I just received word that my paper proposal for the 2006 SBL meeting in Washington DC was accepted. Here's the preliminary abstract as submitted.
Program Unit: Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics
Paper Title: Word Groups, Head Terms and Modifiers in the Pastoral Epistles: Insight for Questions of Style?
OpenText.org have completed a preliminary syntactic analysis of the Greek New Testament. One level of their analysis is the Word Group level. A word group is a group of words that consists of, at minimum, a head term. It also contains any terms that modify the head term and additionally specifies the type of modification as that of definer, qualifier, relator or specifier.
Heretofore, stylistic analysis has been largely bound to the word level, tracking criteria such as word usage and morphology. The OpenText.org Word Group analysis allows for stylistic analysis of the corpus at a different level. Does head term and modifier usage offer any insight for comparative studies of the Pastoral Epistles and the generally accepted Paulines? This paper will examine word group usage data for both the accepted Paulines and the Pastoral Epistles, and will offer preliminary comparisons between the results where results may offer insight for questions of style.
Some of the work (OK, most of the work) I have yet to do; so I don't have too much to offer in the way of juicy tidbits. The basic thought is that since there is now a corpus available that is syntactically annotated, are there things within such an annotated corpus that would offer insight when examining a text for issues of style? I have a few things I want to check out. The paper will (hopefully) offer some ideas of what sorts of things can be now be aggregated, and which of those might be helpful. Or it could be a bust, and I'll conclude that quantifying style, even with syntactic data, is a near impossible task. We'll see.
Note that the setup of the Biblical Language and Linguistics section is a little different than most sessions; I will have 10 minutes of time to present in which I will summarise the paper, but will be available for 30 minutes of "open discussion" time after the presentation. The open discussion is somewhat informal; presenters break to different corners of the room, and anyone who wants to talk further with a presenter then mills about, pursuing further the things they're interested in.
Should be a fun time. Hope to see you all there.
Update (2006-03-31): Stephen C. Carlson (Hypotyposeis) informs us that he'll present two papers in DC, one in the Synoptics section and one in New Testament Textual Criticism section. They both sound fun; hopefully I have no conflicts and will be able to attend Stephen's sessions.
Update (2006-03-31): Mark Goodacre (NT Gateway Weblog) posts news of a paper he'll present on Paul and Galatians. He (and Stephen C. Carlson as well, I might add) note several other bibliobloggers who have posted notes about accepted papers, including Jim Davila (PaleoJudaica), Michael Bird (Euangelion), and Adam Kotsko (The Weblog, with which I'm not familiar). Add in Sean the Baptist (sorry, Sean, can't locate your full name on the blog) to round out the group. Anyone else?