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Greek Syntax: OpenText.org Clauses and Word Groups

I’ve blogged about the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament in the past (see the Syntax Archives).

The folks who do the work on the OpenText.org project have been doing a lot of work since I last blogged about the project, and the result is that we have a vastly updated data set. The primary new goodie is the consolidation of the Clause and Word Group information.

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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.

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.

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.”

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.

Syntax: Glossaries of Terminology

I know, I know, I said I’d blog about searching the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament. And I will. Really, I will. But not today.

I’ve been working on a different aspect of the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament project recently: adding glossary information to just about everywhere a clause type or syntactic force note occurs. And wow, is it cool. Really.

Because syntactic terminology is at times confusing, and because different grammars and guides sometimes use the same terminology to describe different things and different terminology to describe similar things (got that?) we knew we’d need to include glossaries with our syntactic databases. And we also knew we’d need to provide links to further discussions of terms in standard grammar and syntactic references, so we’ve included (where appropriate) links to BDF, Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, and Smyth’s Greek Grammar (a classical grammar not yet in LDLS format … but give us time!).

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Commentaries Alone or in a Set?

We received this comment from a blog reader back in December and I thought it deserved a little longer response than I could give it in the comments:

It would be helpful in this series of articles to explain the justification for making certain books available only as a part of the set (i.e., ICC commentaries) and not separately. Thanks for the great work you are doing! —Paul

Paul, that’s a fair question. Typically, you’ll see new commentaries made available first as a series and only later will they be broken up into individual volumes.

Often, this is due to licensing issues but it can also be the result of the way the prepub program works (we want to digitize the entire series, not just individual volumes). The deep prepub discount makes up for the fact that you may be getting volumes you wouldn’t buy otherwise.

A couple of years after publication, we often go back and split out the volumes for individual sale, if the contract allows. Many commentary sets are currently available as individual volumes, including Crossway Classic Commentary Series, College Press NIV Commentary Series, MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, and Word Biblical Commentary Series.

Of course, you’ll always save money by buying the whole series instead of acquiring it piece by piece. But if you’re focusing on a particular book of the Bible or want to own a volume that has garnered special acclaim, buying one volume at a time may be the way to go.

Of the Making of Books (Part 5)

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.)

Biblical Archaeology Society

From as far back as I can remember, customers were asking about making back issues of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) part of our electronic library offerings. We tried unsuccessfully for quite some time to license BAR from the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS), but to no avail. (I guess they knew they had a good thing and wanted to do it themselves!)

Since we couldn’t get BAR, we pursued other content from BAS, including a Biblical Archaeology Slide Set. That project never came to fruition and I think we’ve still got a box of several hundred slides gathering dust in our basement somewhere (which may be an interesting find for some 23rd century archaeologist).

After several years of discussion, BAS decided the time was right for them to enter the electronic publishing arena. In October of 2002, that same dust-gathering slide set was released as The Biblical World in Pictures CD-ROM, fully integrated into the Libronix Digital Library System.

BWP

Those customers who had been asking for BAR in Libronix format didn’t have to wait long. In March of 2003, BAS published the first edition of The Biblical Archaeology Review Archive, containing every issue of BAR from 1975 to 2001. It has since been updated to include all of 2002 and 2003 as well.

We’re happy to say that BAS has continued to expand their electronic offerings for the Libronix Digital Library System. In 2004, they released two additional collections of magazine back issues. The Archaeology Odyssey Archive and The Bible Review Archive make the BAS family of electronic products a compelling set.

If you have a particular author, book, magazine, or any other content you’d like to have as part of your electronic library, we want to know! Send an e-mail to suggest@logos.com. No guarantees, but we’ll certainly consider any and all of your suggestions.

Next: Standard Publishing

Community Pricing titles closing in!

At the end of December, we put 10 new titles into our Community Pricing System. It’s fun to see which ones people latch on to and how fast (and how cheap they end up being)!

There are a few titles that are set to close today (Friday, January 6, 2006) at noon Pacific Time. Check ‘em out to see if you want to get in on them at their cheapest:

History of Interpretation by F.W. Farrar just crossed the line yesterday and will move to prepublication next Friday.
There are some other titles that are getting close to the line:

Check out these (and all of the other titles we’re considering) and place a bid if you’d like us to do them.