LinkSyr: Linking Syriac Data

How do the Biblical heritage and Hellenistic culture interact in the oldest documents of Syriac Christianity? The Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC) investigated this question using linguistic data processing, especially topic modelling.

Principle investigator
  • Wido van Peursen
Disciplines
  • Languages and literatures
  • Religious Studies and Theology
Resource types
  • Data
  • Tools
 A tool developed in the LinkSyr and Pelagios projects enables the connection between named entities in any Syriac text and historical maps of the Pelagios infrastructure .

The Syriac Book of the Laws of the Countries (BLC), written by the 2nd/3rd-cent. Syriac philosopher Bardaisan is compared with the ancient Syriac translation of the Bible (“Peshitta”, 2nd cent.), other ancient sources. The analysed texts are exposed as Linked Open Data and related to the lexicographical and encyclopedic resources of Syriaca and SEDRA. The former presents the URIs for a large number of place names and person names for the Syriac heritage, whereas the latter contains dictionary information for a list of more than 50,000 lexemes.

We developed a pipeline for the analysis of Syriac texts from OCR through data preparation, parsing and NER to Linked Data. Thanks to a Pelagios Research Development grant we could link this project to the Pelagios infrastructure. A grant (‘KDP’) from DANS enabled us to collect also Syriac liturgical data from the collection of the Peshitta Institute. The project included a workshop on Linked Data and Syriac Sources (March 2018) and a bootcamp on NLP tools for Syriac (January 2019).The project results of LinkSyr are stored in a github repository. In the near future the data will also be presented through syriac.ancient-data.org as well as peshitta.ancient-data.org (data of the ancient Syriac Bible translation used in the project) and lectionaries.ancient-data.org (structured liturgical in related to the textual data).

Researchers

Wido van Peursen
PI
Wido van Peursen

Professor of Old Testament, VU Amsterdam