Friday, December 31, 2004

Interesting Least to Myself

I mostly kept busy today. In the morning I helped my mom pick out a computer from Best Buy, and in the afternoon I was showing her how to use it. Enjoyed myself. She also got a free printer, and Epson C86. Very good for color prints, we are finding.

Watched "I, Robot" last night. If you haven't seen it, and you like Sci-Fi, I recommend it.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Out of Civilization

Well, I'm in southeast Texas (Vidor) visiting the folks. It's weird being on a 56K modem... If you need to send me an email, be sure to use either my gmail or my Lexel email addresses.

Saw "The Incredibles" tonight. It was most excellent. It definitely deserves a 4.5 out of 5. I highly recommend it.

Spent most of the day looking for a new desktop for my mom. We'll actually be purchasing tomorrow. It will be nice to visit and not have to use Windows 95! But, I'm enjoying myself quite a bit. Always like a break, and they always have plenty of food. And I like seeing them...of course...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

NET GEMS at the End of 2004

Well, I haven't updated the world on our progress on the NET GEMS project. So, I figured I would do that here at the end of the project's most interesting year.

Overall the project is going well, though I wish I had more time to devote to it. I've spent the most of my time either working towards version 1 of the tagging program or checking the text and morphology in the database. I'm going out of town today and will be gone for several days to my parents house, and hope to get a lot of work done then. Once version 1 of the tagging program is complete, I'll be doing more aggressive campaigning to get people to join the effort.

At the moment most of the tagging is being done by Hall Harris, some by me, and a little by one of Hall's interns, Nate Whiteside. We've already got a number of volunteers to help other than these. I'll be hooking you guys up soon.

So, that's what we're doing. Steadily creating a tag set and a better tagger. Will say more when I get to version 1 of the program.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Personal Interaction Matters

One of the most important contributions to the blogosphere is the personal touch that can be given to projects/companies that can be impersonal. This kind of personal touch can be incredibly influential in helping your reputation, whether it is personal or corporate.

One thing happened today that made me respect MSN a little more. I got a comment on one of my MSN Desktop Search posts from David Dawson, Group Program Manager for the product. I didn't send him an email. I don't know anybody on the inside who called him for me. How he found my blog is completely unknown to me. But he did. And he responded to me. And, actually, he was right. The file I tried to click was in a folder I moved, so the index hadn't caught up yet. Thanks for the tip. Now, the significance here is not the fact that I know that little snippet, though it is nice to know. The significance is in the personal touch. It's easy to dislike a product/company/person when they aren't really in your face. But once you've had personal contact of some sort, even like this, they become much more human. Thanks, David, for the time you were willing to spend.

But sometimes we fail at this. I did that twice this month. I took way too long to respond to two emails send to me requesting info on Lexel's Koineworks Diagramming tutorial (our website is rather sparse at the moment on the product). That was not good at all. That was stupid. It's not that I don't like people; it's just that I didn't respond immediately and then forgot to send one. I'm very absentminded, and being so busy I bet that I do this much more than I am aware in my general e-mail life. This is not good PR, personally or corporately.

Articles: Qumran and Xen

I finished reading two very interesting articles tonight.

First was "Qumran in the Second Temple Period" by Y. Hirschfeld. Thanks, Jim West for the post that alerted me of this article. I enjoyed it and found it to be very convincing. However, I haven't spent much time on the archaeological evidence and so I can't say I'm really equipped to critique the essay. Can anyone think of some good counter-arguments or responses? I would appreciate it.

Second was "Unifying Tables, Objects, and Documents" by Meijer, Wolfram Schulte, and Gavid Bierman. I can't remember where I first saw a reference to this, so...thanks...whoever you are. I found it to be very interesting as well. The idea behind the essay was to come up with ways of extending programming languages (especially C#) to handle relational data and xml data natively. As someone who spends an enormous amount of time taking objects in my code from such data or to such data formats, this is very relevant for me. If you're interested, first check out the parent site and then read the article.

Interesting Article from Fortune Magazine

Fortune just came out with an article (in the Jan 10, 2005 issue -- yep, I can apparently see into the future!) entitled "Why There's No Escaping the Blog". It gives a little history and goes into the importance of blogging, especially in the corporate world. In general, lots of interesting notes about stuff that I never saw happening.

Monday, December 27, 2004

My Best of 2004

As others have done, I'll follow Ralph.

Best Movie:
"Spiderman 2" - No doubt.

Best Non-Fiction (Biblical Studies):
Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography, the essays in honor of Danker book. Some dull, but some really interesting chapters.

Best Non-Fiction (Computer):
This is where Ive done most of my reading this year, it seems. The best that I've read, by far, is Pragmatic ADO.NET by Wildermuth. Very detailed. He didn't skim over lots of technical details, which I like.

Best Non-Fiction (Neither Computer nor Biblical Studies):
Gorgon, by Peter Ward. Good book if you dig (pardon the pun) paleontology.

Best Fiction:
Only started one book this year, but got busy and didn't finish it (this happened a lot). The half book I read was Baudolino by Umberto Eco (though it didn't come out in 2004). Enjoyed what I read.

Best TV Series:
This is kinda difficult since series generally run Fall to Spring. But, if you count Fall 2003 to Spring 2004, I would probably give it to Alias, though Smallville comes in a close second. And Angel, unfortunately, is gone now...

Best Album:
Dunno. Everything I bought this year was from 2003...

Favorite Blog:
The Scobleizer's blog. Mostly tech stuff. It was more interesting earlier in the year, but still maintains my interest.

Most Creative Blog:
GapingVoid by Hugh Macleod. He's into marketing, which is a little odd for me to find interesting. But, I do. Do note that if you are offended by vulgarity, do not visit this site. You'll get some.

And I Thought I Was Wierd

Some things make me just feel normal. I heard about a group today who try to "keep our food supply free of genetically modified organisms", which isn't so bad. But it's their name that makes them so odd:

Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics

I would give you a link, but I don't feel quite right doing that!

Actually, MSN Desktop Search Does...

...let you click on an item it finds to open it up. For some reason that wasn't working on my laptop this morning. It worked fine at work.

And, actually, I was able to use it there. I've got a situation there where I work with tons of other developers, all writing code. Being able to search their sql, c#, asp, etc. files with it proved very useful today. So, I'm liking MSN Desktop Search a little more.

Desktop Search Tools -- Again

I think I've finally decided which desktop search to use, despite its flaws - MSN Desktop Search. I'm still annoyed with, though, for the following reasons:

1. When I get results back I want to be able to click on a link or something and open up the file. That's a bummer.

2. It still doesn't find some of the results that the Google Desktop Search is able to find.

However, since it does index code files I'm going to have to go that direction. This is only marginally helpful when all I'm dealing with is my own code (I can generally find what I'm looking for there), but I expect it will be incredibly helpful with other people's code that I download. So, I guess I've made my choice.

For those of you who aren't coders, I would recommend the Google Desktop Search. If they ever make their search work with every kind of text file, I'll switch. If you're a coder, the MSN Desktop Search may be for you (unless you can think of another, and I'm open to suggestions).

New Bloggers

Two new bloggers of interest were announced by the bibliobloggers over the last few days (at least, I only saw two). We've got Helennan Hartley (announced by Mark Goodacre) and Joseph Cathey (announced by Jim Davila). Welcome to the blogosphere.

Apparently Joe lives in North Texas as I do. Anyone else out there live near Dallas?

I Blog, Therefore I Am

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. Just took a little blogging break for Christmas. But that's over. Hello, world!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Search Tools

Been mostly busy for the last few days. I've either been programming for the NET GEMS project or hanging out with the fam. I can't wait till the long weekend that's coming up...

I've been evaluating MSN Desktop Search recently, trying to compare it to Google's. I very much prefer how Google's displays results (partly, I'm sure, because I use Google exclusively online for search).

So far I'm leaning with MSN Desktop Search at the moment, even though I like Google's interface better. It appears that MSN indexes code files, including C# files and C++ .h and .cpp files. This gives MSN's search an advantage over Google's for the programmer, though is of no relevance for most.

I'm avoiding putting a desktop search engine on my main PC until I've decided which one to use. My laptop has become my testing ground. I'm trying to avoid superfluous installs, just to make this install and clean as possible. If anyone has any suggestions of other programs that you think would be advantageous, please drop me a note or put a comment on my blog.

I forgot to add that in a few cases the Google desktop search did bring back better results. I've got a feeling that MSN isn't finished indexing my hard drive yet, but I figured this should be mentioned anyway. More later.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Article on Virus Protection

I found a great article on virus protection (thanks to the Scobleizer). He even thinks he knows a way to end all viruses. I found it to be an interesting read but would love to hear feedback on it from the other tech geeks out there.

A Free Market and Capitalism

Sure, it has its flaws. But it has its greatness as well. I have been reminded lately why it is so important to have a marketplace that inspired competition. I saw a blog post about the IE development center this morning (via Kent Sharkey), which made me think of this. And, of course, the recent arrival of the MSN desktop search made me think this as well.

Here's the greatness: IE lay dormant for years with no further development. Now that Firefox has taken off, MS is starting to feel the heat of competition and is actually trying to be competitive again. And is it any surprise that they come out with a desktop search tool soon after Google's had such great success? Of course not. This is why I really want open source development and generally non-Microsoft development efforts to succeed. They will make Microsoft work harder and do better. They've proven that they need competition to innovate, so more power to the competition!

In general, I really like Microsoft's software. Windows ME was the Satan of all OS's and they've had more blunders, of course, but rarely is there software in the marketplace that (in my opinion, of course) is significantly better and easier to use. I love Windows XP. It is my favorite OS, having now gone through a number of Windows OS's, a couple for Linux, and Mac OSX (though that is subject to change as I try them out more and get more familiarity with them). I've installed service pack 2 for XP and like its additions/changes as well. And I love .NET programming. Ease of use, programming language agnosticism, great documentation, and a great IDE. And I like MS office as well. No complaints there. And Sql Server 2000 rocks.

Stuff where MS loses? Firefox is a huge advancement over IE. There is no doubt in my mind on this one. MSN desktop search? I installed in on my laptop along with Google desktop search. Maybe everything isn't indexed by MSN desktop search yet, but so far the one from Google is completely beating the pants off of it. Go Google. Thunderbird, which I am currently using, hasn't impressed me as being better than Outlook. So I'm not sure about that yet.

So, I'm just glad that people are keeping MS on their toes. This is great. And when I find better stuff than MS has to offer (and assuming I have time to dig into it), I'll switch. I love free market capitalism.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Lite blogging and emailing night this evening. I am exhausted and am about to go to sleep. I've got a number of things that need to be said, but that will have to wait till tomorrow.

But, I will say that I received two books in the mail today, Cambodian System of Writing and Beginning Reader and Modern Spoken Cambodian by Franklin E. Huffman, both by Yale. I can now commence a study of Khmer, the language of Cambodia. Should be fun. And since I know there are TONS of you out there who are dying to learn Khmer, I'll tell you how the books are.

And, just in case any of you are experts in the field already, I would appreciate a heads up on where to find audio resources on the web for Khmer. News services, online programs, or just audio examples would be great.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

When Were the DSS Written? Cook Gives His Take

Edward over at Ralph the Sacred River is asked to defend his view that the DSS were largely written in the first century BCE. Very nice summary, Edward. I very much appreciate the contribution. I guess I need to get your book...

Cool Blog Rating Tool: PubSub

Saw this via the Scobleizer's blog:

Essentially, the site figures out what are the most common sites (blogs or non-blogs) linked to by blogs. You can even put in your url and see how well you're doing. I'm right about the 1 million range, which is pretty bad. But, there are supposedly 4 or 5 million blogs, so I don't guess it's too bad :)

Check it out and see how well you do.

Small World

It is an incredibly small world. Let me tell you how.

First, I am from Southeast Texas, near Beaumont.

Second, I get contacted by a fellow biblioblogger (I think I'll go back to the term as well since a number of you out there are) named Joshua Tallent, who has a blog entitled The Four Questions.

Third, a friend at work tells me about a blog called Randomize, which is run by a fellow named Richard Tallent. My friend says "he has a brother who blogs who knows who you are," which is the above mentioned Joshua Tallent.

Fourth, he's a .NET programmer and uses dasBlog (which I'm looking into).

So we come from the same area, I came into contact with him and his brother through separate means, and we share a lot of the same interests. And all this in two days! Not bad, eh?

So, I contacted him via posting a note on one of his entries. Couldn't find his email. Maybe he'll contact me. I've got some questions for him. And, btw, he has a very interesting blog. I recommend it.

Small world.

Blogger Bug Update

I sent a note to the Blogger team last night about the bug I mentioned two posts ago where some guy has my bio and such. Still have not heard back. But, I have gotten over the shock of my first experience in (accidental) identity theft :)

GNT Browser

The biggest news today in the sphere of the biblioblogger is, of course, the GNT Browser. I can't remember who broke the news first, but thanks for doing so.

The browser is apparently the work of a Zack Huber (of whom I was not familiar before this), and features a nice interface to the data in Tauber's Morph GNT and Perseus' lexicon.

The interface is nice and it generates the pages very quickly. And everything is in unicode, which is good. And everything works well in Firefox. Also good. Mouseovers show part of speech, a gloss or two, and morphology, which is very nice. All in all, excellent interface. Good work!

One question, though. Could you expose your text and lexicon through a webservice? I'd love to be able to consume it programmatically. Looks like you've got good stuff going there. This is a nice contribution to online biblical studies stuff.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Need A Reality Check!!!!

Okay, I just saw something that is really confusing me. Check out When I go there I see someone else's blog content for the posts, but my links and bio on the right side of the page. Also, it has some messed up html/css and renders very poorly in IE. Am I imagining things? Guess it's a bug in Blogger... Am I the only one seeing this?

Am I the only one seeing this? Thoughts, anyone?

New Blogger

Just got a comment about a new b____blogger by the name of Joshua. His blog is entitled The Four Questions.

Looks like we're adding another tech geek to the roll, which I'm all about. Welcome aboard.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sunday School Lesson on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Just finished a two week lesson series on the Dead Sea Scrolls at my church, FBC Parker, to give them an introduction to the scrolls and other extra-biblical literature. All in all, they seemed to find it useful. Here's what I basically covered, if you're looking for ideas.

Day 1:

1. Short history of the scrolls and their discovery.
2. Discussion on the types of literature in the scrolls.
3. The DSS naming system.
4. Reading from the Rule of the Community.
5. Reading of 4Q525 (4QBeatitudes).
6. Short discussion of who wrote them (i.e., Essene or not).

Day 2:

1. Reading of part of a pesher, 1Q14.
2. Discussion of how the DSS have affected OT textual criticism.
3. Discussion of what significance the DSS and the pseudepigrapha have on NT interpretation, with special focus on John the Baptist, Jude, and Revelation.
4. Reading of 4Q521, the "Messianic Apocalypse."
5. Readings of selections of 1 Enoch (chapters 1 (for the discussion of Jude), 24 and 25 (for the discussion of Revelation)).

Good Electronic Media Day

This evening I bought hoobastank's newest cd, entitled "The Reason." There is a song by that title on the cd, though it is not my favorite. I like both of the other two songs already released to radio better, "Same Direction" and "Disappear." If you like alternative rock, you might like this. What do you think, Vinni? You into the rock scene?

Also saw Shrek 2. See the first? I did and liked it. And I liked this one better.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Initial Impressions of DasBlog

My initial impressions are mostly positive. If you've not heard of it, DasBlog is an open source BSD-like licensed blog engine (and they have a really cool image on their front page). It is written in C# for .NET, though I think it has been ported to Mono.

I've been considering leaving Blogger and consolidating my blogging with my homepage ( -- yes, it is somewhat sparse in content at this point). I figured that if I go with this solution I'll ultimately have more flexibility.

But why DasBlog? Several reasons:

1. It is done in .NET and is open source, which means (in theory) it should be easy to modify if I feel the need to do so.

2. It was created by Clemens Vasters, who is a rather eccentric-mannered programmer but really seems to know his stuff. I saw him at Tech-Ed last year and heard him on .NET Rocks (which is a good .NET talk show, BTW), and I'm pretty impressed.

3. It's got an easy data store to deal with: xml. Don't have to setup a database to run it. Good old text files. This is probably the biggest reason.

The only negative that I've seen so far is the admin screens for the available skins (but only the admin screens) aren't very Firefox friendly. But, I can change that (see point 1 above).

Downloading and compiling is a cinch. Very rarely do I download an open-source project that is easy to get started. It doesn't seem terribly well documented, but it is easy to get going anyway. If I get any more thoughts on the matter, I'll be sure to post them.

Another Proposal For What We Should Call Ourselves

Okay, so we have one comment by Jim Davila that we should maybe not use "biblioblogger." That's fine. I'm not particularly attached to it.

Then Jim West gives us the option of "Bible Scholar Blogger," which Cook thinks is too cumbersome (and I agree).

And I think Cook is right in saying that "Bible Blogger" sounds a little fundamentalist. His suggestion is "bibliablogger".

Stephen Carlson finds merit in "bibliablogger," though also suggests "biblicoblogger."

Me...I don't have a strong opinion at this point. If we want to consider "biblicoblogger" we might want to think about "biblicablogger", which I'm sure the journal Biblica would appreciate. I'm fine with "bibliablogger", I suppose, but it is not different enough from "biblioblogger" for most people to notice or care, I bet. So, nothing has really struck my fancy.

Though I'm glad we've had this conversation. I'm going to have to fit in the term "blogorrhea" into my posts occassionally. Thanks for the term, Edward.

Up And Running Once More

It was an all day affair, but my computer is reformatted and all office programs, visual studio, games, etc. are all running again. And I don't even think I lost any data. Woohoo!

The only negative thing is that I can't remember all I wanted to blog about. I keep posts alive in my feedreader when I want to make a comment about them, but that was lost in the reinstall. I guess that isn't saved in the .opml file, and I guess shouldn't be. Oh well. Back to work...or something.

Transferring Outlook

Transferring Outlook emails is very easy, just like Thunderbird. The email is generally stored in a file called Outlook.pst. If you find that, you can open that up directly by Outlook and get all your stuff. Worked for me, anyway.

Now I'm at the really scary part. All data has been trasferred. Now I'm sitting at the place in setup where you partition your drives and format. Yep, this is when the data is really gone. Well, here goes. Hope I didn't miss anything...

Reformatting And Transferring Thunderbird

I've decided a format on my main computer is long overdue. So, that's what I'm doing all day long. Woohoo!

I found out how to backup Thunderbird email. This worked fine for me. First, note this FAQ note from MozillaZine.

Essentially, all you have to do is take the "Thunderbird" folder from your application data folder (C:\Documents and Settings\{yourLoginIdentity}\Application Data) and copy it. This also works cross-version. I copied it from my main computer (running .7) to my laptop (running 1.0) and everything worked fine. So, it's that easy.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Biblioblogger - Davide Salomoni

I was contacted today by Davide Salomoni, who has a blog. Some of you may aleady be familiar with him, though I don't think I've ever run across his blog. If you aren't familiar, take a look.

Davide, especially enjoyed your posts on early church issues. Keep at it.

Call For More Bibliobloggers...

I want to say something about my last two posts. It is making me think about the great concept that is blogging...

Why should people blog? Let's just take what has recently happened around this request for info on Jewish and early Christian literature.

1. People should blog because its a good way to share info about what you love. Jim at PaleoJudaica probably didn't create his entry in response to me just because he needed to get more exercise for his fingers. I bet you he did that because he loves the subject matter. And because he shared what he cares about, I learned a good deal. I appreciate the fact that he did that.

2. People should blog because it is a great way to spead news about interesting stuff. I learn about new things in technology and biblical studies all the time because of blogs. Now, I hear a lot more about technology stuff. Why? Because more techies blog than biblical studies folks. It would be nice to change that...

3. One of the most important things about blogging is that it helps create relationships. I have now met a number of interesting people because of my blog. At SBL I was able to meet Paul Nikkel, Stephen Carlson, Roy Brown, and Ken Penner because of my blog. I have also been able to meet others through email or through their blog posts. Ruben Gomez, Tim Bulkeley, James Davila, et al. were complete strangers to me just a few months ago. Now I look forward to hearing what they're going to put on their blogs. I appreciate what they have to say. As a matter of fact, there's only one blog that I follow closely just because I'd heard to him before: NT Gateway by Goodacre. I've read most of his The Case Against Q, and so want to here more from him. But that's turned out to be the exception, not the rule. You meet lots of interesting people through blogging.

And there's more to this last one. What will happen when I go to do PhD work? Will I meet someone through the blogosphere that I'll want to study under? Or will an aspiring teacher find a contact that he can use to get a teaching job? Maybe so. We must, of course, try to keep from saying anything incredibly stupid. If I were to argue, for example, that the NT documents were written in the 8th century by monks who wrote everything in Pig Latin and back-translated them into Greek just so they could found a new religion around the worship of hamsters, I would immediately lose all credibility and no one would ever read my blog or think I was worthy of being a PhD student at their school. So I need to keep that in mind. But you see the point. We all know (or should know) how important relationships are in any field of study, and biblical studies is no different.

One more thing. Here are two people I would like to see blog: Ken Penner and Arne Halbakken. You don't think you have enough interesting stuff to say in a blog? I bet you do. I appreciate your emails, and would love to see more of what you think out on the web.

Enough for now! I've got to go do some tagging for NET GEMS!

[Update: Just a few minutes later] you want to blog? I bet there are lots of folks who just read the biblioblogs. I bet lots of you have interesting stuff to say. And if you do blog, don't be ashamed to tell some bloggers that you're doing it. If you're new to blogging and you want people to know you exist, just send me an email. It's not a vain thing to tell people you blog!

Arne Halbakken Talks NT Backgrounds

I also received an email from Arne Halbakken. Unfortunately, I don't know Arne, but he was kind enough to respond anyway and allowed me to post his opinion.

Thanks, Arne!

Here is what he said:


[Note: this first part is a quotation of my list from an earlier blog posting]
1. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
2. Dead Sea Scrolls
3. Josephus
4. Old Testament Apocrypha
5. Philo
(But not mentioned, though as we know there are significant difficulties in tracing stuff back to the first century sometimes...)
6. Mishnah

What does Lexel, Bibleworks, Accordance, Logos, you, et al. need to be working on most for scholarship in this
[Now Arne gives his thoughts...]

1) Rex Kovisto has completed tagging the Greek portion of "the" Old Testament Pseudepigrapha for Accordance.

What is still needed would be the non-Greek materials.

Since "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha" was not an ancient canon, what it consists of is up for debate. The designation is modern.

Accordance has the old R. H. Charles version (1913) in English. I would also like to see the two volume J. H. Charlesworth edition (1983, 1987) as well as the version edited by H. F. C. Sparks (Oxford, 1984) offered for Accordance.

2) Accordance has done a good job with the Hebrew and Aramaic materials.

I would like to see it have the Greek materials from cave 7.

3) Accordance finally released a Greek version of Josephus. (The Perseus version had special permission from Loeb Books [Harvard University Press].)

The next step is for this to be tagged.

Accordance also offers the ubiquitous Whiston translation. There could be something offered that was more modern.

4) The biggest need right now is for a Hebrew version of Sirach.

5) Accordance offers an English version of Philo. There is a need for a Greek version.

6) Accordance offers a tagged and an untagged version of the Mishnah in Hebrew. They also offer the Neusner translation.

(I would also like to see early midrashic literature offered as well for Accordance.)

Ken Penner Talks NT Backgrounds

I have received several helpful responses to my posts (here and here) on NT Backgrounds materials (pseudepigrapha, apocrypha, etc.). Some come in the form of blog posts, some in the form of email, and some in the form of comments.

This one is from Ken Penner, whom some of you may know through the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha, which I have blogged about favorably in the past. This was sent via email and I have his permission (of course!) to post this. I was fortunate to meet Ken at SBL, so I can put a face to the e-mail.

Thanks Ken!

I'll take your question in two directions:
First, how would I rank the importance for NT background?

1. Josephus
2. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
2. Old Testament Apocrypha
2. Dead Sea Scrolls
5. Mishnah
6. Philo

Where should coding humanists be concentrating their efforts? I'll evaluate
by availability in the following criteria: print translation, print original
language, electronic translation, electronic original language, morphology,
textual apparatus.

Josephus is freely available in electronic translation, electronic Greek
(perseus), morphology (perseus), cheaply available in print translation,
reasonably priced in print original language (Loeb) and expensive with
thorough textual apparatus (Niese).

The OTP is freely available in electronic translation (Charles), reasonably
priced in print translation (Charles, Charlesworth), electronic
morphologically tagged Greek (Accordance). Non-Greek original texts are
expensive and most are not available electronically. The textual apparati
and electronic texts are coming available via the OCP.

The OTA is freely available in electronic translation (Brenton), electronic
Greek (LXX) & Latin (Vulgate), morphology (LXX only), and reasonably priced
in print original language (UBS) and textual apparatus.

The DSS are freely available in Aramaic (CAL), cheap in print translation
(Vermes, Garcia-Martinez), reasonably priced in print original language
(DSSSE), electronic translation and morphologically tagged electronic
original (Accordance, Logos), and costly for textual notes (questionable
readings noted: Brill-BYU; commented: DJD). This is changing, via the

The Mishnah is free in Hebrew (mechon-mamre), reasonably priced in print
translation (Danby) and morphologically tagged electronic Hebrew
(Accordance), electronic translation (Accordance, Logos), and expensive in
print Hebrew and textual apparatus.

Philo is free in electronic translation, cheap in print translation (Yonge),
reasonably priced in original language (Loeb), expensive in electronic Greek
(TLG) and textual apparatus (Cohn-Wendland), and not available at all tagged
for morphology (to my knowledge).

It is the unavailable and expensive areas we need to address first:
electronic translation of the Mishnah; electronic original language texts of
non-Greek OTP and Philo; morphological tagging of Philo; textual apparati
for OTP, DSS, Mishnah, and Philo.

Of these, priority should be given to the more significant texts, as ranked
1. OTP in original languages with textual apparatus (Online Critical
Pseudepigrapha should supplement Accordance by adding non-Greek texts,
morphology, and apparati).
2. DSS with textual notes ( should supplement the
Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon by adding non-Aramaic texts with uncertain
readings marked).
3. The Mishnah with textual apparatus.
4. Philo in Greek, morphologically tagged, with textual apparatus.

The OTP and Philo need the most work.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My Trip to Microsoft, the Irving Campus

Instead of my usual work, I went to Microsoft's Irving campus today. Enjoyed myself. The event was free, which is nice, and was an all day event. It centered around understanding .NET's place in the world of building Service Oriented Architectures and how Xml Web Services, primarily, fit into that mold really well. This is really something that we should be doing in biblical studies. I still want to write that essay...

Overall, the class was only okay. The level was a little too low. It wasn't until the second half of the day till we really started seeing the nitty gritty of how it works, but then it got pretty interesting. But there were two things today that made me want to apply to MS (though I'm not...), other than the fact that I love .NET. First, their cafeteria is fabulous. I got a ribeye for $4.50. Granted, it wasn't a Saltgrass cut of meat, but it was very tasty. Great cafeteria. Second, if I were a MS employee I could get their employee discount. Spent some time in the store and saw a bunch of really sweet deals. But, I couldn't take advantage of them :(

And as I left a rabbit ran across the sidewalk. That was a nice, random experience.

Good times.

The Coding Humanist News, Dec 8, 2004

Some interesting news in the last few days (at least interesting to me)...

First from Slashdot. According to one of their postings, 99.8% of FCC complaints come from one group, the Parents Television Council. I found that interesting. Not knocking the effort...just pointing out an interesting little tidbit. Wonder if it's true... has come out with a toolbar for IE, and apparently one is coming for Mozilla, which I guess means they will be building one for Firefox. I'm a little surprised that I haven't heard of this before today since I know a good number of their staff, but I found out through Gomez. Thanks for the note.

Firefox is great, as has been pointed out among the bibliobloggers as recent as today by the Christian Origins blog. I am a Firefox fanatic, personally. I love it. I can't live without it...okay...I can...I just don't want to. But, we need not over hype. As someone said, if you want to find a secure piece of equipment, find a brick. If it is a computer or a program, it is probably not without security holes. Today a security hole in all significant browsers, including Firefox, was announced (the second of two that Secunia has announced in the last couple of months for Firefox). Is it more secure than IE? Probably so. But, let's not go overboard on Firefox's security. With that said, in general I agree. Get Firefox now!

And Thurderbird has now made it to 1.0 status, and I think has been there for a few weeks. If you aren't familiar with it, it is an open source email client created by the Mozilla folks, the guys who came out with Firefox. Though one friend of mine is having problems with it (and Firefox, though at least in TB's case it was not 1.0), the release seems to be going well. I'm using it, though I personally don't really like it any more than Outlook. But, check it out if you're interested and/or you can't afford the cost of Outlook.

I have also now seen the most creative reason for thinking C# will not end up being a successful language. Interesting...

"Supersize Me"

Thought I would make one entry before I was off to my daily duties. Today I get to go to a Microsoft training class on "Service Oriented Architecture", which should be cool. This is, btw, a model that I think could be employed with tremendous effectiveness in the field of biblical studies. I've been intending to write an article on that, and will hopefully have the time in the next month or so. But, on to my review of...

"Supersize Me" is a very interesting documentary that came out recently. If you are not already familiar with it, SM is a documentary on how one guy, as an experiment, ate every day, three times a day, at MacDonalds. The documentary shows how this affected him physically, including weight gain, general well being, and sex life. Along the way he also does some interesting interviews on how junk food is a significant problem in American life due to over consumption.

Now, this study isn't perfect in that only a few people would actually eat at MacDonalds as much as he did. So this is not the situation of every man. But, interesting info nonetheless.

I highly recommend it. Do note that some of the material is more adult related, however, since they do use language many would consider inappropriate for public consumption and it does discuss his sex life, since it was actually relevant to the study. With those caveats in mind, I would recommend it pretty highly. Very informative.

Now off to class.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Now About Pseudepigraphical Authorship...

I don't have time right at the moment to read all the sub-articles, but Jim Davila pointed to a number of essays he has written concerning standards for determining Jewish vs Christian authorship of ancient works like the Pseudephigraph. I just read Did Christians Write Old Testament Pseudephigraph That Appear to Be Jewish? and he makes some incredibly good points, as he does in his blog post. I'll have to read the other essays in the next couple of days.

And, BTW, if you need someone to proofread/look over your book before you publish it, I volunteer!

Background Materials Revisited

Thanks for your responses. Let me say that the question was never meant to be an either/or, but a matter of primacy. I don't limit myself to just one! Say, for example, that you were someone who was in to writing software for gathering data about and analyzing old texts like those, which would you put highest in your priority to get done? It takes quite a bit of time and effort to do produce good work, so it might be better to focus on one rather than the other. Both are definitely important, as are the DSS and other works. So, that is the spirit in which the question was asked. I guess I should have made that clear before.

Or to put the question another way, what materials from that area really needs to be focused on by software vendors and database developers? What needs to get the most attention, given a balance of importance and current availability of materials? Let's take all the ones that Jim at Paleojudaica mentioned:

1. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
2. Dead Sea Scrolls
3. Josephus
4. Old Testament Apocrypha
5. Philo
(But not mentioned, though as we know there are significant difficulties in tracing stuff back to the first century sometimes...)
6. Mishnah

What does Lexel, Bibleworks, Accordance, Logos, you, et al. need to be working on most for scholarship in this regard?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

SBL Books, Part 2

I was finally able to pick up the rest of my books the other day from the NET Bible office. Here's the cool stuff.

I've decided to refresh my Hebrew, so I got the OT Hebrew vocabulary CD and cards from Zondervan. I think I like the Zondervan cards a little better than the Vis-Ed ones. They are a little taller and are keyed to a few grammars.

Other language stuff as well. I got the very short Aramaic Grammar by Rosenthal (Harrassowitz). I audited a semester class in Aramaic at DTS, so having this shorter grammar (I used Greenspahn in school) will hopefully go well for me. I also got Winer's grammar of NT Greek. It has been republished by Wipf and Stock. I'm really liking this publisher. Last year I got several good out of print language books.

For old testament, I got the following:
Exile and Restoration by Peter R. Ackroyd (Westminster).
Transformations in Ancient Judaism by Neusner (Hendrickson).

For studies in early Christianity I got two books:
Second-Century Christianity: A Collection of Fragments, by Robert Grant (WJK).
Lost Scriptures by Bart Ehrman (Oxford).

I wanted Ehrman's Lost Christianities, or whatever it is called, more than that one. But, it had already been sold by the time I went to buy it. I waited until the last day with Oxford, since they were going to 50% that morning. Alas, I missed the book.

That completed my purchases. I must say that I am very pleased.

A Very Belated Response to Bible Software Review

For some reason my feed reader didn't alert me of this, or I missed it
somehow, but until SBL I missed Ruben's response (the bottom) to my response to his response (the top) to my announcement of NET GEMS (follow that?). So, now I'm finally getting around to responding! Sorry. I wasn't ignoring you.

I would just quibble about one thing that you are assuming, that, in
your words, "Big bucks will have to be invested." I'm just not
convinced that this is the case. Is it an ingredient that is present
in most successful projects? Yes. Is it, taking software as an
example, the case in all examples? I don't think so. Now, you're
right. Linus is probably not poor. This is because businesses have
seen the value of the product and have supported it. But, I've seen
other projects where this is not the case. None the size of the whole
Linux project (not many are), but successful nonetheless.

But, even assuming there were no successful open-source type projects
that were not funded, I still wouldn't concede the point. That would
make it seem much more unlikely statistically, but not truly
unrealistic. And most work is done in the world of biblical studies
for very little pay anyway, so I think the principle is already in
action. If most people in biblical studies really put making
significant money at the level of importance that so many do, then
there would be very few people in biblical studies. In other words,
I've seen too many people, just in my little circle, who have done a
lot of work for free or incredibly cheap to think that a completely
non-funded project wouldn't work.

But, of course there are factors. The larger the enterprise the more
likely it is to fail. And the least interesting/important the project
is, so also it is more likely to fail. I think what we are doing is
both important and interesting, but it is also a very big task. So we
do have a tough road ahead. But...once again...I'm confident.

Now, if someone decides to throw lots of money at us to get the
project done while maintaining the same freedoms, I'm not going to
turn it down just to prove you wrong :). So, if anyone out there has a
few million to spare, feel free to contact me!

Of course, this whole thing might just boil down to a matter of disagreement
between the two of us, which is fine. If so, we'll leave it at that.
But, once again, thanks for your comments. I treasure all the comments
of the blogosphere.

The Coding Humanist News, Dec 4, 2004

I couldn't think of a good title for all these random bits, so I guess I'll have to go generic with "news."

Are you one of those people who thinks that the idea of blogs and blogging isn't all that significant? If so, I'm sorry, because some more news just came out that is a good indication that you're wrong. According to Merriam Webster's online site, the most commonly looked up word in 2004 is the word "blog." Blogging affected the presidential race, it is putting a personal face on corporate giants, and is a great medium of personal expression for many people. Get on board!

Along similar lines is the opening of MSN Spaces, a blogging service by Microsoft. I actually heard about this on radio before I heard about it online, which is very odd. I decided to check it out, so I created a blog so I could get a taste of the interface. In short, I like it, though I myself don't plan on using it. You don't get the freedom to edit the CSS and HTML directly like you can with blogger, but that's the only significant downside that I've seen that has any relevance to me. It would be a good blogging service for a lot of people who aren't really technologically savvy and just want to blog. I'm sure it will do well, but that won't be a surprise seeing that MS is backing it. The most impressive thing about it was how you can edit the layout. You don't get to edit the markup directly, but it is still pretty customizable. I also tried the site in Firefox, and it works fine for the most part. There are a few layout tools that are only available when using IE, but that is no big surprise. And I don't think it will actually keep you from functionality. I think it might only affect how easy it is to layout stuff. I'll stick with blogger, but if you haven't started a blog yet, that would be a decent place to do it.

For you .NET developers out there, I thought this was funny: Top 10 Things to Be Thankful for in .NET. Thanks, David Hill, for the link.

Slashdot featured an article on automatically searching handwritten documents. This is apparently the work of the University of Mass. This could be very useful for the field of textual criticism. It may not be able to produce the quality that TC really must have, but it would be a good thing for new mss finds. Find a new cache of mss, take pictures, and run them through the system to get a first glimpse of your findings. Very cool.

Also according to Slashdot, 66.3 million active domain names have been registered. That's quite a bit.

And most important of all, are you interested in doing hotdog art?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Question: Philo or OT Pseudepigrapha?

I was thinking the other day that the OT Pseudepigrapha would be more significant to study as a backdrop to the NT times. I asked Hall Harris about it and he said Philo would be. Anybody else have an opinion on this?


Had a meeting of the local Plano .NET User's Group last night in north Dallas. Enjoyed it, even though I didn't win anything this time.

The subject was Test-Driven Development, which I have come to really enjoy. We don't get to do it at work, but I try to follow that in everything else I do. It gives me a sense of satisfaction in that I am ususally able to tell if something is going wrong in my code, which is important!

If you are a .NET programmer and you live in Dallas, I highly recommend the meeting. If you are interested, visit