Matej Cepl wrote:
> this is possibly slightly off-topic message, but I guess that the
> answer will be „Use TEI“ so I could ask the question here anyway ;-).

Exactly what I would say.  Use TEI!  Specifically, use TEI P5 and Roma to
customise the TEI to a very minimal schema including just what you need.

> What I am trying to do is to write rewrite a Haggadah used in our
> church (yes, Virginia, there are churches celebrating Ceder). And freak
> I am, I would like to use XML for this.

I don't find that very freakish, it seems quite normal to me.  (But maybe
that says more about me than I should.)  Religious texts, and their
organisation tend to be more fixed and thus fit more easily into
hierarchical structures.

> However, the question is what
> DTD/schema I should use.

The point about TEI is customising it to suit your needs, but starting from
a common base.  So again, the answer you'll get here is use TEI P5 and Roma
to customise it so that you have just the elements you need.  (The 'ab'
element would be a good suggestion for non-metrical biblical verses.)  I
suppose you could treat it like a performance text as well.

> In most of my previous XML encounters (aside
> from HTML) I used ThML ( or lately mostly
> Docbook. My first impulse was to customize Docbook to do what I need,
> but when I was thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that it is
> silly -- there is not much (aside from <para> and <emphasize> I guess)
> which I could use from Docbook, so I would be effectively writing my
> own simple schema on the top of Docbook.

What elements do you feel you need?  Perhaps we could make some suggestions.

> After googling for the proper schema for recording liturgy (or drama,
> which seems to be reasonably close to Haggadah) I came to the
> conclusion that all those schemas are either very immature (somewhere
> on the way between proof-of-concept and alpha) or it is TEI (which
> seems like all leads pointed to). 

There are many examples of religious texts in TEI.  I used to work for a
project which produced editions of Benedictine liturgical service books,
but also marked up a copy of the Corpus Antiphonalium Officii, and the
Latin Vulgate, all in (admittedly highly customised variants of) the TEI.

> However, TEI seems to be serious
> overkill for my project. I would expect to use some ten or twenty
> elements in the body of text, so my customized Chef Pizza DTD (just
> drama base) looks insane to me having 97K or so. And TEI Lite isn't
> that much better (312K).

I'd say not to use Pizza Chef (and DTDs) any more, and instead move to the
brave new world of schemas and Roma.  See

> Should I just stick with XHTML, extend it (or misuse class attribute)
> and hope that I will find some XSLT stylesheets to RTF (I am afraid my
> brethern would die just by looking at raw XML ;-))? Or is there a way
> how to make TEI work for me? Are there any examples of
> dramas/liturgy/haggadah written in TEI?

There are many examples, the Clementine Vulgate for example[1], but I 'm
sure other list members can suggest others.    But storing it in XML, you
are right, is probably the best way to go, because from that you could
generate HTML, PDF, or import to RTF.  But I don't think you should
necessarily look for a pre-made TEI customisation or schema for what you
are doing, instead, go to Roma, start with one of the minimal schema, and
add only those modules you need, and delete (esp. from the 'core' module)
those elements you know you won't need.  You can then produce RelaxNG
Schemas (Or W3C Schema, or if you feel you must DTDs), but also customised
documentation of an element reference for just those elements you have
chosen to use.  You can save your customisation (as a TEI ODD file) and
reload it later if you decide you forgot to include an element.

Dr James Cummings, Oxford Text Archive, University of Oxford
James dot Cummings at oucs dot ox dot ac dot uk
Ask me about long-term preservation for your electronic texts!