I think that the best part about knowing New Testament Greek is that it helps you better trace the flow of the argument.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Mark Keaton. I graduated with an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011. For two years, I was the Greek editor of the Bible Sense Lexicon. For the past year, I’ve been the creator and editor of the Lexham Propositional Outlines for Logos 6. And most recently by the grace of God, I’ve been called to be the pastor of Harper Creek Baptist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Our website is a little dated, but we’re working on it!)
2. What are the Lexham Propositional Outlines in Logos 6?
Here’s a quick video overview showing the Lexham Propositional Outlines in action:
3. What did you do to create the Propositional Outlines in Logos 6?
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. I was given an idea under very specific constraints, and I utilized the resources available to me at Logos to create the Propositional Outlines. We prototyped the concept for almost three months of rigorous innovation and criticism. Sean Boisen, Steve Runge, and Eli Evans were my ever-present constructive critics: Boisen pushed the envelope as far as current technological limitations allowed, Evans pushed to keep the end-product layman-friendly, and Runge provided the framework and theoretical ideas to keep the project systematically consistent. Within those bounds, I created a hybrid system that utilized ideas from Linguistics/Discourse Analysis and traditional grammatical categories. The idea was to create a coherently useful analysis of the Greek New Testament that provides functional labels of semantic and pragmatic aspects of the text. We would then apply that data to Logos’s English translations using existing connections between the Greek and English text. And there was the added constraint of being able to display only one label for each line of text (even if I provided more).
4. What method did you follow?
I’ll describe two aspects: the indentation system and the labeling system.
The method I followed for determining the subordinate/superordinate relationship of text-spans (the indentation) was loosely set upon a currently unpublished system developed by Drs. Stephen Levinsohn and Steven Runge. This method analyzes the discourse particles (or lack thereof!) and their semantic constraints to determine the relationship between clauses (or larger sections of text).
The labeling system is based upon more traditional grammatical categories that many systems utilize currently, plus some other labels drawn from Levinsohn and Runge’s understanding of certain particles, and a few labels drawn from the verb valency (after some consultation from Dr. Jeremy Thompson).
The method is then a mixture of elements from these sources. Despite the consultation and influences of these men, the errors remain my own.
5. How does what you did compare to what we call “arcing” at Bethlehem College & Seminary?
I would say that “arcing” is a similar system that works under a different set of constraints. When I’ve arced in the past, I’ve enjoyed the exegetical fruit that I’ve gathered from it.
First, arcing is able to go as narrow as one would like (a single verse?) or as broad as one would like (a book?). The propositional outlines are meant only to track the flow of clauses across an entire book.
Second, there is typically no secondary reader of “arcs” besides a professor who will grade them later! The difficulty of the Propositional Outlines was to provide a readable method of analysis that did not alter the copyrighted text of Bibles currently available in Logos. The end-user was always at the forefront of our minds. Whatever analysis we did on the Greek text would eventually be viewed by a user of the English text. And I’ve heard rumors that if there is enough interest, Logos may do the Old Testament as well.
6. How long did it take?
We prototyped the system for about three months. After that we spent around seven or eight months working full-time, every day to annotate the New Testament. (There were a few extra hours pushing through Acts and Hebrews as well. Haha.)
7. Would you share a screenshot and explain it?
Here is a screenshot of Matthew 28:18–20 using the Propositional Outlines on the English Standard Version.
- On the left you see the labels that describe each Proposition on the right.
- I’ve added gray lines to show the indentation levels more clearly.
- After 18b, “said to them,” the entirety of the discourse is indented one level to show continuity of thought.
- Proposition 19a has in parentheses the letter “b” indicating what proposition to which it is a Background-Action.
- 19b is the primary thought of 19a–20b.
- And actually 19a–20b is an inference of 18c (not shown, but in the annotations). That is why the main proposition of 19a–20b is indented subordinate to 18c.
- At the bottom left, you see the hover-text definition for the label “Ultimate.”
So in a nutshell, Jesus proclaims a truth about a fantastic event in reality (“All authority …”), then given the logical consequences of the reality, issues a command (“make disciples …”). This command has a backgrounded expectation (“Go[ing] …”) , and the main command is expanded upon in two ways (“baptizing … teaching”).
8. How would you recommend that people use this tool?
Watch for main verbs, i.e., propositions that are far to the left. But also watch for main verbs in subordinate sections of continuous thought. As in the verses above, the long, gray lines pretty much show you the main verbs: “said … has been given … make disciples … I am with you.” Some of these “main verbs” are subordinate thoughts to other main verbs; others are in parallel to other “main verbs.” But if you can track these, they can help you follow the writer’s train of thought more easily.
9. What translations is this available for in Logos?
- For Greek, it is currently available in the NA28, NA27, UBS4, and SBL Greek New Testament.
- For English, it is available in the ESV, NIV (1984 and 2011), NASB, NRSV, RSV, NKJV, and NLT.
- It also works in any Spanish translation that has a Reverse Interlinear in Logos.
10. Are you working on any future projects?
Working for Logos has put the rock in my shoe to be thinking about projects like the Bible Sense Lexicon and the Lexham Propositional Outlines. I have a personal New Testament translation project in the works that is the fruit of all my research on the New Testament while creating both the Lexicon and the Outlines. If you’d like to hear more about it, please stay tuned to markkeaton.net in the next few months.
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