Today’s guest blogger is Sean Boisen, senior information architect at Logos.
The many Bible reference resources in Logos 4 contain a wealth of photographs, maps, illustrations, and other images that can enhance your study of the Bible. Some are specifically devoted to visual resources: for example, 1000 Bible Images, Images of the Holy Land, Photos from the Holy Land, and The Biblical World in Pictures. Because of the high-quality tagging which Logos performs on its resources, you can find these images using the #image operator: for example, this search,
#image “golden calf”
finds any image that’s relatively close to the words “golden calf” (most, though not all, of which are depictions of some kind of calf).
Despite all the imagery that was already part of our resources, for Logos 4 we specially commissioned more than 100 brand new, high-resolution infographics. Why did we go to all this trouble (and expense)? One reason is that many of the images from published works have copyright restrictions that restrict Logos users from copying them for teaching, presentations, handouts, etc. By creating our own collection of infographics, we have clear rights which we can then pass along to our users for their ministry and other non-commercial use (republishing them, for example, in a book, is a different matter: contact Logos about situations like that). The same is true of the Logos maps for Biblical Places: you can copy and paste them into PowerPoint or other programs that support graphics, or print them out for ministry use. In Logos 4, you can view the infographics by typing “Open Infographics” in the Command Bar.
Creating the Logos Bible Software Infographics was a significant challenge that took numerous professional artists and many months of effort to complete. In the case of images representing buildings or artifacts from Biblical history, a great deal of that work involved careful research to determine how best to depict these objects.
Here’s one example: the Golden Calf which Aaron and the Israelites constructed by melting down their jewelry (Ex. 32). The Golden Calf infographic in Logos shows a glistening figure with long horns. A Logos user wrote to us last week to ask why we hadn’t caught an obvious mistake: calves (that is, baby cows) don’t have horns!
In fact, it’s much more involved than that. Scholars differ in their opinions about the background of the calf imagery and the cultural and historical details behind the incident (which is repeated later in Israel’s history under King Jeroboam, 1 Ki 12:28-33). The Hebrew word ‘ēg̱el translated here “calf” can refer either to cattle or oxen, up to three years of age: so it’s not necessarily a “baby cow” (and some scholars think the diminutive term here might be a reference of disdain to their small size, rather than their young age).
Archaeological discoveries from the same period time include many images of bovine or ox idols from surrounding nations: many of them do in fact include horns, including the Egyptian deity Hathor and other Canaanite deities. The moon god Sı̂n was often represented as a bull, perhaps reflecting the similarity of the horns of the bull to a crescent moon. We know from historical evidence that Sı̂n was worshiped both in Ur (the likely birthplace of Abraham and Sarah) and Haran (where the Patriarchs stopped on their journey to Palestine). So there’s good historical evidence supporting the possibility that the Israelites would have been familiar with these practices and images.
Of course, we can only speculate about what the actual golden calves (both Aaron’s and Jeroboam’s) might have looked like: no one actually knows. But we worked hard to make sure any images we created for the Logos Bible Software Infographics represented solid historical evidence. In Logos 4, you can look at the Biblical Things pages for Golden Calf, as well as Jeroboam’s Golden Image at Bethel and Dan, to learn more about these artifacts.
Want to go deeper into the background of subjects like the Golden Calf? Consider stepping up to a more in-depth Bible dictionary, like the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, or the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary.