Project Gramcord: A Report -- By: James A. Boyer

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 01:1 (Spring 1980)
Article: Project Gramcord: A Report
Author: James A. Boyer

Project Gramcord: A Report

James A. Boyer

A major project in the field of New Testament Greek grammar and syntactical studies is under way and right now is completing its first major goal.

For many years I have felt the need for a new tool for Greek exegesis, a concordance which will do for the study of syntactical constructions what a word concordance does for the study of word meanings. When a student of the NT wants to know the true meaning of a word, he goes to a concordance, finds all the places in the NT where that word occurs, and then studies its usage in all those places (a lexicon or dictionary merely reflects the results of some other scholar’s study of such usage). It is obvious that language includes more than words; it includes words in syntactical relationships. And it is just as important to study the usage of these “grammatical constructions” as it is to study the separated words. But thus far it has been exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to find the other places in the NT where the same construction occurs. The grammars discuss some constructions and give some examples, but not complete lists. We need a new tool.

But such a work would be so huge and the task of preparing it so great as to be almost impossible—at least until the coming of computers. I began to inquire into the possibilities of using this mechanical means to lessen the work and speed up the process. Of course, much work is being done in using computers for the study of languages, but none even approaches the sophistication needed for this program. About three years ago, the Lord brought to me (I firmly believe it was His doing) a young man who was interested in Greek and an expert computer programmer, Mr. Paul Miller.

Mr. Miller was then a student at Indiana University, majoring in Greek and Religious Studies, and also pursuing extensive studies in computer programming and data structures. He has since graduated with high honors and has been serving as programming consultant and lecturer in Computer Science at Indiana University. He has received national recognition through papers presented at both theological and computer science conferences, and a number of published articles in the field. This year he begins his work toward a Master of Arts in New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

The first step in the program was to get the syntactical information ready in a form which could be stored in a computer data base from which it could be drawn for the grammatical concordances. This involved the morphological analysis and identification of every word in the NT together with some functional description as well. Even in this work, computer programs were devised ...

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