6.0255 CFP: AIBI: Bible and Computers, 1994 (1/441)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 30 Sep 1992 18:19:37 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0255. Wednesday, 30 Sep 1992.

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 92 19:33:18 EDT
From: Gregory Bloomquist <GBLOOMQ@ACADVM1.UOTTAWA.CA>

AIBI 4 - Amsterdam 1994
August 14 - 18


The A.I.B.I invites you to participate in the 4th International
Conference on Bible and Computers to be held in Amsterdam from the
14th to the 18th of August 1994. The "Werkgroep Informatica",
Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit has accepted the invitaion
to host the Conference and to organize it. Prof. dr. Eep Talstra
(Amsterdam) and prof. dr. Marc Vervenne (Leuven) are the co-
chairmen. The Netherlands Bible Society will provide
administrative and financial support for the Conference.

English will be the language of the conference.


Desk and Discipline: The impact of computers on Biblical Studies

In the first place, the art of biblical exegesis is a matter of
close reading and arguing with linguistic data in order to analyse
and understand the text. Secondly, it is also a matter of using
extra-linguistic data, i.e. historical and cultural information to
produce a more extensive explanation of the text, its setting and
its audience. In most cases textual analysis uses a mixture of
linguistic observations, literary theory and extra-linguistic

With Bible and computers our pre-emminent question is "What help
can computers give in the process of textual analysis?" Is the
machine, strictly speaking, only organizing our desk, or is it also
capable of organizing our discipline? In other words, does the
computer help us at our desk by replacing our books (dictionaries,
text editions) and files (notes on cards), or does the computer
also rearrange our discipline in changing or making explicit the
order and the type of our linguistic and literary argumentation?

"Modelling" is the key concept. We are trying to use the computer
to imitate the process of selecting and arguing with textual data.

In most general terms, one can observe three different levels at
which the computer makes these modelling kinds of contributions to
biblical studies:

- at the level of viewing scientific texts, computers are used
to imitate the raw data and documents from which we begin our
research. Text processors, for example, are used to handle
the mixture of different character sets on screen or on paper.
Similarly, scanners are employed to digitize documents ancient
- at the level of preparing scientific results, computers can
imitate the more classical concordance type reference volumes
for searching and sorting linguistic material. The researcher
is provided with preprepared materials and not with
machine-made produced analytical proposals.

- at the level of scientific argumentation, software exists that
can mimic our reasoning process in textual analysis. The user
can receive machine-made analyses for such diverse tasks as
parsing and labeling clauses, analyzing text-syntactic or
text-semantic structures, or identifying the actants in the

******** ******** ******** ******** ********

Chair: Alan Groves and Marc Vervenne

In this session, we are seeking three papers representing three
different perspectives in the area of clause segmentation and
clause analysis in a single chapter from the Hebrew Bible. (The
precise chapter will be determined later but each paper will treat
the same passage thus facilitating a comparison of the various
approaches. Choosing a single passage also has the advantage that
attendees for the conference might take the time to prepare the
passage in advance themselves.)

We ask that each paper be structured as follows:

1. Overview of the approach
a. What is the textual basis for the application?
(e.g. which version of the machine-readable text?)
b. Which morphologically analyzed text was employed?
(Please include a guide to the morphological encoding.)
2. Overview of the clause segmentation process
a. Automatic, manual or a combination?
b. Criteria used for clause segmentation
c. Steps in the process
3. Overview of the analysis
a. Automatic, manual or a combination?
b. Type of analysis -- clause identification, hierarchy,
c. Criteria used in analysis
d. Steps in the analysis
4. A summary of the results with conclusions

We suggest this tighter structure with the aim of trying to
showcase several approaches juxtaposed with one another in a
fashion that will make it most possible for the audience to
distinguish the approaches and to compare.
By working from the same passage and beginning at the same
linguistic level, we also hope to make clearer how approaches are
similar and dissimilar.

To summarize, we are most interested in laying bare the linguistic
and literary theory underlying a given approach, coupled with an
outline of how a particular method uses the computer to handle
clause segmentation and clause analysis.

What should the proposal contain?

Besides the standard name, address, etc. for all papers, we would
like one to two pages with very brief answers to the four points
above (any longer supporting documents relevant to your work are
strongly encouraged and most welcome too and can be sent with the

We are suggesting that we do either Joshua 2, Genesis 39, or
Deuteronomy 6, 7, or 8. Please indicate any of these you could not
do but also list your preference. Also indicate other chapters in
which you have special interest and would be willing to do.

******** ******** ******** ******** ********

Chair: Mike Cheney and Gregory Bloomquist

This session will be open to contributions relating to three areas
of discussion.

A. Recent discussions of the possibilities and realities of
computer supported or aided exegetical research on the NT have
revealed that considerable amount of research and development
has taken place in the last decade. The majority of these
efforts appear to have been undertaken in the philological
realm and important tools for scholarly research have emerged
as a result. The information previously found only in
concordances and word lists can now be accessed with much
greater speed and search queries of great complexity can be
carried out electronically. This session will seek to describe
the tools that are presently available specifically for NT
research and at the same time provide a forum for discussion
of possible improvements.

B. Computer aided research on the language of the NT outside of
the philological realm does not appear to have advanced along
the same lines as in OT studies. For example, a computer aided
NT project with a syntactic focus has yet to emerge, despite
the fact that a morphologically tagged text has been available
for some years. In this session, we like to have contributions
exploring the nature of and/or the reasons for the differences
between OT and NT studies and investigating various
methodological questions related to problems in computer aided
analysis which are specific to the NT.

C. The third area covered by this session will be implementations
of non-philologically based investigations of NT passages.
Here we would like to have papers which examine individual
passages from the NT. The paper should include the following
points (not necessarily in the order listed):

1. Method and Materials.
a. A description of the theoretical basis of the study.
b. An account of textual materials used and the way(s) in
which those materials were prepared, e.g. morphological
encoding, segmentation marking.
2. The Analysis.
a. An overview of the stages of analysis.
b. The roles played by computer and human in the actual
execution of the analysis.
c. Linguistic and other criteria used in the analysis. This
section should include a discussion of how the computer
is used to implement these criteria.
3. The Results.
a. A sketch of the passage investigated, including the
significant structural, syntactic or other
interconnections which have been discovered in the
b. Reading the passage informed by computer analysis: a
discussion of the consequences of the analysis for
interpretation of the passage.

******** ******** ******** ******** ********

Chair: Eep Talstra and Philippe Cassuto

A discussion of computer and exegetical methods.

The third AIBI conference in Tuebingen (1991) made clear that the
discussion about the contribution of computers to biblical studies
becomes almost identical to a debate about the different methods
used in textual research.

In the first place this is a positive point because it demonstrates
that exegetes want their computers to do more than sort and concord
the biblical data. They want their computers to be of assistance
in experimenting with the different ways the methods of biblical
exegesis refer to textual data as a main part of their

Secondly, the discussion about Bible and computer can get lost in
the complexities of machine related issues. The computer world
tends to force people to think only in terms of machine capacities
and capabilities -- how much RAM, harddisk space, CPU speed, laser
printers with Postscript fonts, Windows, etc. Of course, these
considerations are important to the development of new analytical
instruments. But they are not the main point. Nor is thinking of
the computer as a better typewriter or file organizer or file card
box. Rather, the main point for the biblical scholar is to use the
computer to investigate the possibilities of formalizing exegetical
methodology. To initiate this investigation it is important to
unravel the mixture of grammatical, semantical and literary
arguments that are being used by exegetes in their research and put
them in some clearly defined theoretical order such as:

- Does 'form' come before 'function' and 'grammatical function'
before 'lexical information'?

- How does one perform both paradigmatic research (looking for
one linguistic feature in the entire corpus) and syntagmatic
research (analyzing all the different linguistic features and
their interactions within one textual composition)?

Two considerations are important here.

- It is critical to be clear about the type of linguistic
information used for argumentation in any exegetical method:

words, syntax, semiotics, units of poetical structure;

- The level at which a machine could deal with this information
(produce it or store it) or imitate the process of
argumentation (calculate with it).

It seems that the combination of these two considerations
determine the type of computerized analysis one is using or

Papers for this session should include at least:

- a contribution to the discussion on computers and methods of
biblical interpretation

- an explanation concerning why or for what purpose computers
are used in the particular project one is presenting.

- a description of the type of linguistics with which one is

- a reflection about the contribution of the computer:

What kind of information is being handled?
Does the machine present, sort, or produce linguistic and
textual data?
What new type of information is being produced?

******** ******** ******** ******** ********

Chair: Ferdinand Poswick, Christof Hardmeier and Johannes de Moor

In this session we will focus on the diverse needs of various kinds
of users.

Scholarship has its own demands, but the majority of people are not
using the Bible and its message for research, at least not the kind
of research currently done in schools and universities. In this
session, therefore, we will take a look at software tools from a
broader perspective.

- What is available today?
- What are the criteria of a "good" electronic presentation of
Biblical data according to various audiences?
- What is lacking and, therefore, what is still needed?

We see at least four lines of development:

1. Specific reference tools in the shape of "Smartbooks"

2. CD-ROM (or equivalent) important and coherent data bases with
various access and search procedures (from hypertext to
logico-pedagogical menu-driven interface).

3. Huge data bases which are accessible on-line by means of
e-mail and listserve facilities.

4. Research and pedagogical aids (that may come from any
environment, but should be accessible from the personal

languages of the Bible; chronology; bibliographical
update; historical, geographical and cultural
initiations to the biblical contexts; special writings
management; etc...

A general introduction to some of those elements (notably e-mail
facilities) will be welcomed.

At least some items will be presented along each of those lines.

E.g. --

1. - The electronic Bible from Selectronic and/or Franklin
- The Sony Data-Discman "King James"

2. - The CD-WORD Library (Dallas)
- The ABS/FABS Reference Bibles (New York)
- CATTS Data Base (Philadelphia)
- The CETEDOC Vulgate and Latin patristic base
- The Jewish global corpus (Bar-ILan)

3. - TeleBible (Bordeaux, Maredsous)
- AIBI-L (Ottawa)

4. - Selection of MacIntosh and MS-DOS based Bibles
- MicroBible (Maredsous)
- QUEST-ECA (Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Bielefeld)
- Some Archeological program
- "Jerusalem en l'an-10" (Paris, D. Cattin)
- The Greek Factor (Toronto)
- Multilingual Scholar
- Nota Bene
- ChiWriter
- Word-Perfect Fonts
- Non-latin alphabets (John Clews - Sesame) and UNICODE
- Word for Windows
- Scholar TEX


Colleagues working in the field of Bible and Computer who are
interested in contributing a paper are invited to complete the form
attached to this Call for Papers and return it to the AIBI
secretary in Maredsous.

Contributions accepted by the organizing Committee will be
published on the basis of a camera-ready text to be submitted prior
to the Conference (for short papers, see below). Proceedings of
the first three AIBI Conferences have been published at Slatkine


- at the conference: English
- written contributions: English, French or German, with an
abstract in English.

There will be respondents or a panel introducing the discussion
about the themes of the main sessions.


February 28, 1993:
Abstracts of proposed contributions submitted to the program
Committee (if possible give also an alternative title or

April, 1993:
Selection by the Program Committee and report the contributors
about the status of their proposals: whether or not accepted,
which session and why.

February 1, 1994:
Definitive text of Abstract submitted to the Program Comittee
for publication in the Conference Book of Abstracts.

July 1, 1994:
Camera-ready text of the main contributors (to leave some time
to the respondents to prepare their contributions to the

August 14, 1994:
Camera-ready text of short papers or other contributions, at
the Conference.


The Proceedings will be published by the end of 1994 or at the
beginning of the spring 1995.


Information about Registration and Accomodation (hotels,
rooms) will be sent out as soon as possible. Registration will
be organized through the Netherlands Bible Society.

CONFERENCE FEES (approximate for now)

AIBI members -- $100
Non-members -- $130


Gregory Bloomquist (Ottawa)
Philippe Cassuto (Lyon)
Mike Cheney (Lund and Edmonton)
J. Alan Groves (Philadelphia)
Christof Hardmeier (Bielefeld)
Johannes C. de Moor (Kampen)
R. Ferdinand Poswick (Maredsous)
Eep Talstra (Amsterdam)
Marc Vervenne (Leuven)


prof. dr. E. Talstra prof. dr. Marc Vervenne
Werkgroep Informatica Faculty of Theology
Faculty of Theology Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Vrije Universiteit Sint-Michielsstraat 6
De Boelelaan 1105 3000 Leuven, B
1081 HV Amsterdam, NL

Tel. 31 (0)20.548.4650 Tel. 32 (0)
31 (0)20.548.5440
Fax: 31 (0) Fax: 32 (0)
E-Mail: eep@th.vu.nl