I spoke at my second BibleTech Conference in Seattle this past week, and it was an enjoyable time. I’m afraid I made the mistake of putting in three paper topics, assuming the organizers would pick one. They picked three. And I did a Q&A for Authorized. And I interviewed two Bible translator nerds for a new podcast, still under wraps. =) Busy time. Loved connecting with new people and having the chance to talk at leisure with coworkers. You should come—and put in a paper topic—next time.
Here are quick run-downs of the three talks I gave.
1. Visualizing Textual Critical Data for English-Speaking Laypersons: Lessons from KJVParallelBible.org
It was a true delight to announce at #BibleTech the official launch of KJVParallelBible.org, a tool for teaching textual criticism to English-speaking Christians. That same morning, the first of the conference, an accompanying article was released at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.
2. Tagging Meaning and Not Just Form
- What are the most fruitful ways we as Bible software creators can tag Scripture for meaning and not just form, beyond the ones that have already been done?
- What are the best ways we can make this tagging useful and accessible to those who should be searching for meaning in a Bible software world in which everyone is used to searching instead for forms?
I gave real-life examples from Logos, such as the recent need I had to find out how the KJV translators translated λέγω (lego, “I say”) when it is a historical present. Tagging for meaning (historical present) and not just form (historical present) is what enabled me to do this work.
In this session I was mainly tossing out examples and hoping that we together could come up with good ideas for the future. I was not disappointed. Participants (mostly but not only fellow Faithlifers!) did a great job with this.
3. A Media Ecology of Bible Software
I really poured time into this one, and the night before I gave it I had a fun talk with a group that included our CEO, Bob Pritchett. He said a number of things that stimulated me to do some rewriting. He’s super thoughtful, and quicker on his feet than nearly anyone else I know. Here’s an audio recording for my blog reader.
My Favorite Sessions
The sessions I enjoyed the most were those by Jen Miles and Stephen Smith, though others were of course great!
Jen is a friend and coworker, and the one thing that most stood out to me in a uniformly excellent talk (based on her D.Min. research) was that careful surveys place half of Americans at “basic” literacy or lower. Only 13% are “proficient.”
Stephen Smith was hilarious, and he categorized very helpfully the kinds of topics that people search for in the Bible. Fascinating (and a little scary). He works for Bible Gateway. He also told us about a super-cool project he’s working on, the Expanded Bible. This would be a fantastic tool for teaching people about the number of minor (and the few major) decisions that go into Bible translation.
I got my own best laugh during the Q&A after the Authorized documentary showing. A new friend asked, “Do you think we’ll ever again have ‘one ring to rule them all’? One Bible translation that the great majority of English speakers use?”
I said, “Yes. The Lexham English Bible.”
And just think of the possibilities. Some day we’ll have LEB-Only people—LEBOs. I can’t wait.