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Building the Corpus

The Arabic text of the Gospels is present in two formats:

  1. Explicit: This format includes the verses of the Gospels transmitted to us in the manuscript tradition. Those verses are present in the different compilations of the four Gospels (continuous text, lectionaries) and as citations in other writings (writings of Church Fathers, liturgical texts, Arabic literature, Islamic literatures, etc.).
  2. Implicit: This format includes allusions to Gospel verses or contents in different types of writings (Arabic poetry, apologetic literature…). These allusions are witnesses of a certain version or translation of the Gospel translation and may contribute to identifying this tradition if they were formally presented and integrated in the corpus.

Both explicit and implicit texts of the Gospels verses will be included in the corpus according to a formal taxonomy. This approach will allow the corpus, when queried, to return all the occurrences of a specific verse regardless of its format or type. For example, if one asks the corpus about Matt 1.12, the platform will return the text of this verse as found in the entire Arabic manuscript tradition of the Gospels, in all the lections, in patristic citations and allusions, and in liturgical prayers or in any other sources. For example, if a pre-Islamic poem refers indirectly to Matt 1.12, its text will also be included in the results. The modularity of the system will allow the scholar to define his or her own way of displaying, grouping and sorting the results so as to suit best the requirements of the research.

The transcription will include different layers of metadata formalized in a set of authority list (an authority list contains an array of values belonging to a specific domain. The metadata values are selected from those lists. In this way we guarantee a high level of consistency and we avoid having the same aspect of the text described in different ways). This will guarantee a higher level of data consistency and integrity.

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