TIP of the day: Mary and the gang of Mary's

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2015 5:30 PM

Yes, this turns out to be a poor example but ...

1. Run two searches - I ran them on the LEB, Gospels only:

  • Search 1: Mary the Mother of Jesus/Mother of God/Theotokos/BVM ...<Person Mary (mother of Jesus)>
  • Search 2: All other NT Mary's ... <Person Mary (Magdalene)>, <Person Mary (mother of James)>, <Person Mary (of Bethany)>, <Person Mary (wife of Clopas)>, <Person Mary (mother of John Mark)>, <Person Mary (Rom. 16:6)>

2. Convert the search results into Passage Lists. Note the count drops dramatically - the search counts the number of matches while the Passage list counts the number of unique verses.

3. Optionally rename the lists to something less geeky (more user friendly)

4. Now comes the fun - well it would be more fun if the Bible search worked at the pericope level rather than the verse level, as you will see. To find how many times Mary, mother of Jesus is mentioned in the same verse and another Mary, begin in the Passage List for Mary the Mother of Jesus and:

  • select Merge
  • select the Passage list of all the other Mary's
  • select "Intersection" i.e. in both lists

The results show that there is only one verse mentioning both Mary the Mother of Jesus and another Mary.

5. Other possibilities always starting with the Mary mother of Jesus Passage list:

  • For a passage list of all verses referring to any Mary (i.e. both Mary the Mother of Jesus and the other Mary's), select "union"
  • For a passage list of all verses referring to Mary only i.e. no other Mary is mentioned in the verse, select "difference"
  • For a passage list of all verses referring to Mary Mother of Jesus or to the other Mary's but not Mary Mother of Jesus together with another Mary, select "symmetric difference".

There are times when it is difficult to build the search argument that you really want - either because of a NOT function or the complexity of the argument. However, you may be able to build the parts and use the manipulation of Passage Lists to develop the results you want.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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