[sword-devel] Alternate Versification for (Protestant) French Bibles?

David Haslam dfhmch at googlemail.com
Fri Jul 8 04:49:15 MST 2011

Since my student days in the late 1960s, I have had a lifelong interest in
evangelical missionary work in France, which gives the personal background
for writing this memo.

Is there a case for having a new versification scheme called *French*, just
like we already do for *German*?  I believe there is.....

It looks as though none of the defined versification schemes listed in
http://crosswire.org/wiki/DevTools:conf_Files is 100% appropriate for many
French Bibles.

Apart from the well-known difference in versification of all those Psalms
with canonical titles (in which the title is verse 1, and the rest are
offset by +1), there is a significant number of chapters in various books
where French Protestant Bibles contain more numbered verses than the KJV.

During the past 3 weeks, I've been looking at the *David Martin 1744*
translation, and examining an alternative text source to trace errors and
omissions in our existing *FreMartin* module.  cf.  This is a bit like what
DM Smith did for project KJV2003 => KJV2006. 

This has been a useful exercise, but is somewhat hampered by the observation
that even in our existing module (which does contain significant textual
problems), there are some chapters where the last verse contains the text
for several verses, due to having been squeezed into the default KJV
versification mould.

Moreover, of the three French Bibles now moved into the CrossWire av11n
repo, two of them do not include a specified versification in their .conf
files. These are FreSegond & FreCrampon.  Both modules have
deuterocanonicals added, and both were sourced from VulSearch, and are
designated version 2.0 - I've already written to Chris about one of these. 

In the course of French Church history, *La Bible David Martin* was a very
significant Protestant Bible, with just the 66 books, and there are other
important historical editions besides the 1744 edition, namely the earlier
1707, and the later revision of 1855. For both of these there are digitized
electronic texts online.  Furthermore, there are many other historical
French Bibles which have essentially the same versification as the Martin
translation. e.g. My own printed copy of the 1962 Version Synodale is
clearly a linear descendant. 

I think there is now a strong case to have a French versification scheme for
developers to use.

Best regards,

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