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Community Pricing Is Back in Action

Things have been pretty quiet at the Community Pricing page for the last 10 months. While Pre-Pubs have been coming out at a very rapid rate, Community Pricing titles have been few and far between. Only two new titles were put up between August and May. In September we added James Bannerman’s two volume The Church of Christ. Then in February Gustav Oehler’s Theology of the Old Testament appeared.

But things are about to start picking back up. We have plans to add a new Community Pricing title at the beginning of every week for at least the next couple of months, and if the response is good, we’ll try to continue at that pace. Last week we added Herman Bavinck’s The Philosophy of Revelation, this week J. Armitage Robinson’s classic commentary St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.

Here are the other titles you’ll find there:

Keep your eye on the Community Pricing page for the latest releases. If you’re into the whole RSS thing, you may want to subscribe to our Community Pricing feed.

What Are the Benefits?

Community Pricing is a wonderful way for you to add solid, hard-to-obtain public domain titles to your library at incredibly low prices. Many of the books that appear on Community Pricing are out of print, and often finding used copies at reasonable prices is close to impossible. The goal of Community Pricing is to make these classics available again in a much more useful format and offer you substantial savings off the print prices.

The best part about Community Pricing is that you get to set the price. If the majority of people think that a given title should go for $5 and enough people bid on it at that price, that’s what the price will be! There have been some phenomenal deals in the past—like the 15 volume R. A. Torrey Collection, which went for the outrageously low $15—and there are many more deals waiting to be had.

How Does It Work?

It’s pretty simple. We estimate the cost of production for an individual book or collection (e.g., $2500), and a graph is generated with a range of prices (e.g., $2-$20). You place a bid (i.e., pre-order) at the highest price you are willing to pay by clicking on the dollar amount. (You need to be logged in with your credit card information saved in My Account.) Once there are enough pre-orders to cover the production costs at a certain price, the title will remain on Community Pricing for up to another week (until noon PST the next Friday), giving you the opportunity to drive the price down even further, which is often what happens.

Ellicott’s The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul will probably be a great example of this. On Wednesday it crossed the 100% line at $7. If enough people jump on board before noon today, it could go even lower and cross at $6. If you haven’t already, go place your bid and see if you can make it hit the $6 mark.

After a title closes on Community Pricing, it will then move over to the Pre-Pub page at a higher price, and production will begin. Once production is complete and it is ready to ship, you will be charged the very low Community Pricing price and be notified that your title is ready to be downloaded. (Don’t worry. You’ll also be notified about a week or two prior to this so you can prepare for the charge.)

How Can You Help?

The more people who use Community Pricing, the lower the prices will go. If a collection costs us $10,000 to produce, those costs can be covered with 100 $100 bids, 1000 $10 bids, or 10,000 $1 bids. We get our costs covered one way or the other, but obviously the last option is in your best interest. It’s possible that eventually books could go for as low as $1 or $2. There are three simple things you can do to help make that happen:

  1. Place pre-orders for all the titles you want.
  2. Spread the word to others and encourage them to use the Community Pricing program.
  3. Send your public domain suggestions to suggestlogos.com, and we’ll do our best to add them.

Head on over and check out the deals.

To read more about Community Pricing, check out these previous blog posts:

Update: As of 8:23 AM PST it has crossed the 100% line at the $6 mark!

Lots of Pre-Pubs Shipping Soon

If you visit the Pre-Pub page, you’ll see that there are more than a dozen individual titles and collections scheduled to ship in the next few weeks.

There’s something there for everyone.

A. W. Tozer Collection (57 volumes)Collected Writings

Pastoral Ministry

Holman New Testament CommentaryCommentaries

Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New TestamentLanguages

Church History

Norman L. Geisler’s Systematic Theology (4 volumes)Theology

Missions

If you see something here that interests but haven’t placed your preorder yet, you may still be able to get in at the discounted Pre-Pub price.

Update: The Early Church History Collection (7 Vols.) is now shipping and is no longer available at the Pre-Pub price.

New Counseling Product Guide

Doctrine is important. Very important. But having right doctrine isn’t enough. God intends to transform our lives by it. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between our theology and our behavior. The answer isn’t to scrap theology in favor of a practical Christianity that focuses exclusively on doing and being. Rather, Christians must do the hard work of connecting the dots between faith and practice, of carefully studying Scripture and doing theology with the goal of applying it to life’s issues and problems and living out its implications.

For this reason it is essential to have not only books that help you understanding what Scripture says (e.g., commentaries) and how you should synthesize its teachings (e.g., theology books), but also practical books—like Bible-saturated works on counseling and ethics—that help you apply God’s Word to how you live every day. Many commentaries and theological books will get you headed in the right direction, but they usually don’t take you far enough in the direction of application.

We’ve been creating a number of product guides to help you build certain portions of your library. We have guides on commentaries, Bible background studies, church history, Lutheran resources, Greek, Hebrew, and other ancient languages. We have just completed a product guide on some of our best resources on counseling. We think you’ll find some helpful books there that will enable you to live out the gospel and equip you to encourage others to do the same. Check it out to see what titles may be a good addition to your library.

Help from ‘Left Field’

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

I am currently teaching a class on the parables of Jesus at my church. We are looking at the parables that occur in more than one gospel and taking note of how they are used in each. Along the way we have come across differences in wording, begging that question: ‘So what?’

This week we looked at the ‘salt’ passages, found in Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49-50; and Luke 14:34-35. We noticed that there are some significant differences in how this parable is related to the preceding context in the different gospels. There are two new resources called the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament that provide some really helpful insight into issues like this. These resources annotate where the NT writers used various devices to get our attention, emphasize things, build suspense, etc.

Another important contribution of these resources is a description in the left column that tells you what each line of the text is doing. This analysis is informed by things like the Greek conjunction used, the morphology of the verb, and the role that it plays in the larger context. We were using the Lexham High Definition New Testament in class, and it was really easy to point out how the different gospel writers wanted to connect the salt parable to the preceding context, since it was plainly spelled out in the left column. ‘Proposition means that there are no specific instructions about how to relate what follows to what precedes.  ‘Support’ indicates that what follows in intended to strengthen or support what precedes, but does not advance the story or the argument. ‘Principle’ indicates that what follows is a summary or conclusion drawn from what precedes, often providing the big idea for the section that follows. Take a look at the highlighted descriptions in the left column.

In Matthew’s gospel, the saying follows right on the heals of the Beatitudes. In Greek there is no specific conjunction that tells the reader how to connect it; it is just the next saying.

In Mark the section just before describes how it is better to cast off a part of you that causes you to sin than to keep it and risk being thrown into hell. The saying about the salt is connected to this with the Greek conjunction γάρ (for). This instructs us to understand what follow as supporting or strengthening what precedes, rather than introducing a new point. In other words, Mark has signaled with γάρ that the saying about the salt is connected to what precedes, supporting and strengthening it.

If you look at Luke 14:34, you will see that the verse begins with a bullet. In the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament, you can see that the bullet stands in the place of the Greek conjunction οὖν (therefore). This word signals that what follows is a principle or summary drawn from what precedes. In other words, it either summarizes what precede, or introduces a new principle that is drawn from what precedes. The preceding section in Luke describes counting the cost of discipleship, illustrated by the consideration that should be given before building a tower or going to war against a superior force. This means that Luke wanted us to read the saying about the salt as drawing from and building upon what precedes.

In each of these gospels, the saying about the salt losing its saltiness warns us about the hazard of losing the distinctive quality that makes us who we are, illustrated by salt losing its saltiness. In Matthew Jesus has just taught that when we encounter persecution for pursuing righteousness, we should rejoice and be glad. In such circumstances, one might be tempted to water down their faith, or put their light under a basket (cf. 5:15). The reference to salt adds to this same point by asking the question: ‘What good is salt if it loses its saltiness?’ If we water-down or hide our faith, then what’s the point?

In Mark, the same point is made by the reference to salt. If there is some part of us that is causing us to sin, that might destine us for hell, is it really worth hanging on to? The reference to salt presents the same issue from a different angle. The salting with fire suggests a refining process. But if this process does not produce real, salty salt, then what’s the point? The Christian life is not about hanging on to what Jesus died to free us from, but about being the salt and light that he redeemed us to be.

In Luke, Jesus has just given a summary principle in v. 33 drawn from the illustrations of building a tower and going to war: “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (ESV). The saying about the salt is building upon this point, providing a practical illustration of what happens when someone follows without renouncing all: he or she is salt that is not salty. If the salt is no longer salty, then what’s the point?

This is just a one example of the kind of help that the left column information of the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament can provide. It can really pay dividends in helping you understand the really hairy passages that use very complex grammar, unpacking it one bit at a time. Check out Romans 2:17 in the HDNT:

Paul wants to set up a very complex state of affairs, one which can get confusing in a hurry if you are just reading it in a continuous paragraph. His main point is this: Do you not teach yourself? The ‘complex’ marker tells you that the line that is only indented one place is the main idea of the complex clause. In this case, the main thought is the ‘principle’ line. The rest of the parts are indented and labeled to help you understand what role each plays, and to let you easily find the main idea.

We are nearing completion on this project, which means two things: it will be shipping soon, and the price will be going up when it is removed from Pre-Publication. Take warning; buy soon if you haven’t already!

If you missed them, be sure to check out Steve’s previous posts.

Try Out the Pre-Pub Program—and Get a Free Book!

Have you ever tried out our Pre-Publication program? If not, this post is especially for you.

What Is the Pre-Pub Program?

Very simply put, the Pre-Pub program is a way for you to pre-order Libronix books at discounted prices before we produce them. It’s a win-win-win situation for you, us, and the publisher. You lock in the lowest prices and get a say in which new books we release. We benefit by knowing that at minimum our costs will be covered. And the publisher can test the waters to see if sufficient interest exists in digital versions of their books.

How Does It Work?

When we put new books or collections on Pre-Pub, they appear on the Pre-Pub page. (If you prefer, you can also see the latest releases by subscribing to our Pre-Pub RSS feed.) You "vote" for a title by placing a pre-order. Your credit card is not charged until the product ships, and you can cancel your pre-order any time before it ships.

The status of a new title begins at Gathering Interest. As pre-orders are placed, the bar moves up.

Once there are enough pre-orders to cover the production cost, the status changes to Under Development and our Electronic Text Development department begins creating the digital books.

Once the end is in sight and we have a solid estimated shipping date, we’ll add it to the page below the status.

When the product is ready to ship (or download), your credit card will be charged and your CD-ROM will quickly be on its way to your mailbox. If you chose the download option, you’ll receive an email telling you how to download and unlock your new books.

That’s it. It’s really that simple!

Try It Out

If you’ve been hesitant to use the Pre-Pub program because you’re not sure how it all works, now’s your chance to give it a try without any risk. We are offering How to Write: A Handbook Based on the English Bible by Charles Sears Baldwin on Pre-Pub for the special price of $0! Since we don’t normally give away Pre-Pubs, you will need to enter your credit card information to place your pre-order. But we promise that you won’t be charged a penny.

If you are a regular Pre-Pub purchaser, please pass the word on to your friends and encourage them to give it a try.

To learn more about our Pre-Pub Program, check out these two articles:

More on Hebrew and Aramaic Inscriptions

As many may have heard, David Noel Freedman passed away recently. He was very prolific and very well respected among Biblical scholars. He was the editor of the highly-acclaimed Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, which has been available in Logos Bible Software for now well over 10 years. It is one of our top-selling additional purchases, bound to offer insight and help to your studies.
Anyway, I’m not writing this post about the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. I’m instead writing about our Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and Translations product, which was just released a few months ago.
Why am I mentioning this and David Noel Freedman? Well, I was reading an essay written by Freedman the other night called The Biblical Languages, from a book called The Bible and Modern Scholarship. It is a collection of papers presented at the 100th meeting of the SBL (back in 1965). In the essay, Freedman notes the importance of inscriptional evidence for the study of Biblical languages:

Non-biblical manuscripts of a similar genre which are dependent upon or related to biblical materials may offer help in the interpretation of difficult passages, or may help to clear up grammatical, syntactic, or lexicographical problems through the use of the same or related terms in different contexts. The possibilities are practically unlimited, so that the discovery of inscribed texts almost always results in some positive gain in the interpretation of biblical passages. That is why the search for inscriptions remains the principle objective of biblical archaeologists. And the relative paucity of written materials turned up in Palestine has only increased the avidity of excavators. Practically every Hebrew inscription found, however brief, has contributed in some measure to the elucidation of the Bible. Needless to say, the reverse is also true, and in greater measure. (Freedman 299, emphasis added)

So, if you needed a nudge toward Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and Translations . . . consider yourself nudged!

Two New Lexicons on Pre-Pub

Digging into the original languages is a very important part of advanced Bible study, and we are continually striving to find ways to make it more accessible and more powerful. Tools like the reverse interlinears and the Bible Word Study report make rich data—formerly available only to those with a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek—easily accessible to those with little or no original language training. For those who are comfortable working with the original languages, our syntax tools make a whole new level of study possible.

While there’s a huge range of tasks involved in Bible study, one of the most fundamental is gaining a proper understanding of the various nuances of meaning that individual words are capable of communicating. Having a number of different lexical tools to consult is crucial. We already have quite a nice offering of Greek lexicons and Hebrew lexicons, but there’s always room for more. And, of course, there’s really no better way to access lexical works than in the Libronix Digital Library System, where lookups are only a click away.

Now on Pre-Pub are these two first-rate works:

Both would make great additions to the library of every serious Bible student. If you don’t know much about them and don’t want to take my word for it, there’s lots of good information on the product pages. In less then 24 hours, both sets reached nearly 50% of the pre-orders needed to send them into production. Your pre-orders will help take them to 100%.

Free Greek Book!

Awhile back I blogged my excitement over the Studies in New Testament Greek Collection being offered as a prepublication special. It is chock full of books that can help exegetes and Bible students benefit from advances in modern linguistics. But as I looked at the collection, there was one volume I was sad to see missing. So we did some digging and found that we had a license from the publisher for the title, but it hadn’t made it into the collection because the publisher wasn’t able to provide us with a physical copy of the book. Well, that’s no problem, since I have a copy. So I brought my book in and we got permission from the Powers That Be to add this valuable book into the collection at no additional cost to you!

The book in question is Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics: Open Questions in Current Research, edited by Stanley E. Porter and D. A. Carson. Half the book is dedicated to 5 essays on verbal aspect. One of the great debates in the study of biblical Greek has to do with whether or not verbal ‘tenses’, such as aorist and imperfect, actually communicate a temporal reference (indicating that the action of the verb taking place in the past, present or future) or whether they might not communicate something else entirely (aspect). Or do tenses sometimes convey time, sometimes aspect and/or sometimes both? In New Testament studies, the two most prominent voices in the early verbal aspect debate were Stanley Porter (also the author of Idioms of the Greek New Testament and the soon-to-be-released Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period) and Buist Fanning. In this volume, there are essays from both Porter and Fanning introducing their approaches to verbal aspect and commenting on each other’s theories as well. These excellent essays are preceded by an introduction to the debate by D. A. Carson (author of Exegetical Fallacies), and followed by two more independent reviews of Porter and Fanning, one by Daryl D. Schmidt (author of Hellenistic Greek Grammar and Noam Chomsky) and the other by Moises Silva (author of the Philippians volume of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament).

After the section on verbal aspect, the other half of the book is a potpourri of articles on other applications of modern linguistics to the Greek Bible, including essays from Jeffrey T. Reed (who wrote A Discourse Analysis of Philippians: Method and Rhetoric in the Debate over Literary Integrity, and co-edited Discourse Analysis and the New Testament: Approaches and Results, both books that are also in this incredible collection), Paul Danove (who wrote Linguistics and Exegesis in the Gospel of Mark: Applications of a Case Frame Analysis and Lexicon, which is also in the SGNT collection), Michael W. Palmer (author of Levels of Constituent Structure in New Testament Greek), and Mark S. Krause (co-author of the College Press NIV Commentary on John).

Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics is a great addition to this already brilliant collection of books. We’ve sweetened the deal, so if you were sitting on the fence before, it’s time to order so we can get this collection into production ASAP!

Paying Attention to ‘This’ and ‘That’

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

One of the many valuable life lessons I learned growing up came from Sesame Street’s esteemed blue monster, Grover. One of my favorite bits he did (besides Super Grover) was teaching about ‘near’ and ‘far’. Do you remember that? He would run up to the camera (I know, his puppeteer moved him, but indulge me here) and say ‘Near’. Then he would run way into the background and say ‘Far’, repeating it a few times to drive the point home. Believe it or not, this information can really help your Bible study, especially in John’s writings. There are some new Pre-Pubs, the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, that provide access to some great new insights that can really impact how you read and study Scripture. Today I want to introduce you to another device: the near/far distinction. Just like Grover taught about how things can be near and far in terms of distance, we also use the near and far distinction to signal what is thematically central (‘near’) to the story and what is non-central (‘far’).

If I was clothes shopping (argghh!) and my wife held up two items for me to help her chose between, she might ask, “Do you like this one or that one?” Chances are that ‘this one’ is the one that she is more interested in. I might respond “I like this one better than that one” even though both are the same distance away. This is an example of creating a near/far distinction in order to communicate that one thing is more important than another. We tend to use ‘this/these’ for things that are of central importance, and ‘that/those’ for things that are of only passing importance, not central to the story.

John creates near/far distinctions all the time in his writings to distinguish important things from those that are less important. Unfortunately, many of them are smoothed over in translation to English. He uses this distinction in order to clarify what he is primarily interested in, especially when there are other things competing for our attention that are not of central importance. Let’s take a look at some examples, and see how Grover has equipped us for better Bible study. In John 5:19, there are a whole gaggle of devices that are used to draw attention to Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees that are questioning him. Here is what it looks like in an alpha version of the HDNT:

What we are interested in today are the ‘near distinction’ symbols () and the ‘far distinction’ symbols (). In the Greek of the ‘Support’ line of v. 19, the words ‘the Father’ are not there; instead He is referred to as ‘that one’. This is not to say that the Father is not important, just that He is not central to what Jesus is saying here. What is important is the things that the Father is doing. It is these things that the Son does, not just whatever seems right in his own eyes. Jesus is stressing here how dependent his actions are on the will of the One who sent him. Here is what it looks like in the LDGNT, notice ‘that one’ and ‘these things’ in the interlinear line.

Do you see how the near/far distinction works? There are a bunch of topics here that are competing for our attention: the Father, the Son, and what the Son sees the Father doing. So which one is of central importance? If you only had the ESV text, it would be difficult to tell, you are left to make the decision on your own. In the HDNT, the near and the far distinctions are clearly marked, even though the ‘that’ has been translated as ‘the Father’. If you had the LDGNT (which includes everything from the HDNT as well), you would be able to look at both to see what is going on, just like we did above.

The same kind of near/far contrast is found again in John 5:38; take a look.

If we were to do an RLV (really literal version), it would read “ . . . for you do not believe in this one whom that one sent”. Once again, ‘that one’ refers to the Father, whereas ‘this one’ refers to Jesus. In this instance, Jesus himself is of central importance, since he is the object of belief (or unbelief in this case). The translation has obscured the near/far distinction that clearly exists in Greek, one that the writer purposefully used to make sure that his main point would be our main point. The HDNT brings back this detail that is lost in translation, drawing your attention to significant things that you might otherwise miss. The LDGNT allows you to see the underlying Greek, plus includes the English HDNT in a bundle.

Did you wonder what all of those other symbols were in John 5:19? There are other blog posts that explain them, if you are interested in reading more. Here they are:

and signal point-counterpoint sets, part 1 and part 2

signals a ‘meta-comment’

If you haven’t yet placed your order, don’t miss out while it’s still available at the discounted Pre-Pub pricing.

New Edition of the Works of Cornelius Van Til

If you run Libronix Update, you’ve probably noticed that there are often updated resource files available for you to download. These resources include typo fixes and other enhancements like additional hyperlinks to other resources available in Libronix. Sometimes these new resources are updated versions of the book like with the ESV recently, which has been updated to the 2007 text edition. The best part is that we almost always provide these improvements to you free of charge. If you don’t run Libronix Update, you should get in the habit of running it at least once a month (in Libronix, click Tools > Libronix Update). You’re probably missing out on some cool stuff!

When we released the first version of the Libronix Digital Library System in 2001, we included backwards compatibility for the older Logos Library System (LLS) resources. Today you can still run LLS resources in Libronix. But since the Libronix Digital Library System allows us to include many more advanced features in our digital books, we try to update old LLS books when we are able so they can take advantage of the improved LDLS functionality. Even though this often involves hundreds of hours of labor, we typically provide these new Libronix resources to those who already own the older LLS versions without any additional cost.

We are pleased to announce that the Works of Cornelius Van Til (40 Volumes) is now available as a new enhanced edition for the Libronix Digital Library System. Since the release of the LLS version more than a decade ago, this definitive collection of works from the renowned Cornelius Van Til has become an essential tool for apologists and students of Van Til’s thought. Now it’s even better!

What’s New?

  • All of the material from the original edition has been updated to take advantage of the advanced features of the Libronix Digital Library System.
  • The contents have been split into 40 resources making it easier to locate specific titles in My Library and navigate this massive collection.
  • The new edition also includes enhancements like additional hyperlinks to other Libronix resources. More than 6,000 links have been added to Barth’s Church Dogmatics alone.

It is now possible to do advanced searching and find all the places where Van Til discusses a certain section of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion or Barth’s Church Dogmatics. By using the Reference Browser, you can locate in an instant all the places where Van Til cites, for example, Calvin’s discussion of the Trinity (I, xiii).

Since Calvin’s Institutes is a data type and all of these references are tagged, finding them is no problem even though Van Til cites Calvin in a variety of ways (i.e., once as Institutes, Bk. 1, chap. 13, Sec. 2, another time as Ibid., 1:13:1, and another as Ibid., 1:13:21). I performed this search and had the results in seconds. Running down this data any other way would have taken hours or even days.

You can do this same type of analysis for the places where Van Til cites Barth’s Church Dogmatics. As you may know, Van Til was a strong critic of Barth. Whether you agree with Van Til or not, you now have the ability to analyze his critique of Barth in ways never before possible. Instantly find all the places where Van Til cites Barth’s certain portions of CD. By the way, Barth’s Church Dogmatics will be shipping very soon. You still have a chance to get in at the Pre-Pub price.

How Do I Get It?

For those who owned the old LLS version of the Works of Cornelius Van Til as of April 10, 2008, we are providing this new version to you free of charge. In fact, we’ve already gone to the effort to unlock the new collection in your license file. All you need to do is synchronize your licenses (in Libronix, click Tools > Library Management > Synchronize Licenses) and get the files. Due to the size, we suggest ordering the $5 media only CD.

Note: You may not give away or sell your old LLS version. You must continue to own it in order to legally use the new LDLS version.

If you don’t already own the Works of Cornelius Van Til, we are offering a special introductory price for a limited time. Visit the new Van Til product page to find out all the details and place your order for the collection, which is available on CD-ROM or as a download.

Update: Some previous owners of the LLS Van Til product might not have had the new edition unlocked yet. We are in the process of unlocking it for this group that got missed. This should be done in the next day or two. Thanks for your patience!

Update 2: We have completed the unlocking process for everyone who had the LLS version of the Works of Cornelius Van Til activated in their Libronix account. If you own the LLS version (and purchased it prior to April 10, 2008), but never moved from the old Logos Library System to the new Libronix Digital Library System, you will have to contact customer service (800-875-6467) if you’d like to move to the Libronix Digital Library System and have the new Libronix version unlocked for you.