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On Patterns and Pastors - åben forelæsning

After 40 years of digitizing the Hebrew Bible v. Eep Taslstra, ETCBC, Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

On Patterns and Pastors - åben forelæsning

What did biblical scholarship expect when from about 1975 projects for computer-assisted analysis of biblical texts began? And what did these developments actually bring us?  Was it all about better versions of classical instruments such as concordances, synoptic presentations of texts, manuscripts and ancient translations? Or did it also change methods of linguistic research, language teaching and textual interpretation?

Work on this field made us aware of the strong interaction between building instruments, such as a linguistic text database, and doing biblical research itself. Computer technique can imitate classical instruments, such as concordances, but in doing so the question arises: why only concentrate on individual words? Why not also produce concordances of more complex linguistic phenomena, such as phrases and clauses? And if we can do that, why not also try to produce overviews of textual structures? And what does that teach us about language and text? As a result the discipline of Bible and Computer has changed the way we approach the reading of texts. Classical instruments have stimulated exegetes to concentrate mainly on words and their meanings. Modern databases stimulate exegetes to go beyond that and also concentrate on patterns in the usage of language and their contribution to textual design.

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