OTA BHS Conversion

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Fri Oct 20 02:14:31 EDT 2000

Dear Rob,

I am glad that your experience was more like mine. I think that John
Richards may have been working with a different version or corrupted copy of
the OTA text.

Following, for everyone's information, is an explanation of the ] marks in
the text. This is taken from one of the WTS documents. It doesn't refer to
exactly the same version, but gives the general idea. I can send the whole
document on request - this is a supplement to the one which I earlier sent
to John Richards, which does not mention the ] codes. Maybe Kirk Lowery can
confirm whether this is still the latest version.

Peter Kirk

                             TO THE
                           Alan Groves
                Westminster Theological Seminary
                    Philadelphia, PA   19118
                      Last Revised 6/7/89



  (All bracketing has been done on the basis of the 1983 edition,
   not the 1977 edition.  Moreover, the Makor edition of the
   codex was checked at all relevant points in determining the
   need for a flag.)

]1 BHS has been faithful to the Leningrad Codex where there might
   be a question of the validity of the form and we keep the same
   form as BHS.

   e.g.  Deuteronomy 23:18  YI&RF)"L00]1  (missing silluq)

]2 We have added a sop pasuq where L and BHS omit it.

   (Special note: Formerly this category had a much broader range
   and read as follows: "BHS has been faithful to the Codex where
   there might be a question of the validity of the form and we
   have abandoned BHS in order to code it differently." All
   situations other than missing sop pasuqs have now been made to
   conform to L and then labeled as ]1.

]3 We read or understand L differently than BHS (1983 Edition).
   Often this notation indicates a typographical error in BHS.

   e.g.  Genesis 6:22  ):ELOHI73YM]3

]4 Puncta Extraordaria -- a 52 is used to mark such marks in the
   text when they are above the line and 53 when they are below
   the line.

   e.g.  Genesis 18:9    )"52LF8052Y52W52]4

]5 Large letter(s)

]6 Small letter(s)

]7 Suspended letter(s)

]8 Inverted Nun     (N]8 in the text)

]9 BHS has abandoned L and we concur. All of these occurrences
   are ketib/qere problems.

]q We have abandoned or added a ketib/qere relative to BHS.  In
   doing this we agree with L against BHS.

   e.g. Exodus 32:17  B.:/R:(O92H]q

]a Adaptations to a Qere which L and BHS, by their design, do not

   e.g. Exodus 4:2  **-Z.E74H]a

]y Yathir readings in L which we have designated as Qeres when
   both Dothan and BHS list a Qere.

]m Miscellaneous notes to the text and occasions where more than
   one bracket category applies.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Barrett/Almaden/IBM [mailto:barrett at almaden.ibm.com]
Sent: 19 October 2000 09:42
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Re: OTA BHS Conversion

> John Richards wrote:
> May I enquire whether anyone on the list has managed to
> convert the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) BHS text using
> the SIL CC packages so as to end up with a full BHS text
> in SIL Ezra TTF
> font on a PC?

I have mostly-successfully run the OTA BHS through the SIL CC packages to
produce the fully cantilated text.  I then wrote a little Java program that
takes the resulting file and converts each book into a separate RTF file
(readable by most word processors) using the SIL Ezra font.

It isn't perfect, but I find it quite serviceable for cutting/pasting into
other documents and for printing out passages for study.  The remaining
problems that I've found are:

1.  Occasional missing line-breaks (that seem to be missing in the OTA text
as best as I can determine) -- about one every few chapters or so;
2.  Occasional strange markings (e.g., a bracket/number combination) that
may have some meaning in the OTA text, may be a CC error, or may be an
error in my RTF conversion; and
3.  Qetib/Qere markings that are somewhat obscure (as they are in the OTA

If anyone has a technical description of the file format used by the OTA
BHS text, I'd love to see it to help my debugging.  I found one on the
Westminster Theological Seminary site but it appears to refer to a somewhat
different version of the file.

Likewise, if anyone would like a copy of my results or my Java program, I
believe I am at liberty to re-distribute a derived work from the OTA BHS.
Just let me know.

I'd prefer to give it to those who will be willing to help me track down
these last few problems!  Also, input on better formatting for the final
RTF form would be welcome.

all the best,
Rob Barrett

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