pluscachange at comcast.net
Wed Nov 15 09:05:38 EST 2006
If I were teaching a course on the Bible as Litt--and I do this
informally as part of my reader coaching--I would be sure my students
used the Blue Letter Bible, http://www.blueletterbible.org
This is an online Strongs Concordance, but with a difference. There
is a choice of eleven English translations and the Latin Vulgate,
with the KJV being the default. You pick a book from a list, enter
the verse and enter. It takes you to the verse, but all the verses
are displayed. Beside each verse is a group of buttons. I use "C" for
"Concordance" the most, which brings up the verse in unpointed Hebrew
or unaccented Greek. Then the verse is parsed, with each word linked
via Strong's number to Strong's, with an organized summary of
Biblical uses. What takes it beyond mere citing of Strong's, IMHO, is
that the word pages link to Thayer's Lexicon, which functions like a
mini-OED, with notes on extra-Biblical uses. I find it helpful to
know whether a given word goes back to Homer or Hesiod, or whether it
came from liturgy formulated 500 years after the Bible was written.
Of course this could get into the whole question of textual history,
but for literary purposes, we have what we have, and the text of the
KJV or RSV or whatever is what we are dealing with is where we have
to start--and probably end.
Of course, for people who don't or won't take the trouble to learn
something of another language including Early Modern English, this
might not be so attractive. The might find the "V" for "Versions"
button more useful, as it allows one to see comparative translations.
This is well-balanced between literal and paraphrased translations;
while it doesn't have the NEB or Moffatt (which are not to be found
online at all, perhaps because of copyright issues), at least it
doesn't have "The Message." The "L" button gets you a "List" of
available commentary. Matthew Henry's notes are the most consistently
useful, albeit not the most readable in an age where advertising has
tried to dumb us all down to inability to comprehend a periodic
sentence. BLB has quite a range of commentaries, and recently they
put up Isaac Newton's notes on the Bible, which seem to stem from his
inquiries into alchemy.
The Milton Reading Room cites the BLB, with the warning that its
purpose is distinctly evangelical. I have at times referred people to
the notes here, especially for PL, for light on Bible passages.
Last Sunday via a link I came upon an extraordinary (and unfinished)
book online, downloaded and printed out is pdf version. The author is
Ken Power, an evangelist who is a bonafide Bible scholar even though
he has also co-authored some racy end-time novels and who has
well-defined evangelical aims. However "The Owner's Manual" subtitled
"The Law of Moses: What it is, and what are we supposed to do with
it" is an impressive oeuvre. The examines the 613 Mitzvot in groups,
with extensive explication and crossreferencing. Few might agree with
his conviction that the Koran preaches hatred and terror, but this is
lightly touched upon and he sticks to his subject. I like it anyway:
Hope this might be useful.
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