Logos in Review: Ashland Journal & Preaching Online

A new review of Logos Bible Software Series X (v 2.1b) and Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible from Ashland Theological Journal has been posted at Logos.com.

The review is authored by Dr. David W. Baker, who teaches Old Testament courses at Ashland Theological Seminary and is the editor of the journal. He is also the author of dozens of articles in Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, among others.

The upshot of Baker’s review is a recommendation of both Series X and SESB for users at all levels. In particular, he seemed to appreciate Verb Rivers, Word Study Guide, Graphical Query Editor, and Sentence Diagramming. He also praises the text-critical apparatus in SESB.

You can read the full text of the review at Logos.com.

We also posted excerpts from a review of Scholar’s Library Silver Edition that was published electronically in the January-February, 2006, Preaching Online. This review was authored by John Glynn, whose Commentary & Reference Survey (Kregel) has been mentioned before on this blog.

Glynn’s review discusses KeyLinking between references, shows a sample graphical query, and praises the auto-footnoting feature that is a standard feature of all Logos Bible Software packages. He also appreciates the expandability of the Libronix DLS, citing some key commentaries that are available.
Excerpts from Glynn’s review are posted at Logos.com.

Words, Words Everywhere: Episode II

Last week, I showed how every word in every Libronix DLS resource is a link. The focus of that post was interacting with English text in resources; today I want to follow up with some observations about interacting with text in other languages.

Just as you can double-click on an English word in a resource and jump to a reference work that has an entry on that word, you can also interact with Greek text in the same way.

Baker New Testament Commentary includes a section for each biblical passage discussing “Greek words, phrases and constructions.” When reading the commentary you might encounter a page that looks like this:

Some of the Greek words here may be unfamiliar to you, or you might become intrigued by a word and want to study it further. To read more about ἀσθενής, for example, double-click it and a lexicon will open directly to the entry for that word. For me, BDAG opens to an in-depth article about the word, and I can take my study in any number of directions from there.

(Bonus tip: You can open more than one lexicon the same way; just go to Tools | Options | Keylink, select the desired Data Type (e.g., Greek) and change Number of Windows to Open on a KeyLink to a number larger than 1.)

If I double-click on the word κερδήσω, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (included with Scholar’s Silver) opens instead of BDAG. This is because κερδήσω is an inflected form of the word, not the dictionary form.

ANLEX, as it is called, is worth its weight in gold for this simple reason: it lists every inflected form in the Greek New Testament…so if the word is in the NT you’ll get a hit in ANLEX. I can either consult the brief lexical entry here or double-click the headword κερδαίνω to dig deeper with BDAG or another lexicon.

Just remember…with Libronix, every word’s a link!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy reading Rick’s discussion of KeyLinking between lexicons.

Proceed to Episode III >>

Donald Hagner’s New Testament Exegesis and Research

Logos has recently released Hagner’s short and useful book, New Testament Exegesis and Research: A Guide for Seminarians.

At the recommendation of a friend, I’ve been using this book for awhile — since before Logos started working on the electronic edition. One of the places it has been most useful to me has been in its brief explanation of sentence diagramming. It is less of an explanation and more the simple templates and examples supplied. This is only a few pages of the book, but it has been immensely useful to me.

Hagner’s guide provides concise and useful introductions to the exegetical process and also supplies bibliographies for each step. Several of the listed items (or acceptable alternatives) are already available in Logos Bible Software.

Words, Words Everywhere and Every One a Link!

Libronix DLS, our digital library system, is based in no small part on linkage between texts. Today I want to introduce you to the quiet, unobtrusive links you may have overlooked.

You should care about this topic because links are one of the key features that make a digital library more than a pile of texts on your hard drive…and that sets Logos Bible Software apart from the competition.

Every user is familiar with the obvious links that appear in Logos resources: references to Bible verses, Josephus or Word Biblical Commentary; links to footnotes; or cross-links between articles in an encyclopedia.

These links are obvious because of their color. “Click me,” they shout. They are elevevated to a special status in the digital library because the author of the book gave them special status: “Here’s a pointer to the verse I’m discussing…it’s Genesis 3:1.” Blue text.

What many users miss out on—and it’s a shame, really, because there’s a great deal of utility here—is that every word of every Logos resource is a potential link to something.

Let me say it again…every word’s a link!

These are the shy and retiring links that don’t draw attention to themselves…but they may turn out to be at least as useful as their boisterous brethren.

These links are not visually distinguished in any way; they are just all the other words in a resource, set in normal black text. But double-click on one of these guys and cool stuff happens…even better, you get to control what cool stuff happens!

When you double-click on a word in a resource, the Libronix DLS knows what language the word is and seeks to open a resource that will tell you something useful about that word.

You can try this right now…open up a Bible to Genesis 3:1 and double-click the word serpent. What happens on your machine?

On my machine, the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible opens to a fascinating article on serpents in the mythology and iconology of the Ancient Near East, its appearances in the Hebrew Bible, and in later writings.

Depending on how you have configured your machine and which books you own, you might see an equally fascinating article in A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature discussing the serpent in Beowulf, Genesis B, Canterbury Tales and so on. Or maybe you’ll see the entry for serpent in Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, or The New Bible Dictionary.

If what you see isn’t as cool as you would like it to be, check out the tutorial article on English KeyLinking at Logos.com, which provides a strategy for configuring your preferences in this area. I think you’ll find it well worth the ten minutes it takes to read the article and customize for your own particular interests.

Proceed to Episode II >>

Product Guide to Multi-Volume Commentaries

Inspired by Vincent’s work on product guides introducing the dozens of Logos products related to biblical languages, I decided to write a product guide on commentaries available for Logos Bible Software. We offer a lot of commentaries, it’s a category of book that appeals to almost every user, and it seems like an area in which people would appreciate some guidance…
It soon became clear that I was sticking my arm into a hornet’s nest.

In the first draft, I classified each commentary series in the areas of technicality, theology, and methodology. So a series might bear the labels “Semi-technical, Expositional, Evangelical,” for example.

As it turns out, it’s difficult if not impossible to come up with labels that are sufficiently descriptive yet accurate…and inoffensive. Labeling commentaries is always a subjective exercise and no matter what labels you choose someone will disagree.

This I quickly learned.

I took some time away from the project and during that time re-visited a website put together by Tyler F. Williams, an OT professor at Taylor University College in Alberta. Williams offers an Old Testament Commentary Survey that seemed to me to strike the right balance of non-intrusive assistance. Its primary classification is by intended audience, with category descriptions that are somewhat elastic but still helpful.

Professor Williams graciously agreed to let us use his classification scheme, and the result is the Product Guide to Multi-Volume Commentaries.

The guide introduces more than 30 multi-volume commentaries available for Logos Bible Software, providing basic information about each one such as publisher, which Bible version is followed, how much Greek or Hebrew text to expect, and more. The accompanying brief descriptions come from each publisher, which lets the series “speak for itself” in terms of intended aim or purpose.

If you desire even more guidance in selecting and using commentaries and other reference works, you might be interested in F. W. Danker’s Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (a Logos resource) or print resources such as John Glynn’s Commentary and Reference Survey or D. A. Carson’s New Testament Commentary Survey.

Of the Making of Books (Part 7)

Today’s guest blogger is Ken Smith, General Manager of Electronic Publishing Services at Logos.
(This is the next installment in a series of articles about our nearly 60 publishing partners who market their own electronic products using our technology.)

Liturgical Press
One of our earliest publishing partnerships was with Liturgical Press, the publishing arm of St. John’s Abbey and University, a Benedictine monastery and college in central Minnesota.

In 1997, Liturgical published an electronic edition of the Vatican II Papers. This was followed in 1999 by The Rule of St. Benedict Library, an ambitious project that includes numerous primary and secondary sources relating to Benedictine study. This product is a significant beneficiary of electronic technology, as the various translations of and commentaries on the Rule are able to be scrolled in parallel and set as preferred targets for keylinking.

In February of 2001, Liturgical released a set of reference titles in a collection they titled The Collegeville Catholic Reference Library, which was updated in August of 2002 to the Libronix Digital Library System. The set includes the most popular reference works from Liturgical Press: The Collegeville Bible Commentary, The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought, The New Dictionary of Theology, and Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary.

While they are clearly a progressive organization, the folks at St. John’s haven’t lost sight of their roots. As evidence, take a moment to appreciate one of their newest and most ambitious print projects, The Saint John’s Bible. “The first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned since the printing press was invented five centuries ago.”

SJBIB

Next: Caribe-Betania Editores

Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary in Logos Bible Software

Way back in the late ’90s (I honestly don’t recall which year … 1996 or 1997?) Logos released the first electronic edition of the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. This was a massive project, I can remember working on it at the end of the development cycle. It was one of the first large reference volumes we released outside of the main Logos Bible Software collections. And it has consistently been a popular volume for reference.

The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary is one of the most widely accepted, widely used modern published reference dictionaries. In print, it is six massive volumes (each volume is at least two inches thick, as I recall). Thousands of pages. But, of course, the print edition has no concordance, no topic index, and no Scripture index. And no index for references to the Works of Josephus or the Works of Philo. All of those things are tagged in the Logos Bible Software edition.

If you’re looking for a solid, relatively recent Bible dictionary to supplement one of the Logos Bible Software collections, you should seriously consider the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. I’m not saying you’ll agree with everything inside of it; you’ll likely take issue somewhere with something. But it is a good reflection of the state of modern scholarship and very informative as a result.

As usual, the product page on the main Logos web site has much more information. Be sure to check it out!

Theologies Boom

Two major, contemporary, theological works hit the prepub page yesterday: Berkouwer’s Studies in Dogmatics (14 vols) and Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology (3 vols).

You might be asking, “Are theologies really the kind of book that benefits from an electronic edition?” Absolutely.

Theologies are chock full of scriptural references, and as a Logos Bible Software book all those references get turned into hotspots…even if they’re buried in a footnote. This overcomes a number of limitations of the print:

  • It now takes zero effort to look up Bible references to confirm the author’s interpretation.
  • We effectively create a Scripture index for the entire series of books, not just each volume…no page-flipping needed.
  • By creating a defined collection of books and adding it to the Passage Guide report [learn how], the software will remember to search your theologies for references to whatever passage you’re studying…without you having to think about it!

That’s just a few of the benefits of owning theologies in electronic editions. I could go on and on about searchability, links to other works, the ability to copy and paste, automatic footnoting…but instead I hope you’ll check it out for yourself by pre-ordering Berkouwer or Pannenberg or both.

There’s only one question left, and that’s the inevitable…”Awesome…now how about Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics?” Which provokes our usual response…”Yes, we’d love to do that, too.”

Training Articles in Logos Support Area

If you’ve been a Logos Bible Software user for a long time, or if you’re relatively new to the software, chances are the Support area of the Logos web site has some training articles for you.

The articles are broken into four areas:

  • Basic Usability
  • Original Languages
  • Reference
  • Advanced

Articles from Getting to Know Your Library to How To Use Verb Rivers to Creating Your Own Timeline can be read, referenced and reviewed.
Check ‘em out!

Chafer’s Systematic Theology in Logos Format

We’ve had a lot of folks ask us about Lewis Sperry Chafer’s magnum opus Systematic Theology.

Logos has recently completed work on Chafer’s most popular work and you can even purchase it today. Right now, even, through the wonders of that thing called “the internet”.

And you might want to purchase it today. Logos has a special arrangement with the publisher and we are only licensed to sell a specific number of copies. That is, the Logos Bible Software version is a limited edition (no, I don’t know how many we have, how many we’ve sold, or how close we are to the limit). But when we reach that limited amount, you won’t be able to purchase it anymore. Our product page for Chafer’s Systematic Theology describes it this way:

Many users over the years have asked for an electronic edition of this estimable work, but we were never able to secure a license to it. Now, for the first time, the publisher has agreed to a contract that enables us to bring you this resource, though in a limited quantity. When we sell out of our limited run, this title will be removed and we will be unable to take any more orders. We have no reason to believe that this title will ever be made available again electronically once all available copies are sold. We encourage you to place your order while you still can!

So if you’re into Chafer, or find electronic access to systematic theologies valuable, you may want to check it out.