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Monachos Orthodox Dictionary - beta testing


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#1 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 09:46 PM

Dear all,

Some of you have noticed, over the past two days, that terms in posts in the Community have begun to appear underlined with light-blue, dashed underlining (like this: communion), as special hyperlinks. To those who are curious as to the phenomenon, we are beginning beta testing of a feature much-requested by members of the forum: a linked dictionary of key terms in discussion.

Here is how it works:

Key terms are automatically identified by the Discussion Community system when a post is displayed, and converted to dictionary links: you as the poster needn't do anything, nor insert any code/tags/etc. (similar to the way the system already automatically converts bible references to hyperlinks: e.g. John 1:1). Dictionary links are different from normal hyperlinks on the system, which are blue and very noticable (like this); they are designed to be rather unobtrusive, so that when you are not interested in looking up terms, they are not distracting to the normal reading of a post.

When you click on a dictionary linked term, you are automatically taken to that term's definition in the dictionary. Once you're finished reading, simply use your browser's 'Back' button to return to your place in the post you were reading.

(Note: Dictionary links won't appear in the preview versions of posts you are composing; they are inserted by the system only once you post the message and it is displayed in its final form.)

How you can help with this beta test:

This system is currently being beta tested, meaning there are still quirks in the software that runs it, and other items that need working out. One of the known 'bugs' at this stage is that the parser isn't fully accurate yet, so that some words are identified in the middle of others in a bizarre fashion (such as, for example the system parsing 'sin' in the word 'assassin' - though one might argue the system is only being moralistically vigilant here!).

You can help us by:
  • Reading through the dictionary itself, and submitting (via replies in this thread, for mutual discussion) terms and phrases that you think should be added.
  • If you spot a typo or error in the current definitions, letting us know.
  • If you think you can contribute to expanding or clarifying an existing definition, submitting your proposed changes.
  • Noting any interface / functionality issues that may arise; or offering suggestions on how terms are linked, how they look, etc.
The dictionary aims to be specifically keyed toward Orthodox discussions and definitions of terms.

I hope you enjoy the new feature, even at this beta-testing stage! The product is the result of suggestions (and some tireless work) by members of this Discussion Community - credits to follow in due course.

INXC, Matthew

#2 Kyrill Bolton

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 02:55 PM

I would "nominate" the words cross and Christian for inclusion.

#3 Peter Farrington

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:46 PM

Who should be approached in regard to questioning any definition?

The definition of Monophysite, if it is meant to apply to me and other members of the Oriental Orthodox communion is wrong at best. Certainly it does not reflect our constant belief through 2000 years that Christ is fully and perfectly God and fully and perfectly man without change or confusion, division or separation.

I would like to see this definition corrected.

Peter

#4 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:54 PM

Who should be approached in regard to questioning any definition?


Dear Peter - this would be me; though changes to definitions can certainly be discussed here.

The definition of Monophysite, if it is meant to apply to me and other members of the Oriental Orthodox communion is wrong at best. Certainly it does not reflect our constant belief through 2000 years that Christ is fully and perfectly God and fully and perfectly man without change or confusion, division or separation.

I don't know why the definition should apply to you, unless you specifically desire to characterise yourself as monophysite in belief. The definition specifically does not attach to it any group or tradition: it is a definition of what a monophysite doctrine is; and this is, in a nutshell, 'A doctrine that proclaims that in the person of Jesus Christ there was but a single, divine nature.' If you've thoughts on a better definition of monophysite as a type of doctrinal statement, I'd be happy to hear your recommendations.

The fact that the term has, historically, been inappropriately used to describe the beliefs of various groups does not, so far as I can see, alter the actual definition of the concept itself.

INXC, Matthew

#5 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:57 PM

Dear Kyrill, you wrote:

I would "nominate" the words cross and Christian for inclusion.


Thank you for the suggestions. These seem eminently reasonable terms for inclusion. I shall go about getting a definition for each in due course. If you've material for a definition you find particularly helpful or useful, do let me (and us) know, and it can be considered for incorporation.

INXC, Matthew

#6 Kris

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 07:30 PM

Who should be approached in regard to questioning any definition?

The definition of Monophysite, if it is meant to apply to me and other members of the Oriental Orthodox communion is wrong at best. Certainly it does not reflect our constant belief through 2000 years that Christ is fully and perfectly God and fully and perfectly man without change or confusion, division or separation.

I would like to see this definition corrected.

Peter


Perhaps it would be more helpful to keep the existing definition of Monophysite, but applying it specifically to Eutyches, and creating a separate definition for the term Miaphysite, applying this to Severus and the OO communion.

Since the dictionary already includes Nestorian, one might wish to include words such as Arian, Logos, consubstantial, Monothelite, Iconoclast/phile, etc.

#7 Peter Farrington

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 07:58 PM

Dear Matthew

Since others on the forum are indeed quite willing to call me a monophysite in an heretical sense I believe it is necessary for you to amend this definition to show clearly that this is not a position which is accepted or has ever been accepted by any of those Christians who are called monophysite by some Eastern Orthodox.

Mia-physis is acceptable if it is taken in a Cyrilline sense of meaning one composite hypostasis. Indeed mono-physis is also acceptable if it is understood in that sense. But in the sense that it is used polemically of my communion by Eastern Orthodox it is not an acceptable definition without clarification that such a definition as you have provided is not and has never been the teaching of my communion.

Peter

#8 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 10:38 PM

Dear Peter, Kris, and others,

I will think a bit more about the entry for 'monophysite'. I'm not at all convinced that misuse of a term, through the mis-application of an adjectival doctrinal qualification to a group or tradition that did not, in fact, hold such views, in any way alters the substance of the definition itself. This would be rather like suggesting that the term 'clericalism' should be altered, because a specific tradition that has regularly been (wrongly) cast as 'clericalising' rightly insisted that it was not. That might be entirely true; but it does not change the definition of the term.

I'm not certain that I see, as yet, an error with the actual definition of 'monophysite' as an adjective, as it stands at present. To replace it with a definition of 'miaphysis / miaphysite' would be irresponsible; the very point is that they are different terms (though I can see a clear need for an entry for 'miaphysite': this is on the to-do list).

Kris, I'm hesitant to try to link terms with specific groups. Perhaps with historical progenitors (e.g., in this case, Eutyches); but even this is not always wholly helpful. Part of the difficulties of history have come through forcing terms onto groups: e.g. 'all of group x are monophysite, while all of group y are diophysite'. Such generalisations are rarely accurate, in either/any case.

But, conversely, just because 'group x' does not in fact teach monophysite doctrine, does not mean 'monophysite' itself is ill-defined and should be altered; rather, that individuals should not commit such ill-considered generalisations that characterise groups by doctrinal positions they may not hold.

INXC, Matthew

#9 Paul Cowan

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 04:16 AM

Dear Matthew,

Just in reading the past few posts many words come out that could be included. I think just as we discuss some words, others will jump out as potentially worthy of consideration. Here are a few from looking into the index of a few books I have. Perhaps others can skim their reference books and find more?


Miaphysite
crucifixion
miaphysis
disciple
diophysite
parable
hypostasis
Palm Sunday
polemically
scribe
(t)radition
pharisee
(T)radition
sanhedrin
Christ, the
blasphemy
Doctrine
Prodigal Son
Divine
Prodigal
Divine nature
sadduccees
Bible
transfiguration
evangelistarion
annunciation
catechumen
beatitudes
typica
convent
prelest
coptic
gnostic
myrrh-bearer
gnosis?
dormition
theosis
transfiguration
penitent
synaxis
mystical supper
skete
philokalia
hermitage
angel
cell
chalice
epiphany
confession
exorcism
unction
catholicon
Holy unction
archimandrite
marriage
venerate
chrism
veneration
chrismation
faith
God
septuagint
passions
parish
spirit
mission
spiritual
prayer rope
spiritual warfare
antiminsion
devil
tithe
demon
doctrine
satan
Monachos
angel
cassocks
seraphim
economia
cherubim
rubrics
Archangel
chant
general judgement
patan?
final judgement
Name's Day
sheol
trisagion
psalter
The "Our Father"
ascension
vespers
gospel
matins
Orthros
The Hours
ikos? referring to an Akathist
vestments

Some of these may not be "worthy", but they might be words that newbies might be looking for. Surely we can give Merriam-Webster a run for their money at least in this genre?


Paul

#10 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:05 PM

Dear Paul,

Some excellent suggestions.

Do feel free (you and others) to submit definitions for any terms such as these (best by PM to me) - else one will have to wait for me to get round to them myself; which may take some time. :)

Even if definitions aren't full / complete, starter material is extremely helpful.

INXC, Matthew

#11 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:32 PM

Dear all,

An update on the dictionary system as of this afternoon. We've made some progress in the parser bug, but there's still a way to go. The system is now correctly not parsing a vast number of types of internal words, though it still has a problem with terms that exist as the final parts of larger words (e.g. it is now accurately not linking 'sin' as it is present in the middle of 'composing'; but it is still linking 'lent' as it is found as the closing portion of 'excellent'). This has, however, introduced a new bug for the moment: namely, the system is including in its links the trailing space or punctuation after a term, which can cause problems with the link pointing towards the correct word on the dictionary page when clicked. In such cases, clicking on a term will take you to the top of the dictionary page, rather than to the location in that page of the term itself (as a temporary fix in such instances, you can go directly to the term by clicking on it in the Table of Contents at the top of the dictionary page).

I hope that we will be able to correct these remaining bugs as the week progresses.

It's all part of the 'fun' of creating new software for such a task. :)

INXC, Matthew

#12 Michael Stickles

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:51 PM

Just took a look at the dictionary page. Looking good so far. A handful of suggestions:

1) Since "Diocese" is in there, "Parish" and "See" probably should be as well (although making auto-links for "See" might cause unresolvable difficulties, so maybe that shouldn't be included).

2) Since "Hades" and "Hell" are included, "Sheol" and "Gehenna" probably should be also (especially "Sheol", since it's mentioned in the definition of "Hell").

3) In addition to "Liturgy" and "Divine Liturgy", perhaps definitions of the other services would be in order, like "Matins" and "Vespers" (possibly "Great Vespers" as well; I still don't know how that differs from regular Vespers).

4) I would encourage adding "Worship" and "Veneration"; the difference between those is very important for non-Orthodox to understand when trying to grasp Orthodox attitudes towards the saints, icons, and relics.

Plus (putting on my editor-at-large hat) a handful of corrections and formatting notes:

1) "Pagan" is out of alphabetical order - it should go at the beginning of the "P"s.

2) The pronunciation of "Autocephalous" is not in parentheses, as is done for the other words.

3) Under "Bishop" is the phrase "there are distinction of administrative rank among them"; I think this should be "there are distinctions of administrative rank among them" (been a long time since I studied grammar, though).

4) The "odd" characters in the pronunciations are showing up as boxes. I think the problem is as I mentioned in the Unicode thread: the forum stylesheet has a set order of fonts to try, so if the first font from that list that is installed on someone's computer doesn't have the proper unicode characters in it, they're out of luck. I don't think this can be easily fixed on your end; most likely those of us with the problem will have to either set up our own stylesheet to override that part of the forum stylesheet, or else just live with it.

#13 Michael Stickles

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:53 PM

From my last post, I see also that including a dictionary word in double quotes has an interesting effect on the trailing quote.

#14 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 03:42 PM

From my last post, I see also that including a dictionary word in double quotes has an interesting effect on the trailing quote.


Isn't technology fun? I hope we can sort this out with the other parsing issues.

INXC, Matthew

#15 Elzabet

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 03:52 AM

I did not read through Paul Cowan's entire list, so if this is a repetition please forgive me.

I would like a definition of "passion/passions" please.

Thank you
Beth

#16 Michael Stickles

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 12:41 PM

It is a repetition, but don't feel bad -- so were most of mine, and Paul repeated himself a couple of times :-). I thought it might be helpful if we had his list (plus the additional words Kyrill and I suggested) sorted in alphabetical order, so here it is:

A: angel, annunciation, antiminsion, Archangel, archimandrite, ascension
B: beatitudes, Bible, blasphemy
C: cassocks, catechumen, catholicon, cell, chalice, chant, cherubim, chrism, chrismation, Christ (the), Christian, confession, convent, coptic, cross, crucifixion
D: demon, devil, Divine, Divine nature, doctrine, Doctrine, diophysite, disciple, dormition
E: economia, epiphany, evangelistarion, exorcism
F: faith, final judgement
G: Gehenna, general judgement, gnosis?, gnostic, God, gospel, Great Vespers
H: hermitage, Holy unction, Hours (the), hypostasis
I: ikos? (referring to an Akathist)
M: marriage, matins, miaphysis, Miaphysite, mission, Monachos, myrrh-bearer, mystical supper
N: Name's Day
O: Orthros, "Our Father" (the)
P: Palm Sunday, parable, parish, passions, patan?, penitent, pharisee, philokalia, polemically, prayer rope, prelest, Prodigal, Prodigal Son, psalter
R: relics, rubrics
S: sadduccees, sanhedrin, satan, scribe, See, septuagint, seraphim, sheol, skete, spirit, spiritual, spiritual warfare, synaxis
T: theosis, tithe, (t)radition, (T)radition, transfiguration, trisagion, typica
U: unction
V: venerate, veneration, vespers, vestments
W: worship

I didn't remove any words that have since been added, and I tossed in "relics", seeing as it wasn't in there yet. Don't forget Matthew's invitation to PM him with suggested definitions for words that aren't in the dictionary yet.


#17 Anthony

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 05:10 PM

It might be worth mentioning that Fr Ephrem has useful glossaries of liturgically related terms at the end of his translations of Vespers and Sunday Mattins.

I would certainly appreciate a good explanation of what exactly prelest' means. I have a Russian friend who says "kakaya prelest'" when she meets people, but I don't think that's what she means...:confused:

#18 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 09:43 PM

Woops! I just looked in my Russian dictionary. Even though in Church language, including Russian in a churchly context, prelest' means spiritual delusion, in modern Russian 'kakaya prelest' means "how lovely!"

What's amazing here is that in an Orthodox context "kakaya prelest' " I think would mean "such delusion!"

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#19 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 09:54 PM

What's amazing here is that in an Orthodox context "kakaya prelest' " I think would mean "such delusion!"


A shift in meaning fit for Round the Horn style comedy, when a phrase can mean both, 'Oh, that's lovely, dear' and 'My, such flagrant delusion!'

INXC, Matthew

#20 Elzabet

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:54 AM

~blush~ Could you also include what "INXC" means. :o




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