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Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis with Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.18

J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research 2013

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Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis with Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.18
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Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis is an edition of the Hebrew Bible based on Codex Leningradensis (a.k.a. “Leningrad Codex”, “L” and “b19A”), the oldest complete Hebrew Bible available, prepared by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research (formerly the Westminster Hebrew Institute). It includes version 4.18 of the Westminster Hebrew Morphology, which provides lexical and morphological analysis of every word. These tags identify each word’s form and function, and facilitate advanced searching. The Logos Bible Software edition integrates the search interface with The Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology, which provides short definitions of the grammatical labels used in Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis, along with references to grammars to further your study.

Version History of the Westminster Hebrew Morphology

[NOTE: The last version of the Westminster morphology that Logos Bible Software released was version 4.2. The version number is meant to be read as an integer, not a decimal, so the 4.18 represents a significantly newer version (think of version 4.2 as version 2 of the fourth edition, and 4.18 as version 18 of the fourth edition). Generally, the even-numbered releases are intended for public release, so the move from 4.2 to 4.18 is a jump of 8 releases and includes approximately 10 years’ worth of improvements!]

Version 4.0 saw the addition of all the Hebrew accents to the text of Westminster Hebrew Morphology. The raw data for version 3.5 contained some indication of which letter the accent was on, but not which accent, and there was no proper way to render that information in Libronix DLS. With 4.0, the amazing array of marks that form the cantillation system of the Hebrew Bible appeared for the first time.

Starting with version 3.0, the Westminster Hebrew Morphology began matching the lexical analysis with Koehler-Baumgartner-Stamm’s Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Every release from 4.0 to 4.18 made significant improvements in the alignment to HALOT. This is an area that will receive additional minor improvements over time, but it is mostly complete in version 4.18. While most of these changes are to lexical forms and homograph indicators, the process of using HALOT to evaluate Westminster Hebrew Morphology has also led to changes in morphological tagging and kethiv reconstruction.

Version 4.2 enabled Logos to support homograph indicators. Homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Homograph indicators are typically numerals that are assigned to distinguish between homographs. Version 4.2 also saw the invention of word-selecting tools with drop-down lists to help you spell words correctly, providing glosses that help you pick whichever homograph you want to study or perform searches on.

Additionally, version 4.2 saw the creation of Logos KeyLink tables. These tables are used to navigate from a particular instance of a word to the most correct definition in a lexicon, regardless of differences in spelling, homographs, or even part of speech or lexical form. These lookup tables are a massive improvement toward navigating from the biblical text to the lexicons accurately. If you’re still using one of the older versions, you’re missing out on a major upgrade.

Versions 4.8 and 4.10 saw a significant review of the accentuation added in the 4.0 release.

The quantity and quality of the textual notes has expanded significantly between versions 4.2 and 4.18. On the one hand, notes were generated to chronicle the move towards the text of Codex Leningradensis and show places where Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia makes different editorial decisions. The current printing of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is helpfully distinguished from notes generated by older printings where it has changed. On the other hand, beginning with version 4.12 and continuing to this day: a new generation of notes is being created as each new fascicle of Biblia Hebraica Quinta is published. The notes break down differences in consonants, vowels, accents, punctuation and Qere/Kethiv analysis.

The morphology received a number of expansions including:

  • The expansion of the tagging of state (construct/absolute) that began with version 4.2 was completed by version 4.12, so that every nominal form (noun, adjective, numeral or verbal participle) contains an explicit state tag.
  • In version 4.4, numerals were given an extra field to identify if they are cardinal (1, 2, 3, etc.) or ordinal (first, second, third, etc.).
  • The “energic nun” was tagged in version 4.4.
  • Version 4.12 provided a thorough review of the gender of rarely occurring nouns.
  • Version 4.12 also introduced a new way to indicate when a particular piece of analysis is “unexpected.” For example, when a pronominal suffix has to be masculine by context, but the form appears to be feminine (a change most common when the word is in the pausal position), it is flagged as an “unexpected” form. This additional tagging of unexpected forms is an on-going process, with each release from 4.12 to 4.18 expanding the tagging of unusual forms.

Furthermore, all the accumulated textual corrections that have been made over the years are arguably more important than the changes that are easy to list. The Westminster Hebrew Morphology is one of the most widely used digital editions of the Hebrew Bible, and it generates quality feedback from the scholars who use it. Westminster Hebrew Morphology is backed by an issue-tracking database that allows its editors to organize feedback and store discussions about the decisions they’ve made along the way. The result is a high quality text that gets better with each release.

Key Features

  • Identifies places where the text of Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis corrects the Codex Leningradensis, as well as places where other popular editions, such as the BHS and the new BHQ fascicles, read or correct Leningradensis differently than Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis
  • Includes the qere readings from the manuscript margins, as well as reconstructed vocalization for the kethiv readings from the main line (which, by design, only have consonants in the Codex Leningradensis)
  • Aligns to Koehler-Baumgartner-Stamm’s Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, with some corrections and analytical differences
  • Provides the most detailed morphological analysis available, tagging many features not found in other databases
  • Remains popular with scholars since its inception (thus, it has benefitted from the attention and suggestions of many qualified readers)
  • Integrates a word-selector tool with English glosses, making it easy to perform searches on a selected word, particularly in the case of homographs—words that are spelled the same but have different meanings

Product Details

  • Title: Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis
  • Publisher: J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research
  • Publication Date: 2013