[sword-devel] Concerns about Alternate Versification

Familie von Kaehne refdoc at gmx.net
Tue Jan 6 01:50:27 MST 2009

Jonathan Morgan wrote:
> Executive summary: I do not believe that alternate versification is
> useful without mapping between versifications, and I am not convinced
> that it is useful doing alternate versification with Genbooks.
> All of the work and discussion that I have seen on alternate
> versification to date has been concerned with individual Bibles and
> representing all the foibles and quirks of individual Bibles correctly
> without the limitations of the KJV versification.  I am somehow better
> off accessing /Gen/3/2 in the KJV than I am accessing Genesis 3:2,
> since I can then access /1Mac/2/2 as well.  As a software developer I
> have to accept the limitation that I now need to have references for
> one particular Bible and keys for that Bible rather than generic
> references.  However, I think all of this discussion ignores one
> thing: In general, I (and probably the "average user") am not
> interested in Bible specific references.  I am interested in Genesis
> 3:2, not "Genesis 3:2 in this version".  A few examples:
> 1. My cross-references in the TSK or a Bible dictionary are references
> to the entity "Genesis 3:5", not "Genesis 3:5 in a particular
> version".

Not correct. The TSK or any other reference work will have used an
underlying particular versification - even if this is not documented. So
 Gen 3:5 can contain any variety of text close by (KJV) Gen 3:5. As a
user I do not want to get directed to a totally unrelated verse which
happens to share the reference, but I want to end up at the right
content. So a KJV Gen 3:5 reference should lead me to Luther Gen 3:4

(I am making this up right now, so do not correct me on this. But Luther
and KJV are over wide stretches of teh Pentateuch 1 or 2 verses up or
down out of sync)

> 2. If I want to produce a list of references on a particular topic,
> that list is almost always version independent.

No. It is bound to a particular versification scheme and any other
versification scheme will have errors subsequently. In terms of Luther
the errors will make e.g. the TSK practically unusable.

Further the current discrepancy between paper Luther and sword Luther is

> 3. I want to be able to view multiple Bibles in parallel.  This is not
> possible if I cannot get version independent references (doing such a
> display with a considerably different versification is a hard problem
> that requires thought, but the need is there).

CCEL has produced lengthly lists to make transformation easy.

> I believe an important aim of Bible software should be, where
> possible, to allow users to read the Bible in their own language (and
> for me that includes not reading it in the KJV or DRC, since that is
> not my language).  This is why I don't really like version specific
> references, and this is why I don't like an alternate versification
> that requires me to have module specific keys without a proper mapping
> between them.

The mapping is the way to make version specific references work. The
mapping is available, even if it is not (yet) in the library.

> Producing a proper mapping is not an easy problem, 

It has been done by CCEL.

> since even versions
> close to the standard versification can reorder verses, and that needs
> to be considered when showing in parallel or displaying a reference
> (e.g. if my English commentary refers to Romans 4:13, I want it to
> display Romans 4:16 in the Telugu OV, since that is the equivalent
> verse - this is a problem that is likely not solved by the current
> system).  However, without such a mapping I believe that we are worse
> off with alternate versification than without it.

A reference to Romans 4:13 in your English commentary is meaningless in
your Telugu OV paper version. And in your CrossWire
KJV-force-versification module it is only occasionally useful - whenever
the vector of forced re-versification has produced sense rather than not.

> I am also concerned about the choice of using Genbooks to represent
> books, just based (as far as I can tell) on the fact that we already
> have Genbook support.  Is there any technical reason that makes the
> Genbook reference "/Gen/3/2" superior?  Remember that this is not
> being displayed to the user at all, so we are at liberty to choose any
> representation we like.  The Genbook representation allows all sorts
> of invalid data - I could have /Gen/2, or /Gen/something or other/some
> random text/2/3.

> How I would represent it is (in broad sketch) as follows:
> 1. Use the current Bible representation of one entry per verse, but
> only have as many entries as there are verses in the versification and
> have a mapping table at the start mapping from verses to indices.

And what do you do about chapters which are longer?
> 2. Have a master versification scheme (probably based on augmented KJV
> versification, since that is probably the most influential and
> standard).  

> Have VerseKeys using that master scheme, getting book
> name, chapter number, verse number, etc. out of there, and then
> mapping to the particular versification necessary.  [not 100% sure of
> this, because of the reordering problem - if I'm in Telugu OV and type
> in Romans 4:16, does the user mean master Romans 4:16 or Telugu Romans
> 4:16 - probably wiser to go for Telugu Romans 4:16, master Romans
> 4:13].
> 3. Allow versifications and mappings to be done statically by a module
> author rather than dynamically as has currently been suggested,
> preferably expressed as differences from a standard versification.
> Also allow generation of this versification from a source text?
> 4. Bible references from commentaries, etc. use this master versification.

A German commentary will either use Luther or Elberfelder. It would be
wrong to change this. And while Elberfelder is originally basically a
KJV versification it is getting more and more assimilated from edition
to edition to Luther's versification.  And Luther is very different.

Basically I think you are misunderstanding the impact versification has.
The Genbook versification idea is for me one of the most exciting
changes to SWORD since it will finally allow that my German Bible is
shown in GS the same way as on paper. And that is more important than
making Matthew Henry work with Luther. Mapping will sort out latter
eventually too.

It is better to make something correct and then try and work out how to
map it then to work the other way round. And the mapping work is largely
done anyway. By others.


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