Archive - December, 2005

On the air in the early morning

Scott LindseyIt was pretty dark in Bellingham, WA at 5:30 AM yesterday, but the lights were on here at Logos Bible Software. Scott Lindsey, ministry relations manager, was on the air with American Family Radio stations, being interviewed from his desk. (This is the problem with being on the west coast.)

Our receptionist and three salespeople dragged themselves out of bed to be in the office in case we got some calls. The phone lit up after Scott said “Imagine a truck pulling up in front of your home on Christmas morning with a complete Bible college library, and a research assistant for your own personal use.”

We are glad that so many people see the benefits of a large Bible reference library, and apologize to those of you who had to wait on the phones yesterday morning.

Heirloom Books

While going through digital images of books we’ve had scanned at Dallas Theological Seminary library, I recently came across this flyleaf in a commentary by John Owen.

Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952; bio) was the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary, and he wrote a systematic theology that we just shipped on Monday.

His father, Thomas Franklin Chafer, died when Lewis was just 11 years old. As you can see, the Owen commentary belonged first to the personal library of the father, was passed to the son, and from there to the seminary.

I’ve heard it said (by detractors of the digital library paradigm) that you never hear of anyone bequeathing digital books to their children. But I just checked with our manager of customer support, John Brandt, who told me it has happened a few times during his 6 years with the company. All we need is a letter from the executor of the estate and we can transfer the licenses to the inheritor.

(Note to self: update will to include name of daughter born almost 2 years ago AND specify beneficiary of digital library.)

I find it interesting that used print booksellers, who often acquire entire personal libraries from an estate or a retiring scholar, will sometimes keep that personal library intact. Dove Booksellers does this and lists the books as collections on their website. It’s fascinating to look through the books that belonged to a notable scholar and see what they found worthy of owning. [Caution: this practice can produce severe book envy.]

But it’s only a matter of time until the same thing happens with Logos Bible Software users who have amassed a personal library numbering in the thousands. Maybe someday you’ll find yourself looking through a list of 1,500 electronic books owned by a notable scholar in a field you’re interested in and we’ll offer you a way to buy them all in one fell swoop as a custom collection.
It could happen…

Syntax: Thinking About Clause Boundaries

When approaching a text, one of the initial steps of exegesis is to do some general background study, thus becoming familiar with the larger context of a passage. If I’m looking at a passage in First John, I should have a decent idea of the author, recipient and setting of the letter. Logos has several resources (commentaries, handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) that should provide assistance with this general process.

After this initial step, according to many guides to NT exegesis (e.g. Fee’s NT Exegesis) the next step is to work through the the grammar and syntax of the passage. Some guides mention that one should read (and re-read, and re-read) the passage. One must be familiar with the current context and the larger context for exegesis to be effective.

When you’re familiar with the text through the reading (and re-reading) of it, you’ve arrived at the point where detailed picking apart of the text is required. This is the point where one really begins to consider issues of grammar and syntax of the original language.

There are existing resources to consult to learn these things; some are even available in Logos Bible Software. These should be consulted and applied. But detailed reading of a book that provides hints, clues and process for exegesis does not magically transform the reader into a competent and confident exegete of Scripture. This only happens through practice and repetition.

And this is why morphologically and syntactically annotated editions of the primary texts of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament are necessary. They provide an example for you to check your work against, to use in the sharpening of your own skills. This is very helpful when you don’t have a hard-grading seminary prof check your work for accuracy.

This article walks through some ways to think about clause boundaries using Logos Bible Software; comparing these to the information provided by the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament.

Continue Reading…

Of the Making of Books

Today’s guest blogger is Ken Smith, General Manager of Electronic Publishing Services at Logos.
While there are hundreds of wonderful electronic books included with our “Library” products or available for individual purchase on our web site, there is also a gold mine of additional books that may not be as well-known to many of our customers.

For nearly ten years, we have been partnering with publishers to produce products for them to market using our technology. Here is one of the first products of that type, released by Baker in February of 1996:

I have had the distinct pleasure of overseeing the production of over 175 products from about 60 different publishers in the past ten years. Today’s blog entry is the first installment in a series of articles that will introduce a number of those publishers and products.

Thomas Nelson Publishers
One of our first and most prolific partners is Thomas Nelson. In June of 1997, they released a collection of more than 70 of their best reference books titled Nelson’s Electronic Bible Reference Library (NEBRL).

The Nelson Reference & Electronic imprint has gone on to publish nearly 500 titles using our technology. In March of 2002, the NEBRL product was reconfigured, updated to use the new Libronix Digital Library System and rebranded as eBible™. Their other products range from collections of best-selling books by Max Lucado, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, Jack Hayford, J. Vernon McGee, David Jeremiah and John Maxwell to the highly-respected Word Biblical Commentary series.

Most of Nelson’s products are available for sale on our web site, either in collections or individually. In fact, we recently added a “mega-collection” of 325 Nelson titles at a huge savings over the individual purchase price.

Max LucadoJohn MacArthurDavid JeremiahWord Biblical CommentaryNelson 325 Book Unlock

Partnering with Nelson has been a very beneficial relationship for both companies. Using our technology allows Nelson to carry a full range of the highest-quality electronic products with zero investment in programming. Adding Nelson’s outstanding reference and trade titles to the Logos “family” has heightened our profile among religious publishers and given our customers a much greater selection of quality books to integrate with their existing Logos products.
Next: InterVarsity Press

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Logos elves were hard at work decorating the place last week. I caught a couple of them (Jacquie and Tracy) in the act…

Click a thumbnail image to see a larger version.

Greek Syntax: Introducing the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament

I’ve posted in the past regarding a project we’ve been working on with the good folks at OpenText.org; to make their syntactic analysis of the entire Greek New Testament available in Logos Bible Software. It is a massive project, and it will provide oodles of chunky syntactic goodness to Logos Bible Software users to inform and sharpen their studies of the New Testament.

But that isn’t all that we’ve got cookin’ on the Greek Syntax front. We’ve been working on our own syntactic analysis of the Greek New Testament. We’re calling it the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament; this post (including a video link, see below!) introduces the work and begins to discuss it in some more detail.

I should say that this project involves a lot of work, and that it will be released in stages as the work progresses. We waited until we had the first major chunk — the General (or Catholic) Epistles, Hebrews through Jude — to consider a release. The first release (as happenstance would have it, perfectly timed with Logos Bible Software 3.0! What serendipity!) will therefore include these books. We hope to release an update in the spring that will include data for the book of Revelation. After that, the Pauline Epistles will trickle out over the following year or so; other books after that. At least, that’s the plan for now.

Continue Reading…

Syntax: Now in the 3.0 Beta!

The Andersen-Forbes syntax data is now available as part of the Libronix DLS 3.0 beta. The syntax stuff is 200+ megabytes of data, so we’ve split it out into a separate beta download.

Once you’ve installed all of that, you may want to know what to do with all of this syntax information. I’ve written a short LDLS Syntax Crash Course which is available in PDF format here. You may also want to re-read some or all of the articles in the syntax category on this blog. Or you may want to re-read my ETS paper on the subject.

We are interested in your feedback and your questions. You can leave them as questions in the comments section of the blog, or you can do it on the beta newsgroup forum at news.logos.com.

Where Do You Live: Update

More than 100 people have added themselves to the Logos Bible Software Blog map at Frappr! It’s been immensely interesting to me to learn where folks are from and to view photos and greetings from many.

If you visited the page early on and haven’t been back, here’s the link again: http://www.frappr.com/logosbiblesoftwareblog

Update (12/12/2005): I removed the mini-map from this page because it slowed the page load time. The current number of readers registered on the Frappr map is 153; click the thumbnail image below to view the map and/or add yourself.

100 posts! What’s next?

Blogging is developing into its own literary genre. A blog is part diary, newsletter, press release and soap box. And one of the genre’s most distinctive (and annoying) characteristics is talking about itself. The Logos Blog is no different…for which we apologize.

This is the 100th post to the Logos Blog. We’ve been posting every business day since we started in late July, on topics ranging from personal to technical, from fun to features, and from soup to syntax.

Do you want more of the same? More of some and less of others? We would love to hear from you on what you want to see in the Logos Blog. Please take a moment and leave a comment with your feedback.

And if you started reading the Logos Blog recently, you may want to use the monthly archive links on the side column to catch up on older posts where you’ll find tips on using Logos Bible Software among many other posts interesting, useful, and irrelevant.

Thanks for reading!

Block or Sentence Flow Diagrams

Another feature in the upcoming LDLS 3.0 release has to do with sentence diagramming.
Yes, we’re aware that there are more ways to diagram a sentence than you can shake a stick at (pun intended). One of these methods is the “Block” or “Sentence Flow” diagram.

The linked video presentation walks through using the new feature. It is all contained within the present sentence diagrammer. The steps are simple:

  1. Create a New Sentence Diagram document (or open an existing one)
  2. Insert a passage
  3. When inserting a passage, select the “As Wrapping Columns” option
  4. Enter the passage and version information
  5. Click Insert Passage

That’s it. Now you can click and drag text around as you see fit. I should note that I didn’t think too much about this particular block diagram. Looking at it in retrospect, there are things that need to be done differently. But since it is an LDLS document, I can just open the diagram and edit it later to clean that stuff up.

Video: 950×750, Flash, approx. 2 megs.

One cool feature here is that you can insert more than one column of text. So, as I did in the video, you could insert one column of Greek text and another column of English text, and match them up.
Or — hold on to your hats — you could enter different accounts of an event in the synoptic gospels and block-diagram them in parallel. You can use the stick diagramming symbols (like, say, brackets, lines or arrows) to draw attention to parallel groups or features. On top of that, all of the Visual Markup features are available in the sentence diagrammer.

All done? Go to File | Export. Look, you can save it as a PDF to show your friends, or to put on your web page or blog!

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