The Dominion Delusion
A book about our mortality as a species — how we got to this point, but also and more importantly what it would be like to live as creatures who know that our end is near, that humankind is now in its elder years. What would it be like, what could it be like, to live as a species that knows it is going to die? Amid calls for radical change before it’s too late to reverse or even slow catastrophic climate change, I want to ask, What if it’s already too late for us? Maybe it’s not, but maybe it is. Well, what then? Can we have a conversation about a palliative approach to our human future? The book is under contract with Beacon, and I’m looking forward to working again with the very sharp and deeply thoughtful Amy Caldwell, who edited my Roadside Religion!
Python Coding / Natural Language Processing / Machine Learning / Neural Machine Translation
Working with a group of faculty and graduate students, hosted at Iliff School of Theology, on learning to code in Python, focusing primarily on experiments in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. Several projects have already emerged, including my little @emilymarkovson and @KJVBot, toys that can make you think (read more about it here on this website).
I am currently working with collaborators Michael Hemenway and Justin Barber on building a neural machine translation (NMT) model for translating classic texts, and then building a web application that enables students to create their own translations in conversation with the results (inferences) of the NMT model. The model and application will be based on translation of biblical Hebrew texts, but it will be adaptable to other foreign language corpuses, ancient and contemporary alike.
A grant from the Eirik Borve Fund for Foreign Language Instruction is enabling us to move from initial NMT models to a final version and then to build a web application prototype that would put the NMT into interactive “conversation” with users.
This is an ongoing collaborative research project experimenting with and theorizing about Bible translation in emerging media technologies. My involvement began with a lecture on Emmanuel Levinas on the theme of "translating alterity" sponsored by the American Bible Society's Nida Institute at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2013, and continued with a series of lectures as Nida Professor at the Nida School for Translation Studies in Misano, Italy in May 2014. (The prezi for those lectures is here: https://prezi.com/6ldf4ml_abme/ ) and as a Nida Visiting Scholar in May of 2017. It continues in collaboration with Michael Hemenway of Iliff School of Theology and several others via a Research Working Group sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University. The goal of this group is to build a beta translation app that hosts an interactive, dynamic, "intransitive" (Michael Cronin) experience of the polyvocality and alterity of a biblical text in translation and encourages reflection on that infinitely forked-tongued process. The larger interest and ambition is to begin developing a much larger, dynamically growing, crowd-sourced biblical translation program.
Tohu Press / Letterpress Bible
I'm building my letterpress shop, which includes a Poco #0 proof press and Poliphilus type (inspired by the beautiful type of the 1499 book, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili). My ambition is to translate, print, and illustrate (with woodcuts) letterpress editions of biblical texts such as Genesis, Job, and Ecclesiastes. I'm still learning to set type, get the right packing combination, create a system for registration (esp. hard on a simple proof press like my Poco), and ink. My logo, which is also the flavicon for this website (you can see it in your browser's address line), is a woodcut image comprising the three Hebrew letters of the word tohu (tav-hey-vav), each set inside the next. Tohu is really untranslatable but is associated in the Hebrew Bible with chaos (generative and degenerative) and the primordial deep.
Deep Blue God
A book project on the theology of water -- biblical hydrology, if you will -- that I've wanted to do forever. If only there were press out there who wanted me to do it too!