Some of you must be wondering what I think I am doing with all these dumps of data and graphs, rough cut pictures, and detail translation. Well - I am not sure I have figured it out either. Roughly I am following these steps - now testing some new features for data collection in the software we use. The next post will show the results of a test - I hope it works.
1. By psalm, notes on its placement and how I have classified it. If it is significant in structure, it must by its placement in sequence show some form with respect to the rest of the corpus. If it is significant in its type, it must be able to be differentiated from other types and the introduction of the type must be appropriate.
2. I am hoping the reporting tool will be able to report on the whole Psalter in pieces for me. Curiously, I have 153 pieces since Psalm 119 is divided in 4. This is equal the number of fish in John 21. I hope also to divide the fish up into portions based on theme. My themes are evolving - there are more than 7 but many are really obvious - being on the surface of the Psalter itself in the headings.
3. I have been working by keyword and root. It is part of the struggle to learn word usage and form and also part of the objective measure of how psalms are related to each other.
There are 19,551 discrete words in the Psalter (in my text). According to my algorithm in its current state, these reduce to 1511 distinct roots - about half the number that are in my root table. One would expect then that on average every 13 words, there will be a repeated root. (Now there's a useless statistic!)
This exercise is a significant challenge for an elder brain. Our comfort levels in complexity analysis and visualization are in groups of 7 and depths of 3. My current portrait conforms to these comfort limitations to a degree, but does not reveal whether there are other potential structural elements. To deal with my memory and visualization limitations, I will be collecting the information using extensions to our diagramming tool that allow integration of the blog with the tool and subsequent publication of the integrated results.
I do not yet know what else I will discover. I do have a bias. I like discovery. It undermines set answers and rewards open diligence. I remember being surprised a year and a half ago at my 'discovery'of the Elohistic Psalter as the meat in the Yahwist sandwich (prompted by Peter Craigie's commentary). I could have read about this and just ignored it, but there is nothing quite like the joy of discovering it in this particular form.