Verbum Tip 4ae: Bible Browser: Proverbs

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Dec 16 2020 10:43 PM

Docx files for personal book: Verbum 9 part 1How to use the Verbum Lectionary and Missal

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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Facet: Proverbs






From the documentation:

Following are the editorial principles that were formulated in order to annotate the proverbs that were not explicitly called proverbs.

•  A proverb should stand on its own.

•  It should be short.

•  It should deal in absolutes rather than specifics of time, place, or situation.

•  It should deal in tropes (eg, “a ruler” or “no one”) rather than actual persons or places.

•  It should be focused on a single idea.

•  It should express a truth that is obvious after the fact, but in a non-obvious way.

•  It should exhibit a certain elevation of tone.

•  It should have a structure that belies some intentional wordsmithing, that is, an amount of artifice.

•  Not included are simple quotations of OT Scripture, unless creatively quoting the first half of one verse and the second half of another, unrelated verse to recombine them into a new saying.

•  Not included are commands, if it seems like they are direct or to a specific audience rather than universal.[1]


Proverb Types

The type of proverb is meant to indicate the particular genre or literary theme of the saying. This is not a matter of thematic topic, but of the methodology of the saying. There are seven types of proverbs distinguished for the user.

•  Prologue: Introductory comments to a set of proverbs.

•  Advice: Predicated as a direct address, often to a specific hearer.

•  Characterization: An attempt to define a class of persons by their characteristics.

•  Consequence: A saying that describes the probable result of a certain behavior or action.

•  Means: The description of the means by which a result occurs.

•  Ode to Wisdom: The personification of wisdom where the benefits of wisdom are listed and glorified.

•  Saying: The most general type of proverb, an assertion of a general truth.

Proverb Forms

The form of a proverb is meant to indicate the linguistic or literary form of the saying. This is not a rigid taxonomy of formal features like word order, but a loose collection of literary features. There are eight forms of proverb distinguished for the user.

•  Antithetical Parallel: The second half of a parallel expression expresses the opposite sentiment of the first half.

•  Better/Than: A comparison between something that is better than another thing.

•  List: A list or progression of material.

•  Redirection: A topic is redirected to something new.

•  Similar Parallel: The second half of a parallel statement restates the first half.

•  Simile: An explicit comparison using the adverbs “like” or “as”.

•  Statement: A non-parallel statement that expresses a complete thought through both lines.

•  Synthetic Parallel: The second half of a parallel expression builds on the first half.[2]


Bible Browser

To find the Ode to Wisdom in Sirach, select Bible Books à Apocrypha à Sirach and Proverbs à Type:Ode to Wisdom.

Note that the pericope heading refers the reader to two additional pericopes. (Note: see Parallel Pericope Bible for a file to create a parallel Bible based on these references.).

The True Wealth

13         Happy are those who find wisdom,

and those who get understanding,

14         for her income is better than silver,

and her revenue better than gold.

15         She is more precious than jewels,

and nothing you desire can compare with her.

16         Long life is in her right hand;

in her left hand are riches and honor.

17         Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

and all her paths are peace.

18         She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;

those who hold her fast are called happy. [3]


17         When I considered these things inwardly,

and pondered in my heart

that in kinship with wisdom there is immortality,

18         and in friendship with her, pure delight,

and in the labors of her hands, unfailing wealth,

and in the experience of her company, understanding,

and renown in sharing her words,

I went about seeking how to get her for myself. [4]

A comparison of the three pericopes with an attempt to explain why there three pericopes are grouped is one path into the original passage.

The coding for these three passages:

  • Sirach 4:11-31 {Label Proverb WHERE Form ~ "List" AND Type ~ "Ode to Wisdom"}
  • Proverbs 3:13-18 {Label Proverb WHERE Form ~ "List" AND Type ~ "Advice"}
  • Wisdom 8:17-18 is not labeled as a proverb but rather {Label Longacre Genre WHERE Primary ~ <LongacreGenre Expository: What things are or were like>}

How does one get this coding quickly for comparison?

  • Select the text
  • Right click
  • Select the coding you wish to see on the tab side of the context menu
  • Select Copy reference à Search on the right
  • Evans, Eli, and David Witthoff. 2014. Proverbs Explorer. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife.


The Proverbs Explorer uses two attributes that are not on the Proverb label:

  • Biblical Person
  • (Preaching) Theme

Select only Type: Ode to Wisdom:

Duplicate the results in the Bible Browser.

Notice that the Proverbs interactive shows 19 instances of proverbs while the Bible Browser shows 17 instances of pericopes. The explanation of the subtle difference is pointed to by the red numbered tags.

Context Menu and Information Panel

The Label Proverbs shows the expected data in the Information Panel.

The Context Menu also holds no surprises.


Executing the Search: Bible option from the Context Menu creates the search argument {Label Proverb WHERE Form ~ "List" AND Type ~ "Ode to Wisdom"}. To recreate the results of the Bible Browser above, run the search with the argument {Label Proverb WHERE Type ~ "Ode to Wisdom"} Remember that omitting an attribute is the equivalent to specifying ANY.

Note the addition of a second translation to the search results:

  • In the + Add Versions box (1) enter the additional translations you wish to see. Note these are not searched, they are simply the same reference as the NRSV is other translations.
  • The added translations appear as columns to the right (2). Note there is a bit of a lag in the loading of the new translations.
  • There has been little mention of Visual Filters in the recent posts. This is solely a matter of time availability on my part. One can create filters for the label date:

Applied to the Bible this generates:

Okay, my use of a symbol in front to the verse is perhaps a bit too subtle a markup.

[1] Jimmy Parks, Proverbs Explorer Dataset Documentation (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2018).

[2] Jimmy Parks, Proverbs Explorer Dataset Documentation (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2018).

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Pr 3:13–18.

[4] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Wis 8:17–18.

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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