I have presented papers at various academic and professional conferences and symposia. Most papers are from SBL national meetings and from the Bible Technologies Conference known as BibleTech. These are ordered chronologically, most recent first.
2019 Annual Meeting, Society of Biblical Literature
Four LogiaFive Agrapha from Fragmentary Early Christian Papyri
- Abstract: Sayings of Jesus are all over in Christian writings. They are found in the New Testament gospels, of course. They are also found in canonical material outside of the gospels. They are found in apocryphal gospels, acts, and apocalypses as well as works of early Christian writers. But the papyri, those incomplete fragments of theological tracts, homilies, commentaries, liturgies, hymns, and who knows what else, also contain mention of sayings of Jesus.
This paper examines five agrapha that occur in three relatively early papyri (P.Amh. Gr. 1 2, AD/CE 300–399; P.Iand. 5.69, AD/CE 300–399; and P.Gen. 3.125, AD/CE 150–249). These agrapha are not cataloged in Stroker’s “Extracanonical Sayings of Jesus,” which organizes and presents extracanonical sayings of Jesus from a wide array of sources.
- Date: November, 2019, San Diego, CA
Ethics in Titus Conference
- Paper: The Language of Ethical Instruction in the Letter to Titus: A View Informed by Discourse Grammar and Speech Act Theory
- Abstract: This paper uses an application of speech act theory to identify ethical instruction (commands) in the letter to Titus. A further structural analysis of the letter according to the principles of Discourse Grammar segments the letter, grouping the ethical instruction into larger units. Each ethical instruction is examined individually to determine the nature and purpose of the instruction.
- Date: September 13, 2019, Mainz, Germany
- Paper: What Makes a Word Important?
- Presenters: Peter Venable, Ph.D. and Rick Brannan
- Date: April 11–12, 2019, Seattle, WA
- Abstract: Logos 8 introduces a new feature that isolates important words in a Bible passage. But how is word importance determined? This talk will tell the story behind the development of the Important Words feature as well as discuss some of the technical details.
- Paper: What Makes a Reference Important?
- Abstract: This talk is conceptually a follow up to my BibleTech 2008 paper (yes, 11 years ago!) on Locating New Testament Cross-References. In this presentation, we’ll explore the data behind a new Logos 8 feature, Important References.
2015 Annual Meeting, Society of Biblical Literature
- Paper: From Blog, to Book, to the Larger Scholarly Discussion
- Section: Blogger and Online Publication
- Abstract: In 2013, Lexham Press published the two-volume Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha. This collection of apocryphal material includes introductions, translations, and transcriptions or editions of most available apocryphal gospel material in Greek. While the volumes were under preparation in 2011-2012, several blogs reported the inclusion of a new apocryphal material represented in P.Oxy 5072. To evaluate, I wrote a blog post with a provisional transcription and translation. This formed the basis of what made it into the books, and the work was published in 2013. Since then, mention of the Greek Apocryphal Gospels books, only available digitally, have bubbled up in the larger scholarly discussion. This paper talks about the inclusion of P.Oxy. 5072 in the books, the reception of the material, and the role of blogs and online resources in the process as well as in the reception and discussion of the material.
- Paper: Localizing Bible Data
- Abstract: Innovative tools usually suffer from being bound to the particular language they are developed in. Localization of the underlying data and analysis is, many times, an afterthought. At Faithlife, we have had localization of our products (primarily Logos Bible Software) in mind since at least 1999. And this is useful, because at Faithlife, we are producing more and more tools and analyses of the Biblical text. But with each of them we have the problem of ensuring the localization of the result. This paper uses a few new features and interactives developed for Logos 6 as case studies and attempts to distill some basic principles to assist in localization of data-centric features.
- Paper: Categorizing Bible References in Ancient Language Grammars (PDF only of Rick’s portions)
- Presenters: Rick Brannan and Peter Venable
- Abstract: Original language grammars (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc.) routinely reference the Biblical text to provide examples of grammatical phenomena. When you’re actually reading the grammar, you have context for these references. But if, as happens frequently in Bible software, you’re looking at the results of a search for instances of a particular Bible reference to see if it is commented on in grammars, you have little or no context to decide if the grammar itself is worth consulting. This paper is about an update to the existing “Grammars” section in the Exegetical Guide in Logos 6.3. This update relies on an analysis and categorization of Bible reference citations within existing original language grammars and presents them in a manner similar to how Logos 6 Ancient Literature references are presented. In this way, people are presented with a reason for the link to the grammar before clicking on it; hopefully leading to more productive study and sermon preparation. We will overview the scope of the problem and volume of data, as well as examine classification methods we’ve used to help solve the problem.
2014 Annual Meeting, Society of Biblical Literature
- Paper: Complex Datasets and Localization: Three Case Studies
- Section: Global Education and Research Technology
- Theme: Bible Software for the Global Classroom and Pastorate
- Abstract: Innovative tools usually suffer from being bound to the particular language they are developed in. Localization of the underlying data and analysis is, many times, an afterthought. At Faithlife, we have had localization of our products (primarily Logos Bible Software) in mind since at least 1999. And this is useful, because at Faithlife, we are producing more and more tools and analyses of the Biblical text. But with each of them we have the problem of ensuring the localization of the result. This paper discusses localization strategies for three recently released datasets recently released with Logos 6: Ancient Literature, Case Frames and Semantic Roles, and Propositional Outlines.
BibleTech 2013 Bible Technologies Conference
- Paper: The Problem of Proper Nouns in the Septuagint
- Abstract: The Lexham English Septuagint, published by Logos Bible Software in November 2012, is a new translation of the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, plus deuterocanonical/apocryphal books) into English.
One longstanding issue with Septuagint translations into English are the names of people, places, and people groups. English translations tend to transliterate most of the Greek names, ending up making it difficult to track participants and places.
Tracking names in the Old Testament is difficult enough; mentally mapping from Greek transliterations to the more common Hebrew transliterations found in modern translations of the Hebrew Bible makes it even tougher. The Lexham English Septuagint, however, has a unique data-based approach to solving this problem that uses names familiar to most readers, yet preserves the transliterated forms where necessary.
Biblical Scholarship and Humanities Computing: Data Types, Text, Language and Interpretation
- Paper: Greek Linguistic Databases: Overview, Recent Work and Future Prospects
- Abstract: How have databases of Greek material transformed? These materials used to focus on the word as unit of analysis, providing access to morphological data. This began to change in 2006 with Logos Bible Software’s release of the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament. Logos has made other syntactic analyses available, including the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament and the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament (based on work done by the Asia Bible Society). Logos has also released the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, an application of discourse grammar to the entire Greek New Testament as well as an associated grammar, Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, which provides an extensive explanation of the framework and terminology used in the discourse grammar analysis of the Greek New Testament.
A wealth of material and perspective is available through these sorts of data sets, but they are still relatively new. It is entirely possible that students are more capable with these syntactic and discourse-level databases then their professors. This paper will provide a basic overview of each of these resources as well as various methods to access, view and use the analysis they offer.
BibleTech 2011 Bible Technologies Conference
- Paper: Why Another Greek New Testament?
- Abstract: In November 2010, the Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software published The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (SBLGNT, also known as the SBL Greek New Testament), edited by Michael W. Holmes. It was released not only for Logos Bible Software users, but also under a free license at http://sblgnt.com. The SBL and Logos have also published a high quality print edition. But where did this new edition of the Greek New Testament come from? Why was it done? And more importantly for the BibleTech audience, how was it done? This talk walks through how Logos and the SBL understood the need for a new, critically edited yet freely available Greek New Testament. Then it gives an overview of the processes (formal and informal) that led to the production of this new edition of the Greek New Testament.
BibleTech 2009 Bible Technologies Conference
- Paper: Stylometry and the Septuagint: Applying Anthony Kenny’s Stylometric Study to the LXX
- Abstract: In 1986, Anthony Kenny wrote a book called “A Stylometric Study of the New Testament” which gives details for compiling and comparing book-by-book stylometric statistics for the Greek New Testament given a morphologically tagged corpus. This exploratory study proposes to apply Kenny’s method to the LXX, using the Logos Bible Software LXX Morphology, to analyze style.
While Kenny’s primary application of his method was in the area of authorship studies, this paper is more interested in the general style of the LXX, and not at all interested in authorship theories or assigning a ‘hand’ to different passages. For better or worse, this paper treats the LXX as a corpus, and has little interest in its relationship with the underlying Hebrew text.
Once the analysis has been detailed, some points of interest (known only when the analysis is complete as the nature of the study is exploratory) will be further explored. Areas in which the work could be further developed will also be reviewed.
2008 National Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society
- Paper: The Discourse Function of αλλα in Non-Negative Contexts
- Handout: Conference Handout
- Abstract: In a paper presented to the ETS in November 2007, Dr. Steven Runge discussed the use of the conjunction αλλα in negative Counterpoint-Point Sets (“Teaching Them What NOT To Do: The Nuances of Negation in the Greek New Testament“). The basic pattern is that of an exceptive ου or μη clause followed by a clause introduced by αλλα; the effect in English translation is “not … but …”.
While most of the instances of αλλα in the Greek New Testament occur in negative Counterpoint-Point sets, this does not account for all instances of αλλα. What is happening with αλλα in these other contexts? Is the discourse function of αλλα in these contexts similar, or is there something different going on?
Instances of αλλα in the Greek New Testament in non-negative contexts will be examined with the hope of further describing the function of αλλα within the discourse. Additionally, standard Greek grammars will be mined for further insight into the function of αλλα, as will the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The goal is not to isolate additional “senses” or “classes” of αλλα, but, building upon Runge’s previous work, the goal is to examine further instances of αλλα in differing contexts to contribute toward a more precise overall understanding of the general function of αλλα within the discourse.
BibleTech 2008 Bible Technologies Conference
- Paper: Locating New Testament Cross-References: Some Strategies
- Handout: Conference Handout
- Abstract: Marginal cross-references have long been a feature of several Bibles in print. Each of the myriad versions has some edition with “marginal cross-references” or “center-column cross-references”. Yet electronic editions, apart from those reproducing data available in printed editions, have not done a good job of complementing the text with relevant cross-references. Most electronic editions of Bibles are centered on the words of the text and not its presentation or on supplying ancillary data to help in the study of the text.
2007 International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature
- Paper: co-presenter, with Randall K.J. Tan, Reversing the Roles of Lexis and Grammar?
- Note: Randall was kind enough to list me as co-presenter, though my role was largely that of munger-of-data and sounding board. While I agree with what Randall presented, the ideas and approach are largely his.
- Abstract: In his provocative study, Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language (Routledge, 2005), Michael Hoey argues for a new theory of the lexicon. Hoey’s claim is that words and sequences of words that we learn are cumulatively loaded with the contexts and co-texts in which we encountered them and that grammar is the result of our recognition of recurrent features in this “lexical priming.” In effect, his theory reverses the roles of lexis and grammar, proposing that “lexis is complexly and systematically structured and that grammar is an outcome of this lexical structure” (1).
In this paper, one of Hoey’s specific claims will be examined: “When a word is polysemous, the collocations, semantic associations and colligations of one sense of the word differ from those of its other senses” (13). Specific words and word groups (including sequences of words involving controversial genitive constructions) in the Greek New Testament will be explored with corpus linguistic techniques, using newly available syntactically-tagged Greek New Testament databases (i.e., the online OpenText.org annotation and the Logos implementation of OpenText.org as well as the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament). The dual goal is to verify the extent to which Hoey’s claim can be substantiated and to propose new avenues to adjudicate interpretational controversies.
2007 National Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society
- Paper: Richard Bauckham and Eyewitness Testimony: Does His Narrative Device Occur Outside of the Synoptics?
- Note: This is a slightly revised version of the paper presented at the 2007 Northwest Regional Meeting of the ETS. This paper, however, contains an extended appendix (9 pages) dealing with locating patterns of material in the Synoptics+Acts.
- Abstract: A recent book by Richard Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) describes Marcan usage of something he calls the “plural to singular narrative device” (Bauckham 156-157). He defines the device using syntactic terminology: “a plural verb … without an explicit subject is used to describe the movements of Jesus and his disciples, followed immediately by a singular verb or pronoun referring to Jesus alone” (Bauckham 156-157). Using this device, Bauckham posits Mark’s usage of Peter’s eyewitness testimony as underlying source for 21 different movements of Jesus (e.g. Mk 1.21).
Bauckham’s exploration of this narrative device is limited to the synoptic gospels. But does the device occur elsewhere? This paper argues that if such a thing as the plural-to-singular narrative device exists, then Ac 18.19 should be considered an additional Lucan instance of the device.
2007 Northwest Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society
- Paper: From the Mouth of Paul? Acts 18.18-23 as Eyewitness Testimony
- Abstract: Paul’s initial journey to Ephesus, mentioned in Acts 18.18-23, has been dismissed in some critical commentaries (e.g. Conzelmann’s Hermeneia volume) as a Lucan insertion with no historical basis. Other critical commentaries (e.g. C.K. Barrett’s ICC volume) simply dismiss Conzelmann’s suggestion without fully refuting it.
A recent book by Richard Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Eerdmans 2006) describes Marcan usage of something he calls the “plural to singular narrative device” (Bauckham 156-157). He defines the device using syntactic terminology: “a plural verb … without an explicit subject is used to describe the movements of Jesus and his disciples, followed immediately by a singular verb or pronoun referring to Jesus alone” (Bauckham 156-157). Using this device, Bauckham posits Mark’s usage of Peter’s eyewitness testimony as underlying source for 21 different movements of Jesus (e.g. Mk 1.21).
The structure and context of Acts 18.19 fit within Bauckham’s syntactic description. This exploratory paper proposes that Acts 18.19 be seen as an instance of the plural-to-singular narrative device, pointing to eyewitness testimony from Paul as basis of the short episode in Acts 18.18-23. If this analysis holds, this paper provides substance by which to dismiss the suggestion that the text is a Lucan insertion with no historical basis.
2006 National Conference of the Evangelical Theological Society
- Paper: Subjects and Predicates and Complements, Oh My! Searching the New Testament with Sensitivity to Syntax
- Conference Handout
- Abstract: Logos Bible Software have implemented an edition of the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament. One facet of OpenText.org’s work isolates clause boundaries. Within each clause, subjects, predicators, complements and adjuncts are identified. This enables searching of the Greek New Testament with sensitivity to clause-level criteria. This advance raises certain questions: How should syntactic annotation be used? What sorts of things can be searched for?
This paper examines different sorts of searches that can be pursued from the starting point of a word. Questions like “When is [word] used as a subject?” or “What verbs are used when [word] is a subject?” will be examined and discussed.
2006 National Conference of the Society of Biblical Literature
- Paper: Modifiers in the Pastoral Epistles: Insight for Questions of Style?
- Conference Handout
- Program Unit: Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics
- Abstract: OpenText.org have completed a preliminary syntactic analysis of the Greek New Testament. One level of their analysis is the Word Group level. A word group is a group of words that consists of, at minimum, a head term. It also contains any terms that modify the head term and additionally specifies the type of modification as that of definer, qualifier, relator or specifier.
Stylistic analysis has been largely bound to examining criteria such as word usage and morphology along with perhaps sentence length or co-occurring words. The OpenText.org Word Group Analysis allows for stylistic analysis of the corpus at a different level. Does modifier usage offer any insight for comparative studies of the Pastoral Epistles and the generally accepted Paulines?
This paper examines modifier usage inside of epistolary prescripts in epistles traditionally attributed to Paul. The goal is to show that components of epistolary prescripts use modification for different purposes. This conclusion is well known, but by reaching the conclusion using only the OpenText.org Word Group Analysis, the subsequent value of the OpenText.org annotation for the analysis of style becomes evident.
- Paper: Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism
- Conference Handout
- Program Unit: Syntactically-Tagged Databases of the Greek NT: Overview & Training Seminar
- Abstract: This paper works through examples of proposed epistolary forms, searching for suggested form structure using theOpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament as primary corpus. The following forms will be examined:
- Disclosure Form
- Greeting Form
- Request/Petition Form
- Joy Expression
- Charge Form
Will a syntactically analyzed Greek New Testament such as the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament provide assistance in defining and isolating potential instances of forms in the New Testament?
2005 National Conference of the Evangelical Theological Society
2005 National Conference of the Society of Biblical Literature
- Paper: Biblioblog Problems and Solutions: PastoralEpistles.com as a Sandbox
- Section: Computer Assisted Research (CARG)
- Conference Handout
- Abstract: Biblioblogs have come to serve a valuable role in the academic community: they disseminate information throughout the academy while serving to humanize their authors. But the information produced by bibliobloggers, while searchable via Google and able to be displayed upon request, is locked in an environment that stores content as a sort of lowest common denominator. Salient bits of information, ranging from discussions of particular Biblical passages to impromptu book reviews, are unable to be easily retrieved unless one happens to fortuitously stumble upon them. Most biblioblog content is first-rate, but the blogging software that typically generates and archives the content could be better. This paper further defines some of these “lowest common denominator” problems and explores methodology used by PastoralEpistles.com to address them.