[sword-devel] How about the OT's standard versification at Sword ?

C. N. R. biblology at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 20 13:00:37 MST 2005

Chris Little wrote, among other things:

> In any case, it really has nothing to do with language. 

> Remember, we're trying NOT to change or re-order the text like

> you were. So knowing or not knowing the language of the text

> is irrelevant.

But knowing or not knowing the language *is* relevant to users. Let us suppose that a typical serious Bible student who knows a bit of Biblical Greek and the mere basics of Hebrew is trying to discover the differences between the text of the verse of a psalm in the Septuagint and the Hebrew Bible.

With the present arrangement, all based on the KJV:

1. Identify your verse in your own language version, or in the KJV+ module with Strong's numbers.

2. Switch to the LXX module and read that verse.

3. Switch to the HOT module and read that verse.

Or, of course, you can also display the three versions side by side. What could be easier?

With an arrangement where all versions have individual verse numbers:

1. Identify your verse in your own language version, or in the KJV+ module with Strong's numbers.

2. Switch to the LXX module and search for the equivalent verse, which will likely require you to go to another psalm and maybe a differently numbered verse.

3. Switch to the HOT module, which will require you to go back to the original numbering system.

I don't think you will be able to display the three versions side by side -- at any rate, not until a pretty sophisticated adjustment mechanism is added to the SWORD engine; and this has not been written, and if and when it is written, it will need a lot of debugging before it works.

> The KJV versification (v11n) system is the basis for

> Sword's internal v11n (at the moment, for all intents and 

> purposes). It's a known problem that some of us are

> working to correct.

Glad that this is clear. But is it actually a problem? From here it looks more like an advantage.

> Furthermore, in my experience, individuals who have never encoded a

> document in XML do not do a very good job the first time. 

Agreed. Given a chance rather than the cold shoulder, they will get better and become useful. But what sort of a job will people do who, though ever so good at XML, don't understand a word of the text they are looking at?

> You seem to think you have a right to decide 

> on the versification of a Bible that you didn't translate.

> We don't believe you do. We believe that decision was

> already made by its actual translators and that you have

> no right to impose your own opinions on their work.

The original translators of the Septuagint and Vulgate, and the compilers of the Greek New Testament, didn't impose any system of versification at all. One of the very few old MSS to have verse numbers, the 6th century Codex Bezae (Gospels and Acts only), has different numbering from any later text. Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Taverner's, and the Great Bible, all of the 1530s, have no verse numbers in their original editions, though in Coverdale's, the chapters are broken up into blocks marked A, B, C ... Only when we get to the Geneva Bible of 1560 and the Bishops' Bible of 1568 are verse numbers added.

> When we support other v11n systems in Sword, we

> will use that data to convert between systems rather

> than whatever ad hoc methods you might be imagining.

Yes, when. Probably not for a while. Meanwhile many people are using the SWORD Bibles for comparing texts, and for them ad hoc solutions work just fine.

Working for Him,

Catalin N. Ravaru




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