No hacking

I’m forced to lay off the hacking until December 14, when my new laptop will hopefully arrive. Which means I’ve got some time to pick up other things that don’t need a fast computer. Like continuing an old project of mine: learning to read the bible in Greek. My parents gave me a nice copy of Rahlfs’ edition of the Septuaginta for my birthday in 1993, and I’ve been working up the courage to get started on it ever since. (My attempts at Hebrew have been even more laughable, at least I can read modern Greek a little.)

Fortunately, there is a very nice KDE application that’s a lot of help, namely Bibletime. Bibletime can use various resources, such as bible texts, lexicons and commentaries, and uses the sword library to load them. There is plenty of material — translations in all kind of languages.

And there is also a free electronic edition of the Septuaginta. (LXX,
so called because the tradition will have it that seventy-two Alexandrinian Jewish scholars translated all of the Law in seventy-two days — the text is the oldest text of the Law we have, even older than the Hebrew texts that have come down to us, and is used as the authoritative text in the Orthodox Church).

There’s also a word list, the so-called Strong’s Numbers that is a reasonable fit for this text. Only recently, even after I got my Rahlfs edition, a real lexicon to the Septuagint has been published — and then another one got published, for good measure. The riches! The Septuagint is a difficult book full of obscure koine Greek, neologisms and hebraisms so a good lexicon is important here. Pity I blew my book budget already…

Strong’s glosses really aren’t quite good enough: for instance, I wish that in “εν αρχη εποιησεν ο θεος τον ουρανον και την γην”, “γην” wasn’t glossed as “a primary particle of emphasis or qualification (often used with other particles prefixed):–and besides, doubtless, at least, yet.” I am fairly sure that “γην” means “earth”, here… But that’s not bibletime’s fault. And the Strong’s numbers are still useful, especially when having a KJV or Statenvertaling parallel to the LXX.

But all the pieces are basically complete: text, translation, glosses. If the app doesn’t suck, I can get started.

Bibletime’s usage of Strong’s numbers has improved a lot, too. Previously, the numbers were shown inline in the text itself, breaking up the flow. Clicking on a number would show the gloss. Now there’s a nice little box that shows the gloss if your mouse cursor is over a Greek word.

Bibletime is very usable, very polished, very helpful and very stable. One of the better KDE applications that are developed outside KDE svn.