Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Charlie Johnson » June 16th, 2011, 9:39 pm

I'm interested in creating "reader's" editions of Greek texts. For example, I'm reading through the Epistle to Diognetus right now. I have to look up uncommon vocabulary and difficult constructions as I go, so I may as well record that information in a visually appealing, accessible format.

Does anyone have experience creating documents with a format that looks like a reader's edition? What software would I use? I imagine that something other than Microsoft Word + footnotes is optimal.
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Louis L Sorenson » June 16th, 2011, 10:25 pm

Geoffrey Steadman is the guy for this. He's created a number of readers (secular Greek). See http://geoffreysteadman.wordpress.com/. I've had some contact with him about creating a Reader's edition of Epictetus' Enchiridion. Geoffrey uses MS Word and no database. If you contact him, he would be more than happy (I believe) to give you some advice.

I have created an MS access database with many Greek functions that would be suitable as a base engine for working on a Reader's edition. The base format can be found at http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources/ under ntdatabase3.mdb. It needs some updating, but it is a frame for starting and has betacode/greek transformation tools. It would perhaps be useful to turn this database into a Reader Creation tool.

Those are my ideas. You need to create a base vocabulary -- what the frequency is for words in the back is what determines what vocabulary is listed on same page as the text. Then you need grammar notes for the difficult constructions. It's best to use a text from 1921 or earlier. That way you have no copyright infringements. A Reader's format is becoming a standard kind of thing; look at Deckert's Koine Greek Reader, Steadman's readers, The USB Greek Reader's NT and some of the other standard readers out there. If your book fits in - it works. You should also think about where you will publish your book - with Print-On-Demand available, there are a number of options. Lulu, among others comes to mind.
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby refe » June 16th, 2011, 10:56 pm

Charlie Johnson wrote:I'm interested in creating "reader's" editions of Greek texts. For example, I'm reading through the Epistle to Diognetus right now. I have to look up uncommon vocabulary and difficult constructions as I go, so I may as well record that information in a visually appealing, accessible format.

Does anyone have experience creating documents with a format that looks like a reader's edition? What software would I use? I imagine that something other than Microsoft Word + footnotes is optimal.


I have created an embarrassingly low-fi reader on my blog for the epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, with the intention of adding the other six Ignatius letters soon. Right now it is simply the Greek text with a running glossary for vocabulary that would be unfamiliar to readers of the New Testament, built on a simple Wordpress page. The format needs work, but it is mostly a placeholder until I can fine-tune it and add some more functionality.

You can find it here: http://www.greekingout.com/new-testamen ... ne-reader/ I would appreciate any feedback you might be willing to share.
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Charlie Johnson » June 17th, 2011, 8:22 am

Well, one issue that I need to resolve right away is the copyright status of the Greek texts themselves. I mean, I can't just copy-paste text from TLG or Perseus into a Word document, can I? Where would I find non-copyrighted Greek text?
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 17th, 2011, 8:48 am

The copyright status of the Greek text of a critical edition is an unresolved issue under U.S. copyright law. (The apparatus and other value-added material by the editor is copyrightable, of course.)

To be safe and to be courteous, I would recommend using out-of-copyright texts for reader's editions. Since the goal is more to get people reading Greek rather than doing a scholarly interpretation / exegesis on it, the need for a modern, up-to-date critical text is fairly attenuated.

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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby refe » June 17th, 2011, 10:14 am

sccarlson wrote:The copyright status of the Greek text of a critical edition is an unresolved issue under U.S. copyright law. (The apparatus and other value-added material by the editor is copyrightable, of course.)

To be safe and to be courteous, I would recommend using out-of-copyright texts for reader's editions. Since the goal is more to get people reading Greek rather than doing a scholarly interpretation / exegesis on it, the need for a modern, up-to-date critical text is fairly attenuated.

Stephen Carlson


I tried without success to contact several organizations for permission to use parts of their texts but didn't hear back from a single one. I found an edition in the public domain with no apparatus and went with that, checking for obvious errors such as spelling mistakes against modern critical versions. It get's the job done, and by the time I hear back from those publishers and libraries my blog may be discussed as 'ancient early 21st century writings.'
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby JBarach-Sr » June 17th, 2011, 7:01 pm

You could try this page:
http://www.motorera.com/greek/text/greek.html
It is an index to NT, LXX, Apocrypha, and Early Church writings
Diognetus is found here:
http://www.motorera.com/greek/text/early/dio01.html

Hovering over some of the words will reveal its meaning. Otherwise clicking on the word will take you to a lexicon entry showing the parsing and meaning.

Cheers,
John Barach, Sr
καὶ ἀνέγνωσαν ἐν βιβλίῳ νόμου τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐδίδασκεν Εσδρας καὶ διέστελλεν ἐν ἐπιστήμῃ κυρίου καὶ συνῆκεν ὁ λαὸς ἐν τῇ ἀναγνώσει. (Neh. 8:8)
http://www.motorera.com/greek/lxx/neh/neh08.html
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Nigel Chapman » June 18th, 2011, 12:32 pm

Question for (probably) Louis... I'm adapting some online software to autogenerate vocab lists from texts, but I'm lacking good, short definitions. I came across this on letsreadgreek...

http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources/boyce/vocabulary/Vocab02.txt

Where would I find the largest source of handy, short definitions like this for old Greek words (Koine, mainly, but also classical, LXX, ecclesiastical, and so on would be better). They would have to be public domain, CC licensed or similarly usable. I have data from the old StrongsXML file released by the Bible Society, and also the Perseus LSJ data, all mapped to New Testament texts, but neither are what you might call pithy.

If anyone was interested in condensing such a list out of Perseus, I could provide a mechanism for doing so collaboratively. It seems there must be something in circulation that I haven't found yet.
"When eras die their legacies are left to strange police." -- Clarence Day
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Jason Hare » June 18th, 2011, 12:36 pm

Nigel Chapman wrote:Question for (probably) Louis... I'm adapting some online software to autogenerate vocab lists from texts, but I'm lacking good, short definitions. I came across this on letsreadgreek...

http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources/boyce/vocabulary/Vocab02.txt

Where would I find the largest source of handy, short definitions like this for old Greek words (Koine, mainly, but also classical, LXX, ecclesiastical, and so on would be better). They would have to be public domain, CC licensed or similarly usable. I have data from the old StrongsXML file released by the Bible Society, and also the Perseus LSJ data, all mapped to New Testament texts, but neither are what you might call pithy.

If anyone was interested in condensing such a list out of Perseus, I could provide a mechanism for doing so collaboratively. It seems there must be something in circulation that I haven't found yet.


Do you know if such is possible for Biblical Hebrew? (Off-topic.)
Jason A. Hare
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Re: Creating a "Reader's" Edition

Postby Nigel Chapman » June 19th, 2011, 1:39 am

@Jason: Put most simply it's just a question of being able to link the text to a lexicon. Both need to be public domain or otherwise usable. I've been through this process a few times in Greek, getting an increasingly useful database and toolset, but I wouldn't know the best sources for Hebrew or the particularities of the language.
"When eras die their legacies are left to strange police." -- Clarence Day
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