Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop, Part 1

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.

Over the last few years, I have learned the importance of expectations. Expectations play a huge role in our lives, even in how we use language. Read the following statements, and compare the difference that adding a single word to the sentence can make in changing our expectations about what follows.

1. “I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

versus . . .

2. “While I have really appreciated your work over the last few months . . .”

or . . .

3. “I have appreciated most of your work over the last few months . . .”

Notice the difference in expectations that was created in the last two sentences compared to the first sentence? What changed? Figuratively speaking, adding ‘while’ or ‘most’ in this context has the effect of signaling that the ‘first shoe’ has dropped. It creates the expectation that something more is coming, and it probably won’t be good. Another way of looking at this is to say that the last two sentences create a ‘counter point’, signaling that a more important ‘point’ is about to come that connects back to the counter point.

We make decisions like this all the time when we are speaking, but not by stopping and thinking, “Should I create a counter point so that Rick will expect that more is coming, or should I connect these thoughts using another device?” No. We just do what ‘fits best’ in the context, based on whatever it is that we want to communicate. Creating the expectation that a second shoe will drop using a counter point is a powerful way to connect two things together, things that otherwise might not have been connected. It is not just English that can create this kind of expectation. Most languages have some means of doing this, including Greek. You guessed it, we are headed into the New Testament to introduce another device that is included in the Lexham High Definition New Testament, which is now on Pre-Pub along with the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Today’s topic is point-counter point sets, using a words like ‘while’ or ‘in as much as’ to create a ‘counterpoint’ to connect and draw extra attention to a ‘point’ that follows. The point is the ‘second shoe’.

In the same way that we can use words like ‘while’ to create an expectation of something more (a counter point), Greek has a tiny three letter word μέν (men, Strong’s number G3303) that accomplishes the same thing. Its primary purpose is to produce a counter point, creating the expectation that some related point is about to follow. The point is typically more important than the counter point. Using a counter point has the effect of attracting attention to the point that it would not have received otherwise.

There is just one problem: Greek is not English. Since Greek has such an easy way of creating counter points, it is often difficult to capture what is going on in Greek in a smooth English translation. Words like ‘on the one hand’ would be too clunky in most cases. As a result of this mismatch between the languages, well over half of the counter points signaled by μέν are lost in translation. They show up in your reverse interlinears as a bullet (). The great thing about the Lexham High Definition New Testamentis that it helps you find all the places where things like counter points are signaled, and even shows you the ‘point’ that it is connected to.

Take a look at Jesus’ statement about the fields being plentiful for harvest (Matt 9:37). The bullet () after ‘harvest’ stands in the place of a Greek word that does not have an English equivalent in the translation. It stands in the place of our counter point marker μέν. I will use symbols to help you find the ‹ counter point › and the ‹ point ›. The brackets ‹ and › let you know where the point or counter point begin and end.

τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ‹μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς › ‹ οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι Then he said to his disciples, ‹ “The harvest is plentiful, › ‹ but the laborers are few; › (ESV)

Without the use of μέν, the positive statement about the harvest might sound like it is the last word on the matter, rather than a counterpoint to highlight the great need for more harvesters. The use of ‘but’ captures the contrast, but does not convey the anticipation. Jesus’ hearers were expecting something important would follow when they heard μέν, just like we would if we were to hear, “While the harvest is plentiful . . .” The call for more laborers is much more powerful when you realize it is a set-up to attract our attention to the point that follows, but the counterpoint is obscured in the translation to English.

Take a look at the counter point in Matthew 26:24.

μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ › ‹ οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ διʼ οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται › καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, › ‹ but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! › It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (ESV)

While it was necessary for the Son of Man to be betrayed in order to fulfill prophecy, the betrayer has no excuse for his actions, he will be held fully accountable. What a frightening warning, one which is made all the more powerful through the use of a counter point to attract extra attention to the point that follows.

Another counter point example used to create a connection is found in Acts 2:41-42. Here again, the particle μέν is untranslated.

οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ ἐβαπτίσθησαν καὶ προσετέθησαν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ψυχαὶ ὡσεὶ τρισχίλιαι. › 42 ‹ ῏Ησαν δὲ προσκαρτεροῦντες τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς. • So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added • that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. › (ESV)

You are probably thinking, “Why in the world would these two verses be connected?” Great question. The answer is that the writer wanted to make sure that we connected these verses. He could have left out the μέν, but his choice to include it reflects his intent that we make a connection that might otherwise be missed.

There are actually two Greek conjunctions at the beginning of v. 41. The conjunction οὖν (translated here as ‘so’) tells us how to relate v. 41 to what precedes, summarizing the people’s response to Peter’s sermon. The μέν creates a counter point, raising the expectation that another shoe is going to drop. The 3000 being added and baptized is not the final word. As significant as this response is, the writer wanted to connect the response of the 3000 to the events that follow. Verse 42 describes how the people devoted themselves to the teaching, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Creating a counter point here suggests that while 3000 ‘getting saved’ and baptized is significant, it is only the beginning and not an end in itself. The Great Commission calls us to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded us. This is exactly what we see being highlighted here by making the connection between vv. 41 and 42. The apostles are obediently fulfilling their commission. We see a picture of the new believers moving on to obey all that was commanded. The writer’s choice to create a counter point connection helps drive this point home. However, this connection is impossible to find in English.

Point-counter point sets are only one of roughly 15 other devices that are included in the Lexham High Definition New Testament. This resource not only provides an introduction to these devices, it marks every place they occur right in the English text. Using the symbols keeps you in the Bible instead of in study notes or a commentary. It also lets you see ‘at a glance’ the devices that the writer is using in the passage you are studying, allowing you to quickly and easily identify the key ideas, to understand the flow of the passage.

See Steve’s previous posts about the Lexham High Definition New Testament:

See also the recent announcement of Steve’s two products now on Pre-Pub:

The Works of John Owen on Pre-Pub!

John Owen (1616–1683) is one of the most important Protestant theologians of all time. As both a pastor and a theologian, John Owen brings together some of the best in rigorous theological analysis and warm and vibrant spirituality making his writings food for both the mind and the heart.

Owen scholar Carl Trueman considers Owen “not only the greatest theologian of the English Puritan movement but also one of the greatest European Reformed theologians of his day, and quite possibly possessed the finest theological mind that England ever produced” (Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, 494). According to I. Breward, it was Owen who was “the great systematic thinker in the Puritan theological tradition” (New Dictionary of Theology, 552).

Our users have requested Owen for years, and we’re excited to finally make his works available. We’ve been in contact with several Owen scholars, and it quickly became clear that we needed to release the original Goold edition, which contains not only all the contents from the Banner of Truth reprint edition, but also Owen’s original Latin works (i.e., part of volume 16 and all of volume 17).

The introductory Pre-Pub price is only $174.95. That’s an enormous savings compared to the print edition—without even factoring in the value of the added Latin material. But this price will last only until April 4, 2008, at which time it will jump up to $224.95. Place your order now to lock in this incredibly low price, and help us spread the word to others!

If there is enough interest in Owen’s works, we’ll eventually put his 7-volume Hebrews commentary up on Pre-Pub as well. So put in your order, and tell your friends.

To learn more about John Owen in your Libronix library, see the following articles:

Study the NT Like Never Before!

Logos is pleased to announce another first in the study of the Bible: a visually marked-up discourse analysis of the entire New Testament in both English and Greek!

Dr. Steve Runge has spent countless hours studying the devices that speakers and writers of all languages use to communicate and tagging those devices in every book of the New Testament. Most of us use many of these devices in our everyday communication, but figuring out what they are, what they signify, and how to identify them in the Bible is something that the vast majority of people are not equipped to do.

The Lexham High Definition New Testament

For the English-only reader, we’ve created the Lexham High Definition New Testament (LHDNT), which comes with three Libronix resource files:

  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: ESV Edition
  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: Glossary
  • Lexham High Definition New Testament: Introduction

The text of the NT is marked up with visual representations for the 15 different devices. Hovering over any of the devices gives you a pop-up window with a concise definition, allowing you to stay right in the text. Right clicking on the device gives you the option to jump to the glossary for a definition, explanation, illustrations, and questions to ask yourself to understand why the author used that specific device. Since all of these devices are tagged, you can even search for the various devices across the entire NT or in specific corpuses of Scripture. And for those who want to go even further in their study, the introduction to discourse grammar will give you an excellent starting point.

The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament

Those with even a little knowledge of Greek (or plans to learn some Greek in the future) will want to purchase the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (LDGNT) instead. The LDGNT is the Greek counterpart to the LHDNT, and it has several advantages over the English version.

  1. The analysis is more detailed. Instead of 15, more than 30 devices are annotated in the Greek text, allowing for even greater precision. The glossary and introduction are larger and more detailed as well.
  2. The Greek version has a more powerful search interface making more advanced queries possible.
  3. Finally, the LDGNT includes all three resources from the LHDNT, enabling you to view the Greek and the English side by side—the perfect setup for those who are still learning Greek and for those whose Greek is a bit rusty.

Find out more and place your order at the two product pages:

For even more information, read Dr. Runge’s three blog posts:

“Free” Libronix Books Hidden on Your Bookshelf

An avid user emailed me last week excited that he had just found a Libronix CD-ROM in the back cover of one of his print books. He has owned the book for months, but never knew that the CD was for Libronix and had the entire book on it—unlocked and ready to use. He decided to take the time to look through his print library and found that he had two more books sitting on his shelf with "free" Libronix resources waiting to be installed.

You may want to take a few minutes to check your own print library. Fortress Press has published 17 print books that include the Libronix CD-ROM in the back cover. These can be purchased in a collection of 18 or individually.

If you already have one or more of these, but weren’t aware that the CD-ROM in the back was a Libronix book, you’ll want to be sure to add it to your digital library. There’s nothing more you need to purchase or unlock. Just pop in the CD-ROM and activate it like any other product.

You may just have some "free" Libronix books sitting on your own bookshelf. Go have a look!

Moulton-Howard-Turner Greek Grammar Collection Shipping Soon!

If you’ve been to the Pre-Pub page recently, you may have noticed that our featured Pre-Pub is the five-volume Moulton-Howard-Turner Greek Grammar Collection, which is scheduled to ship on 3/17/2008. I’ve been looking forward to this one since it was first announced in June of 2006, so I can’t wait to have these five volumes in my Libronix library.

  • A Grammar of New Testament Greek Vol. 1: Prolegomena
  • A Grammar of New Testament Greek Vol. 2: Accidence and Word-Formation
  • A Grammar of New Testament Greek Vol. 3: Syntax
  • A Grammar of New Testament Greek Vol. 4: Style
  • Grammatical Insights into the New Testament

We used Turner’s volume on syntax in an advanced Greek grammar course in seminary, and I found his meticulous analysis to be incredibly helpful. Grammars make excellent resources to have in your Libronix library. Not only will you be able to instantly check the thousands of biblical examples that the authors cite, but you’ll also be able to jump to other grammatical tools like Robertson’s Grammar, Zerwick’s Biblical Greek, and BDAG to compare and do further study.

Having this set integrated into the Exegetical Guide in Logos will exponentially increase its usability. The Exegetical Guide finds the passage you are studying and gives you all the places where your grammars mention or discuss it. With several solid grammars in your library, you’ll never be short on exegetical gems for your sermons, lectures, papers, and articles.

If you haven’t yet placed your pre-order for this set, there’s still time to get it for the low price of $199.95. CBD sells the four-volume set for $269.99. If you buy ours, you’ll save $70, receive a fifth volume at no extra cost, and get a much more usable collection of resources.

ANET on Pre-Pub!

Customers have asked for Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET) for years, and we’re thrilled to announce that it is finally on Pre-Pub.

If you already have The Context of Scripture (COS), you’ll still want to add ANET to your digital library for two reasons. First, while the two volumes have some overlap, both ANET and COS have texts that the other does not have. So you need both if you want access to all of the texts. Second, ANET is much older than COS, which means that most books that reference ancient Near Eastern texts will cite ANET rather than COS. Having ANET makes looking these references up much easier.

Those who recently purchased the new Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations (CD-ROM) will be happy to know that it has scores of links to ANET, allowing you to jump instantly to the various texts.

The Pre-Pub price is currently only $59.95. Amazon sells the print volume for $115. Don’t miss out on this incredible deal!

Can I Get That As a Download, Please?

Today’s guest blogger is Adam Navarrete, one of the new additions to the marketing department at Logos.

In the marketing department, we’re always running reports and looking for ways to provide you with better service. Over the last two weeks, an analysis of our top CD items has provided us with a spectrum of titles to make available for download. What this means is that those of you who have not already added these great collections or individual titles to your library can now do so without having to wait for discs to make their way to you—and you can save a few extra dollars on shipping costs!

The greatest thing about purchasing downloadable resources is that there is no wait time. Whether you are ordering after hours, on the weekend, or when you need a resource for class or to finish your sermon preparation, you get your product as quickly as your internet connection allows.

This becomes a benefit for those of you who have already purchased these items as well. Since the individual book files are now accessible as downloads, you have quick and easy access from the product pages in case your discs become damaged or get lost.

Here is what we have recently made available:

Expect to see more of our top products available for download very soon—along with other cool ways to provide you with even better service.

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

For those faint of heart who would prefer to avoid another of my long-winded blog posts, just order this. The rest of you, read on.
When it comes to the Greek New Testament, Logos Bible Software has a great host of tools to help you see the trees. Lexical tags in the various tagged editions of the GNT (including the various interlinears and reverse interlinears) link to lexicons and help you find the range of meanings possible for a given word. Morphological tags in the same texts provide some contextual clues to help determine the meaning and use of the word in the particular instance under study. Learning grammars help students recognize the most common morphological and lexical trees for themselves.
But, while one can learn a lot of useful things by examining the trees, some of the greatest riches of studying the New Testament in Greek come when you can step back and see the forest. That is, at some point the student needs to look at things above the word level. ‘Syntax’ is the term we use for describing how words form into phrases and clauses, and how those structures are used to form sentences. Logos Bible Software has tools for working at the syntax level as well. Reference grammars tend to contain a lot of word- (tree-) level detail on areas like morphology (how words are formed) and phonology (how a language sounds), but they will frequently contain some good information on larger structures like phrases and clauses as well. But few reference grammars approach the Greek New Testament above the level of the sentence. Last year, Logos Bible Software released an edition of the OpenText.org syntax database, which graphs out sentence, clause, and phrase relationships and provides a powerful searching interface for working at the syntactic level. Other syntax databases for the Greek New Testament are also in the works.
There are, however, a growing number of scholars who are looking at much larger units of text than the sentence. The branch of linguistics dedicated to looking at larger blocks of text and analyzing how language is used to convey meaning on a much broader scale is ‘discourse analysis’. (‘Text-linguistics’ is another term sometimes applied to this field.) Recent posts on this blog by Dr. Runge have been giving you a taste of some of the data we’ve been working on to show discourse level features. But I wanted to call your attention to a new collection of books just posted on the prepub page. The Studies in New Testament Greek Collection contains a number of insightful books and essays on the topic of discourse analysis. The books provide some of the theories for how to analyze texts, and then apply the theories so you can see the results. This collection introduces other fields related to discourse analysis, such as ‘rhetorical criticism’ (an examination of how authors use various language elements to persuade or make an argument) and essays on how the cultural context of the New Testament should inform our exegesis. (For example, there are many essays on the topic of how bilingualism in 1st century Palestine should effect how we read the New Testament.)
If you skim the authors and editors of the volumes in this set, you’ll notice several by Stanley Porter (Author of Idioms of the Greek New Testament) and Jeffrey T. Reed (with Stanley Porter, one of the OpenText.org fellows) as well as D.A. Carson (author of Exegetical Fallacies), just to name a few. In addition to discourse and rhetoric, there are many essays in this collection that treat on other intersections between linguistics and biblical studies. This collection serves as an excellent introduction to the value of linguistics for interpreters of scripture.
The preorder price is only $240 for 16 volumes – I paid more than $100 for each of those Greek books in print! I’m very excited about this offer, and hope it generates enough interest to go into production quickly. Order yours today!

Greek Syntax: Article Introducting Prepositional Phrase

Awhile back over on the Logos Newsgroup for Greek, someone asked a question:

Someone has commented that there are 484 occurrences of the definite article occurring without a noun introducing a prepositional phrase, such as, "τα επι τοις ουρανοις." I wonder if someone would teach me how to search my GNT (N/A27) to confirm this statement?

The example is (I believe) from Eph 1.10:

εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐν αὐτῷ. (Eph 1:10, NA27)

as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Eph 1:10, ESV)

Note that the same structure is used in "things on earth" in the same verse.

Anyway, the best way to find stuff like this — where you’re really searching for a relationship between words and/or phrases even though it looks like proximity will get you close enough — is a syntax search. In this example, the relationship is between the article and the prepositional phrase. It is more than proximity (occurring close to each other or in sequence); it is functionally that the prepositional phrase in some way further modifies/qualifies/distinguishes the article (which, in cases like these, tends to function like a relative pronoun).

The OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament makes this relatively easy to find. Let’s look at this portion of Eph 1.10 first to see how it is analyzed:

Here the word group contains a head term; the head term contains a word (τα) and the structure that modifies it. Here the structure is a relator. A relator is basically a prepositional phrase that functions adjectivally, modifying a substantive (instead of functioning adverbially, modifying the primary verb of the clause). So all we need to do is find where a relator modifies a word that that is an article.

There are two basic cases to consider. The first is like Eph 1.10, where the word is the root word of the head term, and the relator modifies it. The second case is where the word is a modifier itself, like in Mt 5.16:

Here note that τον is a definer, and the relator (adjectival prepositional phrase) modifies the definer.

These are the two cases to consider. A syntax search that looks like the following should account for both of them:

You’ll notice I’ve used an unordered group to contain the word+modifier portion of the query. Why did I do this? Because I really want to find where a word and a modifier are siblings (occur at the same ‘level’ in the annotation) because this implies they are in relationship with each other. The containing structure(s) (here the head term or modifier at the root of the query) constrain the elements to already being in the same unit. The unordered group allows for this, letting you specify the elements you care about (here a word and a modifier), and it will run the permutations, including optional elements occurring between them, while it searches. It makes query specification a whole lot easier.

When the search is run, 298 occurrences are located. Here’s a snapshot of the results dialog:

The different colors in the results come in because of the "OR" in the query. In this way you can tell that some results come from one half of the "OR". Here the greenish color represents the top half of the "OR" (word is a direct child of head term); the brown represents the bottom half (word is a direct child of modifier).

So, to answer the question posed on the Greek newsgroup; I’d respond that according to the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament, there are 298 instances of the definite article occurring without a noun introducing a prepositional phrase.

Hebrew, Canaanite, and Aramaic Inscriptions and the Power of Libronix

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos.

In my last blog post about the new inscriptions databases, I noted that one of the challenges we face at Logos when we create research tools for studying ancient texts in their original script is how such data can be made accessible for users who do not read the ancient languages. A second challenge we have applies to scholars: showing them that the ancient language resources we produce are about more than searching and concording texts.

For many scholars, that is precisely what software is about. I know this because I was one of them when I came to Logos three years ago. At that time I would have been thrilled to have certain ancient texts in any electronic form so I could do the kinds of searching we now see as primitive, like searching through a web page or a PDF document. I had no conception of being able to simultaneously search ancient texts and other books, such as commentaries, dictionaries, and lexica—the sorts of things that Libronix users do routinely. As a scholar, I also had little appreciation for the value of having ancient texts in English transliteration. Once you’re able to read texts in original script, you sort of set aside transliteration as something remedial. In the digital world, that’s a mistake.

In place of a detailed written explanation of these points, I’ve prepared a brief Camtasia video that illustrates them. For those scholars who have never seen Libronix in action, whose electronic research has been limited to online resources, the video will demonstrate rather quickly how much more advanced the capabilities of Libronix are to web pages and PDF files. For experienced Libronix users who work in Hebrew, the use of transliteration in the video may introduce you to something you had not thought possible—being able to search for words across different text corpora (here, Hebrew inscriptions and Ugaritic) with one search.