that the Hebrew database is so numbered. I will add a foreword to the next release of the Greek stating which books have been proofed and what have not. I was not going to treat it as completed until Levinsohn had done his critique. The problem is that I did not communicate that well (or at all!) to the users.

Thanks again for the feedback and your continuing interest in these projects. And know you can contact me directly with potential errors. It may not be addressed immediately, but will be looked at. 

Posts 8893
fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 18 2013 1:03 PM

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):
I will add a foreword to the next release of the Greek stating which books have been proofed and what have not.

May I suggest adding something to the product pages as well? People who are prepared for errors become much happier customers than people who find them in a product they expected to be nearly perfect.

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 9:42 AM

I'm wondering if there's been any follow-up to this.

FYI: Wallace has posted a brief but incisive review here.

Posts 21
LogosEmployee
Dr. Steven E. Runge (Logos) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 10:07 AM

We have worked through most of the reconciliation of the LDGNT with Levinsohn's work. There is one more pass that needs to be made to complete this, and then we'll release the data. We also have Lexham Discourse Handbooks underway, which is adding another level of proofing in more minute detail. As the volumes are written, we'll correct the database and provide a new release. We are also including release notes in the fore-matter that provide a version number and general notes regarding the nature of the changes made. I do not have a firm release date to offer you.

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 10:07 AM

Lee:

I'm wondering if there's been any follow-up to this.

FYI: Wallace has posted a brief but incisive review here.

As a matter of fact, Steven Runge has a team working with him on updating LDGNT and some other projects this summer. They were hoping to have the errors (of omission and commission) corrected against Levinsohn's BART displays by around the 4th of July as I recall, so I imagine an update should be coming in the relatively near future, which is good news!

Edit: Dr. Runge beat me to the punch! There's the official word for you. Thanks Dr. Runge, I look forward to both the new projects and the revisions of the old.

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 10:11 AM

Yes, I saw the recruitment ad for Greek language interns. Smile

Good news all round. Thanks!

Posts 21
LogosEmployee
Dr. Steven E. Runge (Logos) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 10:31 AM

I've put in a request that the changes we've completed be pushed out, which should be at the end of the month. There will then be another release in Aug/Sept/Oct when the second portion are completed, but then we should have reconciled the annotations common to both datasets. The corrections stemming from the handbooks will come as volumes are completed. Here is a link to the handbooks: https://www.logos.com/product/43606/lexham-discourse-handbooks. Most of the corrections for these books should be included in this initial release. Fingers crossed for making the end of month update release.

Posts 433
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 17 2014 11:12 AM

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):

I've put in a request that the changes we've completed be pushed out, which should be at the end of the month. There will then be another release in Aug/Sept/Oct when the second portion are completed, but then we should have reconciled the annotations common to both datasets. The corrections stemming from the handbooks will come as volumes are completed. Here is a link to the handbooks: https://www.logos.com/product/43606/lexham-discourse-handbooks. Most of the corrections for these books should be included in this initial release. Fingers crossed for making the end of month update release.

Here's hoping! Thanks to you and your team for your efforts!

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