Grammatical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible

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Grammatical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible
by Nicolai Winther-Nielsen - Sunday, 27 March 2016, 9:30 AM

For several decades, the ETCBC group has done research on the relationship between clauses and the grammatical nature of these relations. Through indentations of clauses for each individual clause research programs have indicated whether a particular clause is parallel to one of the preceding clauses or subordinated as a dependent clause. Through research on such connections, it has been possible to create a hierarchical display of clauses in the text which indicates a proposal for an interpretation of the grammatical segments and the relative salience of clauses within this particular segment of the text. Last year the team in Amsterdam finished the analysis of all relations for the entire Hebrew Bible and Claus Tøndering has now added these analyses to Bible Online Learner. Graphical squares and a number visualizes to what depth a clause is embedded. 

This kind of indentation supports the grammatical analysis of the texts. The project has also for decade worked with codes that indicate the nature of the grammatical linkage established through this connections in the hierarchy of the text. The codes are explained in the SHEBANQ documentation HERE. They can be displayed by selecting Clause > Indentation when viewing a Hebrew text. The code consist of 1, 2, or 3 digits. Below hundred are dependent relative or infinitive clauses. In the hundreds are the "nominal clauses" and other fragmented units without clause linkage. In the 200s are parallel structures and from 300 and upwards the code indicates the conjunction (first digit), the predicate of the clause (second digit) and the predicate of the preceding clause to which it is linked (third digit for its mother or sister clause).

It is now also possible to have information on the seven basic kinds of relations and then choose as much or as little information on the word, clause and phrase levels as part of the exploration of the grammar of the text. In most cases learners should have assignments that would require them to decide whether they agree or not and then give reasons from grammar or syntax for their choice.  

  1. Relative (for codes 10-16)
  2. Infinitive construct (50-74)
  3. No conjunction (100-167)
  4. Parallel.(200-201)
  5. Conjunctive adverb (300-367)
  6. Conjunction (400-967)
  7. Quote (999)


Text hierarchy relations and codes


Instructional Videos

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Indentations and Codes for the Hebrew texts