Friday, April 8, 2011

People don't read in circles

I suppose it isn't any surprise that the exercise I posted on reading psalm 22 was too hard even to begin (though I am still in hopes of more feedback). I really must rethink how I present my thesis (with acknowledgement to Magonet and Magné and many others for the ideas) that psalms are written in cells and circles. Normal people just don't read that way. How is it that the poets wrote that way - for there is little doubt that they did. There is enough evidence.  And I am still brewing a possible methodology for writing a poem:
  1. pick a verse, 
  2. stretch out the words vertically forward and backward, 
  3. write the meditation on the text by horizontally filling in the poem around the words.
So, having stalled at psalm 64 on my notes (and that's OK), having then stalled again in the word lists at psalm 119 since the structure is 'obvious', (or is it?), I am now going to change the presentation format again. Lists of glosses are boring - I will relegate them to appendix 1.

The tables showing the recurrence structure are critical and must be in both English and Hebrew. Here's an example of a new approach to presenting the verbal structures - replacing for small psalms both tables I have been labouring over. (* = first usage of this as a keyword in the psalter)

Advantages: you have to look at it. You can see it in English immediately. Places where I have compromised concordance are instantly obvious.

Psalm 5

Keywords in relative order

Root1234567Vs
קול * לקול
to the voice of
3
בקר * בקר
morning
4
קול * קולי
my voice
4
בקר * בקר
morning
4
לא לא
not
5
אתה * אתה
you are
5
לא לא
not
5
לא לא
no
6
כל * כל
all
6
רב ברב
in the greatness of
8
רב ברב
in many
11
בך* בך
against you
11
כל * כל
all
12
בך* בך
under your
12
בך* בך
in you
12
אתה * אתה
you yourself
13

(As an aside, the process of entering the glossary is clear, straightforward, and pleasant, if a bit humbling - but so is all error correction. It results is many translation changes. No one does this amount of work without a multitude of typos, omissions, and commissions.)  Eventually all the data and probably even the book paragraphs will be 'in the database'. The copy online will be the source but will not ultimately be the 'master' copy.  I am thinking - even with all 150 psalms drafted in the Open Office technology - that I will not use this technology.  There are new things happening in our software development too for which all my data will be used as test fodder.

I am going to change my presentation also for all the structural notes since it is very hard to read these when the psalm is not in view. I am thinking they have to be under the psalm - under each section they apply to.  In a 'book' this would mean dividing the page in two - essentially as if the notes were footnotes.