Our guest blogger today is Dale Pritchett, co-founder of Logos Bible Software. And my father. But not in that order.
When I got back from the SBL meeting in Philadelphia I had this sense that Logos Bible Software had changed in some substantial but indefinable way. The demonstrations and conversations were of a different nature than the past. We have always demonstrated new titles and new features at conferences but yet somehow this year felt very different. As more and more people asked about my experience at the conference I began to sense why this conference was different. We at Logos had taken our first “space walk”.
Logos Bible Software has changed a lot over the years but it has always followed a simple formula of better and better computer enhancement of familiar manual tasks. You work with a paper library, you work with a digital library; familiar tasks refined and enhanced through innovative software. And now there is Logos Bible Software 3.0 and suddenly it is like “Star Trek” going where no man has gone before. It is like the first time man walked in space. There was no earthbound walking experience with which it could be compared. Space walking is a whole new experience with its own rules, equipment, challenges and rewards. This is the analogy I was looking for. Logos Bible Software 3.0 is like your first space walk.
For the first time, the software is not mimicking a manual process. There is no print-based equivalent to our new syntactical databases. There is no published printed edition of a Greek, Hebrew or English text with every clause identified and tagged. There are no preachers, teachers or Bible students searching for “functional” relationships as opposed to “form or morphological” tags. We have never had the ability to look up in a book, or for that matter, a Bible software program, the answer to the question, “Who or what is the object of God’s love?” Not only is such a functional search now possible, the results, though derived in the original languages, may be displayed in English as well as Greek and Hebrew. The amazing thing to me is that the most complex linguistic functionality that has ever been featured in Bible software will have immediate practical value to the English Bible student through the use of reverse interlinear Bibles which allow Greek and Hebrew search results to be accurately displayed in English, Spanish or any Bible for which we have a reverse interlinear edition.
This is a space walk.
The challenge ahead will be to describe the new features in Logos Bible Software 3.0 without the comforting analogies to manual systems. In trying to explain syntactical data bases to a user the other day I suggested that viewing syntax was like seeing the Bible in sentence diagrams with exposed subjects, verbs, objects, indirect objects, etc. Searching syntax would be like having the ability to circle a section of the diagram and look for other matching structures with or without the words attached to the diagram. That’s my best attempt so far in describing the concept. I will keep looking for analogies that help. This is the problem of space walking.