Alphabet trainer …

Just posted a new application to for practicing various alphabets. Check it out at This app gets you to practice ordering the letters of Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Hebrew transliteration in alphabetical order.

In addition it will time you and highlight any errors you have made when you are done. Hinting will come when I can work out a decent way to hint without giving too much away.

Pandas and the Greek New Testament

This post is really starting in the middle but then why not !

I have been using a Python framework out of The Netherlands called Text-Fabric which gives one programmatic access to the ETCBC Hebrew and SBLGNT texts. It is very far off the topic of this post to discuss its features and such so I refer the curious to which provides full instructions on how to set up the environment. Anyone not familiar with ETCBC  (Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer previously known as WIVU) can learn more here

From this point I will assume a certain familiarity with Python, IPython, Jupyter Notebooks, Text-Fabric, hereafter TF, and less with Pandas. Told you I was starting in the middle ! So onward …

I have been reading Luke in Greek and in conjunction with that Steven Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament and I was reading about δε. Now it occurred to me that it would be interesting to know how widely distributed δε is in Luke. Of course, one can do such queries in a snap in programs such as Accordance and then graph the results. Naturally I wondered if I could do an Open Source version. Last week I ran across Pandas, not the large furry black and white almost bears, but the panel data set library for data science work in Python. Reading a little on it, it occurred to me that it would be possible to combine Pandas and TF and produce a plot of the kind I was looking for. (Anyone not familiar with Pandas is going to need to quickly look over and in particular By the way, it’s not even close to just 10 minutes !)

Data Science is a huge topic which I am equally hugely unqualified to say anything much about. However Python has many cool libraries with which to do data science work, Pandas being one. Pandas is used for work similar to that often done in R. Here, its basic Series data type will be of help. In addition one can make use of matplotlib to plot the graph. TF will provide the raw data from the SBLGNT and a little bit of Python will bucket the occurrences of the word δε.

Assuming you already have a Python 3.6 setup with Jupyter the next thing to do is get Pandas and matplotlib installed into python. Use pip:

pip install pandas
pip install matplotlib

With that in place and TF installed per the wiki above, and the text-fabric-data installed and set up also we are ready to begin.

At this point the next thing you will need is the Jupyter Notebook which I githubbed here It requires 3.6 of Python for which I make no apologies. (The person who got me onto 3.6 f-strings knows who is he is 🙂 ) The notebook is pretty self-explanatory if you have done all the required reading 🙂 If not you be able to follow the trail once you have looked at a few of the sites above.

And as a little encouragement here is the final chart


Eclipse as a basis for LRW

The Eclipse development IDE ( is a extensible platform providing a substantial set of basic facilities that applications need. It may be extended in many ways through a very well developed plugin model. Entire products are developed on its substrate that look nothing like the IDE itself. Having written a plugin for Eclipse for source code control I wanted to explore how the platform might be leveraged to run LRW. Attached is my first take on this possibility.



Language Study Software

For some time now I’ve been thinking about the state of bible study software. Features are constantly being added to these tools. Yet it always seems that someone would like to do something a little differently, or would like this or that little tweak. I’ve thought before now that an extensible model for bible software would be a good idea. That way users with the skills could also contribute modules, not just books or commentaries or notes but actual new functionality. This would allow people to pursue the particular features they would like to see and perhaps other users would not ever need to install or use that functionality. This approach is fairly common in software.

Another thing that has also struck me, and others, as problematic is that while users may create modules in some software, these modules are often more restricted in what functionality they offer. This makes such modules rather like second class citizens. This seems completely unnecessary and could be readily done away with.

While considering these and other aspects I realized that one could make the argument that bible study software is in fact too narrowly focussed. Much, perhaps almost all, of the features available in bible study software could be deployed in the study of other texts. One could imagine the study of Shakespeare using such software, even creating a syntax model for Early Modern English. Likewise morphological tags could be created to permit morphological queries against other literature, the Edda’s perhaps. Why not ? And the note taking and highlighting and other support of these tools plus of course the search capabilities would find great use.

The attached documents explore the possibility of the creation of a fully extensible language study tool, one which could be developed on open source principles if desired.