[B-Greek] help yourself by helping others

FribergTimothy trfriberg at mailit.org
Thu Mar 30 05:23:13 EST 2006

A search for volunteer Greek experts for a worthy cause


The Analytical Greek New Testament Project is now in its thirtieth year. Its purpose is to provide aids to translators, students and even scholars of the Greek New Testament.

The initial product was the "Analytical Greek New Testament" (AGNT), which was published by Baker Book House in 1981; this is out of print, but should be reissued by Trafford (publisher on demand) later this year. The electronic version of AGNT is licensed to interested parties on behalf of the project by John Baima of Silver Mountain Software; it is also found in several commercially available software packages. (Though the 1981 "printed" version of AGNT is available on request, what is usually supplied electronically is the enhanced, revised AGNT [for which see below].)

The second product of the project was the "Analytical Concordance of the Greek New Testament," published in two volumes (lexical focus; grammatical focus) by Baker Book House in 1991. (These are now out of print and not to be reprinted.) Due to advances in computing between 1980 and 1990 (to say nothing of those through the present time), there was no need to represent electronically the exact form of the concordances, since their content and more were available through user-initiated interactive searches in the Greek text enabled through several good software packages.

The third output of the project was the "Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament" (ANLEX) published in 2000 by Baker Book House. This was reissued by Trafford in 2005. Again, the electronic version of ANLEX is available through Silver Mountain Software. (The current version of ANLEX makes obsolete an earlier electronic version available in prototype from one vendor for several years.)

The current major activity of the project is the revision of AGNT (see below). We have also been asked to produce a Majority Text version of AGNT.

The revision of AGNT involves enhancements at various levels. The first line (Greek text) has been upgraded from the UBS GNT3 to their GNT4 (and will ongoingly be updated to whatever corrected printing is current). The second line (morphological analysis/grammatical "tags") has been corrected. A simplification has also been incorporated, especially of the form of complex tags. A third line has been introduced, giving the Greek lemma (citation form) for each successive Greek word in the text. The revised three-line AGNT is currently available only electronically, while the printed AGNT (now out of print, but to be reissued as a stop-gap measure later this year) continues to be the original (oft-corrected) 1981 version, which waits on a fourth line before its revision and reissuing becomes official.

The fourth line of the revised AGNT is the focus of current project activity. It comprises an English "reference gloss," superficially an interlinear translation, but conceptually much different. In quick summary it is an uninflected English gloss (word or, rarely, words) giving the appropriate lexical subentry for each successive Greek reflex. It is context sensitive, while not giving the details as to inflection or conjugation that the hesitant reader should be able to get from line two. There will be no indexing of reference glosses to show proper English reading order. It is indeed just what its name implies, a reference gloss. 

The need for volunteer assistance:

Along with other, smaller project undertakings looking for volunteer help at this time (a description of which is available on request), the fourth-line English reference gloss is the focus of current labors most needing assistance from scholarly volunteers. 

This isn't so much drudgery that might be assigned a willing retiree (though ignorant of Greek) merely by providing him a Greek lexicon and a form to be filled in. Rather it is a scholarly endeavor providing not a little personal satisfaction, wherein each reflex of every lemma is to be examined in the context of the Greek text for the appropriate English gloss to be assigned it from the entries of ANLEX.

Though much more information will be provided to potential volunteers, suffice it to clarify here the larger scope of the endeavor. A special program has been developed (CheckGloss, John Baima) by which the volunteer will have on his computer screen the Greek text, the relevant entry of ANLEX and the individual forms to be given a gloss assignment. Actually an initial glossing is provided for the reflexes of each lemma undertaken, partly automated, but with only an estimated 80% accuracy figure, far below the perfection we strive to provide.

The work will proceed by lemmas, and not by New Testament books, for the obvious reason that the assignments need to be done in light of the totality of GNT usage, even though subregularities of usage occur within the writings of particular authors or even within single books. Blocks of alphabetically consecutive lemmas will be assigned in the usual case, though if a volunteer feels particularly expert in some subset of lemmas, work on that more specific area can easily be arranged. Involvement to date indicates that we also separate work on more purely lexical lemmas (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) from work on more grammatical and often discourse-determined lemmas (conjunctions, particles, prepositions, determiners). The latter group is ideally reserved for those with some experience in discourse analysis, particularly but not limited to that developed by the translation department of Wycliffe Bible Translators over the last forty years.

The main need is to correct the (already given) reference gloss for each reflex of the assigned lemma, bringing about the proper fit between that lemma's use in GNT context and the meaning entry given in ANLEX. Related tasks also involve (1) correcting or revising ANLEX, if and when its entry is proven inadequate or just plain wrong; (2) marking the corrected reference gloss with the outline number from the entry of ANLEX (for later cross-indexing); and (3) passing judgment on the AGNT grammatical tag given for that reflex.

We would like to have two volunteer scholars examine each lemma (with its set of reflexes). The results of their work will then be reviewed by project consultants. And onwards until this large and involved undertaking is completed, the Lord willing and enabling. 


To that end we are looking for volunteer Greek experts that are computer literate and can give a minimum of five hours weekly to the project. (Computer literateness isn't absolutely necessary, but its absence must be compensated for by scribal attention to detail second to none!)

Everything done through the AGNT project through thirty years has been without monetary compensation and without compulsion. We will provide to productive volunteers a complimentary printed copy of AGNT and ANLEX.  (These are not strictly necessary for working on the project for those using the computer program.)

If you are interested in volunteering or merely knowing more, please send an email directly to Timothy Friberg at <trfriberg at mailit.org>. (Location of the editors at the moment is Sulawesi, Indonesia.)  Please do NOT respond generally to the mailing list on which this notice appeared. Correspondence to Silver Mountain Software may be addressed to John Baima <jbaima at silvermnt.com>. Trafford's address is 6E-2333 Government Street, Victoria, BC  Canada  V8T 4P4 or <www.trafford.com>. One of the project volunteers, Merlin Zook, is willing to give personal testimony of both positive (personal enrichment) and negative (sore eyes) aspects of this project to anyone wishing to count the cost before stepping forward; <mwzook at itech.net>.

Thank you,

Timothy Friberg

Sulawesi, INDONESIA 

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