Saturday 31 October 2015

Distinguishing the Name and the perpetual qere

I am encouraged that some people are seriously looking at the 6000+ pages of music I have made public (see the page link at the top of the page).

There is a long (for me) series of comments on this post from July that are interesting to me because they outline how we gradually learn what is implicit in a text and what is not.

To begin with, I cannot fix the perpetual substitution of Adonai or Elohim for the tetragrammeton, YHWH, the personal name of the God of Israel. I can guess, and that is what I do when I translate YHWH as Yahweh, as the Jerusalem Bible did in the 1960's.

This gloss has a nice characteristic as a sung gloss. It consists of vowels only. Pronounce it as ee-a-oo-ei. It fits over any number of notes and could be in Italian pure vowels (though don't ask me why I picked Italian just now) up to 4 syllables.

Syllable counting here yields some benefit. If the accents and traditional transcriptions tell us about syllables in Hebrew, then the notes we have learned using the deciphering key of Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura tell us how many syllables Yahweh has - and that is exactly two. And we know that Ad-o-nai has three.

So there is an immediate insight as to how to distinguish Adonai from Hashem without my transcription having to tell the difference. So in my texts the two notes with ado and nai under them are always the tetragrammeton and any notes with a- do- nai under them are always the word for lord, master, etc.

Very occasionally when adonai YHWH are used together, I substitute ha-shem for the two syllables of the tetragrammeton so again it is easy to tell from the transcribed music that the perpetual qere is being observed in its rarer form.

Note this very clear article on the history of the Name here.

Friday 30 October 2015

The Trudeau Metre

I see there is a new website devoted to the promises made by the new Liberal government of Canada. What a great idea for sharing and tracking corporate memory and responsibility. If we don't remember the promises and come to understand and take responsibility for their outcomes, we don't deserve to know if there is a promise to be kept.

Here's a few thoughts that this list brings to my mind.

Access to information: if one ever might suspect double-speak, it is in the name 'the freedom of information' act. One wonders who is being protected sometimes. We have also had along with these 'acts' a difficult time implementing useful web sites to make sure they are serviced. Knowing for instance 'who gets' and 'how much' in government contracts is a laborious process working through public accounts. What is really spent on - a system implementation like the long-gun registry?  Who is really getting the funding through subcontracting or not.

Elections: I am not sure we understand alternative voting systems and their own failures. For instance, in a multi-candidate ballot, do you weaken your first choice by also choosing a second? There is a need for education here as well as action. I mused on whether other parties might be made present in his small to-be-announced cabinet even now. Wouldn't that be different! The suppression of Elections Canada (another double-think act - the 'fair elections' act) was certainly an issue for the past election. But that was just part of the muzzling from the PMO of the independence of many sections of legitimate government in the past 10 years.

I am greatly distressed that those who are Canadians living outside of Canada cannot vote. So many of these have lived their lives outside Canada for the sake of Canadians.

Parliament: Omnibus bills are the biggest problem here. They should never have been allowed. Another big problem is the televised stupidity of good questions and non-answers. This is not entertainment.

Science: I'll be looking for the un-muzzling of scientists even on uncertain items.

Senate: Here's the nub of the constitutional problem. NDP did not get my vote because they have no solution to the Senate. The rule of a body of unelected individuals is certainly problematic. But we have it and it should be made to work without the partisan opinions. Every bill needs second thought. But are there sufficient thinkers in Canada to do such a job? Clearly, there have been party hacks appointed. And sober is not a word I would associate with them - rather over-privileged and over-indulgent.

Service quality: Now here's where some decent software is needed. Particularly a framework that can allow quick adjustments. I think I would group the Stats Can promises along with this general area. The long-form census is important for stats. The prior regime had an aversion to long things.

Taxpayer dollars: I don't see here some things I expect: changing the immediate taxes that benefit the rich - the $10,000 TFSA limit, the income-splitting, the child tax credit changes, dead money in corporate accounts. (I have run a corporation since 1982 - money has to move to be useful.)

Women and youth: No mention on the site of the First Nations issues here. Law and order were touted by the prior regime, but success with individual abuses of power seems to have been moot.

There are a few other things I think are missing from the site - for instance the prior regime's balancing the budget by reducing voted services.  Every year the estimates are voted on and approved by parliament. Then from these, departmental budgets and allocations are determined. From these, departments are supposed to hire and deliver the services required within budget. Not spending your allocated budget is equivalent to not doing your job as mandated by the people of Canada through parliament. Clearly there were abuses to this but somewhat mitigated by moving Canada to a GAAP form of accounting in the late 1990's to the early 2000's. But under-spending a mandate is still an error in judgment somewhere along the allocation chain. I suspect that the prior regime did this by fiat in the past fiscal year - but it is only a suspicion. The problem will equally arise in a culture of fear and centralized control. Enough said.

[addendum per Globe and Mail editorial 2015-10-31: add First Nations issues - boil water, education, missing and murdered women; add pharmaceutical and home-care issues, strengthen CPP, review mandatory minimum sentences passed by the fearful prior regime.]

You might wonder if it is the novice religious reader of Hebrew who writes posts like this. It is. And the connection? The Old Testament is basically all about human governance. Too much indulgence, too many horses, and too much gold. That was the indictment of Solomon (pace Psalm 72). And all these kings, even David, were guilty of doing evil in the eyes of Yahweh. We can do better, even if I distrust the use of that word.

A reflection on Psalm 135

At some point one has to get serious about why the Bible is important and how to read it without getting one's feet trapped in the quicksand.

For there is no doubt there is quicksand here of a thousand sorts. Why bother then?

It is first of all a time-dependent quicksand. We have some notion of time in the 21st century, each of us, and it is not something we express well or thoughtfully. We do not live in the time in which these poems were written, if indeed time is ultimately so important.

It is also a political quicksand. Certainly this is true of Psalm 135 which we must somehow set in its place. If you have no table, it is hard to set it. If your table is lopsided, the settings will fall off. If we have no floor, the table will disappear when we place something on it in the gravity of the moment. Is this poem purely nationalistic and self-serving?

First read it with me - just the first 8 verses because already this post will be too long. I write now for the trolls and the devoted - for both. Can I do it? Skipping the Hebrew then, here is my rendering of the first 8 verses.
Hallelu Yah. Praise the name of Yahweh.
Praise O servants of Yahweh,
who stand in the house of Yahweh
in the courts of the house of our God.
Hallelu Yah, for Yahweh is good.
Sing a psalm to his name for pleasure.
For Yah has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel for his own treasure trove.
For I myself know Yahweh is great,
and our Lord more than all gods.
All that delighted Yahweh he did
in the heavens and in the earth
in the seas and all abysses,
making the mist ascend from the extremity of the earth,
lightnings for the rain he made,
bringing forth spirit from his treasury,
who struck the firstborn of Egypt,
from human to beast.

O - only 8 verses, but we must set it in its poetic context. I want to skip ahead already and hold the rest of the psalm with this - its invitation to everyone even after the defeat of local kingdoms, its repudiation of idolatry in its own amusing way, imitating Psalm 115 - but more importantly, what precedes this psalm in the Psalter. We are more than half way through the 5th book of the Psalter. Book 3 has detailed the failure of the monarchy of Israel and Judah. We are not a political Israel. Quicksand!

Book 4 has detailed the renewal from the disaster of the monarchy. Renewal is a significant frame for the book. Book 4 is also framed by Moses and two prayers (90 of Moses, 102 a prayer of the disabled). Renewal is through prayer and the teaching (Torah) of Yahweh, the God of Israel. (Religious quicksand - Torah is not rule-bound but it is read that way by millions.) Torah defines Israel. Israel so defined is an example to the rest of the world of what not to do in your own defense. (Political and religious quicksand.)

But now to this psalm - Israel is beloved, chosen, a treasure trove to Yahweh. Get that. And hear a little Job from chapter 14 as I posted yesterday.
You would call and I, I would answer you.
For the work of your hands, you would ache.
Does Yahweh God ache for Israel - you bet right. Relationships are fractured in Jerusalem like nowhere else in the world. How long will it hold together using vinegar and brown paper (or walls and razor wire)?

This Psalm also occurs following the 15 Psalms of ascent, traditionally thought to have been sung as a sequence, one on each of the temple steps. This Psalm with Psalm 136 celebrates the arrival in the courts of Yahweh. (These 2 psalms are practically identical in length and share a host of keywords - 20 of them in the same sequence in the two psalms).

The music has some unusual components - how I would like to take you through it one verse at a time, but time is of the essence in a post and there is not enough of it. The music is all available online as described on this blog elsewhere. One verse (v2 below) shows the arrival in the courts and reflects some of the complexity of the musical accents that I have seen elsewhere only in the Decalogue (disproving a thesis that there are two conflicting sets of signs in the Decalogue - but that's academic quicksand.)
Psalm 135 v2 showing multiple changes in note on the first syllable, so connecting this verse to the prior verse.
All that Yahweh delighted in, he did. Yahweh has a lot to answer for. When will we demand the answer and how will we respond to the requirement to fix the mess we have made with God's creation (the mist) and redemption (the slaying of the firstborn) and in all time, the treasury of spirit. What an immense cost. What a God of terror and fear. Who would want to be his treasure trove? What sort of spirit are we from?

Political? You bet - get on with the salvaging of refugees, stop the violence towards others, find a containment of radicalization, it's up to us because God is depending on us. There is no magical Deus ex Machina. There is our responsibility with the blessing of the Invisible (without which nothing is possible - depend on it).

We are those who stand in the courts of Yahweh. There can be no triumphalism. We are a charade of blackness (Psalm 120), but held in hope (Psalm 121), with responsibility for the pomegranate in razor wire that is the partnered Jerusalem (Psalm 122). There is enough contempt to go around (123), our help is in a name - a name that cares for the dispossessed (124), good receives good (125), tears in the night but joy in the morning (126), joy in children (127, 128), trouble a plenty (129), watch and wait (130), there are wonders beyond us (131), there is a rest of God (132), live in unity with your kin (133), who is it makes heaven and earth? (121, 134).

But trust, waiting, and watching are not a recipe for passivity. Our action, our part will be called out of us - if we have ears. Mind you our deafness may have been caused by the deafness of the market that we worship. The people are called together to share in the work and character of this God. In effect, the psalms are saying - he is not terrible but a God who cares for the dispossessed (Psalm 146 and many others).

It is true that there is this character of caring in the body of the people. It is encouraging that the refugees are being processed. Obviously there is great difficulty, and the source of power and strength for us to do what is right is not obvious. We could easily retreat, easily retrench, turn back to our own self-protection (and sometimes this is needed and called for). There is much quicksand. It is important to lay a strong net over it so that we don't get distracted.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Job 14

This is the third chapter in a row for Job and it captures the essence of his complaint (not for the last time). There is a little brightness in the chapter, but hard to read in the translations. Mitchell captures the delight of a father with his children (verses 15-17) and he rewrites and paraphrases with some delight. But REB stops the positiveness at verse 15 and reverts to the negative. There are many questions and my own reading is far from perspicuous.

You can see it is poetry - short sharp lines, and a few places where the ole-veyored is used as a secondary cadence. (Three lines and three syllable counts). The longer lines in verse 13 and 19 have a separation after the revia, but it is not a cadence. The accent occurs in both cases here on the penultimate syllable. The cadences are marked on final syllables for the most part. (That's an observation I had not brought to consciousness, but I had noticed that final cadences are often before the end of the phrase, and sometimes I wonder if they are premature - perhaps caused by a spurious metheg - same sign as silluq but not a musical mark. These have increased in the ms over the copying of the last 1000 years. They are not in the Aleppo codex.)

Job 14 Fn Min Max Syll
אָ֭דָם יְל֣וּד אִשָּׁ֑ה
קְצַ֥ר יָ֝מִ֗ים וּֽשְׂבַֽע־רֹֽגֶז
1 g Earthling born of woman,
is reaped of days and sated with shuddering.
3e 4B 6
כְּצִ֣יץ יָ֭צָא וַיִּמָּ֑ל
וַיִּבְרַ֥ח כַּ֝צֵּ֗ל וְלֹ֣א יַעֲמֽוֹד
2 Like a blossom it emerges and is snipped,
and it runs away like a shadow and does not stand.
3e 4B 7
אַף־עַל־זֶ֭ה פָּקַ֣חְתָּ עֵינֶ֑ךָ
וְאֹ֘תִ֤י תָבִ֖יא בְמִשְׁפָּ֣ט עִמָּֽךְ
3 Indeed on this you give sight to your eye,
and me you bring into judgment with you?
3e 4C 9
מִֽי־יִתֵּ֣ן טָ֭הוֹר מִטָּמֵ֗א לֹ֣א אֶחָֽד 4 Who gives cleanness from what is unclean? Not one. 3e 4B 10
אִ֥ם חֲרוּצִ֨ים ׀ יָמָ֗יו מִֽסְפַּר־חֳדָשָׁ֥יו אִתָּ֑ךְ
חֻקָּ֥יו עָ֝שִׂ֗יתָ וְלֹ֣א יַעֲבֽוֹר
5 f If decided are its days, a record of its months is with you.
Its decree you have made, and it does not cross it.
3e 4B 13
שְׁעֵ֣ה מֵעָלָ֣יו וְיֶחְדָּ֑ל
עַד־יִ֝רְצֶ֗ה כְּשָׂכִ֥יר יוֹמֽוֹ
6 Look away from it and let it be left alone,
even as it accepts its day as a mercenary.
3e 4B 8
כִּ֤י יֵ֥שׁ לָעֵ֗ץ תִּ֫קְוָ֥ה
אִֽם־יִ֭כָּרֵת וְע֣וֹד יַחֲלִ֑יף
וְ֝יֹֽנַקְתּ֗וֹ לֹ֣א תֶחְדָּֽל
7 C For there is for a tree expectation if it is cut off,
that still it will be renewed,
and its nursling shoots will not be left alone.
3e 4C 6
אִם־יַזְקִ֣ין בָּאָ֣רֶץ שָׁרְשׁ֑וֹ
וּ֝בֶעָפָ֗ר יָמ֥וּת גִּזְעֽוֹ
8 If its root ages in the earth,
and in the dust its stump dies,
3e 4B 8
מֵרֵ֣יחַ מַ֣יִם יַפְרִ֑חַ
וְעָשָׂ֖ה קָצִ֣יר כְּמוֹ־נָֽטַע
9 from the smell of water it will flourish,
and make a harvest like any plant.
3e 4B 7
וְגֶ֣בֶר יָ֭מוּת וַֽיֶּחֱלָ֑שׁ
וַיִּגְוַ֖ע אָדָ֣ם וְאַיּֽוֹ
10 But one who is valiant dies and he is vanquished.
An earthling expires and where is he?
3e 4B 9
אָֽזְלוּ־מַ֭יִם מִנִּי־יָ֑ם
וְ֝נָהָ֗ר יֶחֱרַ֥ב וְיָבֵֽשׁ
11 Waters evaporate from sea,
and a river becomes a desert and dries up.
3e 4A 6
וְאִ֥ישׁ שָׁכַ֗ב וְֽלֹא־יָ֫ק֥וּם
עַד־בִּלְתִּ֣י שָׁ֭מַיִם לֹ֣א יָקִ֑יצוּ
וְלֹֽא־יֵ֝עֹ֗רוּ מִשְּׁנָתָֽם
12 So a person lies down and does not arise.
Till the heavens wear out they will not awake,
and will not be roused from their sleep.
3e 4B 7
מִ֤י יִתֵּ֨ן ׀ בִּשְׁא֬וֹל תַּצְפִּנֵ֗נִי תַּ֭סְתִּירֵנִי עַד־שׁ֣וּב אַפֶּ֑ךָ
תָּ֤שִׁ֥ית‬ לִ֖י חֹ֣ק וְתִזְכְּרֵֽנִי
13 C If you would treasure me in Sheol, hide me till turned is your anger,
set me a decree and remember me.
3e 4C 18
אִם־יָמ֥וּת גֶּ֗בֶר הֲיִ֫חְיֶ֥ה
כָּל־יְמֵ֣י צְבָאִ֣י אֲיַחֵ֑ל
עַד־בּ֝֗וֹא חֲלִיפָתִֽי
14 If one who is valiant dies will he live?
All the days of my pressed service I will have hope,
till the coming of my renewal.
3e 4B 8
תִּ֭קְרָא וְאָנֹכִ֣י אֶֽעֱנֶ֑ךָּ
לְֽמַעֲשֵׂ֖ה יָדֶ֣יךָ תִכְסֹֽף
15 g You would call and I, I would answer you.
For the deed of your hands you would ache.
3e 4B 10
כִּֽי־עַ֭תָּה צְעָדַ֣י תִּסְפּ֑וֹר
לֹֽא־תִ֝שְׁמ֗וֹר עַל־חַטָּאתִֽי
16 For now my paces you would count,
and you would not watch over my sin.
3e 4B 7
חָתֻ֣ם בִּצְר֣וֹר פִּשְׁעִ֑י
וַ֝תִּטְפֹּ֗ל עַל־עֲוֺנִֽי
17 My transgression would be sealed in anguish,
and you would smear over my iniquity.
3e 4B 6
וְ֭אוּלָם הַר־נוֹפֵ֣ל יִבּ֑וֹל
וְ֝צ֗וּר יֶעְתַּ֥ק מִמְּקֹמֽוֹ
18 g But however, a falling hill withers,
and a rock is shifted from its place.
3e 4B 8
אֲבָנִ֤ים ׀ שָׁ֥חֲקוּ מַ֗יִם תִּשְׁטֹֽף־סְפִיחֶ֥יהָ עֲפַר־אָ֑רֶץ
וְתִקְוַ֖ת אֱנ֣וֹשׁ הֶאֱבַֽדְתָּ
19 Water pulverizes stones. You overflow the deforming of the dust of earth,
and the expectation of a mortal you make perish.
3e 4C 17
תִּתְקְפֵ֣הוּ לָ֭נֶצַח וַֽיַּהֲלֹ֑ךְ
מְשַׁנֶּ֥ה פָ֝נָ֗יו וַֽתְּשַׁלְּחֵֽהוּ
20 You overcome in perpetuity and he walks.
You vary his face and send him away.
3e 4B 11
יִכְבְּד֣וּ בָ֭נָיו וְלֹ֣א יֵדָ֑ע
וְ֝יִצְעֲר֗וּ וְֽלֹא־יָבִ֥ין לָֽמוֹ
21 Glorified are his children and he does not know,
or they are made of little account and he does not understand them.
3e 4B 9
אַךְ־בְּ֭שָׂרוֹ עָלָ֣יו יִכְאָ֑ב
וְ֝נַפְשׁ֗וֹ עָלָ֥יו תֶּאֱבָֽל פ
22 But his flesh upon him is sorrow,
and his being upon him will lament.
3e 4B 8

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Comparing chapters

Isaiah 17 and Psalm 35 have some common words. One is dependent on the other I suspect. I noted this while pursuing some unknowns... I see that the unknowns will disappear several at a time without any deliberate pursuit of them.
Word / Gloss12345VsStem
ורדּףּ though pursued
ISA 17:13רדּףּ
כּמּץ like chaff of
ISA 17:13מּץ
לפּנּי in the face of
ISA 17:13פּנּה
רוח wind
ISA 17:13רוח
לפּנּי in the face of
ISA 17:13פּנּה
חלק the share of
ISA 17:14חלק
רדּפּי my persecutors
PSA 35:3רדּףּ
כּמּץ as chaff
PSA 35:5מּץ
לפּנּי in the face of
PSA 35:5פּנּה
רוח wind
PSA 35:5רוח
וחלקלקתּ and divided
PSA 35:6חלק
רדּפּםּ their persecutor
PSA 35:6רדּףּ

This passage may also have contributed to the elaboration of Psalm 1 in the Septuagint.
Psalm 1 and Isaiah 17 (MT)
מּיםּ waters
ISA 17:12מּיםּ
מּיםּ waters
ISA 17:13מּיםּ
כּמּץ like chaff of
ISA 17:13מּץ
רוח wind
ISA 17:13רוח
לעתּ at the time of
ISA 17:14עתּ
מּיםּ water
PSA 1:3מּיםּ
בּעתּו in its time
PSA 1:3עתּ
כּמּץ like chaff
PSA 1:4מּץ
רוח wind
PSA 1:4רוח

Monday 26 October 2015

So just how do you go about writing the Hebrew Bible in English?

What? Hasn't that already been done?

Yes repeatedly but - every generation reads it again and makes new guesses. (Just slightly kidding you.)

I have wondered if I really should continue this project. But it's on its way and it's measurable. That's a key. You have not only to actually read and write but you have to control the project. And project control is not insignificant.

What's the text
Some time ago I did not have access to all the raw data in the form I wanted it in. Now I do. But leave off the problems of textual criticism. I am using the Leningrad codex from I haven't time to question it much as to its differences with other sources of the text. But this I know as of today: I have 100% of the text for all chapters and books in my database (or you might say in a pile on my desk ready to process.)

How do I measure where I am and what I've done so I know to forge ahead rather than backwards?

Where are you
I have a 'where am I' list containing each book and my current bookmark. Every time I press update, the list remembers the date, chapter and verse, and calculates the % done. For example

Last Changed
% Draft
% Avail

You'll see that even though I have completed the Psalms 3 years ago, they are still being questioned and may be changed. I was questioning my use of the gloss bar related to סגּר. I am still questioning it but for the moment I let it stand (though it may violate my concordance rule - but maybe it is a figurative homonym in English). This 'where am I' list is 39 entries long with dates ranging from today to August 26, the last time I looked at Hosea. No way I could remember this without help from the computer. (39 entries, 24 books? The 12 are 1 book, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, as well as Ezra-Nehemiah are combined. 39-12-4+1 = 24.)

How do you decide where to go next
I began with the Psalms. They are poetry - short lines of densely packed ideas in parallels. Most people, I think, begin with prose and many begin at the beginning. I think I would have gotten stuck doing that. I am all over the place, translating in all books concurrently and playing with conceptual categories while I do it. I go to long books and when I get tired, I go to a short one. I work with the glosses and when I get tired I check out some categorization and classification of the roots of the words or I imagine how to extend my automated translation algorithm. That gets the computer to read ahead and make its best guesses at gloss, root, and semantic domain based on the words in sequence that I have already done. 

How do you chose a gloss
I'm working towards a very close translation of the Hebrew so that in principle, one could underlay the English to the (possibly) ancient music of the accents. I want the glosses to be concordant as far as possible. That means for me a Hebrew root may map to several different English glosses, but an English root (and related glosses) should map back to only one Hebrew root. This is of course impossible to some extent. But it does have some surprising results that change the way I read the text.

Here's a bit of the main screen
On this screen, I work on one verse at a time, word by word. I have a pattern of breaking the collected text (middle section above) at the atenach ^. It tells me something of the rhythm of the text. The table on the right holds all the words of the verse in their physical order on the manuscript. In this case:
upper right reading top to bottom shows how the words on the upper left are mapped to each English gloss:
and were (וַיִּהְיוּ֙ ) all the days of (כָּל־יְמֵ֣י) Methuselah (מְתוּשֶׁ֔לַח ) nine sixty (תֵּ֤שַׁע וְשִׁשִּׁים֙) years (שָׁנָ֔ה ) and nine hundred (וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת) --
and he died (וַיָּמֹֽת).

Obviously word by word is not English but it does represent the mechanics of what I have done. One instance of years is in this case not glossed as shown by the double dash --.

Sometimes I write the middle first and then work out the word by word, and sometimes the other way round. It's the presence of the word by word that allows me to test concordance.

Below the text I have three tools: 
  1. A table showing where this stem (root) is used in the other books. Can be filtered by book. 
  2. A table in which I can search in English for other instances of a gloss. 
  3. And a tree from which I can select my semantic domain and subdomain. Stem, domain and subdomain will gradually evolve as I complete more and more of the text.
Oh - and there are two strings of characters that are quite revealing: One is the grammatical component - a work in progress, In the case of the selected word וַיִּהְיוּ֙ is VYoYV*b1 Conj., Imp. or 3rd person, the o is where the root (היה) was found with a few mater substitutions. (Not an easy algorithm - the *b1 tells me which final rule in the program decided the structure of the word). The second is the sequence of the accents for the music. e qad,B z-q,C qad,z-q,f g# ^A e This sequence occurs exactly twice in the Bible (2). 

Buttons allow me to get text from the site of the Westminster Leningrad Codex and there is another that will produce the music with the English overlaid (as shown above).

Above the selection you can see 7 additional screens that I have written: those that list the text and its verbal and semantic structures, either 1 chapter at a time or several together or two from any two books. These are the pages that let me report on the blog (via Word) what I have done.

And there are screens for domain analysis, for output of the music a book at a time, for experimental searches, and for data recovery - although I do much of the last two and data base administration with Oracle developer tools. (I forgot to mention the DBA requirement but it's not too onerous.)

As a further control, every record in the tables has a time stamp so I know what has recently changed. I could get much more into control with auditing changes but it is not needed for this application.

Can you maintain respect for the text when you take it apart like this
The text is very respectable, but respect is not piety. Much of our reading of the text is focused on the wrong things. It is not all pious. It is not all serious. It is not all smooth. It is not all known. It is not all understood. It is not all good for you to imitate. There are people who are far more qualified to read it than I am but most people concentrate on just a small section of it. That's the nature of academic pressure. I don't have any such pressure. I have in a sense nothing to prove. Or perhaps I am searching for what I have to prove. Some people have a bias of course. Not me(!)

What strikes me most about the text is how well loved it has been by the Jewish tradition. They too must have had conflict and difference of opinion but the process of copying and maintaining this body of work must have been a serious act of devotion. That alone demands my respect even if the text itself describes a brutal fact that I could not respect or an anecdote that is anything but serious. 

But that's not quite right - what strikes me most is that I am in dialogue with the tradition and the authors and the text myself. I ask - in what sense does this have authority in me, for me, over me? 

It was made for me, not me for it, but we live together: it in its silence, unless I read or sing or hear it; and I in the prejudice of my own clothing, depending on how the text shakes me out of it and renews me.

Where are you again?
Based on the automated look-ahead that I wrote in the last three weeks, I still have 75,699 unknown words, 139,330 that the computer can guess based on a single word, 22,835 that it has guessed based on two consecutive words, 2,669 based on three consecutive words, 66 based on 4 and 30 based on 5. I have 64,093 words with a selected gloss that is not computer driven.

Published on this blog or in my book on the Psalms, there are 221 of 929 chapters or 23.8%. On a verse by verse basis, all 929 chapters have been touched, 17,154 of 23,143 verses have been touched, but when you look at the empty verses as collected, there remain 18,131 to do or 78.3%. On a word basis, 70.6% of the 304,646 words  in the database remain undecided though many are drafted with a possibility. At least that's what my numbers tell me today and they are more or less consistent. That means I have probably 3 to 4 years at semi-throttle to complete the task.

The 75+ thousand that are unknown are a concern. I could have bought a database probably, but then I would not have had the challenge of attempting to derive root and grammar from the raw data and I would have been accepting someone else's decisions - no deal! So the unknowns will reveal things and the knowns that are also in error will also be revealed in due course.