[B-Greek] The Value of Tools

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 11:11:32 EDT 2009

On Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 10:40 PM, Ian W Scott <iscott at tyndale.ca> wrote:
> The solution to this pricing problem, I think, is for us academics to be
> willing to publish first-run materials online. The production costs are so
> much lower for a strictly electronic publication that the materials can
> easily be presented free or at a very nominal charge. And let's face it,
> many of us publish very expensive volumes for which we see little or no
> royalties. This is the approach taken by several online journals (JHS is
> perhaps the most familiar to many). There is also an interesting SBL
> monograph series that is going straight to electronic publication. And, of
> course, the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha (which I help to edit), and the
> Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon.

This illustrates what I was discussing.
The C. A. L. lexicon project received a governmental grant of at least six
figures, possibly 7, in order to produce that online reference.
George Kiraz, who is working hard on restoring Syriac, cannot compete
with such funding, so his new materials and republished materials end up
quite expensive. I've heard estimates that Rosetta Stone cost upwards of
$500,000 for a language. Someone needs to pay for such work.

> (There's also the TLG, though its single-user
> fee is pretty steep). But we still don't have a project (that I'm aware of)
> to produce a rigorous NT lexicon in online form.

when I mentioned a first century lexicon, I was not referring to another
NT-limited dictionary, but a lexicon that would
a. show the available vocabulary in the audiences of Luke and Paul,
b. provide Eng--Grk access to that, and
c. provide Grk-Grk.

the last item might profitably be developed on an NT level for students
to learn to appreciate its benefits, though it should then be extended
to the whole "1c dictionary project".

Anyway, in order to develop such tools, someone needs to pay for
the infrastructure. Investing ten years of work and putting it on the
web for free won't put bread, wine, and olive oil on the table. (Nor
tacos, huevos rancheros, and cerveza, or any other cultural combo.)

> I think what we tend to
> lack is scholars who are willing to "give up" the perceived credibility of
> print publications. My sense, though, is that we are near the tipping point
> on this.

Didn't understand this last idiom, I took it to mean 'watershed', the point
where things start to run in another direction, affairs start to
radically change.


> Randall Buth wrote:
> Thayer ($18.21) is an excellent NT Greek resource
>  at an excellent price.  BDAG ($115.35) is by far the
>  most over-rated and over-priced resource discussed on this list.>
> Your comparison actually points out that Thayer is very
> considerably underpriced.
> This is a result of our copyright laws. Because
> Thayer is out of copyright, you are basically paying for the paper
> and printing. For BDAG you are interacting with the true current
> economy. This is creating a skewed market in many humanities
> fields. A person can enter 80-90% into learning most areas for 'free'.
> And then a person pays a real, full price for the remaining 20%,
> which makes the remaining 20% feel 'overpriced' to the person
> enjoying many reprints and downloads.
> I don't know what to suggest about this new kind of pricing hurdle
> that is being created at the 80%-90% level of any field. Where new
> material is massive-numerous enough to approach the price of
> reprints, things are fairly smooth like with some American textbooks,
> but for specialized work the price gap can make the specialized
> material even more specialized and rare. This skewing factor will
> only grow and strengthen as the internet grows, where the
> percentage of 'new' material in any field will shrink, causing the
> perceived dollar value of remaining material to be even more
> incongruous. The biggest danger that I see here is that in another
> fifteen years market values will not support the research and
> development of many new products in the humanities and these
> will be in the hands of the governments, foundations, and 'endowed
> establishments (running off of interest from previous generations)',
> in an even greater role.
> (Humanities have always been at the discretion of the 'lords/gentry'.)
> On the other hand, the wider access to the bulk of the material
> will allow an explosion of what might be termed hobby/amateur
> repacking of that 90% of material in the public domain.  I'm sure
> that James (Ernest) and James (Spinti) have been discussing these
> things in-house (separate 'houses') for some time.
> So things will get better at the beginning end
> and economically tighter at the creative end.
> Will the middle be low priced as an extension of the 'beginning', or
> will it be high priced because of the economics of the 'end'. Or will
> a gulf separate the middle towards the two ends, or will it grow
> and smooth out and connect the two ends? The Thayer example
> might suggest the 'gulf' model, leaving me to wonder who will fund
> the unfettered 1st century dictionary that we need?
> a. Greek-Eng (all available vocab for Koine 1st c BCE-2c CE)
> b. Eng-Greek (covering all available vocab for K 1cBCE-2cCE)
> c. Greek-Greek (covering all available vocab for K 1cBCE-2cCE) ?
> [and with technology, maybe with triple audio, m-FOSFOROS,
> k-FOSFOROS, 're'-FawSFOROS (but no FOSFARAS, Zondervan
> will change]]
> We are looking to the 'endowed'.
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
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> --
> Ian W. Scott
> Associate Professor of New Testament
> Tyndale Seminary
> Toronto, Ontario, Canada
> iscott at tyndale.ca
> http://www.ian-w-scott.com
> ===================================================
> Paul's Way of Knowing: Story, Experience and the Spirit (WUNT II.206; Grand
> Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008).
> ===================================================
> The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha (Atlanta: SBL, 2006-). Online:
> http://www.purl.org/net/ocp

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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