Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Editing an OCR rendition of an old document from 1888

 On Epiphany I wrote: I am looking at the e-book that the archive created using OCR to see if I can technically edit it.

Wow - this is a challenge - a bit like darning socks - which reminds me, I have two heels to do.

I have successfully separated the first 54 footnotes from the first 87 pages. I have begun to find some simple styles to accommodate his thoughts. The OCR conversion to epub knows only one tag: <p>! The overall structure is not yet very clear - but I am dividing the files by the major Psalms he analyzes. 

The task consists of reading and correction of OCR errors in Greek, Hebrew and English. It forces me to think like a close reader. I see now that Forbes is first a mathematician - he loves dividing things up into groups - like thinking of the first two books of the Psalter as three sets of 24 psalms. And always looking for 7s or 20s or 22s, an alphabet's worth of things. He has a complex justification for the completeness of the broken acrostics for psalms 25 and 37. I'll present them at some point because they are both elegant and new to me.

His beef is largely with the new criticism of the era. He is a scholar of the old school, and like many, he has a good mind but spends a lot of it justifying readings that he would rather not question. These things are what he was taught, or what he thinks he was taught. His work is often an argument for the theological status quo. And that is not enough of a rationale for faith. After all, if your main sermon message is punishment, hellfire and damnation, you haven't really got the point of the calling to care for the poor like Yahweh does.

I wonder if he has a shred of the prophet in him - I bet he gives no hint of criticism of UK colonialism or political issues like the opium war. There is a significant omission in a life devoted to God that fails to deal with the current oppression of the era. Maybe just the poor in Aberdeen managed a crumb or two from his well-laden table without getting indigestion.

On with the job.

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