Verbum Search through Tip of the Day #8

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Sep 7 2020 4:24 PM

Tip 8: Reading a Reverse Interlinear

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If you are unfamiliar with Interlinears and reverse interlinears, please see the Interlinear Explorer and the Reverse Interlinear Explorer for a basic introduction.

The NRSV Bible contains 467, 270 words. The reverse Interlinear attempts to link each of these words with the “corresponding” words in the original language manuscripts – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. For much of the Faithlife tagging that is used in Verbum, Faithlife has tagged the original language with, for example, the datatype of person. When a datatype is used in a Search, it is the original language that is searched; the reverse interlinear then provides the links into the translation given in the search command. That is why the search term <Person Mary (mother of Jesus)> works in the NRSV and NABRE but fails in the D-R, The Voice, and the Tyndale New Testament.

The Reverse Interlinear is available in two formats. Format one is inline i.e. between the lines of the primary Bible text.

  1. The aleph/omega icon (1) indicates the availability of an interlinear or reverse interlinear. Selecting the icon opens a drop-down selection menu.
  2. The first option in the menu is to display the inline reverse interlinear (2). The options indented below it select the lines of the reverse interlinear one wishes to display.

Format two is the Reverse Interlinear Pane (2) which shows at the bottom of the pane. It uses a highlight (blue is shown below) for ease of relating the base Biblical text to the reverse interlinear pane information.

For the reverse interlinear pane, one must click in the label portion of the pane (3) to open the content selection option.

Notice that the content line options (3) includes Sense which is not available in the Inline format.

For purposes of interpreting the reverse interlinear to understand search results, the inline format with the surface text, the manuscript form, and the manuscript (transliterated) lines selected.

  • the subscripted numbers (1) indicate the (natural) order of the manuscript words i.e. the order they appear in the manuscript
  • a centered dot on either the manuscript (6) or the surface line (2) indicates a word with no equivalent on the other line
  • a thin arrow pointing to the right (3) indicates that the word is a multi-word equivalent to the next word on the right.
  • a thin arrow pointing to the left (4) indicates that the word is a multi-word equivalent to the word just passed on the left
  • a thicker arrowhead with a number pointing to the right (5) indicates that the word is a multi-word equivalent to the word bearing that subscript which will be found to the right.
  • a thicker arrowhead with a number pointing to the left indicates that the word is a multi-word equivalent to the word bearing that subscript which will be found to the left.

The centered dots (2, 6) represent potential problems for search results – they represent either no original text to tag and search OR no translated text to report results on. Sometimes these occur because the text used for the original language varies slightly from the text used by the translators of the Bible version used for the search.  Sometimes, this variation is significant.

In this case, there are 8 lines of text that have no reverse interlinear text. They will be “ignored” in searches requiring reverse interlinears.  There are also cases where newer critical editions of original language texts omit familiar verses. For the New Testament, Wikipedia has an article detailing the verses.

What is important to remember when searching for “<Person Mary (mother of Jesus)> INTERSECTS Mary”?

  • Text terms such as “Mary” (1) are searched against the surface text of the resource (NRSV).
  • Datatype person terms such as “<Person Mary (mother of Jesus)> ” (2) are evaluated against an original language text with Faithlife coding. This text does not match perfectly with the text used by the translators. A reverse interlinear resource then maps the results to the translation being used (NRSV).
  • Additional operations, such as INTERSECTS (3), combine the results from the two sources into a single set of results

The details of reading the reverse interlinear can be absorbed slowly as we verify the search results.

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