Ugaritic and Old Testament Narratives

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, academic editor at Logos.

[Note: We sent a Last Chance NewsWire email on the Ugaritic Library last week, so if you're considering adding this collection to your digital library now is the time to pre-order before the price increases substantially.]

The last time I blogged about the usefulness of Ugaritic for Bible study and the new Ugaritic Library under development by Logos, I focused on how knowing the Ugaritic background of an Old Testament title for Yahweh helped our understanding of both Old and New Testament theology.

This time I want to focus on some individual Hebrew words—geographical proper names to be precise—to show how Ugaritic tools can make Old Testament stories come to life, and even take on theological meaning.

Click here for a video showing how you can access the Ugaritic tools through the Old Testament Reverse Interlinear to see the Old Testament in a way you haven’t before.

Please note: This video demonstration shows some resources not included in the Ugaritic Library. Reverse interlinear Bibles are available as part of Logos 3 base collections and HALOT is available as a separate purchase.


Flash, 6.7MB, 16:19

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 3

Arecord number of customers took advantage of the insanely great “Library Builder” Christmas special this year and added 330+ books to their library in one fell swoop, so we’re taking a look at how to maximize the value of those new books. Even if you don’t own the Library Builderproduct, this series will help you get the most from the books in your electronic library.

Part 1 introduced some tools and techniques for exploring your new books, while Part 2 focused on commentaries.

This post will review some of the other categories ofbooks that are part of Library Builder, introduce some individual titles, and show where to look for them in your digital library.

Illustrations

Pastors and teachers love illustrations…readers and listeners love them, too. They’re the raisins in the toast, the strawberries in the fruit salad.

Library Builder adds a new bookof illustrations: Illustrations for Biblical Preaching , with fresh material to help you enliven your teaching or your own study.

Your digital library knows that this is a book of illustrations so it will automatically show up in the Illustrations section of Passage Guide. When you run Passage Guide, the system figures out all the topics related to your passage, then scours your books of illustrations to find illustrations on those topics. Like magic.

Music

Library Builder adds five new books on music:

  • 101 Hymn Stories
  • 101 More Hymn Stories
  • Hymns and Scripture Selection Guide
  • Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others
  • The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

You’re probably familiar with the 101 Hymn Stories books that give the history of various hymns and their composers, but some of the others may be new to you.

Hymn and Scripture Selection Guide is great because, while it does not contain hymn texts,each hymn is tagged with numerous Bible references. That increases the odds you’ll find a song relating tothe Bible passage you’re studying or preaching!

Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others and The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts open a window on the poetical voice of those who contributed greatly to the hymnody of the Christian church in bygone days. Sometimes one of these classic hymns, read as a poem, is just the thing to illustrate a biblical truth.

Again, Logos Bible Software knows that these are books dealing with music, so they show up in the Music section of Passage Guide. When you run Passage Guide on a passage of Scripture, the guide finds any hymns or songs that relate to the passage you’re studying.

What you see above are the Music results I get for a Passage Guide on Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (ESV)

Books on Prayer

Library Builder adds quite a number of books on prayer. It’s easy to locate them all in your library: just click My Library, arrange by subject, then type prayer.

You’ll notice a bunch of books by E.M. Bounds, one by Tom Elliff, one by P.T. Forsyth, and one by Oswald Chambers…all new with Library Builder.

Because prayer is such a vital discipline in the Christian’s life, Logos Bible Software also includes a feature right on the homepage that introduces you to books on prayer within your library. Your new books on prayer show up here automatically.

Just click any of the links in the list to open that book to its table of contents and begin exploring.

(Note: the Prayer section of the Logos Bible Software homepage can be turned off or on via the “Customize View” link at the top of the homepage. The Prayer section is only available if you have the Personal Bible Study Addin, included with Logos Bible Software base libraries or available as a separate purchase but not included with Library Builder.)

Devotionals

Devotionals, structured around daily readings and meditations, are a great way to get into the Word every day. The Devotions section on the Logos Bible Software homepage makes it easy to start every day with the devotional of your choice.

Here I’ve selected two of the devotionals that are new in Library Builder.

Take Heart is a very cool concept—it offers daily snippets from sermons by great preachers of the past such as C.H. Spurgeon, G.Campbell Morgan, and John Ker. As the editor writes in the preface, “These preached words are a part of our Christian heritage, and you will find the power of God in them still. I want to preserve them not because they are old but because they are true. It is our loss if we allow this part of our heritage to crumble to dust, forgotten, on out-of-the-way shelves.”

Drawing Near by John MacArthur reflects that teacher’s emphasis on in-depth Bible exposition study. As MacArthur states in the introduction: “As you use this book daily, you will learn how to approach Scripture on your own, developing the study skills you need to open up the Bible and discover its rich and marvelous truths for yourself. Such repeated exposure to God’s Word trains you to think Biblically, and that’s what ultimately makes a difference in your spiritual life.”

ChoosingDevotionals for Your Homepage

To choose the devotional that gets displayed on your homepage every day, click the Customize View link at the top right corner of the Logos homepage.

Then scroll down to the Devotions section and choose as many of the devotionals as you’d like to see on the homepage every day. Put a check in the boxes for those you choose, make sure there’s a check next to “Devotions,” then scroll back up to the top of the page and click Save Changes.

Note: the version of Take Heart that shipped on the Library Builder disc will not show up in the list of devotions; in order to make this devotional show up as an option, download an updated version of the book. Here’s how: close Libronix DLS, then click this link and choose to save the file to your resources folder (for most users, C:\Program Files\Libronix DLS\Resources). When prompted, overwrite the file that’s already there.

Looking Ahead…

In the next installment of this series, we’ll take a look at some of the books that don’t fall into any of the categories we’ve covered thus far. You’ll definitely want totake some steps to ensure you’reincorporating these “ordinary” books into your Bible study workflow.

46 Books Need a Nudge

A number of exciting titles on the prepub page are tantalizingly close to crossing the 100% threshold and moving into production. The five substantial collections listed below, which total 46 volumes in all,each need literally just a handful of pre-orders to push them over the line.

Just think, you could be the one toplace the final pre-order that moves one of these on to the next phase!

Gnostic & Apocryphal Studies Collection (10 Volumes)

The Gnostic & Apocryphal Studies Collection assembles titles dealing with Christian apocryphal literature, particularly those texts associated with the Gnostic tradition. Given their contemporary relevance, it is critical for the Christian to understand these ancient texts and evaluate their place within Christianity’s history.


Library of NT Studies: JSNTS on Paul (17 volumes)

Surveying a variety of aspects of Pauline Christianity, this collection canvasses topics as diverse as Paul’s political motivations, community-identity construction, the prevalence of non-Pauline interpolations in the Epistles, scalometry’s relevance to Paul’s writings, and many other fascinating issues. Written with the academic in mind, the progressive thought and timely analysis exhibited here will prove profitable to anyone wishing to study this complex apostle more deeply.


Understanding the Bible and Its World Collection (4 volumes)

The titles in this collection reveal the importance and place of the Septuagint, religious diversity in the Graeco-Roman world, ethics’ relation to the New Testament, and narrative art in the Bible. Written with the neophyte in mind, these titles nonetheless feature a level of astute scholarship that will interest even the most knowledgeable student of the Bible.


Near East Archaeology Collection (3 volumes)

The Near East Archaeology Collection presents the findings of several sites in the Near East. The three volumes examine Aegean sites, as well as sites in Jordon and in Israel. Topics include settlement patterns, pottery, iconography, cult, paleography, urbanism, and much more.


Ugaritic Library (12 volumes)

Ugaritic is the ancient language of one of Israel’s closest neighbors, the city state of Ras Shamra, located in what is now Syria. Ugaritic is from the same family of languages as Hebrew, Northwest Semitic. This means the Ugaritic texts are closely related to the Hebrew Bible, both linguistically and culturally.

The Ugaritic Library contains the complete corpus of Ugaritic texts together with aids and indices to better illuminate these ancient writings and the Hebrew Bible. These include grammatical and lexical books to help the reader learn and read Ugaritic, translations of many of the important documents (with commentary), and volumes designed to help the Bible student easily locate the places where Ugaritic can shed some light on the text of the Hebrew Bible.

Charles Simeon Around the World…Wide Web

We’ve been amazed at the response generated by the prepublication announcement of Charles Simeon’s Horae Homileticae 21-volume commentary series.

Based on the number of people who have blogged about this announcement, there’s clearly a strongfollowing for the writings of this Anglican clergyman. No doubt John Piper’s recent endorsement has also been instrumental in reviving interest in Simeon’s works.

Here’s a sampling of the buzz surrounding the Simeon prepub:

  • Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds drew attention to Simeon’s three-pronged test which he applied to every sermon: (1) Does it humble the sinner? (2) Does it exalt the Saviour? (3) Does it promote holiness?
  • Phil Johnson at TeamPyropoints out that C.H. Spurgeon read and quoted Charles Simeon. Phil also recommends pre-ordering Simeon’s commentary over spending money on Pyro swag, which is high praise, indeed.
  • In a post from 2006, Mark Lauterbach of GospelDrivenLifesuggests that a particular conversation betweenCharles Simeon (a moderate Calvinist) and John Wesley (a moderate Arminian) could teach today’s Christian bloggers a thing or two about how to conduct doctrinal discussions. This story is also recounted at the Pyromaniacs blog.
  • Adrian Warnock, blogger extraordinaire,gave us the original tipabout the eBay auction of Simeon’s commentary set and encouraged us to offer it as a prepublication. Read the post the started it all, Adrian’s further reflections on Simeon, and his reprint of the Logos NewsWire email that introduced Simeon to many Logos customers for the first time.

If you haven’t already done so…check out the description of this commentary set, sample some page scans, and place your pre-order to take advantage of the hefty prepublication discount!

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 2

Arecord number of customers took advantage of the insanely great “Library Builder” Christmas special this year and added 330+ books to their library in one fell swoop, so we’re taking a look at how to maximize the value of those new books. Even if you don’t own the Library Builderproduct, this series will help you get the most from the books in your electronic library.

In Part 1, I encouraged you to begin exploring the new books added to your library and pointed you to a few tools that assist in said exploration. We also paused to think about some of the helpful things you didn’t have to do…because the digital library did them for you!

Now I want tofocus on a few different categories of book that arrived in your library via Library Builder, and consider how you will encounter individual books within those categories in the course of your study.

VIP Books

Some categories of book enjoy a “privileged” status within the Libronix DLS. They are privileged because we have built specialfeatures or tools that help you get the most value from them. A few examples are commentaries, sermonillustrations, music, maps, and devotionals.

Today I’ll focus on commentaries. The Logos Bible Software homepage has a feature that enables you to open a favorite commentary and Bible directly to your desired passage. And Passage Guide is programmed to find all the commentaries that address your passage. We’ll look at how these features work, a few tweaks to optimize things for your owen preferences, and pause to discuss a few individual books along the way…

Commentaries on the Homepage

Remember the list of Library Builder contents on the wikimentioned inPart 1? A quick glance at the list shows that Library Builder included three single-volume commentaries:

  • Evangelical Commentary on the Bible
  • Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
  • The 365 Day Devotional Commentary

I like to specify a single-volume commentary as my preferred commentary on the homepage. To change your preferred commentary to one of the new commentaries in Library Builder, just click “Customize View” on the homepage, then select from the list. Walter Elwell’sEvangelical Commentary on the Bible would be a fine option.

If you also check the box next to “Show Study Options” you will now have a “Bible and Commentary”option on the homepage, in the Study Passage section.

Now when you select Bible and Commentary, enter a passage, and click “Go!”, your favorite Bible versionand Evangelical Commentary on the Bible will open straight to your passage. Simple. Quick. Smooth.

Commentaries in Passage Guide

Commentaries also show up at the top of the Passage Guide report. Library Builder included one OT commentary series (Wiersbe) and four NT series: College Press NIV Commentary Series, IVP New Testament Commentary Series, Crossway Classic Commentary Series, and Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament.

You would expect these commentaries to automatically appear when you run Passage Guide, and they do. But you may notice some pleasant surprises as well…

The pastor of the church I attend is currently preaching through Revelation, a book that could be described in terms borrowed from Winston Churchill: “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

When I run a Passage Guide report on Revelation 2:13,in addition to all the expected commentaries that appear, two in-depth studies on the book of Revelation show up: Back to the Future – A Study of the Book of Revelation by Ralph Bass and Revelation Explained by Lerry W. Fogle. I’m grateful that my digital library summoned these books in response to my passage search, because I might never have thought to look for them.

Passage Guide was smart enough to find two other books that are not traditional commentaries but rather brief surveys, organized by passage, and intended to provide “helps” to the ordinary reader or the pastor who needs information fast.

The People’sNew Testament , written in 1891,provides a sentence or two for each verse…like a margin note to provide background on people and places, or help interpret easily misunderstood phrases.

The Bible Guide , published in 2001 by Augsburg, is a fantastic resource for concise comments on a given passage of Scripture. Its commentary on the letter to church in Pergamum in Revelation 2 begins with a description of the city that makes it seem like an actual, living place:

Pergamum is an important city — not for trade or beauty, but as a seat of government (2:12–17). It has been the capital of Asia for nearly 400 years — ever since the break-up of Alexander the Great’s empire, when it became the centre of the Seleucid kingdom.

Pergamum has a famous library of parchment scrolls, and parchment gets its name from the ‘Pergamene sheet’. The culture and religion is strongly Greek, with an emphasis on the worship of Asklepios, a god of healing. His temples are something like hospitals. For many people Asklepios is the saviour. Also at Pergamum is a huge temple dedicated to Zeus. It is built on three sides of a square, to make a giant chair or throne.

Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, Includes index., 1st Augsburg books ed., 697 (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001).

You can be sure that I’ll be returning toThe Bible Guide as my small group works through Revelation.

Bonus Tip #1: Show More Commentaries

In Logos 3, Passage Guidelists only 15 commentaries when the report is first run. To see more commentaries, click the “More >>” link.

Bonus Tip #2:Cream the Commentary Crop

Sometimes you want to see fewer commentaries in the Passage Guide report ratherthan more. Or more precisely…you want to see more of the commentaries you use most and fewer of the ones you use least.

Logos 3 has a nifty feature that keeps track of how many times you use each commentary and promotes the most used commentaries to the top of the list. Notice in the screenshot below the space between A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory… and The Apocalypse of St. John. The Passage Guide report has grown smarter over time and now reserves the top 5 slots for my most-used commentaries.
Honestly, how cool is that?

If you prefer your own smarts over the built-in smarts, you can always create a defined collection of your favorite commentaries (learn how!)and then limit Passage Guide to searching those commentaries. Once the collection is created, simply click the Properties button in the Passage Guide report, and select your collection from the list.


Looking Ahead

Today we focused on your new commentaries to see where they show up in the library,get some pointers on how to promote the ones you like best, and introduce a few of the new titles on a first-name basis.The nextpost in the series will look at books in other categories such as illustrations, music and devotionals. In the meantime…happy exploring!

Windows Vista Keyboards for Ancient Languages

The Logos Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Transliteration Keyboards have been updated to run on Windows Vista. Follow the link for more information and installation instructions.

General information on compatibility between Logos Bible Software and Windows Vista is at this link.

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 1

If you woke up on Christmas morning to findLibrary Builder volumes 1-3 in your stocking (even if you had to put it there)…this article is for you.

Like a lot of users, you may have started out December owning only the Logos 3 version of Scholar’s Library. Adding the Library Builder Christmas special literally doubled the number of books on your digital bookshelf. Wow. Start off by congratulating yourselfon not having to clear out furniture to make space for more shelving!

Now we want to help you maximize the value of those additional books.This is the first ina short series of blog posts that will help acquaint you with what, specifically, you’ve added to your library (knowledge is power) and then provide some tips for deriving ultimate benefit from those new books.

The Things You Don’t Have to Do

Not only did you not have to build shelving to accommodate doubling the number of books in your library…there are lots ofother things you didn’t have to do!

Indeed, the developers of Logos Bible Software have taken great pains to ensure that new books merge seamlessly, painlessly,and optimally into your digital library. That means you’re probably already enjoying many of the benefits of a larger library without having to do a thing. Let’s hear it for not having to do a thing!

  • My Library automatically discovered and categorized your new books by title, author and subject.
  • The bibliography report (Tools | Library Management | Bibliography) was updated to include your new titles.
  • Passage Guide has identified your new commentaries, illustrations, devotionals and books on music and will include them in searches whenever there’s relevant data inside.
  • Your new books are indexed, topically tagged, and ready to be instantly and thoroughly searched.

Whew, I’m going to step out for a glass of iced tea and be back in a moment.

Hello Books

The next step is to get to know some of your books on first name basis. The more you know about an individual title or series the better you can evaluate how much you plan to use it, in what contexts you’re likely to use it, and whether you’ll want to add it to any special collections or otherwise promote its status in your library.

So how do you identify all your new books? The Library Builder product didn’t ship in a fancy box with a contents liston the back, and since it was a limited special the webpagehas been removed from Logos.com.

But I’ve posted to the Logos wiki a list, by category,of all the books that are in the Library Builder product. You may want to bookmark the link and keep it handy as you spend time with your new books. And you may fairly ask, “What’s the Logos wiki?“.

For now, start by taking a look at the list and identifying the books you’re most interested in based on title. Then spend a few minutes with My Library, opening and browsing those books to become familiar with their structure and contents.

A couple of articles may be helpful in this area:

Next up: Part 2

Syntax Search Example: Hands, Heads and Feet as Subjects in the New Testament

Here’s a fun syntax search. For some reason I thought of searching the New Testament for places where body parts — hands, feet, heads, etc. — served as the subject of a clause.
You know, things like Mt 17.2:

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.(Mt 17:2, ESV)

As seems to be my habit, I constructed the search and made a video of the process so I could share it with y’all. Enjoy!

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.