Hebrew Syntax Search

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This article is designed to help you use the Syntax Search capability in Logos to find patterns, or identify particular structures, in Hebrew biblical texts.

Note: Available in packages Silver and above.

Syntax is the grammatical structure of a text that shows the way words are put together to form phrases, clauses, and sentences. Syntax Search allows you to search the Hebrew Bible, Greek New Testament, or Septuagint for specific grammatical structures, relationships, and patterns. While a Basic search can show you where else an exact word or phrase is used, with Syntax search, you can locate similar kinds of word, phrases, or structures.

Selecting Resources to Search

There are several syntactically tagged resources you can use for running a syntax search in Logos. Each of these has unique characteristics that you’ll want to be aware of before using it for your search. Additionally, two of the resources come with companion guides to explain the usage and help you visualize the syntactic structure.

Andersen-Forbes

The Andersen-Forbes database is a unique syntax database originally created for Logos Bible Software. The Hebrew text for AF is based principally on the Leningrad Codex. While it uses a more complex search language than the other syntactically tagged Hebrew resources, this allows you to create specific search queries that include semantic domain in addition to grammatical searches. Additionally, use A Systematic Glossary to the Andersen-Forbes Analysis of the Hebrew Bible resource to properly understand the search language and create custom search queries.

Biblia-Hebraica Stuttgartensia: WIVU

The BHS WIVU Constituency Trees use a standard language for syntax identification. This will be useful when used in connection with other Biblical Hebrew resources like Waltke, Gesenius, etc. Additionally, the syntax language is simpler than the Andersen-Forbes Dataset making a syntax search easier as it does not use semantic domain, but only grammatical categories. However, because it uses a simplified search language, the results in your syntax search will not be as precise as they would be using the Andersen Forbes.

Lexham Hebrew Bible: Cantillation Analysis Database

Unlike the Andersen-Forbes and BHS, the Lexham Hebrew Bible: Cantillation Analysis Database is structured according to the Masoretic accent marking known as ‘Cantillations’. These markings indicate how to break up a biblical text into smaller units. Additionally, they indicate how the Masoretes understood these smaller units to relate to each other by using either conjunctive accents or disjunctive accents. Use the Cantilation Analysis Database to construct your syntax search based on the Cantillation structure in the Hebrew Bible. This article will focus on the AF and BHS-WIVU databases since these are most commonly used.

Note: Use the Lexham Hebrew Bible: Cantillation Analysis Documentation to learn more about unique search queries for this type of Syntax Search.

Constructing a Syntax Search

Creating a Syntax Search

You can create syntax searches either from previously made templates constructed by the Logos community or you can create custom searches.

There are two ways of creating a new syntax search:

  1. From the Search panel
  2. From the Docs menu

Creating a Syntax Search from the Search Panel

To create a syntax search from the Search panel:

  1. Select the Search icon in the toolbar and select Syntax.

    Syntax Search Tab Visible

  2. Select the syntactically tagged resource within which you will search.

    Resource Selection Showing Andersen Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Resource Selected


    Note: Limiting your search to only OT passages will result in Logos only showing the Hebrew resources.

  3. Open the Query dropdown.

    Query Dropdown Expanded

From the Query dropdown menu, you have three options available to you. You can select a premade template for a particular construction, you can select a recent search, or you can create a New Syntax Search.

Note: Creating a new syntax search from the Query dropdown menu will be an identical experience to creating a syntax search from the Docs menu.

Search Templates For Andersen Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis

Creating a Syntax Search from the Docs Menu

The second way to create a new Syntax search is from the Docs menu. Select the New dropdown and Syntax Search from the menu that appears.

Syntax Search New Doc Highlighted

 

Using a Template Syntax Search

Open a syntax search and use the query dropdown menu to find the list of premade template searches (see above) in one panel and a second, open The Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text. In this example, we will search using the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Dataset to find every place in the Torah where “God” (אלהים) is used as the subject of a clause.

  1. In the search bar, confine your search to the Torah and select Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Database.

    Andersen Forbs Phrase Marker Analysis Selected With Torah As A Limiter

  2. Next, open the Query dropdown menu and select the Subject (Andersen-Forbes) template.

    Subject (Andersonforbes) Selected In Query Builder

  3. Finally, input אלהים (God) into the search box and click Go.

    Elohim In The Input With The Go Box Highlighted

There are three easy ways to input the Hebrew text:

  1. Use a Hebrew keyboard on your computer to start typing out the word. Select the correct lemma from the drop-down that appears.

  2. In the search bar, type “h:” and then begin to type out the English transliteration. Select the correct reference from the drop-down menu that appears.

  3. In the open Hebrew Bible, right-click the word to copy it. Paste the word in the search box.

Note: Learn more about Hebrew input options.

Notice that in this example, you see אלהים (God) is used as the subject of a clause 169 times in the Torah. Following this example, discover how these results compare to a similar search for יהוה (Yahweh) or אל (God) under the same search parameters.

Using a Custom Syntax Search

While a search template may be helpful for basic syntax searches, sometimes you need a more specific search query to find exactly what you’re looking for. The custom syntax search allows you to fine-tune your search and build a more complex search query for your study. The following examples will use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Dataset along with The Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis.

 

To create a custom syntax search:

  1. Open the Docs menu, select New, and choose Syntax Search.
  2. Select your desired syntactically tagged resource.

    New Syntax Search Document With Andersen Forbes Selected

    Note: The number of syntactically tagged resources will vary depending on which Logos package you have.

  3. Open The Hebrew Bible: Andresen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis from your Library.

The Andersen-Forbes Phrase Analysis Marker shows cascading syntactic information about a verse. Read this from left to right, top to bottom (following the arrows). This means that the left side of the resource shows more general information and it gets more specific as you move to the right.

Note: Consider adjusting your layout to ensure you see the entirety of the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Maker Analysis.

Vertical Split Layout With Andersen Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis And Syntax Search

With this layout, you can see the syntax structure you can use as an example to build your custom search.

The following examples will demonstrate several kinds of custom syntax searches you can build. In your own study, take similar questions to start building your own searches. The first example will walk through the process step-by-step.

Examples

Example: Psalm 55:23 with Andersen-Forbes Dataset

In Psalm 55:23, the Psalmist calls readers to cast their burdens on the Lord. Using a syntax search you can find other examples of God’s people being invited to have a particular kind of action before God. Look at the following example to build your syntax search. We’ll use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis and the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Dataset.

Note: References in the Psalms do not always correspond to the verse numbers in English translations. If you have your preferred Bible open, make sure to link it to the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Learn more about creating a Link Set.

Open your Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis to Psalm 55:23 (click here to quick open).

Andersen Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis With Psalm 5523 Highlighted In Verse Bar

Notice that Psalm 55:23 is made up of two clauses identifiable by the marker “cloblq” meaning this is an Oblique Clause.

Psalm 5523 Open With Oblique Clause Called Out In Phrase Marker Analysis

Hovering over the markers will open a small information window giving the full explanation of the marker. This window will help you build the syntax search.

Hovering Over Clause Oblique To Show Popup Explanation

Key Terms for Andersen-Forbes
Be sure to consult the Systematic Glossary to the Andersen-Forbes Analysis of the Hebrew Bible for explanation of these key terms, but this short list will help you get started building your custom search query.

  • Supra-Clause: A discourse structure that exists “above” the clause. Supra-clauses are comprised of clauses and other kinds of discourse units, often linked by cue phrases. At present, structures at this level of analysis are quite provisional and incomplete.
  • Clause: Typically, a syntactic unit that includes a predicator and the clause immediate constituents that accompany it. Biblical Hebrew also has clauses having no predicator (“verbless” or “nominal” clauses).
  • Clause - Immediate Constituent: The immediate constituents of a clause are the smaller constituents out of which the clause is directly composed. For example, the grammatical subject of a clause is a Clause-Immediate Constituent.
  • Phrase: A linguistic unit in clause structure that combines with other phrases to form a larger construction. Synonym: constituent that is not a clause immediate constituent.
  • Segment: A word, part of a word, or sequence of words that is an ultimate constituent in our syntactic analysis. For example, dissecting a prefixed preposition and a pronoun suffix off a word yields three segments (eg, in + house + his). A proper noun may be “ligatured” to form a multiple-word segment. For example, the two-word sequence Beth El forms a single segment, while the two-word sequence from-Beth El forms two segments: from and Beth El.

To start building custom syntax search:

  1. Click the Plus icon Add New Circle - Filled icon next to “Add search terms here.” (If you don’t see the plus icon, choose the New Syntax Search template first.) This will reveal a new window with five unit options: Supra-Clausal, Clause, Clause IC, Phrase, and Segment. Additionally, you will see five ordering options that designate the specific relationship between these units: Anything, Gap, Group, Unordered Group, Or.

  2. Select “Clause” as this is the first syntactic unit.

    Add Segment Dropdown Open

    Note: The Clause is the first syntactic unit and not Supra-Clausal (Sentunion/disj) in this query because this specific search is only dealing with one clause in the verse, not both.

  3. Select ‘Obliqueness’ from the “Specifics” pane that appears on the right. If you don’t see this menu, click the word “Clause.” You will find ‘Obliqueness’ under the ‘Syntactic License’ drop-down menu.

    Clause Node With Syntactic License Obliqueness Selected

  4. Find the details of the next syntactic unit in the clause by hovering over it in the Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Notice that the tooltip shows this is a “Clause Immediate Constituent: Finite Verb: Grammar.”

    Tooltip Showing For Clause Immediate Constituent

    Note: Remember to consult A Syntactic Glossary for full explanations of what each of these terms means.

  5. Click the Plus icon Add New Circle - Filled icon on the right side of the box that appears when you hover over the clause.

    Note: Make sure your search query follows the same flow as the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Move from left to right and then top to bottom. Each time you move to the right, you are adding additional information about the same segment. When you add information below, you are adding an additional segment to your search. In the case of Psalm 55:23, you are adding the next word in your query.

  6. Add the corresponding unit to your query by selecting “Clause IC” which indicates a Clause - Immediate Constituent.

    New Node Menu Showing With Ic Clause Highlighted

  7. Click on the clause to open the Specifics panel. Select “Finite Verb” under the ‘Constituent’ drop-down menu in the “Specifics” window.

    Clause Ic With Constituent Finite Verb Called Out

    Note: So far, your search consists of an Oblique Clause that starts with a finite verb. Conducting your search at this point would return over 56,000 results. Adding additional information to your search will dramatically decrease the amount of results.

  8. Find the details of the next syntactic unit in the clause by hovering over it in the Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Notice that information widow shows this is a: Clause Immediate Constituent : Location : Grammar

    Tooltip Showing For Clause Immediate Constituent

  9. Click the Plus icon Add New Circle - Filled icon under the “Clause IC₁” that appears when you hover over it. Add the corresponding unit in Syntax search by selecting Plus icon under “Clause IC₁”. Remember, this flow should follow the same pattern displayed in the Phrase Marker analysis. There is no more information to the right of in the Phrase Marker Analysis, but there is information about the clause listed below. Therefore, you add information below. You will also see the arrows in your query follow the same pattern seen in the Phrase Marker Analysis.

    Note: The subscript after Clause IC indicates this is the first Clause IC in the query. Each element in the search will have a subscript attached to it to help ensure your search is built in the proper order.

  10. Select “Clause IC” as the next element in your search.

    Adding Another Node On The Clause IC

    Note: Because this is the second, “Clause IC” in our search, you will see it automatically labeled “Clause IC₂”.

  11. Select “Location” under the ‘Constituent’ drop-down menu in the “Specifics” window. If you don’t see the Specifics window, click the card.

    Location Space Option Selected In Specifics Sidebar

  12. Find the details of the next syntactic unit in the clause by hovering over it in the Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Notice that information widow shows this is a: Phrase: “Upon” + Deity : Preposition

    Upon Deityprep Hovered With Tooltip Showing

  13. Click the Plus icon Add New Circle - Filled icon to the right of “Clause IC1” that appears when you hover over it.

  14. Add the corresponding unit in Syntax search by selecting “Phrase” and “Upon” under the ‘Phrase’ drop-down menu in the “Specifics” window.

    New Node Popup With Phrase Called Out

    Note: You have the ability to broaden your search by including additional prepositions here

  15. Select ‘Deity’ under the ‘Semantics’ drop-down menu.

    Deity Specific For Phrase Selected

  16. Find the details of the next syntactic unit in the clause by hovering over it in the Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Notice that the tooltip shows this is an “Clause Immediate Constituent: Direct Object: Grammar”.
  17. Click the Plus icon under the “Clause IC₂” that appears when you hover over it. Remember, you are using the Add New Circle - Filled icon under “Clause IC₂” because you are adding information about the next section of the clause. Choose "Clause IC."

    Third Clause Ic Selected In New Node Popup

  18. Add the corresponding unit in Syntax search by selecting “Clause IC” and “Direct Object” under the ‘Constituent’ drop-down menu in the “Specifics” window.

    Direct Object Specific Selected For Third Clause IC

At this point, your custom search query should look like this:

Current Structure Of Syntax Search With Three Sub Clause IC

Notice that the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis has additional information that is not yet included in the search. The final clause marker in this clause specifies that the direct object (“cares”) is a noun with the semantic domain of Mental State. You can choose to add this, however your search may be then too specific and only return as a result the very passage you’re looking at.

To run the search, simply select Search in the upper left hand corner of the search document.

Search Using Your Custom Syntax Search

You can add another translation using the Add Versions+ button.

Add Versions Button Visible

Add your desired version abbreviation to show it next to your Hebrew Bible.

Visible Side By Side Hebrew And ESV

 

Example: Psalm 55:23 in Biblia Hebraica WIVU Syntactic Analysis

To construct a query using the Biblia Hebraic WIVU Dataset, use the same principles outlined above for the Andersen-Forbes Dataset. The following example will demonstrate how to construct the same query above and highlight the differences between the two tools. You will need access both Biblia Hebraic Stuttgartensia: WIVU Constituency Trees and Biblia Hebraic Stuttgartensia.

  1. Open Biblia Hebraic Stuttgartensia: WIVU Constituency Trees to Psalm 55:23 (click here to quick open) and new Syntax search document.

    Split Screen With WIVU Constituency Trees And Search Syntax

    Note: The terminology for WIVU is not the same as that used for AFAT but you can still construct the query using the same process outlined above. Notice that WIVU allows you to search for grammatical categories AND NOT semantic domain. This means you will see options in the ‘Specifics’ window that correspond specifically to Hebrew/Aramaic Grammar.

  2. Hover over the elements in WIVU Constituency Tree to reveal the tooltip information showing this first element is a Sentence.

    Sent Hovered With Sentence Tooltip Showing

  3. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon in the Search document to add the first element in the query: ‘Sentence’. If you don’t see this option, ensure you’ve selected Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: WIVU Syntatic Analysis.

    Add Search Terms To The Document Showing

    Note: WIVU organizes the elements smallest to largest rather than largest to smallest like AFAT.

  4. Hover over the second element in WIVU Constituency Tree to reveal the tooltip information showing this second element is a Sentence Atom.

    Tooltip Showing Sentence Atom

  5. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon in the Search document to the right of the first element to add the second element in the query: Sentence Atom.

  6. Hover over the third element in WIVU Constituency Tree to reveal the tooltip information showing this third element is a Clause : Imperative.

    Clause Imperative Tooltip

  7. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon in the Search document to the right of the second element to add the third element in the query: Clause. Click Clausec₁ to open the Specifics window.

    Clausec1 Specifics Window Called Out

     

  8. Select Imperative under the Clause Type drop-down.

    Imperative Clause Type Selected

  9. Hover over the fourth element in WIVU Constituency Tree to reveal the tooltip information showing this fourth element is a Clause Atom : Imperative.

    Clause Atom Imperative Tooltip

  10. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon in the Search document to the right of the third element to add the fourth element in the query: Clause Atom.

    Fourth Node With Clause Atom Highlighted

  11. Click the Clause Atom₁ element to open the Specifics window. Select Imperative under the Clause Type drop-down.

    Fourth Node With Imperative Type Highlighted

  12. Hover over the fifth element in WIVU Constituency Tree to reveal the tooltip information showing this fifth element is a Phrase : Verbal : Predicate.

    Phrase Verbal Predicate Tooltip Highlighted

  13. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon in the Search document to the right of the fourth element to add the fifth element in the query: Phrase.

    Fifth Node With Phrase Selected

  14. Select Verbal in the Phrase Type dropdown of the Specifics window.

    Fifth Node With Verbal Phrase Type Selected

  15. Select Predicate in the Phrase Function dropdown of the Specifics window.

    Fifth Node With Predicate Selected As The Phrase Function

  16. Add the remaining elements of this sentence to the search query below following the same process outlined above. When complete, the query should look like this:

    Entire Syntax Search Query Visible With All Nodes

  17. Click Search to view all results.

    Search Button Highlighted For Syntax Search Query

  18. Final Results

    Syntax Search Results

    Consider adding another Bible version as shown above to view the results in English.


Example: “Hear, O Israel”

Use the Syntax Search to find all other occurrences where a person or group is specifically called to listen. This example will show how to find instances of when God calls people to “hear” and how to modify your search based on the exegetical questions you are asking of the passage. We’ll use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis and the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis Dataset.

  1. Open a new Syntax Search by selecting the Docs tab from the toolbar menu. Select the New dropdown and Syntax Search from the menu that appears. I'll right-click the tab and click Dock this tab.

    Syntax Search New Doc Highlighted

  2. Open the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis by selecting the Library tab from the toolbar menu and splitting the panes vertically.

    AFPA Searched In The Library

  3. Open AFPA to Deuteronomy 6:4 (click here to quick open) and ensure Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis is selected as the syntax search resource.

    Deuteronomy 64 Split Top With Search Syntax Below

  4. Notice that the clause in question, “Hear, Oh Israel” is made up of an Oblique Clause, and two Immediate Constituents.

    Clause Predication Tooltip For Hear O Israel

    Note: Building this syntax search will follow the same process as the example above in Psalm 55:23.

  5. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon next to “Add search terms here.” in the syntax search document. This will reveal a new window with five unit options: Supra-Clausal, Clause, Clause IC, Phrase, and Segment. Additionally, you will see five ordering options that designate the specific relationship between these units: Anything, Gap, Group, Unordered Group, Or. Select Clause as this is the first segment.

    Clause Selcted As First Search Node

  6. Click the Clause1 node and select Obliqueness under Syntactic License in the Specifics panel.

    Syntactic License Obliqueness Selcted For First Node

  7. Hover over the second segment in the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis showing that this is tagged as a Clause Immediate Constituent : Finite Verb.

  8. Click the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon on the right side of the box that appears when you hover over the clause in the syntax document.

    Clause Immediate Constituent Tooltip

    Note: Make sure your search query follows the same flow as the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Move from left to right and then top to bottom. Each time you move to the right, you are adding additional information about the same segment. When you add information below, you are adding an additional segment to your search. In the case of Psalm 55:23, you are adding the next word in your query.

  9. Select Clause IC to input the second segment.

    Second Node As Clauseic Node

  10. Select this new Clause IC₁ in the syntax document to open the Clause IC₁ Specifics window. In the Clause IC₁ Specifics window, open the Constituent dropdown menu and select Finite Verb.

    Second Node Constituent Finite Verb Type

    Close the Clause IC₁ Specifics window by clicking anywhere in the syntax document.

  11. Hover over the next segment in the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis revealing in the information window that this is tagged as a Clause Immediate Constituent : Vocative.

    Clause Immediate Constituent Tooltip

  12. Select the Plus - Add New icon Plus icon to the right of Clause₂ and select Clause IC.

    Second Node As Clauseic Node

  13. Select Clause IC₂ in the syntax document to open the Clause IC₂ Specifics window. Open the Constituent dropdown menu in the Clause IC₂ Specifics window and select Vocative.

    Second Node Constituent Finite Verb Type

  14. Modeling your search query after Deuteronomy 6:4 will look like this:

    Full Search Query For Deuteronomy 64

However, this search is not specific enough to answer the specific question above: where else does God call people to ‘hear’ (שמע) in the Old Testament? In this form, your custom syntax search is only looking for a finite verb followed by a vocative. This will return hundreds of results.

To refine this search, there are a few things for which we need to account. First, the word order may not always be a verb followed by a noun. Secondly, we want to make sure we are looking for Deity-to-Human discourse so that only results where God speaks (directly or indirectly) to humans appear. Finally, we want to search for a specific Hebrew lemma in a specific form. Let’s build the search!

  1. Add an Unordered Group marker after the first clause but before Clause IC₁ and Clause IC₂ to allow for any order of the verb and noun.

    Unordered Group Between The First And Second Node

  2. Specify the specific verb you are looking for in the search by adding a ‘Segment’ next to Clause IC₁.

    Fourth Segment With Segment Highlighted

    Note: A Segment is the smallest unit in the syntax structure. This is where you will add more information about a word, type of passage and “Part of Speech” dropdown menus in the Specifics window.

  3. Specify the ‘Text-Type’ of the Segment in the Specifics window. Check the boxes under ‘Divinity-to-Human Speech’.

    All Divine To Human Speech Text Types Highlighted

    Note: From the “Text Type” drop-down menu, you can select different kinds of texts such as, “Narrative”, “Divinity-to-Divinity”, “Human-to-Divinity”, ect. This means, for example, you can change your search to find results where humans are calling on God to hear them rather than the other way around.

  4. The full syntax search should look like this:

    Finalized View For Entire Syntax Search

  5. Click Search to run the syntax search.

    Search Button Highlighted For Syntax Search

  6. Here are the final results. Adding an English translation can help you interpret the results.

    Results Of Syntax Search

You can refine your search even further by selecting a specific kind of Divinity to Human speech so that you look for promises, curses, judgment, ect. The Andersen-Forbes Dataset provides opportunities to create powerful searches within the Hebrew Bible.

Syntax search is a powerful tool within your Logos library. While it takes time to learn the complexities of each syntactic resource, you will be able to construct creative searches to the many questions that come up in your study of the Hebrew Bible.

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