Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rhode Island Coffee and books

One day before Christmas I had a coffee and a Danish pastry at Rhode Island Coffee on Little Underbank in Stockport. There were a few books related to Rhode Island on the window ledge, so I browsed through one of them.

It was Marguerite Appleton, A Portrait Album - Four Great Rhode Island Leaders.

Here is the Amazon link.

The time I spent there was enough to read the first chapter, which was about Roger Williams, (1603-1883), the co-founder of Rhode Island. He is credited for originating either the first or second Baptist church established in America.

He also wrote, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, for Cause of Conscience (London, 1644). This is his most famous work, and was the ablest statement and defence of the principle of absolute liberty of conscience that had appeared in any language. It is in the form of a dialogue between Truth and Peace, and well illustrates the vigour of his style.

A pleasant interlude in a brief shopping errand.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Statistical analysis of Bible verse lengths

In the course of my Go Bible activities, I found it necessary to perform a statistical analysis of Bible verse lengths, in order to test a conjecture that there had been systematic truncation in the particular source text that I had been working with. This was the French translation by Pirot and Clamer.

This is an illustration of where my Engineering and Theology interests and skills overlap.

The underlying probability distribution would be of interest to statisticians.
  • Cubic polynomial best fit below the mode, where mode length = 79 characters
  • Linear best fit above the mode
The chart lends weight to my truncation conjecture. There was a second peak of verses with length=255. The few slightly longer verses may be explained by word-wrap effects.

Further details are given in this Go Bible Forum topic. If you are not a forum member, you will first need to register before logging in.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Messianic Good News

Messianic Good News is a non-profit organisation, founded in 1950 for the purpose of proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus the Messiah to Jews and Gentiles primarily through the written format. They publish and distribute tracts and books for outreach as well as the quarterly, “Messianic Good News,” through which they aim to encourage and equip readers with a deeper understanding of the faith. These articles are available on the website.

They recently hosted a conference in South Africa, on the subject, ISRAEL IN THE LAST DAYS - a critical look at popular views of the end times. The speakers were:
  • Stephen Sizer - who spoke on Israel from a theological perspective
  • Kevin Daly - who dealt with the misconceptions in popular dispensationalist views
  • Peter Cohen - who spoke on the prophecies of Daniel 9 and Matthew 24
  • Alan Morrison - who gave a two part paper on "the Restoration of all things".
Transcripts of all the conference talks are now available.