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Tip 1.12: Using the Graphical Search Engine

The Graphical Search Engine (GSE) is a powerful search engine that can perform many searches that cannot be done on the Command Line. In this Classroom Tip we will use the GSE to search for occurrences of the specific location in a clause of a postpositive word (ga,r) in the Greek New Testament. How many times does ga,r appear in the second and third position in the clause? Does it ever appear in the fourth position?

In this example you will learn how to create a search that requires punctuation, setting a specified number of intervening search words, suppressing hit highlighting, and searching across verse divisions. The completed GSE query file is available at the end of this Classroom Tip.

Why Use the GSE?

The GSE is the proper search tool to use for this type of search, as it contains search capabilities not possible using the Command Line. For this search, four search capabilities make the GSE the tool to use:

  • The GSE can search on punctuation.
  • The GSE can suppress hit highlighting, making it easier to see certain search hits.
  • The GSE allows you to search across verses very easily.
  • The GSE allows you to specify the exact position where a word occurs in relationship to other words in the search.

Neither of the first two items are possible on the Command Line. Searching on punctuation is necessary for finding the postpositive ga,r, and suppressing hit highlighting will make it easier to see where the ga,r appears in the text. While the second two items can be done to some extent on the Command Line, they are probably easier to do using the GSE.

Preparing the GSE Search

The most important part of preparing any search is knowing what is a valid search output. In this case, it is important to know what is a postpositive word, and how it should appear in the Greek text. The postpositive word never appears as the first word of a clause.

Based upon how a postpositive word appears in the Greek text, it is necessary for the search to identify the beginning of a clause. In this example a punctuation mark identifies where the clause begins. (One limitation of the search occurs if punctuation is missing in a version.)

Since the postpositive word cannot appear at the beginning of the clause, it is necessary for at least one word to appear between the punctuation mark and the postpositive word.

Look at the Greek text of Romans 4:12-13, as shown above. Notice that the punctuation mark appears at the end of 4:12, and ga,r appears as the second word in 4:13. Our search will have to take into account punctuation that appears in the verse previous to the appearance of ga,r.

Constructing the GSE Search

Begin the search by setting your Command Line search version as BNM, a Greek NT morphology text. You will also want to display the BNT Greek text in the Browse Window to view your search results. Be sure that you do not have any search limits set.

Next, open the GSE. (You can open the GSE from the menu under Search | Graphical Search Engine, or you can simply press the function key F9 on your keyboard.) The GSE window opens with one Merge Box at the top of the window, and one Word Box at the bottom.

Searching Across Verses

Because the punctuation may appear in the previous verse, we need to search across verses. You can set the search query to search across verses by double-clicking on the box at the bottom of the GSE window. Notice the location indicated by the arrow in the picture below.

Adding Word Boxes

Word Boxes contain the search terms you want to find. Before we can add the word boxes, we need to identify what exactly we need to find.

First, we know that we need to find the word ga,r . Double-click on the word box in the GSE and type the word gar. (We are not searching on accents, so do not include the accent.) When you are finished entering the word, click OK to close the Word Box Options window.

But we need to add some other Word Boxes, as well. Because we are looking for a postpositive word, we need to account for the punctuation and the word or words that appear before the punctuation and ga,r. We need to add two more Word Boxes. Connect these two Word Boxes to the Merge Box by setting the mouse to the Word Connect Mode and dragging from the Word Boxes to the Merge Box. (The Add Word Box button and Word Connect Mode button are indicated by arrows below.) Notice also that I have moved the Word Box containing gar to the right of the window.

Double-click on one of the new Word Boxes. In the upper right section of the Word Box Options window is the option to Suppress highlighting. By suppressing the highlighting, only the word ga,r will be highlighted in your search results, making it easier to find where this word occurs. Check this box, and then click OK to close the window. The Word Box will automatically be populated with *@*, meaning that any lemma and any form can appear in that box. Do the same thing with the second new Word Box.

Setting Word Order

Now we need to set word order. The first Word Box on the left represents the word that appears immediately before the punctuation. The second Word Box represents the word that appears immediately after the punctuation. The third Word Box contains the word ga,r.

First we will add an Ordering Box between the first and second Word Boxes, and then an Ordering Box between the second and third Word Boxes. The Ordering Box specifies the order in which the words appear in the search, as well as how many words may appear between one Word Box and another. The Ordering Box also contains the punctuation settings. (The Order Mode button is indicated by the arrow in the picture below.)

As you add the Ordering Boxes, be sure to drag-and-drop the Ordering Box arrow from the box on the left to the box on the right. The order in which the boxes appear on the screen does not matter, but the order of the arrows from one box to another specifies the order in which the words appear in the search. Notice the arrows between the Ordering Boxes and the Word Box that follows it.

Setting Word Position and Punctuation Settings

The Ordering Boxes contain the settings we need to establish word position and intervening punctuation. We need to indicate that punctuation must appear between the first Word Box and the second Word Box. Open the Ordering Box by double-clicking on the box. At the bottom of the Ordering and Proximity Options window select the radio button to Require punctuation, then click OK to close the window.

Now double-click on the second Ordering Box. In this box we want to exclude punctuation. But we also want to set how many intervening words appear between the second and third Word Boxes. We will set the intervening words to Exactly 0. Since the second Word Box represents one word, setting the intervening words to 0 means that there will be one word, and only one word, between the punctuation mark and ga,r. Later we will change Exactly 0 to Exactly 1, and then Exactly 2 to see how many times ga,r appears in that position in the clause. After changing the settings for intervening words and excluding punctuation, click OK to close the window.

Press the green Go button to run the search. There are 960 hits of ga,r in the second position in the clause. Now double-click on the second Ordering Box and change Exactly 0 to Exactly 1. Click OK, then run the search again. There are 70 hits where ga,r is in the third position in the clause. Double-click on the second Ordering Box and change Exactly 1 to Exactly 2. Click OK, then run the search. There are 3 hits where ga,r is in the fourth position in the clause.

The final hit, 2Co 1:18, actually doesn't contain the word ga,r. The word ga,r is actually in 2Co 1:19, but this still counts as a hit since the first word of our search occurs immediately before the punctuation mark at the end of 2Co 1:18. This type of search hit, where ga,r appears in the next verse, occurs frequently.

>>Download the completed query file here. [Right-click on the link and choose "Save as".]

Related Searches

You can modify this search to search for other postpositive words. For example, BDAG lists a[ma as a postpositive in Colossians 4:3. You can search to find if there are other examples of postpositive a[ma by replacing ga,r in the third Word Box with a[ma. (As you know, just because a word appears in the second or third or fourth position does not mean that it is postpositive. You will have to interpret your search results to see if each result is valid or not.)

You can also use the concepts you learned in this Classroom Tip for other types of searches. For example, you can use the punctuation features of the Ordering Boxes to search for all the questions in the NT.

I hope this Classroom Tip encourages you to investigate the many different types of searches that you can do using the powerful search capabilities of the Graphical Search Engine. For more information about the GSE, see chapters 20 through 23 of the BibleWorks Online Help file.

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