The goal of the digital iteration of Loeb, say several academics involved with the project, is to allow students, scholars, and others to draw out themes from ancient literature even if they don’t know where to look and don’t speak the languages. A religion scholar who wants to learn more about Greek and Roman conceptions of the soul would be able to search the entire body of ancient literature for soul references, says Thomas. The scholar could also refine a search for references to the soul by specific authors or time periods, he says.
Being able to search within the confines of the ancient canon will give users more breadth than searching digitized versions of individual texts while allowing them to avoid the detritus that tends to accumulate in searches of less well-defined vaults, says Thomas. A general Web search of “Homer” and “soul” might turn up some relevant material, he says, but “I would probably get Homer Simpson and soul music.” Google Book Search, meanwhile, turns up a slew of secondary literature.
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