[sword-devel] clean bible or bad phantasy?
Wed, 04 Dec 2002 21:41:49 -0800
Let's not make this into a religious argument. This is a very weak basis
for deciding what to allow or block in what should be a great study
tool, for all parties involved. Only insecurity in the textual
traditions would make one argue that it is wrong to ask for tools to
study the exact original text to be included, (if they are programmed by
someone willing already).
Don't censor the scriptures. By this i mean, don't talk about
"authority" or "obediance" or whether the Bible is perfect or not, or
whatever. It is a completely irrelevant issue unless you want to make
this into a paranoid religious group of developers instead of a secure
group of Bible scholars who are level headed and friendly to
scholasticism in general.
Let's not criticize or seek to block a tool that allows the text to be
viewed almost much more closely to how it originally appeared.
Regardless of whether or not that tool is deemed necessary from a
*religious* point of view, include it if nothing else than for the sake
of scholastic authenticity. Remember: this is the scripture we are
talking about: it was written that way. I think a simple rule for
determining ANY decisions like this should be: if the scripture appeared
that way originally, it should be included (if someone has programmed
it). Otherwise the message is: the original text is not good enough. You
may have whatever reasons for why you think the original text is not
good enough, such as the fact that it does not have vowels. You may say
there's no reason NOT to include vowels, but don't limit the tools based
on such standpoints. You yourself may not use the tool, but others will,
and the work has already been done.
Frankly, i'd prefer to read the text without vowel points for another
reason: i'm used to it and i think many native Hebrew speakers would
prefer it as it causes less clutter in decoding the words in the brain
since less symbols are picked up by the eyes. This particular reason for
including the tool is purely a matter of preference, but it is backed up
by the reasons given above, so it is worth it.
There are cases where various renderings are possible in Hebrew when
vowels are not assumed. This can occur in Hebrew in general, not just
the Bible. In some cases the words that may thus be rendered are no
longer in common usage, and other, related words with different vowel
points are. Thus an incorrect (even if plausible) rendering may be possible.
Another example is when the vowel points (added in the Middle Ages) are
taken as being one gender, but the same spelling with different vowel
points can be the other gender. This can change the entire effect of a
sentence since grammatical deconstruction will be affected by such a
change (since gender helps determine what words are connected
grammatically -- what verbs take what objects and what adjectives and
adverbs modify what nouns, etc). BEING ABLE to view the original
unvoweled text is useful as it can help free the mind from the erraneous
belief that the vowel points that are present are absolutely correct:
that no other renderings are possible.
Once again, the rule for determining what tools should go into the
project should be a simple one, WITH NO basis on any religious bias or
assumption: if the module is authentic and can help anyone study the
scripture better, or improve in some way (even slightly, even if you
personally don't see how) their studying it, then it should be
included. The key here is the word "authentic". I'm not talking about
including a book about Dyanetics or the Book of Mormon. I'm talking
about the original unvoweled text. Someone wrote a module for it. By
golly, don't waste his effort.