We are happy to announce the ETCBC meetings for the Fall semester. All meetings will be online through Zoom.

Tuesday 22 September 2020, 11.00 am CET
Text Features and Text Display in Text Fabric
Dirk Roorda

Text-Fabric, the Python package that many of us use for exploring the ETCBC database of the Hebrew Bible, is continually developing. Not only new corpora are added (including BHSA, DSS, OldBabylonian, Uruk, Peshitta (Old and New), Athenaeus, NENA, Quran), but also new features are developed. Dirk Roorda will present the potential of text-features and text-display of tricky things in the BHSA, made possible in version 8.3. This will be a combined meeting of the ETCBC research group and the MA & PhD course “Digital Hermeneutics and the Reception of the Bible”.

Thursday 29 October 2020, 2.00 pm (CET)
Human-level AI and biblical notion of imago Dei: would humans still be special?

Marius Dorobantu

The field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is impressively replicating more and more of what we used to see as uniquely human intellectual capabilities. Theologically, our intuitive distinction from the rest of God’s creatures has been traditionally encapsulated in the doctrine of humans created in the image of God (imago Dei). If human behavior is proven to be completely replicable, and one day in the not-so-distant future a machine could exhibit human-level intelligence, would this be the end of human distinctiveness? Or should we instead accept that intelligent robots would also be bearers of the imago Dei?  Does Christian anthropology have the resources to deal with such a radical scenario?

Bio: Marius Dorobantu is a Romanian-Orthodox theologian, currently working as a post-doctoral research associate at VU Amsterdam. Formerly, he obtained an MA in theology from Radboud University Nijmegen, and a PhD in ethics from the University of Strasbourg (FR), with a thesis entitled “Theological Anthropology and the Possibility of Human-Level AI: Rethinking Human Distinctiveness and the Imago Dei.”

Tuesday 1 December 2020, 1.45 pm CET
Clause Structure Variation in Biblical Hebrew. A Quantitative Approach
Online PhD defence Martijn Naaijer

Martijn Naaijer’s PhD dissertation is one of the fruits of the research project Tracing Syntactic Diversity in Biblical Hebrew funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Naaijer provides an original contribution to the current debate about linguistic diversity and language development in the Hebrew Bible and the the question as to whether it is possible to date texts linguistically.  He applies the statistical methods to describe and explain language variation in the Bible in relation to parameters such as the assumed data of origin, genre, text type, clause patterns.

If you want to attend one of this meetings, send an email to w.t.van.peursen@vu.nl and you will receive the Zoom details.