What’s Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything?

You may have seen the announcement of our recent Ugaritic Library prepub, thought “Ugar-huh?” and clicked on to the next thing. That’s probably what I would have done…if I hadn’t been hearing some of the smarter people around here going on about Ugaritic lately.

Do you need to know what Ugaritic is, let alone add Ugaritic texts to your digital library? Dr. Heiser, academic editor for Logos Bible Software, wrote an article to tackle these questions. In it, Dr. Heiser calls his grad school class in Ugaritic a “life-changing course” and shares an observation, drawn directly from study of Ugaritic parallels, that he says holds “profound implications for the biblical theology of both testaments.”

So give Dr. Heiser’s article a read and I guarantee you’ll at least learn something you didn’t know about this ancient culture and its religion…and you might even be persuaded to launch your own study of Ugaritic texts in the original language or in English translations. The great news is that the Ugaritic Library has everything you need to get started!

Update 10/27/2006 – Thanks to the ESV Bible Blog for linking to this post and excerpting Mike’s article.

See alsoAll in a Day’s Work: Making an Ugaritic Font

Greek Syntax: Searching for Granville Sharp

If you’ve studied NT Greek, you’ve likely heard of something called the “Granville Sharp Rule”.

If you’ve been around Bible software, you know that many folks use “finding Granville Sharp” as a sort of litmus test for the capabilities of their Bible software.

The OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament gives us an opportunity to examine what the Granville Sharp rule really is and to think about new ways to find instances of it.
Awhile back I wrote a paper for internal use here at Logos examining what “Granville Sharp” is and how to find it using the traditional “morphology+proximity+agreement” approach. This approach has problems because one must approximate relationships between words using morphological criteria (i.e. part-of-speech data), morphological agreement (i.e. terms ‘agree’ in their specified case), and word proximity (i.e. words are within N words of each other).

Then I examined finding Granville Sharp using the OpenText.org SAGNT. With the syntax annotation, you’re freed from approximating relationships with morphology+proximity+agreement and empowered to actually specify relationships that the syntax annotation encodes.

The 17-page PDF document linked below is that paper. It has explanation and screen shots of the queries, graphs and whatnot so it should help in thinking about how to go about isolating syntactic structures via searching the OpenText.org SAGNT. It might even help get the juices flowing for those considering the Logos/SBL Technology Paper Awards.

I’ve also included the two syntax queries discussed in the paper. I just tested them on 3.0b Beta 2, so if you have that version installed, you should be fine. I would think it would work on any flavor of 3.0, but why not upgrade if you’re not up to date?

Copy the queries to your My Documents\Libronix DLS\Syntax Queries folder and then load them as you would any other syntax search, from the Load … button in the Syntax Search dialogue.

Sahidic Coptic. Why?

We’ve recently pre-pubbed a collection called the Sahidic Coptic Collection. I can hear the questions already:

  • Why worry about a language like Coptic?
  • What is Coptic, anyway?
  • How could that ever be useful?

I’m sure there are other questions along those lines. The short answer to them all is that the Sahidic Coptic editions of New Testament writings are very valuable for text-critical purposes.
Yes, I can see the eyes rolling now, but please, keep up with me. For at least a little longer.

You see, the Sahidic Coptic editions of the New Testament were some of the first translations from the Greek New Testament into another language. And because Coptic has much affinity with Greek (sharing the most of the same alphabet and even sharing many Greek words) those who know a little Greek (like me) can muddle through Coptic after spending time to learn the alphabet and some basic vocabulary.

The resources in the Sahidic Coptic Collection make this a little easier for the Coptic neophyte (that’s where I am) and the folks who are big-time into Coptic.

Because the Sahidic Coptic editions we have are likely very early, they provide an early glimpse into the texts they are translations of. And because most editions are extremely (almost woodenly) literal, they can provide insight into the underlying text — helping in the quest to “establish the text” which is one of the first steps in any serious exegete’s process.

So let’s take an easy example from John 1.28 and see what we can find.

[Read more...]

Books Re-Born

Last week, Rick pointed out a few new books recently posted to the website that may have slipped past your radar. I’d like to draw your attention to a few more titles that you have not heard about on NewsWire or the prepub page…

These titles, published by Baker Book House, were part of the Baker Digital Reference Library, a product released in 1999 on the old Logos Library System platform. Some titles from that collection have been widely available as rebuilt Libronix DLS resources (e.g., Evangelical Commentary on the Bible).

But others are just now being re-launched as native Libronix DLS resources. We’ve had a lot of requests over the years for the biographical titles, in particular, so it’s great to finally be able to bring them back.

For a little more detail on many of these resources, check out this review published in 1999. A few selections from that review are excerpted below. Click any of the titles or images to read a brief description of that work and view some screenshots.

Biographical Reference

Biographical Entries from the New 20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge“Here you can find entries for prominent figures in different faiths. For example, a 376-word entry for Mohandas Gandhi will tell you how ‘he sought to apply the principles of Satyagraha (truth-force), Ahimsa (nonviolence), Brahmacharya (chastity), nonattachment to possessions, and renunciation.’ But under the G’s you’ll also find a 293-word entry for William Franklin Graham, better known as Billy Graham.”

Biographical Entries from The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology“…attention is focused on theologians within the Christian faith, whether orthodox or not. So among the B’s are entries for Barth, Bonhoeffer and Bultmann. The entry for Bultmann, while short, is fair-minded. We are told, without judgment, that ‘for Bultmann NT ideas such as the resurrection of the body, blood atonement for sins, everlasting life, an ethical ideal of human nature, and salvation history only serve to mislead people about what salvation is.’”

Handbook of Evangelical Theologians“There are only 33 entries, but each has lots of detail, typically what would be about a half-dozen pages in print. This work is not what some might expect, largely congratulatory. Rather, it is a nuanced look at theologians’ lives and work. That is helpful to understanding people such as Thomas Oden, Clark Pinnock, and the late Frances Schaeffer, who don’t fit neatly into either a ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ category.”

Dictionary of Women in Church History“If women do not show up prominently in the other reference works, that is rectified in A Dictionary of Women in Church History…Women played important roles in Jesus’ ministry and in the history of the church. More recently, women were especially prominent in the foundation of many voluntary associations of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.”

Preaching & Worship Helps

Hymn and Scripture Selection GuideWhen searching for the right hymn to accompany your sermon, or the right Scripture reading to reinforce the theology found in a song…this resource is a great help. Passage Guide will search this title and show results in the “Music” section. You can also use Reference Browser to find a verse or passage or Topic Browser to locate a topic.

Illustrations for Biblical PreachingMore than 1,500 sermon illustrations, and they will show up in the Topics section of Passage Guide. What more need I say?

Counseling Aid

Quick Scripture References for CounselingArranges Bible verses under topics such as Children, Comfort, Self Control, Worry, etc.

Products Pages: What’s New?

If you’ve followed Logos for any amount of time, you know that we publish a lot of books electronically for use with the Libronix Digital Library System (LDLS).

You also probably know about pre-pubs and community pricing. But did you know we don’t always pre-pub books? Some books we just know will be received well, so we make them and release them.

Other times, you may just forget to check in to see what we’ve been up to.

No worries if you haven’t kept up to date. That’s why we have the New Products page. Here you can browse down the list and see the new things we’ve released recently. Cool stuff that even I hadn’t realized we’ve released recently, like:

I’m sure there’s more there that will float your boat. So check it out!

Here’s Something Nuevo … er, New

Last week, I posted about syntax searching for “fronted complements“.

Today, I ran the same search with a slight preference change. Here’s the result. Can you see what’s new in this screenshot?

What’s different here? (hint: the column on the right … )

Did you get it?

That’s right, the difference is that the syntax hits are highlighted in Spanish (the 1960 Reina Valera New Testament). Now, the Nuevo Testamento Interlineal Revertido Español-Griego: Reina Valera 1960 is still in development, but you can see how, even though it is Spanish, it just plugs right in and is useful in the same way as the ESV NT Reverse Interlinear.

Search hits work the same way:

Reverse Interlinear … with Spanish!

This was all done — again, on my computer here at the office because the resource has not been released yet — by switching my preferred Bible to the Reina Valera Revisada (1960).

Oh, yeah … we’re working on an RV1960 Old Testament Reverse Interlinear as well …

Syntax Search Example: Fronted Complements

Awhile back, I blogged on Sleepy Disciples. That blog post looked at the predicator (verb) προσεύχομαι and the different adjuncts that modified each of its occurrences in Matthew 26.
Looking at that passage again, I noticed the following embedded clause in the last adjunct in Mt 26.44:

In this embedded clause, the complement is the first thing in the clause. Some would say this is an instance of fronting, where there is non-standard (for narrative, anyway) component order.

It occurred to me that this sort of thing is now searchable, given a syntactic analysis of the text. So I created the below video which explains things a bit more and walks through setting up a syntax search that will locate fronted complements with a headword of λόγος — much like what occurs here in Mt 26.44.

Hebrew-English Interlinear Update

Libronix DLS 3.0a Release Candidate 4 (the latest beta version) includes a new build of the Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear. This build contains many significant enhancements, including Andersen-Forbes morphology tags and homograph indicators. It is the first edition of the LHI to be hooked into the new KeyLinking tables so that navigating to Hebrew and Aramaic lexicons will be much more accurate.

This represents a major improvement over previous versions of this resource, though it is still a work-in-progress. We hope to add cantillation marks into the running text and improve the support for Qere readings, and the team of scholars which produced this work continues to polish it.

To get the latest enhancements to your Hebrew-English Interlinear you can download LDLS 3.0a RC4. Once version 3.0a ships, the rebuilt interlinear will also be available on the Logos FTP site and via update disc.

A Tool You Didn’t Know You Had

Over the past few weeks, I spent more than a few evenings doing unexpected renovation to my laundry room after finding a months-old leak in the hot water heater. There were a lot of downer moments along the way, but some of the happier moments came when I found that I needed a particular tool for some task…was sure that yet another trip to the hardware store was in my future…then discovered that I already owned the tool!

As any Logos user can attest, there’s a similar feeling when you discover just the right book in your digital library at just the moment you need it. With hundreds or even thousands of books in your library, you can have that experience quite often!

One very cool book you probably own but may not have discovered is The NET Bible. This Bible has been available in Libronix format for some time as a separate purchase…but we were able to include it in all Logos 3 base packages above Christian Home Library. (Haven’t upgraded yet? It’s not too late to get 15% off your upgrade!)

The title page to the electronic edition carries the subtitle “A New Approach to Translation, Thoroughly Documented With 60,932 Notes By The Translators and Editors.” That is certainly a lot of notes and it’s one of the things that sets the NET Bible apart and makes it exceptionally useful for in-depth study.

There are four distinct types of note, as explained in the front matter:

  • Translator’s Note—explains the rationale for the translation and gives alternative translations, interpretive options, and other technical information.

  • Study Note—includes comments about historical or cultural background, explanation of obscure phrases or brief discussions of context, discussions of the theological point made by the biblical author, cross references and references to Old Testament quotations or allusions in the New Testament, or other miscellaneous information helpful to the modern reader.

  • Text-critical Note—discusses alternate (variant) readings found in the various manuscripts and groups of manuscripts of the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament.

  • Map Note—gives map coordinates for site within the two map sections, “The Journeys of Paul” and “The Holy Land from the Heavens.”

As you can see in this screenshot, the text of the NET Bible is littered with notes. What might be a distraction from the biblical text in print is handled beautifully in the electronic edition by simply mousing over the note marker to reveal the contents of the note.


The abbreviation at the beginning of the note tells you which type it is: tn=translator’s note, sn=study note, tc=text-critical note, map=map. Some of the notes are interactive, as I will show in a second post.

Most notes are quite meaty, like the one you see in the screenshot. This translator’s note starts by discussing the tense of the verb but goes on to explain why it matters and how that fact might impact our understanding. This kind of detail makes even the translator and text-critical notes useful to a non-technical reader.

Or, as stated in the preface:

“The translators’ notes make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look over the translator’s shoulder at the very process of translation. This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings (including major interpretive options and alternative translations). This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in the original languages in a way never before possible without years of study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the Bible’s truth from entirely new perspectives.”

I encourage you to spend some time reading through the preface and the introduction to the NET Bible, as well as the Principles of Translation section near the end. These articles answer questions such as, “Why do we need yet another translation of the Bible?”, “What is unique and distinctive about the NET Bible?”, “What is the significance of the NET Bible’s name?”, and “How would you characterize the NET Bible as a translation?”

I’m planning a second post to explore some additional features of this great resource, such as maps and special search capabilities. Stay tuned.

In case you were wondering…one of those long-forgotten hand tools that I discovered was a Wonderbar pry bar. I found the tool on a city street years ago, cleaned it up and held onto it “just in case I ever need it.” (Yes, I have a mild case of that disease.) I must say that for demolition or pulling a bent nail out of a tight corner, this amazing tool is worth its weight in trips to the hardware store. It is a marvel of engineering that seems almost uncannily suited to the task at hand. I guess the same could be said of Logos Bible Software, but that’s fodder for another post.

New and different titles on the prepub page

If the flood of new prepub titles has caused you to tune out—or you’ve just been waiting for something other than Continuum books—now is a good time to check back in.
www.logos.com/prepub
In the past week, our prepub guy Zack has added some variety to the offerings in the form of:
JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection (9 volumes) – This is a great complement to The Tanakh, which has been available for Libronix DLS for some time. We’ve had a lot of customer requests for these commentaries over the years and it’s great to finally beef up the library in a category where we’ve been weak.

Continuity and Discontinuity – A perennial source of debate—and a question that stands at the crux of covenant theology and dispensationalism—is “How do the Old and New Testaments relate to one another?” Or as the preface to this volume poses the question, “How are we to relate what he has said through the prophets of old to what has been revealed through his apostles?” The 13 essays in this volume shed light on the issue and deliver some of the best thinking in this area.

Seven Practices of Effective Ministry – Andy Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. In a survey of pastors published earlier this summer by The Church Report magazine, North Point was named third among the “most influential churches in America.” Whether writing a book like this is a cause or a product of such influence, I cannot say…but it should be a worthwhile read, regardless.

The Pleasures of God (Piper) – Satisfaction is universally desired but often eludes our grasp. In this work, Piper shows how our satisfaction is dependent on God’s satisfaction.

Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures – This title was languishing on the Community Pricing Page, if you will excuse the pun, but found a number of advocates among our users. In response to their pleas, we have decided to give it another go as a prepub title and see if it will fly. With more than 13,600 pages of very dense type this is going to be rather expensive to produce…so we’ll need your help (in the form of a pre-order)!