SUGGESTION: My dream of how to determine the plain meaning of the text using Logos/Verbum

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 3 2020 1:00 AM

The intent of this tool set is (a) to create your own translation, (b) identify the choices that led to a particular translation, or (c) see how two translations came up with different interpretations of the text. Ultimately, it could lead to a user created interlinear with notes attached to any element.

Note that Logos already provides Guide Sections which would be useful as supporting documentation along side the text window.

  1. Starting view: English/Original language in parallel with the ability to spin through the following views much as I can spin through parallel resources.
  2. See with a filter identifying the original language variants in the manuscripts - this shows me where translations are most apt to varies because of different choices for the underlying text.
    • A simplified version of this filter would show only the current critical text, the Textus Receptus, and the Patriarchal Text as variations
  3. See with a filter identifying all the ambiguous lemmas, homographs, etymological components (etymological affixes), and polyvalent lemmas. Yes, this clumps a number of items together but they all relate to finding the right word with the right meaning. It allows me to make judgments without undue pressure from the interlinears.
  4. See with a filter identifying ambiguous morphology. Again, it allows me to learn to read an unparsed text and to make my own judgments without undue pressure from the interlinears.
  5. See in a format showing me the variations in the translations based on the different traditions: Jewish, Dead Sea, Targum, Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate
  6. See with a filter identifying polymorphemic words (compound words), idioms, fixed order phrases, et. al. i.e. allowing me to identify the true "words" of the text rather than the typographic words.
  7. See with a filter identifying words and phrases that are likely figurative rather than literal in nature.
  8. See with a filter identifying probable semantic roles and case frames - with access in a side panel to the case frames available to the verb.
  9. A probable arrow arc dependency syntactic diagram - note this format fits much better on a screen and is easy for the user to manipulate.
  10. See with a filter identifying words generally given non-literal meaning because of reading the text canonically, in light of the cross ... e.g. "Holy Spirit" used anachronously in the Old Testament. It should also show words generally given multiple meanings because of reading the text prophetically.

This is the point where I think I've probably found the plain meaning of the text. I suspect my workflow could be improved by experienced scholars in the original language/early translations texts.

Example of arrow arc dependency syntax diagram - the current syntax data should be able to be mapped into this style of presentation:

 

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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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 3 2020 9:52 AM

I guess ... not meaning to argue (see how my first sentence needed a second).

Belonging to the Literalist Church of the Bible (membership one), I doubt there is ever a plain meaning. That's an obvious exaggeration. But at each fork in the semantic road, one feels like a coin-toss is necessary. This morning, a book on 2nd Temple use of Isaiah, tried to equate 'the many' (Qumran-ish) to the OT ... Moses' legal book, and the Baal-ists at Mt Carmel. No amount of Logos resources could bridge the gap. And this is fairly common ... you can see the early Fathers tossing coins. Yesterday, NETS and LES were struggling with what 'squared' meant (Noah's ark). It was hopeless.

Now, your suggestion would work wonders in arriving at the coin toss (since the disciples picked apostles using a coin-toss, there may well be theological support for this final research step).

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 3 2020 10:14 AM

Denise:
I doubt there is ever a plain meaning.

I tend to agree with you but that view is anathema to the bulk of the forum participants. "Perspicuity" and "plain meaning" are necessary terms to use to fitting in, being understood, gaining traction -- at least that's what I thought. You're telling me my brave attempt failed?

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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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 3 2020 10:39 AM

MJ. Smith:
You're telling me my brave attempt failed?

No ... only 'plain meaning', as you discussed.

Your idea would indeed be a dream. Obviously for critical analysis. That'd sure be nice in college. But for me, Bob's goal years ago (if he still has it), and that is helping normal people (eg me) grow in studying, just by using Logos (it inherently leads to more discoveries).

Too often, digging in Logos is truly painful, once you get beyond pastor-land. But I credit Mr Bob's dream with fun (and it is enjoyable studying).

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 3 2020 10:49 AM

See https://parshanut.com/post/122430845981/eighteen-answers-parshat-chukat for an example of what I'd love to see in Logos - if it's good enough for the common Jewish person certainly it's good enough for the common Christian person.

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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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 3 2020 12:45 PM

MJ. Smith:
Logos - if it's good enough for the common Jewish person certainly it's good enough for the common Christian person.

True. And I liked his easiness ... "Eighteen is a good Jewish number, so we’ll stop here, though we could surely go on and on."

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 4 2020 2:24 AM

Some of those eighteen "answers" are really quite bad. Reading Umberto Eco today, and he mentions that even though interpretation of symbols (and the Bible is nothing if not symbolic) may offer many options, many more things are NOT options. It isn't a free-for-all (contrary to what the common gross misunderstanding and misinterpretation of deconstructionism avers). Point is...some of the "18" are possible, some aren't. Whatever led to some of these "options" getting birthed, it wasn't based on textual support. Some almost seem like they were motivated by a desire to simply be different from what others had already said.

I'm not sure that calling these scatter-shot attempts at interpretation "Jewish" is all that helpful--even if Jews are the ones fabricating these interpretations, and Jews are the ones ascribing the designation. I'd be more comfortable calling them Rabbinic.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 4 2020 2:37 AM

Each of them was considered quite acceptable at the time they were proffered. The forums are not the place to argue whether our own time is magically more accurate than the wise people who preceded us and, unfortunately for my sense of humor, we don't live long enough to see our "wise counsel" on the thrashing floor of history.

They served my purpose of a response appropriate and nonjudgmental to Denise ... and would also serve my frequent purpose of pushing for resources that help us see the assumptions/mindset of those offering the interpretations ... which can help us see and refine our own. I'll always push reception history over the hubris of certainty -- my point for referring to it. [My argument for this position is philosophical not theological.] The author, Rabbi David Kasher, has spent a significant portion of time studying historical Torah interpretation. Unfortunately, he no longer has time to expand his blog.

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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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 4 2020 10:07 AM

David Paul:
it wasn't based on textual support

Please tell me you didn't mean what you wrote. I think one is hard pressed to find modern (aka evangelical) 'text support' among jewish writings (especially following  YHWH's departure from Jerusalem). Even the OT writings have to be read with some textual ambivalence, as to what was the 'base'.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 4 2020 6:23 PM

MJ. Smith:

See https://parshanut.com/post/122430845981/eighteen-answers-parshat-chukat for an example of what I'd love to see in Logos - if it's good enough for the common Jewish person certainly it's good enough for the common Christian person.

That example was very interesting and helpful. Thanks for sharing that!

Thanks to FL for including Carta and a Hebrew audio bible in Logos 9!

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 5 2020 8:21 PM

MJ. Smith:

Each of them was considered quite acceptable at the time they were proffered. The forums are not the place to argue whether our own time is magically more accurate than the wise people who preceded us and, unfortunately for my sense of humor, we don't live long enough to see our "wise counsel" on the thrashing floor of history.

They served my purpose of a response appropriate and nonjudgmental to Denise ... and would also serve my frequent purpose of pushing for resources that help us see the assumptions/mindset of those offering the interpretations ... which can help us see and refine our own. I'll always push reception history over the hubris of certainty -- my point for referring to it. [My argument for this position is philosophical not theological.] The author, Rabbi David Kasher, has spent a significant portion of time studying historical Torah interpretation. Unfortunately, he no longer has time to expand his blog.

Well, you can call it hubris if you like, but if you are considering making a microscope, using metal and glass is pretty much ALWAYS better than using salami and taco sauce. You might feel better about yourself by "keeping an open mind" with regard to the food stuffs, but you aren't serving yourself or anyone else well by entertaining the absurd. When something is wrong and unworkable--essentially impossible--it isn't helpful to string it along hoping for "things to get better" or "possibilities to present themselves". I'm not knocking "keeping an open mind" in the least; it is a fundamental requirement for those who want to comprehend the Bible's intention. But the only possible way to ever get to the place the Bible wants to take you is to let go of the "impossible"...and, yeah, that requires making a decision--an equivalent notion to "pruning a vine" or tree.

It's just a fact that there are people whose entire life's work where the Bible's purpose is concerned is situated in the branches that must and will be pruned. Is that a judgment? Of course...exactly the kind the Bible and Yeishuua` Himself says must be exercised. The Bible does say to not judge POORLY... but it does not say to never judge at all. Every choice is a decision, requiring judgment. It is a judgment to choose YHWH over men or self or hassaataan. If you say "I can't judge!" (because the Bible told me in one place to "judge not"), then you are stuck in a hopeless state and refusing to do what is expressly required to achieve and receive a positive outcome. Sometimes confidence is merited; sometimes it isn't. Granted. Knowing the difference is obviously a necessity...but refusing to discard what is useless will never allow for it to be possible to win the game. Every decision is a potential disaster, but never committing to what seems proper is to capitulate to the failure of indecision.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 5 2020 8:44 PM

We start from very different epistemological and hermeneutic positions.  To be more explicit, it is my view that most of the history of theology, in any religion, is the perpetual rediscovery of ideas that have already been considered and rejected. And most of the advances in theological thought are simply a reframing of what was already known into contemporary language or the making explicit what was previously implicit. Therefore, I find one of the fastest ways to learn effective techniques of theology is to study the history of ideas/reception history. And, when I am looking for the information behind the curtain "how/why did you come to this position", I find that whether I consider the final summary right/wrong/indifferent/interesting/bizarre is irrelevant to what I'll find in the how and why they got there. It's not a matter of keeping an "open mind" so much as keeping a "curious mind". And, yes, I do think it is hubris to think we are the pinnacle of knowledge as a whole rather than of a particular sliver of knowledge. I also think that as a culture, we are teaching people to have judgments before having the knowledge on which to base them. I'm very fond of the phrase "I don't know but at the moment I'm thinking ..."

But I'd better bow out before I drift into inappropriate posts.

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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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 6 2020 7:31 AM

MJ. Smith:
... hubris to think we are the pinnacle of knowledge as a whole rather than of a particular sliver of knowledge.

I suspect this is the crispy dividing line. I used to be in a world of 'standing for the truth!!'. Either you're in or your out. A sharp boundary from a collection of 'we believe''s. There's no hubris, since it's from God!'. What other choice is there?? Open mind to evil! Faced with a differing opinion, or belief ... a calm knowing smile, the poor sinner.

My neural nets dis-abused me of the crisp theological boundaries; they can re-construct any Biblical belief you'd like, no problem. Which, then led me to wonder, exactly what drives certainty, in the absence of certainty. How could the jews at various times jump the tracks so badly, and with complete certainty. Or the early Christians, just decades away from 'the miracle witnesses'. Two gods! (one completely incompetent ... the jewish one). True, 'hubris'. But there seems more.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 6 2020 8:23 AM

Hubris is a curse for disobedience. YHWH pretty much says that when people refuse to do His will He will give them over to their own thoughts...and that is essentially the beginning of the end. But that is a much wider dysfunction that any are willing to acknowledge. It's a universal curse for a universal condition...and its got a timer on it. That's why everything is broke--because curses only end on certain conditions. One of those conditions is awareness of the reason of the curse...but when part of the curse is solid ignorance that there is a problem--that's a problem. Only the timer can solve it.

ASROCK x570 Creator, AMD R9 3950x, HyperX 64gb 3600 RAM, Asus Strix RTX 2080 ti, 2tb m.2 Seagate Firecuda SSD (x2) ...and other mechano-digital happiness.

"The Unbelievable Work...believe it or not."

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