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Grant awarded to automatically extract dates from historic Hebrew and Aramaic texts

 

Prof. Leonard Rutgers (Ancient History), Dr Ortal-Paz Saar (Ancient History), and the Utrecht University Digital Humanities Lab directed by Dr José de Kruif, have been awarded a 22,000 Euros grant from the Innovation Fund for IT in Research.


The grant is meant for a new project titled “A Time to Every Purpose under Heaven: Extracting Dates from Hebrew and Aramaic Texts”. The historians and the DH Lab (particularly developers Jelte van Boheemen and Sheean Spoel) will create a novel algorithm for automatically extracting dates from historic Hebrew and Aramaic texts, such as Jewish funerary inscriptions, rabbinic and responsa literature. These dates will then be mapped to standardized dates: Gregorian and GODOT, and the algorithm will be freely available on Github. Such a tool will be greatly valuable for history, religious studies, and archaeology, as well as linguistics and related disciplines.