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DATA ANALYSIS IN
THE HEBREW BIBLE
CLIN 2014-01-17
Dirk Roorda (DANS/TLA), Martijn Naaijer and Gino Kalkman (VU ETCBC)
RESEARCH @

just
started
EXEGESIS

preaching the word of
God
the devil is in the details
meanings of specific
words
DISTANT READING
scan large quantities of text
find patterns
signals in the noise
study other aspects than meaning
text transmission
linguistic variation
literary form
VARIATION IN BIBLICAL
HEBREW
Timespan of Hebrew Bible writing: ~1000 years
Assumption: we can divide the books in 2 groups
EBH (early biblical Hebrew)
LBH (late biblical Hebrew)
"PROOF"
Select some features that differ for EBH and LBH

Risk of circularity
We need data analysis that is
comprehensive (not eclectic)
critical (not everything is a signal)
SYNTACTIC VARIATION
syntactic features

drivers of change

phrase, clause, text

diachrony
variation

large units

chapters
books

geography
demography
THE HEBREW BIBLE AS DATA
THE HEBREW BIBLE IN LAF
LAF ISO
24612:2012
SHEBANQ
(github)
2.27 GB
1.5 M nodes
1.5 M edges

40 M features
400 K words
13 M XML ids
PROCESSING LAF

it is XML
but not document-like (not asTEI)
and not database like (not nice for XQUERY)
it is graph-like
PROCESSING LAF
eXist (>30min loading time, simple queries >60min)

indexes needed: but which ones
tried POIO (>60min loading time, needs >20GB RAM)
straightforward object oriented in Python
scripting language overhead
LAF-FABRIC
LAF-Fabric

also Python

loads in a few seconds

uses C-like arrays
executes in a few seconds

on a laptop
can run
in a Terminal
as an IPython notebook
gender
notebook
COOCCURRENCES

1 Common Nouns
2 Proper Nouns
Nodes are books
Edges are cooccurrences of lexemes (1 or 2)
WEIGHTED EDGES

S(lex): number of books containing lex
C(b1, b2): intersection of lexemes of b1 and b2
L(b1, b2): union of lexemes of b1 and b2
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
cooccurrences
notebook
Common Nouns
no weight
Common Nouns
with weight
Proper Nouns
no weight
Proper Nouns
with weight
DATA-DRIVEN THEOLOGY
m.naaijer@vu.nl
g.j.kalkman@vu.nl
dirk.roorda@dans.knaw.nl

Thank You

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Data Analysis in the Hebrew Bible