[sword-devel] Ideas for using ThML for general books

Paul Gear sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 24 Apr 2001 14:40:22 +1000

"Don A. Elbourne Jr." wrote:

> ...
> Sorry. I misspelled "exorbitant" and then inadvertently clicked on the wrong
> spell-check selection.

Interestingly, i looked up exuberant at Merriam-Webster and found that it is
actually appropriate for the context you used.  See
<http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?exuberant>.  The first meaning is
"extreme or excessive in degree, size, or extent" - quite appropriate, really.

> But now that I think of it I guess exuberant could
> apply depending on which side of the commercial venture you are on. :-)

That would be the "no-good money-grabbing low-life filthy lucre" side?  :-)

> In response to "FlameBait"...
> <RequestedFlame_Rant>

I was actually seeing if Bob Pritchett was still hanging around.  Maybe this
message will get through his email filters...  :-)

> OK... I can't hold it in any more...How ironic it is that everyone wants the
> fruits of labor from the best of modern scholarship and the added editorial
> value that established publishing houses provide, but no one wants to pay
> for it. Last time I mentioned the "open-content model" the cry went up, "but
> we don't want commentaries from any Tom, Dick, or Harry." Those who
> lugubriously bemoan the supposed evils of the publishing industry are the
> first to want to drink from their filtered fountain for free.

Absolutely.  :-P

> Its funny how a programmer armed with little more than "C++ for Dummies" and
> a few months of training, can command $55 an hour for his services and he is
> congratulated beyond measure.

Man, i'm going to have to buy a copy of that book!  US dollars?  8^)

> Yet a competent Bible Scholar with 12+ years
> of College and Seminary, plus years of full-time study of ancient languages,
> when he asks for simple remuneration for his publications, just so that he
> can keep his family from starving, he is labeled a no-good money-grabbing
> low-life not interested in anything but lining his pockets with filthy
> lucre.

I can only speak for myself, but i've never labelled such people this way.
Those people are the ones i have the most respect for, and indeed, i aim to be
one myself.  It's only early days for me yet, but i did NT Greek last year at
college and came top of the class, and i am studying Greek exegesis and Hebrew
with the same aim this year.

It is actually from this perspective that i struggle with the commercial side
so much.  If i were a Bible scholar, i would want to make my work available to
as large an audience as possible.  If i were a Greek teacher, i would want a
Greek text that i could give to my students to read without having to pay a fee
for it.  If i published a book, i would not want the publishing company
dictating what i could and could not do with the text.

> The same goes for publishing companies that are simply trying to make
> a living, feed their families, and produce high-quality resources for the
> Christian community in the process.

Here is where i have to part ways with you.  My (admittedly limited) experience
of most of the big publishers is that this is simply not an accurate picture of
them: they are dominated by a money-making agenda.

The amount of quality content that i see when i walk into my local Christian
bookstores is a very low percentage of what is available.  The majority of it
is Christian dieter's guides and sanctified workout videos and Fred Bloggs'
philosophy of this or that, and so little Bible that i cringe when i have to
walk into those places.  Publishers are interested in what sells, not what is
true or useful.

Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but i think it is becoming an
increasing problem in Western Christianity.  While pastors in Africa or Eastern
Europe dream of owning a copy of 3 different translations and Strong's Greek
dictionary, we complain when our copy of 'Baptismal Methods for Dummies' isn't
in stock right when we want it.  (I know i am putting up a straw man here, but
i think you understand what i am getting at.)

> I'll repeat, I'm glad for what The Sword Project is doing. their is great
> potential for the cause of Christ in these efforts. I praise god that a
> group of dedicated Christians are donating some of their spare time to this
> worthy goal. but why do we have to bash those who do the same thing for a
> living?
> ...
> And The Sword
> Project will fill its niche, if we keep our eyes on the goal. So instead of
> bad-mouthing and competing with the commercial projects, why not focus on
> creating a comparable interface for public domain works? That is what I
> thought the Sword Project was all about.

I agree in part - we need to create a comparable interface for PD works.  And
we don't need to waste time "bashing" the commercial entities, but we also need
to market the free content approach and encourage people to release works free
to the public as well as (or instead of) traditional publishing.

Just like people are turning to Linux because they realise free software is
better for their business, so also Christians will eventually learn that free
content is better for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, IMO.  The guys at
http://www.leningradensis.org/ and http://OpenText.org/ have the right idea:
make the texts in a collaborative free content environment.

> I feel better already. :-) Thanks for inviting me to vent.

Glad to be of service!  A bit of mutual venting can be good for the blood
pressure.  ;-)

"He must become greater; i must become less." - John 3:30