TIC Talk 59, 2004

Newsletter of the United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse

Article: Review of Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible, by Sarah Lind
Publication Notices on Bible Translation
Publication Notices on Bible
Publication Notices on Translation, Linguistics, and Culture
News & Notes – Upcoming Conferences

Download TT59 in Word document format

undefinedTIC Talk 59, 2004 (Word)

Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible

At the risk of putting off some readers who may think that three pages on software is more than enough for the year (see the last issue of TIC Talk), this issue devotes a few more to the newly available Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible

(SESB), a joint project of the German and Netherlands Bible Societies using Libronix Digital Library System (Logos). This resource will be welcomed by all those who have long wished for the critical apparatus of BHS and Nestle-Aland in electronic form, and those who haven’t had access to the Werkgroep Informatica’s syntactically tagged Hebrew Bible database.

The SESB is a collection of biblical texts and resources much like other Logos collections in terms of displaying and searching texts. It is, not surprisingly, more international minded than Logos in its packaged offerings of modern versions. German Bibles are Lutherbibel 1984, the Gute Nachricht (with notes), Einheits­über­setzung (with notes), Rev. Elberfelder 1985, and the Buber/Rosenzweig translation Die Schrift 1962/1997. French versions are Traduction Oecuménique, Français Courant 1997, and the Nouvelle Bible Segond 2002. The Dutch versions NBG Vertaling and Groot Nieuws are included as well as the Danish common language version of 1992. English versions are New Revised Standard 1993 and New International 1978 (why not TEV?).

Ancient texts and versions are BHS, NA27, LXX, and the Vulgate. These are accompanied by a number of basic lexicons: Hebräisch-Deutsch and Hebrew-English (Bosman, Oosting, Postma), Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust, Eynikel, Hauspie), Kleines Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament Griechisch-Deutsch (Kassühlke), and Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (Newman).

The morphological tagging for the LXX and NA27 is the usual CCAT and GRAMCORD tagging, respectively. What is not usual is the tagging of BHS.

The BHS in SESB integrates two important sets of information that have not previously been commercially available in Bible search software: 1) The morpho-syntactic database of Prof. Eep Talstra, et al., called the WIVU database, as it is a project of the Werkgroep Informatica of the Vrije Universiteit in Amster­dam (http://www.th.vu.nl/~wiweb/const/index.htm), and 2) The critical apparatus, consisting of the critical notes that appear at the bottom of each page in the printed BHS.

The WIVU database

This has long been a project under the direction of Talstra. From the early 90s, there has been an ongoing effort to make the database more widely available through a concording program called Quest (still called “Quest Search” on the SESB opening screen). The participating Bible Societies finally decided in 2002 to use the Libronix technology for their electronic Bible collection, including the WIVU database. The virtue of that decision is that the database is now published.

The uniqueness of WIVU as a published database is that it is tagged not just with word form information but also with phrase- and clause-level information. That means, for example, that you can find all cases of fronted prepositional phrases in the historical writings, or all cases of a clause with a qatal verb form followed by a clause with a we-qatal verb form in the Pentateuch. The search in the screenshot (below) is for a combination of two clauses, the first one with a non-determined noun followed by qatal 3s, and the second beginning with a yiqtol verb.

As you may or may not be able to see in the screenshot, the functions of clauses are tagged, as well as cases of vocative, ellipsis, casus pendens, and macrosyntactic signals (“and now,” “therefore,” “we-hinneh,” etc.). Before working with the WIVU database, you should study the introductory essays by Christof Hardmeier (in German) and Eep Talstra (in English). Short versions of these essays are in the printed manual, but the electronic versions include much more information. They appear in “My Library” under the title “SESB Editor’s Introduction.”

There are quite a few wrinkles to be ironed out. The most important one is Help. I get nervous when I’ve constructed a search that looks exactly like the example, but has different results. This is true of almost every example in Talstra’s introduction, and is likely due to the fact that there is no detailed explanation about all aspects of constructing queries. Moreover, in what help does exist, the application of some key statements is often hard to make out. For example, describing the search option of specifying the allowable distance between two given words, the help file says: “You can define the words within the distance by means of all options of the lexeme and word form panels.” All the words are clear, but what does it mean? (Well, I know now what it means, but only after prolonged contemplation and experimentation.)

Some other areas needing improvement:

  • It is sometimes a mystery why certain results have been returned. Explanations of how syntactic tags were assigned is urgently needed, as well as the ability to view the tagging of the text.
  • Morphological searching appears to be more limited than with the Logos BHS (no agreement options).
  • In a lexeme search, homographs are labeled (1), (2), etc., without any indication of which one might be what you’re looking for. There should be glosses in the lookup list to help you choose which one you want.
  • As stated in the introductory materials, the WIVU database contains complete information on the phrase and clause levels only for the books of Genesis to 2 Kings.

Problems of interface:

  • In the display of BHS, text-wrapping separates inseparable prepositions and conjunctions from the following words, leaving them hanging at the left (see screenshot below). Even sof pasuq can occupy its own line.
  • The search dialogue can be kept open (unlike the Logos morphological search dialogue), but it cannot be resized and is always on top. Since it takes up almost the whole screen, this feature is practically useless.

The publication of WIVU is a promising first step in making available syntactic information about the Hebrew Bible. It is not perfectly presented; improvements will be welcomed. In the meantime, the Forbes-Andersen syntactic (and some discourse-level) database is reportedly also being prepared for publication by Logos. The tagging of that data-base is said to be complete, and will provide an interesting point of comparison with WIVU. (There’s also said to be a Greek syntactical database in the Logos works.)

Critical Apparatuses

Appearing for the first time in commercially available electronic form are the critical apparatuses of BHS and NA27. The SESB texts are supplied with hyperlinks so that you can view the critical notes while reading the text by placing your cursor over the siglum. The note will pop up in a box that disappears as soon as you move the cursor (see screenshots).

In addition, you can open the apparatus in a separate window and have it scroll with the text as you move through it. By placing the cursor over any siglum in the apparatus window, you can find out what it refers to. In BHS, you will get only the bare bones expansion of the abbreviation in Latin, but in NA27 you can get quite helpful lengthier notes about the versions (see screenshot on Majority Text). You can also search on any of the sigla and get a list of all the verses for which a given manuscript/tradition is cited in the apparatus.

There are, additionally, a number of extremely useful, but poorly documented, field search capabilities (brought to my attention by Rubén Gómez in his online review of SESB at http://www.bsreview.org/sesb.htm). For example, you can retrieve a list of all additions and insertions, or all lectionary manuscript citations in the NA apparatus, or all OT quotes or disputed passages in NA27, as well as specify lexical or morphological elements within those categories. BHS and its apparatus have a less useful set of fields for this capability.

Conclusions: Anyone who uses the critical apparatuses of BHS and NA27 on a regular basis will find that SESB offers wonderfully expanded ways of working with those resources, and will probably be willing (if not able) to pay the price–$280 (from Logos, http://www.logos.com/) or 240 EUR (from the German Bible Society, http://www.bibelgesellschaft.de/shop). With the critical apparatuses, a good selection of modern versions in European languages, as well as the potential that lies in the WIVU database, the German and Netherlands Bible Societies are to be congratulated for offering an electronic product that is unlike any other available Bible software.

To top

Bible Translation

Sowing the Word: The Cultural Impact of the British and Foreign Bible Society 1804-2004. 2004. S. Batalden, K. Cann, and J. Dean, eds. Sheffield Phoenix Press. Essays prepared for the 200th anniversary of BFBS and presented in March 2004 survey the impact of the Society’s work around the world. Contents: K. Cann, The archives of the BFBS; L. Howsam, The Bible Society and the Book Trade; R. Martin, Women and the Bible Society; S. Lane, Forgotten Labours: Women’s Bible Work and the BFBS; R. Steer, ‘Without Note or Comment’: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow; J. Dean, London Bible House in the 1950s: An Illustrated Reminiscence; P. Mirrlees, John Hill and the Early Attempt to Study a West African Language; T. Strandenaes, Anonymous Bible Translators: Native Literati and the Translation of the Bible into Chinese, 1807-1907; E. von Mende, Problems in Translating the Bible into Manchu: Observations on Louis Poirot’s Old Testament; S. Batalden, The BFBS Petersburg Agency and Russian Biblical Translation, 1856-1875; S. Ovsiannikov, Bishop Cassian’s BFBS-Sponsored Russian Translation of the New Testament; D. Clark, Minority Language Biblical Translation Work in Russia: Then and Now; R. Clogg, Enlightening ‘A Poor, Oppressed, and Darkened Nation’: Some Early Activities of the BFBS in the Levant; P. Kuzmi? The Bible Society’s South Slavic Bible in the Balkan Maelstrom; W. Detzler, Robert Pinkerton: Principal Agent of the BFBS in the Kingdoms of Germany; A. Ridler, Obedience and Disobedience: George Borrow’s Idiosyncratic Relationship with the Bible Society; S. Jackson, The Bible in Spain and Gibraltar; J. Banks, The BFBS and Native Language Literature in Nineteenth-Century Canada; R. Kverndal, Sowing by Sea: Empowering Seafarers with the Gospel; and an appendix: A Summary Catalogue of the BFBS Archives, K. Cann.

Philip C. Stine. 2004. Let the Words Be Written: The Lasting Influence of Eugene A. Nida. Drawing on archival records and interviews with Nida’s colleagues, Stine’s thoughtful and engaging intellectual biography of Nida traces and assesses his work, thought and influence in the areas of Bible translation, translation theory, linguistics, and cross-cultural studies.

Steven Engler, Susan Bassnett. 2004. “Consider Translation: A Roundtable Discussion.” Religious Studies Review 30/2-3:107-120. The participants are a translation theorist, a translator and poet, an anthropologist, and a religion scholar. The topic isn’t specifically Bible translation, but the subject frequently comes up in the discussion of translation and religious studies.

Christiane Nord. 2002. “Bridging the Cultural Gap: Bible Translation as a Case in Point.” Acta Theologica 22/1:98-116. N., who collaborated with K. Berger in a German translation of the NT (1999) “based on modern functional translation theory,” describes ways they attempted to bridge the cultural gap, with reference to skopos theory, making the texts understandable to modern German readers without taking away their strangeness.


O Novo Testamento Interlinear Grego-Português (Greek-Portuguese Interlinear New Testament). 2004. Vilson Scholz, ed. Bible Society of Brazil. The interlinear translation was done by Vilson, with Bob Bratcher as consultant and reviewer. The UBS GNT4 text is printed in black and the literal Portuguese translation in blue on facing pages. In the inner margins (two columns) are the texts of the Almeida Revista e Atualizada and the Nova Tradução na Linguagem de Hoje. This edition was edited and printed entirely in Brazil. Vilson explains that “It took our publishing team a long time to figure it out (which helps to explain why it took so long to get it published), but they came up with some sort of ‘software’ which will make it possible for other projects to be finished in much less time. As a matter of fact, other language communities will benefit from this, as interlinear translations into other languages, e.g. Swahili, are already in preparation and will be typeset and printed in Brazil.” It has been well accepted—the first printing sold out in a couple of months.

NET — Novum Testamentum Graece New Testament. 2004. German Bible Society; NET Bible Press. This diglot contains NA27 with complete textual apparatus and appendices combined with the English text of the NET Bible and a customized set of notes. These NET Bible notes focus on issues of consequence for exegesis and language study, including comparisons with a variety of other major English versions, specially edited text-critical notes, and a 70-page appendix with additional text-critical discussions. Variant readings where NET Bible differs from NA27 are marked with double daggers. Key scholarly works are cited in the notes. The Bible can be ordered online at http://www.bible.org/store/

Modern Translations

Francois T. de Villiers. 2003. “Translation of Nonverbal Communication in the Afrikaans Bible Version for the Deaf: A Short Note.” Scriptura 84:364-367. dV. points out that the non-verbal is a meaningful element of communication in the text, and, accordingly, must be translated. He illustrates the point with reference to Job 30.28, and considers how such a translation might be achieved in the Afrikaans Bible for the Deaf.

David Dewey. 2004. Which Bible? a Guide to English Translations. Inter-Varsity Press. In this accessible and informative guide, D. introduces the principles and issues involved in the task of Bible translation, traces the story of the Bible in English and offers a survey and evaluation of the different versions now available.

Michael A. Lyons and William A. Tooman. 2003. “Three Recent Bible Translations: An Old Testament Perspective.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46/3:497-520. The versions compared are the English Standard Version (ESV), the New English Translation (NET), and The Message.

E.A. Knauf. 2002. “Wichtige deutschsprachige Bibel­über­setzungen.” Bibel und Kirche 57/4:204-206. Very short assessments of 12 German translations.

T.J. Chakkuvarackal. 2002. “Important Issues in the Translation of the Bible in the Indian Context.” Bangalore Theological Forum 34/1:163-175. Discusses issues faced by modern translators in India in the areas of linguistics, source text, translation principles, and postcolonialism, considers problems of interpretation in the Indian context, and lists some suggestions for translators.

J.M. Sánchez Caro. 2002. “Intervención de la Iglesia en la labor traductora. El caso de le Biblia en España.” Salmanticensis 48/3:387-432. Looks at the church’s involvement in Bible translation in Spain from medieval times through the 20th century.

To top



A History of Biblical Interpretation, Volume One: The Ancient Period. 2003. A.J. Hauser and D.F. Watson, eds. Eerdmans. The first part of this volume on early interpreters and their methods concentrates on the use of the Scriptures within Judaism. Chapters examine inner-biblical exegesis in the Tanak, the development of the Septuagint, the exegetical approach of Philo of Alexandria, biblical interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Targumim, the nature of rabbinic midrash, the stabilization of the Hebrew Bible, and the interpretation of the Bible in the Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. The second part probes themes specific to Christian interpretation—how Israel’s Scriptures are used in the New Testament writings, the hermeneutical approaches of the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists, Alexandrian and Antiochene exegesis, the contributions of Jerome and Augustine, the formation of the New Testament canon, and the interpretation of Scripture in the New Testament Apocrypha and Gnostic writings. A description of the project and some of the articles are at http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Interpretation.htm.

L’Autorité de l’Écriture. 2002. J.-M. Poffet, ed. Éditions du Cerf. The essays in this collection are from colloquia at the École Biblique (2000, 2001) in preparation for the school’s new edition of the Jerusalem Bible that will incorporate advances in biblical studies of the last 50 years, especially those relating to notions of canon and reader reception. Some titles: Y.-M. Blanchard, Nouveau Testament et canon biblique; M. Gilbert, Textes exclus, textes inclus: les enjeux and textes bibliques dont l’église a défini le sens; P. Vassiliadis, The Canon of the Bible (An Orthodox View); J. Kugel, Biblical Authority in Judaism; G.-E. Sarfati, Qu’est-ce qu’un texte canonique?; and C. Rico, La linguistique peut-elle définir l’acte de traduction?

John W. Miller. 2004. How the Bible Came to Be. Paulist Press. M.’s focus is on the intent and goals of those involved in the Bible’s formation during three major canon-creating periods: the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah, those of Ezra and Nehemiah, and 2nd century Christianity. An awareness of the factors at play in the formation of normative scriptures during each period enriches understanding of the collection’s subsections and the Bible as a whole. With its intended student audience, the book provides some helpful comparative charts, a glossary, chapter summaries, and two supplements, one describing important ancient documents relating to canonization, the other critiquing selected recent studies in canon history.

Krijn van der Jagt. 2003. Anthropological Approaches to the Interpretation of the Bible. UBS. Corrected copies of this introduction to anthropological approaches and issues and their application to biblical interpretation are available. Essays treat Ancient Near Eastern religion and culture, honor and shame, ritual and myth, and offer examples of anthropological readings of OT texts.

Anthropology and Biblical Studies: Avenues of Approach. 2004. L. Lawrence and M. Aguilar, eds. Deo. Fourteen essays consider the interdisciplinary links, innovations and developments between anthropology and biblical studies in reference to the interpretation of the Bible. Topics include methodological issues, the use of anthropological concepts in biblical studies (identity; purity boundaries; virtuoso religion; spiritual experience; sacred space) and “field-work”—the work of Bible translators in different cultures, in the article by David Clark, “Anthropology and the ‘End User’: The Influence of Receptor Cultures on the Translation of the Bible.”

Jean-François Baudoz, Yves-Marie Blanchard, Édouard Cothenet, et al. 2003. “1000 livres sur la Bible.” Cahiers Évangile 124:1-99. An annotated guide to French books on the Bible, arranged in the categories text, reference, world of the Bible, introductions, OT, inter­tes­ta­men­tal, NT, biblical theology, and themes.

John Glynn. 2003. Commentary and Reference Survey: A Comprehensive Guide to Biblical and Theological Resources. Kregel. This survey, in its ninth edition, is strongest in biblical studies and provides useful information on commentaries, references, internet and electronic resources, building a library, and buying books. The title should end with “in English.”

Biblical Languages


Rolf J. Furuli. 2004. “A New Understanding of the Verbal System of Classical Hebrew: An Attempt to Distinguish Between Semantic and Pragmatic Factors.” diss., University of Oslo. F. is a member of the Norwegian Forum for Bible Translation. He writes that his dissertation “is based on an analysis of all the finite and non-finite verbs of classical Hebrew, and the conclusions regarding their semantic meaning is very different from those that are found in modern grammars. If these conclusions are accepted, that would mean that hundreds, or even thousands of verbs in modern Bible translations are in need of retranslation....But because this is the first time all the Hebrew verbs have been analyzed in one study, and because modern linguistic principles have been used, the conclusions deserve to be taken into account by translation theorists.”

Cynthia L. Miller. 2003. “A Linguistic Approach to Ellipsis in Biblical Poetry (or, What to Do When Exegesis of What is There Depends on What Isn’t).” Bulletin for Biblical Research 13/2:251-270. A linguistic approach to ellipsis involves identifying universal features of ellipsis, as well as those features that are specific to BH. Understanding the shapes of elliptical constructions in BH provides a powerful exegetical tool for evaluating alternative readings of difficult verses (e.g., Psa 49.4 and Pro 13.1). (from the publ. abstr.)

Max Rogland. 2003. Alleged Non-Past Uses of Qatal in Classical Hebrew. Van Gorcum. Examines cases where the qatal form appears to refer to present or future events. The temporal understanding of qatal as past applies both to prose and poetry—the supposed exceptions, on examination, are in fact better understood as past tenses.

Bill T. Arnold and John H. Choi. 2003. A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Cambridge University Press. Presents the fundamentals of BH syntax for intermediate students in a fairly condensed form, drawing largely from the bigger Waltke-O’Connor syntax.


Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of Frederick W. Danker. 2004. B. Taylor, J. Lee, P. Burton, and R. Whitaker, eds. Eerdmans. Essays in this volume present the current state of Greek and biblical language studies. Included are Danker’s SBL address, “Lexical evolution and linguistic hazard,” as well as a number of articles on BDAG. Other titles: J. Lee, The present state of lexicography of Ancient Greek; T. Muraoka, Septuagintal lexicography; B. Newman, A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament: Reflections and ruminations; B. Taylor, Deponency and Greek lexicography; R. Buth, Perception and aspect, Greek lexicography and grammar: Helping students to think in Greek; T. Evans, Future directions for aspect studies in Ancient Greek; S. Porter, Aspect theory and lexicography; and J. Voelz, External entailment as a category of linguistic analysis.

F. Beetham. 2002. “The Aorist Indicative.” Greece & Rome 49/2:227-236. B. comments on the use of the aorist indicative in Classical Greek, and observes that students of NT Greek need to be aware of its function indicating the viewpoint of a speaker outside an action, with the beginning and end in view, but not necessarily in the past.

John D. Ekem. 2004. “‘Spiritual Gifts’ or ‘Spiritual Persons?’ 1 Corinthians 12:1a Revisited.” Neotestamentica 38/1:54ff. E. argues that the alternative rendering of tòn pneumatikòn as “spiritual persons,” often assigned to a footnote, should instead be in the main text.

J.T. Pennington. 2003. “Deponency in Koine Greek: The Grammatical Question and the Lexicographical Dilemma.” Trinity Journal 24/1:55-76. Deponency is not a useful grammatical concept for Hellenistic Greek. Most verbs labeled “deponent” have a true middle sense, and thus are not active in meaning with a middle or passive form. In any event, P. advocates a morphologically based system for listing dictionary entries.


Luke Ferretter. 2004. “The Power and the Glory: The Aesthetics of the Hebrew Bible.” Literature and Theology 18/2:123-138. F. sets out the fundamental principles of the aesthetics of the Hebrew Bible, arguing that the Bible articulates a unique system of thought in the history of aesthetics. He examines the aesthetic language of the Hebrew Bible and analyzes its concepts of beauty and art. In each case, Hebrew thought predates the concerns of Greek metaphysics. In keeping with its concerns with the social and religious life of ancient Israel, the Hebrew Bible expresses a developed system of aesthetics in which both beauty and art are understood as social and as religious phenomena. (from publ. abstr.)

Victor H. Matthews. 2003. “Physical Space, Imagined Space, and ‘Lived Space’ in Ancient Israel.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 33:12-20. Examines concepts of space in the OT narrative to understand better the social world of ancient Israel.

Nili Shupak. 2003. “Learning Methods in Ancient Israel.” Vetus Testamentum 53:416-426. Since there is no evidence for schools in ancient Israel, it is more useful to try to reconstruct teaching and learning methods and stages from terminology applied to study and its accompanying images, in wisdom literature in particular.

The Earliest Text of the Hebrew Bible: The Relationship Between the Masoretic Text and the Hebrew Base of the Septuagint Reconsidered. 2003. A. Schenker, ed. SBL. Essays look at the textual and literary relationships between the MT and LXX texts of Judges, Kings, Ezra, Ezekiel, and Daniel (authors Fernández Marcos, Schenker, Bühler, Lust, Munnich) and E. Tov concludes with “The nature of the large-scale differences between the LXX and MT S T V, compared with similar evidence in other sources.”


Antonio Piñero and Jesús Peláez. 2003. The Study of the New Testament: A Comprehensive Introduction. Deo. This outstanding introduction, originally El Nuevo Testamento: introducción al estudio de los primeros escritos cristianos (1995), was translated by David E. Orton & Paul Ellingworth. It is both an academic introduction to the NT sources, and a comprehensive guide to approaches to NT study, ranging from text criticism to the most recent literary approaches.

Glen H. Stassen. 2003. “The Fourteen Triads of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-7:12).” Journal of Biblical Literature 122/2:267-308. The craftsmanship and symmetry in the way the pericopes of the Sermon on the Mount are grouped are repeated in the structure of the individual pericopes. Each pericope in the central section, 5:21—7:12, has a triadic structure, consistent across the pericopes, with one partial exception, and this unites them all as members of one family. S. analyzes this structure and its implications. (SBL members can get the article online)

Stephen Pattemore. 2004. The People of God in the Apocalypse: Discourse, Structure, and Exegesis. Cambridge University Press. This work examines passages within Revelation 4:1-22:21 that depict the people of God as actors in the apocalyptic drama and infers what impact these passages would have had on the self-understanding and behavior of the original audience of the work.

NT Textual Criticism

Recent Developments in Textual Criticism—New Testament, Other Early Christian and Jewish Literature. 2003. W. Weren and D.-A. Koch, eds. Royal van Gorcum. A few of the titles on NT text criticism are: B. Aland, Der textkritische und textgeschicht­liche Nutzen früher Papyri, demonstriert am Johannes­evangelium (on the usefulness of the many small papyri from before 300 AD); G. Mink, Was verändert sich in der Textkritik durch die Beachtung genealogischer Kohärenz? (presents a refined model to describe the relationship—coherence—between texts, and to set up stemmata to explain the relationship); J. Krans, Theodorus Beza and New Testament Conjectural Emendation (examines Beza’s proposed conjectures); and J.K. Elliott, The Editio Critica Maior: One Reader’s Reactions (assesses the features and implications of the ECM). Weren introduces the volume with “Textual Criticism: Mother of all Exegesis.”

Eldon Jay Epp. 2004. “The Oxyrhynchus New Testament Papyri: ‘Not Without Honor Except In Their Hometown?’” JBL 123/1:5-55. In this greatly expanded version of his presidential address to the 2003 SBL annual meeting, E. describes the current practice of NT textual criticism, in particular, his own exploration of the cultural and intellectual context of the NT papyri. (SBL members can get the article online.)

Jenny Read-Heimerdinger. 2003. The Bezan Text of Acts: A Contribution of Discourse Analysis to Textual Criticism. Sheffield Academic Press. R-H makes an argument for using discourse analysis to help determine the place of manuscripts in the history of the transmission of the New Testament. She compares Codex Bezae with a manuscript representing the Alexandrian tradition, concluding that the differences between the two suggest “one text, the Bezan, that was written by a single author, and another, the Alexandrian, that is the product of successive writing or modification” (350).

J.M. Ross. 2003. “Further Unnoticed Points in the Text of the New Testament.” Novum Testamentum 45/3:209-221. R. (edited by J.K. Elliott) deals with 18 text critical cruxes, mostly in the Gospels and Acts.

Two notes from Wieland Willker: 1) Textual Criticism of the Bible, an online group for the discussion of the variants in the text of the Bible in the original languages and the early versions, can be joined at groups.yahoo.com/group/textualcriticism/messages. 2) The second edition of W.’s online NT textcritical commentary is at www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html

To top

Translation, Linguistics, Culture

Robert de Beaugrande. “On the Concept of Sensitive Translation.” http://www.beaugrande.bizland.com/sensitivetrans.htm. In “sensitive translation,” the source text is conceived as presenting and representing a communicative event, during which meanings are created and adjusted in mutual cooperation among the participants, such as writer and reader. The priority of the translator is to invest a well-developed bilingual and bicultural sensitivity in weighing the complex factors of the translation process, such as the relations between word-meanings and text-meanings in light of cultural differences. The target text is judged by the balance achieved among these factors, but also by its own criteria. At his website, dB. provides free access to a large number of his writings, including some books.

Douglas Robinson. 2003. Performative Linguistics: Speaking and Translating as Doing Things with Words. Routledge. R. applies Austin’s distinction between constative and performative utterances to the understanding of linguistic methodologies. Constative linguistics is aimed at freezing language as an abstract sign system cut off from the use of language in actual speech situations. Performative linguistics explores how language gets used or performed in those speech situations. R. tests his hypothesis on the act of translation. Constative linguists of translation face the problem of the translator as another utterer of the same utterance. R. shows that this particular problem is solved when translation is seen as a performative utterance.

Emotions in Crosslinguistic Perspective. 2001. J. Harkins and A. Wierzbicka, eds. Mouton de Gruyter. The studies in this book examine emotion terms in a variety of languages, demonstrating how the tools of linguistic analysis can be applied to produce accurate descriptions of the meanings of emotion terms. The studies support several claims of the Natural Semantic Meta-language (NSM) theory. Lexicalized emotion concepts are not universal. The analytical and descriptive approach of NSM can bring out the subtle differences between concepts in different languages, a capability that should be of interest to translators, who are well aware of the problem of lexical translation equivalents. NSM semantic descriptions in two languages can identify components that need to be added to an “equivalent” term in a translation, whether as a modifying phrase or as a full proposition.

Patrick Hanks. 2004. “The Syntagmatics of Metaphor and Idiom.” International Journal of Lexicography 17/3:245-274. Corpus linguistics prompts a lexicocentric approach to linguistic theory. The theory of norms and exploitations is such a theory: By studying words in context, we can identify the normal patterns of usage that are associated with each word. A meaning, or meaning potential, can then be associated with each pattern. A central question in this approach to language analysis concerns metaphors and idioms. In this article, conventional metaphors and idioms are classified as “norms” (i.e., conventional uses), while dynamic, ad-hoc metaphors are classified as “exploitations” of norms. However, conventional metaphors can still be distinguished from literal meanings. At least in some cases, conventional metaphors differ from literal senses by their syntagmatic patterns. The paper also discusses the importance of text type and domain in achieving a satisfactory interpretation of idiomatic expressions.

Danniel Hardt and Maribel Romero. 2004. “Ellipsis and the Structure of Discourse.” Journal of Semantics 21/4:375-414. It is generally assumed that ellipsis requires parallelism between the elliptical clause and an antecedent clause. The authors argue that the parallelism requirement generated by ellipsis must be applied in accordance with discourse structure.

Kathleen Glenister Roberts. 2004. “Liminality, Authority, and Value: Reported Speech in Epideictic Rhetoric.” Communication Theory 14:264-284. In a case study of Native American powwow rhetoric, epideictic speakers typify and construct reported speech, using both analytic and formulaic modes to elaborate on ceremonial messages. Reported speech serves to validate authority and to construct value. The formulae in particular are useful rhetorical devices in reifying “equality” in powwow social structure. Epideictic rhetoric employing reported speech does not merely perform the significance of a given society; it constructs and manipulates interaction in order to minimize differential identities. More important, reported speech is a particular triadic discourse that parallels the transformation phase of ritual, known as liminality. R. asserts that liminality is at the heart of all epideictic rhetoric and is thus crucial for understanding ritual discourse such as reported speech. (from publ. abstr.)

Marcel Danesi. 2002. Understanding Media Semiotics. Arnold; Oxford University Press. This introduction has the goal of demonstrating how semiotics can be applied to the study of media. D. provides an outline of semiotic theory and its application to print, audio, film, television, computer/internet, and advertising; he explores the social impact of the media, and offers a historical study of media and their genres and the analysis of the meaning structures that such genres encode. A glossary of technical terms is included.

Nick Lund. 2003. Language and Thought. Routledge. L.’s overview of this area of cognitive psychology looks at the relationship between our grasp of language (social and cultural aspects, language acquisition) and our problem-solving abilities (information processing, decision-making).

Joel Sherzer. 2002. Speech Play and Verbal Art. University of Texas Press. S. writes about the significance of speech play at the intersection of language, culture, and society and in relation to verbal art, arguing that the study of speech play should be central to anthropology and linguistics.

Orality, Literacy and Colonialism in Southern Africa. 2003. J.A. Draper, ed. Cluster Publications; Society of Biblical Literature/Brill. The essays in this volume explore aspects of Southern Africa’s oral tradition, delineating some of the contours of the indigenous knowledge systems that sustained resistance to colonialism and provide resources for post­apart­heid society in Southern Africa. Some titles: Script, Subjugation, and Subversion: An Introduction, J. Draper; From the Bible as Bola to Biblical Interpretation as Marabi: Tlhaping Transactions with the Bible, G. West; The Closed Text and the Heavenly Telephone: The Role of the Bricoleur in Oral Mediation of Sacred Text in the Case of George Khambule and the Gospel of John, J. Draper; Translation and the Vernacular Bible in the Debate between My ‘Traditional?’ and Academic Worldviews, M.S. Tshehla; Oral History in a Wounded Country, P. Denis; Becoming Ngaka: Coming to Terms with Oral Narrative Discourses, M.A. Masoga. In a second volume edited by Draper, Orality, Literacy and Colonialism in Antiquity (SBL, 2004), essays explore the relationship between text and orality in colonial situations of antiquity from Homer, Plato and Mithras to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and rabbinic tradition. Both volumes are in the Semeia Studies series.

To top

News & Notes


Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology, May 26-28, 2005, McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, Ontario). This symposium is the third in a series of conferences jointly sponsored by the Canadian Bible Society and academic institutions in Canada. Speakers will include Barbara Aland, Maurice Robinson, Philip Comfort, Stanley Porter, Alain Gignac, Luke Timothy Johnson, Matthew O’Donnell, Frances Watson, Edith Humphrey, K.K. Yeo, Elsa Tamez, and Richard Longenecker. See http://macdiv.ca/Bingham2005 for more information.

First BHQ Fascicle

At this year’s annual SBL meeting in November, the first fascicle of the Biblia Hebraica Quinta was introduced. The volume contains the general introduction and Megilloth—Ruth (J. de Waard), Song of Songs (P. Dirksen), Qoheleth (Y. Goldman), Lamentations (R. Schäfer), and Esther (M. Saebø). It can be ordered online from the German Bible Society for 49EUR (http://www.bibelgesellschaft.de/shop/). This year there were also samples of the Oxford Hebrew Bible, a project that will result in an eclectic edition. The editors of three books presented their work in progress.

Bible Translation Discussion Lists

This is a reminder about two discussion lists on Bible translation, one general and the other more technical, moderated by Wayne Leman. Information on joining the lists can be found at http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/discuss.htm.

To top