Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Inaccurate Greek Electronic Texts

Over on b-greek, Alan Bunning has an interesting and troubling post about the multitude of inaccuracies in the on-line Greek NT texts many use so regularly:
I got tired of the myriad of inaccuracies, sloppy scholarship, and proprietary nature associated with the New Testament Greek texts and decided to start collecting my own accurate electronic versions. I have gone through hundreds of websites and several Bible programs collecting copies of the various Greek texts . . .

. . . . Common sources such as the Online Bible, Broman, Unbound Bible, and CCAT all had various errors. Not one single text for any version I examined was entirely correct, although a few were really close . . . .

. . . . I have since begun looking at the morphological parsings and links to root words, and am even more appalled at the magnitude of errors. It is far, far worse than I ever imagined . . .
The whole post is worth reading.

Update (23.52): James Tauber's comment is worth adding here as an update: "As I've just noted in an email reply, people continue to distribute very old versions of the morphologically tagged texts that have continued to be corrected and made available at MorphGNT.org.

It is a wasted effort to try to correct these older versions when much newer versions are available. They are still not perfect, but are a much better starting point."

Update (Wednesday, 7.36): See too the helpful comments from Rick Brannan, beginning "Wherever possible, Logos/Libronix uses texts and databases from known, reputable sources. Thus our editions of UBS4 and NA27 -- different editions, with paragraphing, casing, accent and punctuation representative of their printed edition -- have solid pedigrees; they're not simply downloads from some anonymous web site . . . ." But read the whole.

3 comments:

James Tauber said...

As I've just noted in an email reply, people continue to distribute very old versions of the morphologically tagged texts that have continued to be corrected and made available at MorphGNT.org.

It is a wasted effort to try to correct these older versions when much newer versions are available. They are still not perfect, but are a much better starting point.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark.

Thanks for posting this info. For those who don't know, my name is Rick Brannan. I do work for Logos, and I work primarily with the implementation of Greek morphological and syntactic databases.

Wherever possible, Logos/Libronix uses texts and databases from known, reputable sources. Thus our editions of UBS4 and NA27 -- different editions, with paragraphing, casing, accent and punctuation representative of their printed edition -- have solid pedigrees; they're not simply downloads from some anonymous web site.

The NA27 hails from the German Bible Society; the UBS4 comes from typesetting files we received from the typesetter. Morphological databases come from providers such as GRAMCORD, from James Swanson, from Silver Mountain Software (who serve as liason for the Friberg analysis, also known as the 'AGNT' (Analyzed Greek New Testament), from Ulrik Petersen (who has done a great job correcting and maintaining Tischendorf's eighth edition via MorphGNT.org; though Logos does have some updates to incorporate still) and a few other places.

Other Greek NT texts do hail from other sources, such as those of Dr. Maurice Robinson. Those texts are clearly marked as such and attributed to Dr. Robinson; when we know of updates (Dr. Robinson is quite helpful in notifying me when changes are made to his Byzantine text) we do our best to work them into the schedule in a timely manner.

I should say that I've recently done a lot of work with the Scrivener text of the GNT, comparing two different electronic versions of that text against Scrivener's printed edition and making corrections to both text and morphology as appropriate. The work was primarily for an alignment (a 'reverse interlinear') between the 1960 Reina Valera NT and the 1881 Scrivener text which has not yet been released, but the work will eventually be reflected in an updated release of the Logos edition of that Greek text as well.

I just wanted to note that this is a problem Logos is sensitive to, and we do our best to make sure the texts originate from reputable sources and are reflective of the printed editions they represent.

Rick Brannan, Information Architect
Logos Bible Software
Logos Blog: http://blog.logos.com
Personal Blog: http://www.supakoo.com/rick/ricoblog

Anonymous said...

This is Alan Bunning. All the sources that Rick Brannan mentions above have errors in them too. Being reputable and often used does not make the texts error free. You can check out my website (http://mysite.verizon.net/bunning/SGNTI) where I not only provide perhaps the most error-free texts on the Internet, but also document where the errors are in the above mentioned texts. Tauber's v5.08 text, for example, only has 1 error if it is trying to match USB4, or 10 errors if it is trying to match NA27. My hope is that people would actually correct their texts, rather than repeatedly copying the same old errors. If someone believes they have a prestine text, I am more than happy to compare it to mine.

PS. I don't normally read this blog (and only accidently stumbled across it while looking for something else), so please e-mail me directly if you want to correspond.