Archive - December, 2006

Logos Bible Software as a “Dialogical Study Bible”

One of theSBL sessions in November was entitled “Biblical Studies and Study Bibles” and looked at the issues surrounding study Bibles. You know, the printed Bibles that include study notes next to the biblical text and are often marketed to a particular audience, e.g., men, women, students, skaters, etc.

One of the professors involved in the session—Carol Newsom from the Candler School of Theology—wrote an article about study Bibles for the SBL Forum in advance of the society’s annual conference.

Newsom, who haswritten for and edited study Bibles,believes there’s a place for them:

The biblical text is not self interpreting, and there are all kinds of things that readers need help with. Who or what is “Hepzibah?” or “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin”?

But she worries about the trend toward niche marketing and the lack of varying perspectives in a highly targeted study Bible. Her solution?

If I were to envision the “best practices” that might evolve from the phenomenon of diverse study bibles, it would be something that our new internet technologies might make possible-a kind of high tech, inter-religious “miqra’ot gedalot.” I would love to assemble for my students a biblical text surrounded by (at least) four kinds of commentary — mainline protestant, evangelical protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. Or one could construct a similar dialogical volume constructed around North American, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, African, and Asian Christian perspectives. A Jewish seminary might construct a quite different assemblage of traditional and contemporary Jewish annotations. As one can imagine, the possibilities are truly endless.

I read this and thought to myself, “She’s describing the Libronix DLS!”A few minutes later, I’d slapped together a workspace all set up to study the “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin” passage in Daniel 5.

If you click the thumbnail image above, you’ll see a “dialogical studydesk” that I’ve created using only books that are available today. Starting at the top left…the Bible version is Tanakh (it’s the one Newsom has her students use), with the NRSV on a tab as an alternate. Surrounding that are commentaries in the categories Newsom suggests: mainline protestant (Hermeneia), evangelical protestant (New American), and Catholic (Collegeville). Our “JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection” is still under development but I’d expect it to be released sometime in 2007.

At the far right side of the screen, I’ve got open a few select referencevolumes:the IVP Bible Background Commentary and Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, with A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature and Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament on tabs.

Various other titles could be substituted for the ones I chose here. (See, for example,our commentary guideand list of Bible dictionaries.)

And, of course, a workspace like this includes all the little conveniences you’ve come to expect from Logos Bible Software: resources that scroll together, dynamic linking to instantly and effortlessly look up an unfamiliarword in any language, Bible reference expansion upon hover, automatic footnoting, and so on.

But I think you get the point…

“Professor Newsom, the futureis now!”

Building Our Team

It is always interesting to read about how other people are applying information technology to Bible study.

SemanticBible.org is the home of a variety of interesting projects, and earlier this year it occurred to me that whoever was behind it must be the kind of person who is interested in many of the same things we are.

And he is.

I am very happy that Sean Boisen has accepted our invitation to join Logos Bible Software as a Senior Information Architect, and I am looking forward to working with him on increasingly powerful (and interesting!) ways of using technology to facilitate Bible study.

You may find Sean’s blog post interesting, and poking around SemanticBible.org is always thought-provoking.

Know Thy Books

Owning a large digital library is great when you can consult precisely the book you need at the moment you need it. Buta vast digital holdingcan present challenges when deciding whether to buy a new collection, such as the 2006 Christmas Special, Library Builder: Volumes 1-3 (available through December 31).

At present, there is no magical tool that can analyze your licenses, compare them against the product you’re thinking of buying, then spit out a report showing you duplicated books, new books, books you’d like, books you’ll never use,and books you think you’ll never use until late on a certain desperate Saturday night in February 2008.

But a couple of featuresin the Libronix DLS can come in handy when evaluating a purchase, or simply getting to know your books.

(I apologize if this seems obvious to our seasoned users but I recently came across two users in one day who were not aware of this information and realized that I take it for granted.)

Calling Marian…the Librarian

Everyone probably knows about My Library since there’s a big button for it right in the main toolbar. So I’ll just do a quick refresher…

My Library is the card catalog of Libronix—the library-ish way to see what digital books you own. It’s built on library standards and the “metadata” about each book—stuff like subject classifications—come from the Library of Congress. Yeah, the whole “library” thing is more than a metaphor with us.

In My Library, you can type in the title of a book to find specific volume, or see what you have from a particular author like A.W. Pink or Oswald Chambers.Viewing your books by subject can help you get a handle on the depth of your libraryin a subject like creeds, for example.

Just the List, Ma’am

If list-making,rather than browsing, is whatyou’re after…the Bibliography report is the tool to use. ClickTools | Library Management | Bibliography, then customize the report to show the contents of various collections you may have built or all the resources you own. You can also customize the displayto suit thetask at hand.

“Catalog style with covers” generates the colorful display shown below, which is great for getting to know your books. If you’re making a standard bibliography, you may choose something more utilitarian like “APA Style (4th ed.)”.

For this screenshot, I chose to run the bibliography report on the “Biblical Counseling Library” collection: a user-defined collection I created earlier. User-defined means the list of books in this collection can be completely arbitrary. Themetadata shown in the report comes from the Library of Congress, except for the brief descriptions which our book designers edit together from thebook jacket or preface.

Follow the Money Trail

When you want to view the Libronix-basedproducts you’ve purchased and activated, My Libraryis no help and Bibliography is only helpful if you’ve manually created collections. What you need is the Account Summary, a new tool in Logos Bible Software 3.

(OK, you really must at least download the free update if you haven’t already!)

Account Summary gives you a handle on the product collections in your digital library, as opposed to the individual books.

To open Account Summary, click Tools | Library Management | Account Summary and you’ll see something like this, but with fewer 0s.

Here is a record of the licenses for all the products or collections unlocked on this system. A product like Scholar’s Library will be in this list. At the bottom of the report is a list of the books and resources you have unlocked individually, such as Scripture Alphabet of Animals.

Tip: If you suspect that something you own is missing from this list…click Tools | Library Management | Synchronize Licenses (available only in Logos 3) to make sure you’re utterly up to date.

So What Have We Learned Today?

Account Summary can be the most useful tool when trying todecide whether to purchase a product such as The Complete Theological Journal Library Bundle, for example. You may recall having purchased a couple of journals discs in the past, but can’t remember which ones exactly.

After reading this post you now know that resources like journals don’t show up as productcollectionsin My Library; they show up as individual journals. But you also know that Account Summary is the place to turn for a list of the products you’ve activated, which makes comparison easier.

On the other hand, My Library is the ideal tool for locating an individual resource or browing books by subject. And the Bibliography tool can generate either a standard bibliography or a more detail-rich list with bookcovers and descriptions.

Perhaps a corollary of the dictum “Know Thy Books” is “Know Thy Book-Knowing Tools.”

(Note: Before anyone writes in to ask…if you see an item in your account summary that simply reads “Theological Journal Library” that corresponds to what we now call “Theological Journal Library Volumes 1-5” to distinguish it from the journal collectionsthat came after.)

For further reading see “Getting to Know Your Books,” a web article written by Rick Brannan that offers some additional suggestions for familiarizing yourself with the contents of your digital library.

Greek Syntax: Components and Head Terms

I received an email from one of y’all with some further questions about word groups, head terms, clausal hierarchy and syntax searching.

Rather than writing something, it was easier to make a video to point out some of the different ways one can structure a syntax search — particularly if you’ve wondered what “Must be an immediate child of parent” does.

I’ll warn you that I rambled a bit, the video is almost 13 minutes. Hopefully the information therein is usable.

Christmas Cheer and Festivities

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All work and no play makes for a gloomy office…especially around Christmas. So here are some highlights of our play during the past few weeks.

This year’s office decorating contest was a battle of the grinches with two departments independently hitting upon a “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” theme.

The text developers ultimately triumphed (they not only decorated but also put on a performance for the judges, complete with a 6 or 8 member choir).Andthere was a strong showing from a number of other departments and individuals as well. (See more photos...)

Of course there were some scrooges who didn’t decorate at all.

The annual bake-off was a sweet success, with nearly a dozen entries to spoil our collective appetite for lunch. For some of us, the baked treatswere lunch.

First place went to Ryan Husser,Logos book designer, with his Magic Cookie Bars. Second and third place went to Kelsey Sebens’ peanut butter bars and James VanNoord’s “O Little Mint of Bellingham” bars, respectively. Two of the recipes are below.

The Logos Christmas Party was a great chance to fellowship with one another, meet spouses and “significant others”, and even meet some co-workers for the first time.

Bob told us the story of the first ever company Christmas party, held in a stairwell at the Oak Harbor office,with a menu that included Oscar Meyer cold cut and Wonder Bread sandwiches. It was pretty amazing to look around atthe largest Logos Christmas party to dateand be thankful for the ways God has blessed this company.

We hope you have a merry Christmas and look forward to serving you in the New Year!


Magic Cookies Bars

Ingredients: 1 stick (½ cup) butter 1 ½ cup crushed graham crackers (sandwiching between two pieces of waxed paper works best for me) 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips 1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips 1 1/3 cup coconut flakes 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° Melt butter in 13 x 9 inch pan Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs onto butter, shake pan gently to disperse evenly Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over butter/graham cracker crumbs Sprinkle chocolate chips, then butterscotch chips, then coconut, then walnuts (if desired) over sweetened condensed milk Bake for 25 minutes Let cool and cut into pieces

O Little Mint of Bellingham(Creamy Mint Bars )

Recipe from Genny Gerrits; Holland, MI; April 1996Grease 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Base/Crust:1 Chocolate Mint Pillsbury Cake mixor 1 double chocolate pudding cake mix plus 1 teaspoon mint extract 1/3 cup softened margarine1 egg1/4 cup waterCombine all ingredients and mix at low speed. Press into greased pan and bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow to cool.

Filling:1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatin. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup cold water and heat according to package directions to dissolve gelatin. 4 cups powdered sugar, divided1/2 cup margarine1/2 cup Crisco or butter flavored shortening1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract2 to 5 drops green food coloringAfter gelatin is dissolved, allow to cool. Mix soft gelatin with 2 cups of powdered sugar, margarine, shortening, flavoring and coloring. Beat one minute at medium speed or until creamy. Blend in balance of sugar. Spread over crust.

Frosting:6 oz milk chocolate chips3 T shorteningMelt chips and shortening and drizzle over filling. Refrigerate.

Notes:– The base/crust is very thick and sticky. It will probably take longer than 10 minutes to be done.– I doubled this recipe for the bake-off and used a 18×13 half sheet pan– I substituted butter one-for-one in place of margarine.

Logos Culinary Secrets Revealed!

As Bob has mentioned and as regular blog readers know, from time to time we love to do some cookin’ here at Logos.


Bradley Grainger preparing some condimentsfor his 2006 Curry Cook-off entry

When we have cookoffs, we usually post winning recipes on this blog.

If you’re interested in some of the winners, try searching the blog using the search box on the sidebar for the word recipe. Or just click this link.

Who knows, you could find something you’d like to make for dinner next week!

Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism: Charge Form

Read the first five posts in this series: Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4.
2Ti 4.1 offers an example of the Charge Form.


Charge Form in 2Ti 4.1

The discussion of this form is very much preliminary because Smith’s recent book, Timothy’s Task, Paul’s Prospect is the first to propose this form. If Smith is right, it could affect how one interprets the whole book of Second Timothy. One should at least weigh this when working through the book of Second Timothy.

Description of Form
Smith defines the form as follows:

My research has identified four basic elements which comprise the charge: the Charge Verb, Person/s Charged, Authority Phrase, and Content of the Charge. A fifth element sometimes present in a charge is the Implications of the Charge, though this is not a necessary component.[1]

Smith provides more explanation of each of these elements:

  • The Charge Verb: Could be διαμαρτύρομαι, παραγγέλλω, μαρτύρομαι, ἐνορκίζω, εχορκίζω, ὁρκίζω, κελεύω, παρακαλέω, ἐντέλλομαι.[2] Smith notes these are to be active apart from deponents, which will occur in the middle.[3]
  • The Person Charged: A second person singular or plural, though third person singular or plural are possible. The case of the noun is either accusative or dative. This item is not always a part of the charge, sometimes it may be implied from context.[4]
  • The Authority Phrase: Typically following the verb, it may or may not use a preposition. When no preposition is present, the phrase uses the accusative case.[5]
  • The Content of the Charge: Typically in a ἵνα clause and a verb second or third person subjunctive, though it may be an infinitival clause or perhaps even a series of imperatives.

Because the charge verb and authority phrase are always present, those will be used as the basis of the query.

The Form in OpenText.org SAGNT
Smith reports the following instances of the charge form: Mt 26.63; Mk 5.7; Ac 16.18; Ro 12.1-2; 15.30-32; 1Co 1.10; Eph 4.17; 1Th 4.1; 5.27; 2Th 3.6; 2Th 3.12; 1Ti 5.21; 1Ti 6.13-14; 2Ti 4.1-8.[6] The query follows:


Charge Form

  • A primary clause with a first-person indicative charge verb as predicator. A second clause component, either an adjunct or a complement contains:
    • “supernatural being or power” (Louw-Nida domain 12) as head term, or
    • οικτιρμος, οικτιρμων or ονομα as the head term

This query, when run, returns 29 instances. Some are duplications based on the “OR” criteria in the word group of the second clause component.

  • Instances from Smith located by the query: Mt 26.63; Mk 5.7; Ac 16.18; 15.30-32; 1Co 1.10; Eph 4.17; 1Th 4.1; 5.27; 2Th 3.6; 2Th 3.12; 1Ti 5.21; 1Ti 6.13-14; 2Ti 4.1-8
  • Extras located by the query: Jn 14.16; 16.26; Ac 19.13.
  • Instances from Smith missed by the query: Ro 12.1-2. This is due to a discrepancy in the annotation of Ro 12.1, where the prepositional phrase that functions as the authority phrase is annotated as modifying the following infinitive verb instead of the preceding indicative verb (the charge verb).

Bibliography

Smith, Craig A. Timothy’s Task, Paul’s Prospect: A New Reading of 2 Timothy (Sheffield: The Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006).

Notes
[1] Smith, p. 27.
[2] Smith, p. 27, 29.
[3] Smith, p. 29.
[4] Smith, p. 30.
[5] Smith, p. 30
[6] Smith, p. 231-233

Eliminating Bible Study Obstacles

Tools like the Passage Guide, Exegetical Guide, and Bible Word Study Guide search a huge digital library and return neatly organized reports that kick-start your Bible study. From nothing more than a verse, or the name of a Bible story, or a single word, these reports generate both visual and textual overviews that link deeply into your Bible reference library.

These reports eliminate obstacles to Bible study because they are more than just simple search tools. They not only save time, they answer the question “Where do I start?” Each report is designed to facilitate a specific step in Bible study, and it has embedded in it specialized knowledge about the process and books involved.

Logos Bible Software also features specialized tools like a Bible Reading Scheduler and a Prayer List manager. Like the automated reports, these tools are time savers that eliminate paper handling and help users get into the Word.

The sheer bulk and weight of paper Bible reference books is another paper handling obstacle. It can keep people from following a cross reference, checking a source, or digging a little deeper on a topic.

I have visited many pastors and professors in their offices, and the one thing found in every office is a lot of books. It is fascinating to see the breadth and depth of many of these collections, often neatly organized and cataloged. But it is also interesting to see that within nearly all of these large collections there is a much smaller collection: “books I use all the time”. This handful of books can usually be found on the shelf directly behind the chair, just below sitting eye-height. (If those books aren’t already strewn across the desk.)

Because no matter the breadth or depth of interest or scholarship, very few people have the time to regularly find and consult even the hand-picked books in their personal library. And even less time to visit a bookstore or physical library for the obscure titles they find referenced in every footnote and bibliography they encounter during their study, no matter how useful they might be.

Electronic resources are easier to use. And when resources are easier to use, they get used more often. We want to free our users to consult their whole library regularly – not just the books they can reach from their chair.

We also want to make available as much source material as possible. Everyone may not want to check textual readings in the papyri, consult Josephus in the Greek, or search for parallels in the Ugaritic literature. But having access to the early sources (in the original languages and scripts, as well as in transliteration and translation) is necessary in order to do so. Ready access to these sources is useful for less scholarly users as well. It allows them to check citations, to read and explore on their own, and to gain confidence in the integrity of our historical understanding.

Logos Bible Software offers a massive digital library. But we aren’t adding titles to win some book count competition. We simply want to make the books in your library easier to use. We want to make it easier for everyone to consult source material. And in doing so, we eliminate even more obstacles to better, deeper Bible study.

What is Logos Bible Software?

I recently returned from the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Once again I had a great time meeting and talking with so many of our users as well as many students, pastors, scholars (and pastor-scholars!) who are looking for new resources.

It was interesting to see how different people have different impressions of Logos Bible Software. Some only know it as the software they use to access a single electronic book, like the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. Some see it as a specialized Bible search engine, particularly if they only discovered it in the context of our new Hebrew and Greek syntax databases. Others see Logos as nothing more than a huge bucket-o-books, an overstuffed electronic library with a search feature.

The Libronix Digital Library System, the technology underneath Logos Bible Software, is not a single piece of software. It is more like a box of software parts that can be assembled in various ways – like digital Lego bricks, if you will. It can function as a search-and-display tool for a single book or as host for multiple document editors and specialized search engines. This modularity lets us deliver exactly the right tool for many different users. It is the right tool for the devotional user who wants just a Bible and commentary. And it is the right tool for the scholar who only wants to run complex queries on ancient language texts.

The modular architecture is a great asset. But it can make it hard to see the big picture of what Logos Bible Software really is.

Logos Bible Software is an obstacle eliminator for Bible study. It is a combination of technology and resources designed to eliminate every bit of time-consuming paper handling that could get in the way of Bible study.

The Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it should be at the center of every Christian’s walk, and that it speaks powerfully to the hearts and minds of unbelievers. But we can’t make people study it. We can take away excuses for not studying it, though. We can make Bible study easier to begin. We can remove every impediment of page turning and paper handling. We can make digging deeper irresistibly easy.

Back in 1991, the very first Logos t-shirt design consisted of our logo and the phrase “Get into the Word!” in large, red type. Fifteen years later we are still building tools to help you do just that.

What’s with all the crock-pot photos?

Crock Pot

There is a hidden message in all the photos of crock-pots you see on the Logos Blog.

Everyone understands why we post about product features and special sales and Greek syntax, and even the design of a Ugaritic font. But maybe the pictures of cook-offs and frisbees and coffee and decorations are too subtle.

There is a reason we post all that Fun Stuff:
It’s fun.

Okay, there’s another reason, too: We want everyone to see what a great place Logos is to work. We know that before an interview every (smart) job candidate pokes around our web site and blog. We want them to discover that we’re a place they really want to work.

We also want you, our regular blog reader, to (when you’re not thinking about Greek syntax searching) take a moment to think, “Those folks at Logos must be having a blast! And they eat well! I need to take a look at www.logos.com/jobs and forward the link to the smartest people I know.”

Finding and attracting great people continues to be the key to our success. If “we” are going to keep building great Bible software for you, “we” needs to get bigger and better. Maybe you should think about joining us? Maybe you have a gifted friend or relative who is looking for something new? Maybe they just need to know about a fun, growing company where a bunch of great people are working together to build tools to help you study the Word?

Let them know about www.logos.com/jobs. (Especially if they can cook.)

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