Logos Bible Software has announced a project that will make all Septuagint scholars’ mouths water: an electronic edition of all of the Göttingen Septuagint volumes, including the entire critical apparatus. The LXX will be morphologically tagged and fully searchable; and if you own the texts found in the apparatus you will be able to just click and view the text. To make this all the more appealing, you can order the electronic edition at a fraction of the price of the print editions.
While the advent and availability of electronic texts has advantages and disadvantages, in the right hands tools such as these can revolutionize scholarship.
There has been a lot of mention of the passing of the New Testament textual giant, Bruce Metzger, among the biblioblogs, and it was great to see the latest Biblical Studies Carnival dedicated to his memory.
Another biblical scholar also passed away this month, J. Alan Groves. His death was mentioned by some bloggers and I was meaning to post on it, but I ended up getting sick. I would like to now honour his memory.
I didn’t really know Alan Groves. We met at SBL once or twice and exchanged a few emails occasionally, but that was the extent of our relationship. I doubt if he even remembered meeting me. That being said, his pioneering work on the electronic Westminster Leningrad Codex and the Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology has touched my life enormously. A day rarely goes by when I do not look up something in the Hebrew Bible on my computer, perform a morphological or syntactical search of a Hebrew construction, or cut and paste a verse of the Hebrew Bible when making up a test for one of my Hebrew classes. These electronic texts are used by virtually all biblical studies software programs, including Accordance, Logos, BibleWorks, Gramcord, among others. Last December, the Board and Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary appropriately renamed the Westminster Hebrew Institute the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research.
Alan and his family kept a blog that narrates his year-long struggle with cancer. It contains many moving posts; I encourage you to peruse it. His obituary is available here, while a more academic obituary may be found here.
lan Groves was a true servant of God who did a lot of his work behind the scenes.
I have been meaning to put together a page for my Biblical Hebrew Resources pages collecting the various resources available online, so I have been collecting a fairly impressive list of sites. The Parallel Hebrew Old Testament just came to my attention the other day and it has a pretty neat feature: not only can you have the Hebrew Bible with the Latin Vulgate as well as a whole variety of English translations, you can also have it in paleo-Hebrew characters!
This is kind of neat, though practically the only use I can think of it is for text critics to be able to see how a passage would have looked in a paleo-Hebrew script. (You can also purchase the software for your own computer for a mere $5)
(HT Jim West)
As one who has been wondering about the development of Logos Bible Software for Macintosh (see previous posts here and here), I wasn’t entirely surprised to receive an email from Bob Pritchett yesterday explaining the long delay.
As it turns out, it was a much larger project than they anticipated and they are not setting any (more) dates for its release just yet.
Here is the letter in full:
I am sorry for the length of time between updates about Logos for the Mac. I know it’s frustrating for all of you, and it is frustrating for us, too. Let me catch you up on some details of where we are now.
Logos has been developing Logos Bible Software for Microsoft Windows for 15 years. We know a lot about Windows, and over the years we’ve built a pretty powerful application with a very large code base.
Our developers are a very talented bunch, and I have every confidence that they could master programming for the Mac platform just as they have mastered programming for Windows. But a) we need to keep them developing our Windows application, and b) I know that there’s no substitute for years of experience on a platform. We want Logos for the Mac to be a first-class Mac application, and to reflect a deep understanding of — and love for — the Mac platform.
So we partnered with a third-party organization that specializes in Mac software development. They love the Mac and have years of experience building Mac applications. The plan was to have them do the bulk of the Mac development, working with our existing team to share code and expertise as needed.
The plan has worked fine, except that our partners dramatically underestimated the size and complexity of our code base and the time required to recreate it on the Mac.
I don’t want to point fingers or assign blame. Neither of us understood how big this project was.
The project is not in trouble, it is not undoable; it is just taking longer than we planned.
I wish I could tell you that I know when it is going to be done, but (as you can see) we’ve already been burned by announcing dates.
The two development teams exchange emails every day. Every week a progress report shows what code has been completed and tested, and the “percent done” keeps going up. Sometimes it takes less time than planned to complete a component, but sometimes a lot longer. We just don’t know.
Why haven’t we provided more screenshots or even video clips along the way?
The short answer is that the majority of the development work is “under the hood” and results in nothing to show visually.
For those who like technical details: the Libronix Digital Library System is actually a very large programming platform composed of hundreds of objects and interfaces that we code the reports and user interface against. The object model grew organically over the years, as we added features to the product. Today’s reports and features use the whole library, and to implement even one of them on the Mac requires having almost the entire library ported.
So the reason there aren’t many new screenshots is that we need to have this whole back-end library available in order to implement almost any report, and that’s the bulk of the coding. Once that back-end library is done, it is almost trivial to implement the reports that use it.
At the moment we have an application that runs, has a functioning “My Library” dialog, and reads and displays our existing electronic books correctly (and without modification). This is the hard part, and it’s done. What’s left is completing the port of the back-end object library. It’s not particularly hard, it’s just a lot of work. It _is_ very far along, but it needs to be 100% complete before we can show search results or run a Passage Guide. (And we won’t beta test without those things.)
Then we’ll test, polish, and ship.
I apologize for the delay, and for the lack of communication. I am not trying to put the blame on someone else. (That’s why I have said so little along the way.) I am just trying to explain why there isn’t much we can report or do, other than wait.
I will try to do a better job of reporting progress in the future and appreciate your continued patience.
President & CEO, Logos Bible Software
What I wonder about is that by the time the product is ready to ship, why wouldn’t any Macintosh user who wanted to use Logos just run it on their Intel Mac with a program likeParallels?
Since I hadn’t used this feature of Logos much, I decided to work through it myself. As I was working through the tutorial I was thinking, “how does this compare with Graphical Searches in Accordance Bible Software?” So I decided to offer this comparison of the two products.
[Technical Note: I am running Logos Bible Software 2.1c on a Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop powered by a 2.00 GHz Mobile Intel Pentium 4-M CPU with 512 MB RAM; Accordance Bible Software 6.7 is running on my PowerMac G4 powered by dual 500 MHz G4 processors with 512 MB RAM.]
From his study of “good servant” (ÎºÎ±Î»á½¸Ï‚… Î´Î¹Î¬ÎºÎ¿Î½Î¿Ï‚) in 1 Timothy 4:6, Rick was wondering “what other things are called ‘good’ in the Pastoral Epistles.” This led to his investigation of the adjective ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ “good” using the Graphical Query Editor in Logos.
Select Resource to Build your Search Upon. The first step is to open your tagged Greek New Testament Text that you will build your search upon. This is comparable in both programs. In Logos you would open “NA27″ from your Library listing, while in Accordance you need to select “GNT” in the search text pop-up window (In both programs you can define a “workspace” for NT study that would have this text as well as others already set up).
Open Graphical Query Document/Greek Construct Window. This step begins the same in both programs. In Logos you just need to select “Graphical Query” in the “new document” icon in the toolbar, in Accordance you select “Greek” from “New Construct” under the “File” menu (In Accordance you could also just use the keyboard shortcut).
Specify First Search Term.The search term that needs to be specified is the word ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ “good.” In Logos you have to drag the “TERM” box and drop it onto the canvas. This will open a dialog box where you specify information about the term. Since you are searching for a Greek term, you have to manually change the language to Greek (once you do this there is a slight pause as Logos builds a Greek word list), change your keyboard to Greek, and then type in “ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿.” At this point a list of words will be generated in which you select ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ (which is found twice with different inflections) and click OK. In Accordance this step is less complex. You first drag “LEX” (short for lexeme) from the construct palette to the first element column. At this point a dialog box automatically appears (with no pause) in which you can begin typing “ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿” (as you are using the Greek Construct Window, there is no need to specify language or change your keyboard). Like Logos, a list of words will be generated in which you can select ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ and click OK. (A nice feature of Logos is that once you select the word from the list, you get an extended dictionary entry on the word; Accordance only provides an English gloss).The next part of this step is to specify that the word you are searching for (ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚) is an adjective. In Logos you need to drag the “REF” (short for reference) box onto the canvas , at which point a reference properties dialog box opens. In it you have to specify the data type (Greek Morphology (GRAMCORD)), click the Adjective checkbox, and click OK. Then, in order to specify that these two things refer to the same term, you have to drag an arrow between the items and double-click it, and then specify that the items are the “same.” Once again, Accordance is a bit easier because it already provides the tagging items on the construct palette. All you have to do is drag the “Adj.” (short for adjective) box into the same column below where you specified ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ and a dialog box opens after which you only need to click OK. (When you drag the “Adj.” box into the same column, Accordance ascribes the characteristic to everything in the same column). More significantly, you do not even need to do this step in Accordance! The program will automatically recognize you are searching for the adjective ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ as soon as you specify its agreement with a noun (see below).
Specify the Second Search Term. Now its time to specify the noun object you want to search for in connection with ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚. In Logos this step is similar to the previous; you drag “REF” to the canvas, specify noun as the part of speech, and click OK. In Accordance all you have to do is drag the “Noun” box to the column adjacent to your other search items, and click OK on the dialog box that automatically opens.
Specify Agreement between Search Terms. In Logos, drag the “AGREE” object to the canvas and connect it to the two search terms by dragging arrows between the objects. Then double-click on the agreement object and a dialog box will appear in which you can select “case” and “number” as the characteristics you want the terms to agree in, and click OK. In Accordance you need to drag the “Agree” object from the construct palette over the two columns; at this point it will automatically connect the two columns with an arc (no need to manually link them) and bring up a dialog box in which you can select “case” and “number,” and then click OK.
Specify the Proximity between Search Terms. In Logos, you draw another arrow between the adjective and noun objects and in the dialog box specify “3″ in the “intervening” box; you should also make sure to check “Ignore order of terms” (more on this later). Click OK. In Accordance drag “WITHIN” over top of the two columns and again a dialog box appears in which you can specify the number of words separating the two objects. Enter 3 and click OK.
Perform the Search. Now its time to perform the search. In Logos, once you click “Search” an “Advanced Search” dialog box opens in which you have to specify the resource you want to search (select NA27 or click “open resources” if you only have NA27 already opened), the unit you want to search (select “sentence” after selecting “special”), and the range which you want searched (click on “Bible Text” and type “1Ti-Titus”). Then you click “search.” In Accordance things are once again a bit easier. Once you click OK, then it automatically performs the search on the search text you already specified in Step 1. The only thing that you may need to specify further is the search field (select “sentence” from the drop down menu) and range (select “Pastoral Epistles” from the range drop down menu; you may have to define the range if you haven’t done so before). Then click OK once again.
The Graphical Query Editory in Logos (click for a larger image)
Accordance’s Greek Construct Window (click for a larger image)
Analyze the Results. In Logos, the search results are displayed in a dialog box that lists the verse references; the results were 47 occurrences in 19 articles (articles = sentences). To see the actual results in context you can either click on them individually and that will find the verse in NA27 with the search words highlighted. Alternatively you can export the results to a verse list, though the search terms would not be highlighted and — more problematic — it doesn’t display all of the hits (for example, it doesn’t display 1Tim 6:19 since it appears to only represent the verse containing the first hit in the sentence).In Accordance, the results are displayed with the complete verse and reference, as well as with the hits highlighted. Significantly, the results with Accordance are different: 16 hits in 29 verses. This highlights a significant difference between the two programs: in Logos you can tell the program to ignore the order of terms being searched, while in Accordance the order of the elements in the Construct Window is taken into consideration when searching (there is no option to ignore the order of the terms in Accordance). Thus, the Accordance search only found the occurrences where ÎºÎ±Î»Î¿Ï‚ was followed by a noun, not vice versa. This limitation is not insurmountable; all you have to do is duplicate the Construct Window (File:Duplicate) and switch the order of the elements by dragging them to the other side, and link the two Construct windows within the search entry box (Search:Enter Command:Link) and perform your search.
The Search Results Window in Logos (click for a larger image)
The Search Results Displayed in Accordance (click for a larger image)
While both programs ended up with the same results (they should since they are searching the same tagged text!), it took significantly less steps in Accordance to do the same search — even with the limitation Accordance has in regard to the order of the search elements. While the ability to ignore the order of the constituents is a very nice feature of Logos, it doesn’t make up for the unnecessary complexity of its searches compared to Accordance. Small things like having the program spell out “Noun” or “Adjective,” rather than the obtuse “J????” for an adjective with no other tagging or “N???” for a noun (and this only gets worse when you start searching with more complex tags). Or not having to select a Greek keyboard after you have already specified you are performing a Greek search (there are many more examples of unnecessary repetition in Logos). I also find that working with search results is more straightforward in Accordance; there is no need to export the results to a verse list. Finally, while this will vary depending on your computer, I found Logos to be a bit slower.
Since most serious Bible software packages have similar search capabilities and available tagged texts, what separates them is their ease of use and intuitive design. In this regard, it is hard not to recognize the superiority of Accordance. The fact that Accordance only runs native on a Macintosh certainly limits its desirability for Windows users. However, knowing that it does run on a Windows machine at a half decent speed with emulation software should give one pause when deciding what to purchase. While Logos leads the pack in the sheer number of resources and electronic texts it has available, I hope they focus some of their resources on developing a more intuitive and snappy interface — especially for their Macintosh version due out later this year.
QuickVerse for the Mac is now available. QuickVerse is a Bible software package geared for pastors and laypeople interested in Bible reading, Bible study, sermon preparation or teaching. Two Macintosh versions are available: A $49.00 USD White Box version that comes with 9 Bibles and 40 reference titles and a $99.00 USD Black Box version that includes 12 Bibles and 56 Reference titles. Both versions are fully Mac compatible and native Mac OS X (Panther and Tiger).
I just received my copy of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible (SESB), and let’s just say that so far I am very impressed.
The SESB is a must-have addition to Logos Bible Software for students and scholars of the Bible. A co-production of the German Bible Society and the Bible Society of the Netherlands, this add-in contains a robust set of texts and advanced tools for working with the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin biblical texts, including the WIVU database for BHS, as well as the critical apparatuses for both BHS and Nestle-Aland 27.
Old Testament scholars should especially take note of this package because of the inclusion of the WIVU database for the Hebrew Bible, developed by the Werkgroep Informatica at the Free University of Amsterdam. This database allows complex searches not only of the morphology of the Hebrew text, but also various syntactical features at the phrase and clause level. Very impressive!