Verbum Search through Tip of the Day #10

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Sep 9 2020 3:43 PM

Tip 10: Interesting cases of Biblical personal name Search Part 5

Please be generous with your additional details, corrections, suggestions, and other feedback. This is being built in a .docx file for a PBB which will be shared periodically.

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This tip will consider another type of personal names that cause problems for a Basic text argument Bible personal name Search:

  1. [See Tip 4] When a person’s name is also a common word i.e. used both as a proper noun and a common word, the text search cannot accurately select the person’s name: an example, “Job” and the employment “job”.
  2. [See Tip 5] When a person’s name changes in their lifetime: an example, Abram, Abraham
  3. [See Tip 6] When multiple people share a name: an example, Mary, Mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary of Bethany; Mary, mother of John Mark . . .
  4. [See Tip 9] When a person has a compound name, each part of which is independently the name of other people: an example, John Mark
  5. When a supernatural person was unknown when early scripture was written: an example, Holy Spirit.

Language changes over time – witness the Google Ngram Viewer on the names for the third person of the Trinity – Paraclete, Spirit of God, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit.

It appears that the 1880’s is the turning point of Holy Spirit being as or more common term than Holy Ghost. Up until 1900 Spirit of God had significant usage, at times exceeding Holy Spirit as a common term. That means that for many of the historical monographs and commentaries in Verbum, we need to search for all four terms.

However, Judeo-Christian literature covers a much longer range of time than Google Books Ngram Viewer. So much longer as to cover the development of the concept of Holy Spirit as a person in a triune God. Wikipedia provides this succinct description of the “Holy Spirit” in the Hebrew Scriptures:

The Holy Spirit in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures . . .

The search argument must be a datatype as there is no set name in translation of the spirit of God in the Hebrew Scripture.

Faithlife has tagged 47 items as “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament. As a Verbum user it is your responsibility to determine the amount of overlap with the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, a person of the Triune God. If the overlap is minimal, it may be appropriate to drop the occurrence from your results. Don’t make the mistake of a semantic anachronism fallacy.

2. Semantic anachronism

This fallacy occurs when a late use of a word is read back into earlier literature. At the simplest level, it occurs within the same language, as when the Greek early church fathers use a word in a manner not demonstrably envisaged by the New Testament writers. It is not obvious, for instance, that their use of ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos, bishop) to designate a church leader who has oversight over several local churches has any New Testament warrant.

But the problem has a second face when we also add a change of language. Our word dynamite is etymologically derived from δύναμις (dynamis, power, or even miracle). I do not know how many times I have heard preachers offer some such rendering of Romans 1:16 as this: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the dynamite of God unto salvation for everyone who believes”—often with a knowing tilt of the head, as if something profound or even esoteric has been uttered. This is not just the old root fallacy revisited. It is worse: it is an appeal to a kind of reverse etymology, the root fallacy compounded by anachronism. Did Paul think of dynamite when he penned this word? And in any case, even to mention dynamite as a kind of analogy is singularly inappropriate. Dynamite blows things up, tears things down, rips out rock, gouges holes, destroys things. The power of God concerning which Paul speaks he often identifies with the power that raised Jesus from the dead (e.g., Eph. 1:18–20); and as it operates in us, its goal is εἰς σωτηρίαν (eis som tērian,“unto salvation,” Rom. 1:16, kjv), aiming for the wholeness and perfection implicit in the consummation of our salvation. Quite apart from the semantic anachronism, therefore, dynamite appears inadequate as a means of raising Jesus from the dead or as a means of conforming us to the likeness of Christ. Of course, what preachers are trying to do when they talk about dynamite is give some indication of the greatness of the power involved. Even so, Paul’s measure is not dynamite, but the empty tomb. In exactly the same way, it is sheer semantic anachronism to note that in the text “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7) the Greek word behind “cheerful” is ἱλαρόν (hilaron) and conclude that what God really loves is a hilarious giver. Perhaps we should play a laugh–track record while the offering plate is being circulated.

A third level of the same problem was painfully exemplified in three articles about blood in Christianity Today.18 The authors did an admirable job of explaining the wonderful things science has discovered that blood can do—in particular its cleansing role as it flushes out cellular impurities and transports nourishment to every part of the body. What a wonderful picture (we were told) of how the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from every sin (1 John 1:7). In fact, it is nothing of the kind. Worse, it is irresponsibly mystical and theologically misleading. The phrase the blood of Jesus refers to Jesus’ violent, sacrificial death.19 In general, the blessings that the Scriptures show to be accomplished or achieved by the blood of Jesus are equally said to be accomplished or achieved by the death of Jesus (e.g., justification, Rom. 3:21–26; 5:6–9; redemption, Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Rev. 5:9). If John tells us that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ purifies us from every sin, he is informing us that our hope for continued cleansing and forgiveness rests not on protestations of our goodness while our life is a sham (1 John 1:6, probably directed against proto–Gnostics) but on continual walking in the light and on continued reliance on Christ’s finished work on the cross.[1]

Obviously, the same caution applies when taking your results from Factbook. Note on the spark chart that the blue is the start of the New Testament references.

The case of Basemath/Adah

Uncertain tagging occurs when multiple names are given which possibly refer to the same person:

Daughter of Elon the Hittite. Basemath was a Canaanite woman whom Esau married against his parents’ wishes (Gn 26:34). Basemath may be the same as Elon’s daughter Adah, or perhaps was her sister (36:2).[2]

Logos treats them as two separate individuals but provides no indication that their tagging is questioned.

To accept the Logos without questioning, leads to an inadvertent appeal to authority … whether or not one explicitly references Faithlife, one is treating Faithlife as an authoritative source. From Wikipedia:

An argument from authority (argumentum ab auctoritate), also called an appeal to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam, is a form of defeasible argument in which the opinion of an authority on a topic is used as evidence to support an argument. It is well known as a fallacy, though some consider that it is used in a cogent form when all sides of a discussion agree on the reliability of the authority in the given context. Other authors consider it a fallacy to cite an authority on the discussed topic as the primary means of supporting an argument.

Match: Caution on match case

In distinguishing between job (employment) and Job (Biblical person), the use of a capital letter for a proper noun was used to distinguish between the two. Note that this “trick” works only in some languages. Germanic typography, for example, capitalizes all nouns; in this case the match case parameter will not separate the name from the common noun.

{If someone can provide an example of a Biblical name that is also a common noun in German, it would be greatly appreciated.}

Even in English, the use of Match case is limited:

  • Old English made no distinction between upper and lower case. It did use embossed letters to indicate sections.
  • Middle English manuscripts used capitals and punctuation on author’s preference.
  • Early printed material used punctuation sparsely and used capitals to indicate the start of a sentence, a verse, or a proper noun.
  • After the English Restoration (1688), the German practice of capitalizing all nouns became common.
  • By the start of the 19th century, English practice was to capitalize only proper nouns. By the end of the civil war, Americans had also adopted the proper nouns only style.

Yes, this means that the Match case option fails to work on the American Constitution.

Match: The use of diacriticals

In Spanish, mas and más are two separate words with different meanings. However, in the search argument they are treated as equivalent.

Both mas and más return 2,524 results in 1,164 articles (chapters). However, if one prefaces the text string with “[match marks]”, the diacritical marks are considered.

With the diacriticals considered, mas returns 1,420 in 810 article while más returns 1, 104 results in 659 articles.

Punctuation in text arguments

There is an urban legend that the Verbum search ignores punctuation.  This is not true. From Bradley Grainger (Faithlife) in the Faithlife Logos Search group:

Intra-word punctuation has always been indexed. "I'd" and "id", or "it's" and "its" have always been indexed separately. (The rules for determining intra-word punctuation vs inter-word punctuation are complex, though. 😀)

Supplemental information

Note that different user interface languages have different defaults for the Match commands. And the commands themselves work only in specific languages. There are specific options that apply to Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Syriac. From Verbum Help:

Mark Sensitivity

Terms can be modified to count diacritic marks as significant or not significant for matching. Defaults vary by language. For example, English generally doesn’t have diacritic marks, so by default typing resume will match resume, resumé, and résumé. To override this default, specify a marks matching term modifier into the query.

All languages will support:

  • [match marks] — Makes all non-spacing marks significant. Equivalent to version 3 “marks()”
  • [match nomarks] — Ignores all non-spacing marks, regardless of language defaults
  • [match exact] or [match all] — Matches exactly what you type

Languages with capital letters and lowercase letters will support:

  • [match case] — Matches sensitive to capital/lowercase letters[3]

kjv King James Version

18 Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, “Blood: The Miracle of Cleansing,” Christianity Today27/4 (Feb. 18, 1983): 12–15; “Blood: The Miracle of Life,” Christianity Today27/5 (Mar. 4, 1983): 38–42; “Life in the Blood,” Christianity Today27/6 (Mar. 18, 1983): 18–21.

19 See Alan Stibbs, The Meaning of the Word ‘Blood’ in the Scripture (London: Tyndale, 1954).

[1] D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed. (Carlisle, U.K.; Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster; Baker Books, 1996), 33–35.

[2] Philip Comfort and Walter A. Elwell, The Complete Book of Who’s Who in the Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2004), 77.

[3] Logos Help (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2018).

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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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 9 2020 6:54 PM

OM goodness MJ! How do you come up with such mind boggling searches. I'm so impressed with your handle on the software. YesYesBeer



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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 9 2020 7:18 PM

How do you come up with such mind boggling searches.

Let's just say I had a brother 11 years older than I who loved teaching me accurate math and mechanics that teachers' were sure were wrong because they were counter-intuitive. A sister 9 years older decided she needed to match his influence with child inappropriate language and literature. So shall we say I spent a career with a reputation of being the tester who could break anything? My favorite was being able to break the OED installation on my first try with the word aardvark. ... Those Brits think it is aard-vark. But I should admit my brother was mean ... even when he was dying he would not give me the answer to the one riddle I hadn't solved ... I have plans for him in the next life ...

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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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 10 2020 9:53 AM

MJ. Smith:
But I should admit my brother was mean ... even when he was dying he would not give me the answer to the one riddle I hadn't solved

Have you solved it since?

"The saints are the true interpreters of Holy Scripture. The meaning of a given passage of the Bible becomes most intelligible in those human beings who have been totally transfixed by it and have lived it out." - Pope Benedict XVI

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 10 2020 1:19 PM

Have you solved it since?

No, and I've been working on it for nearly 60 years. He always played fair, however, so I know there is an answer ... and I remember most the apparent answers that he deemed wrong ...

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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