Genre & Source Visual Filtering for the OT

Daniel Foster just came to me and said, “Hey, I didn’t know that the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text has two resource-specific visual filters!” I said, “Sure, I thought everybody knew that.”
Well, if Daniel doesn’t know … okay, I guess almost nobody knows.

Visual What?
“Visual filter” may sound like something you do to a photograph to reduce red eye, but in fact it’s a simple and flexible feature that the Libronix DLS can use to modify a book’s formatting or content on the fly — that is, right when it’s being displayed. A simple visual filter is the Page Numbers visual filter, which shows page numbers inline (for resources that have page number tagging).

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New Resources for Apologetics

Over the past couple of weeks, we have quietly released many new apologetics-related resources for Logos Bible Software. Some of these are brand new to the platform and a few are re-releases. Here’s a quick round-up of these titles…

Cults & Religions


Creation/Evolution/Science

  • Bible and Spade Collection – 30 years’ worth of archaeological journals from the Holy Land. The organization behind this journal–Associates for Biblical Research –has as its stated mission to strengthen the faith and biblical understanding of Christians. If you enjoy archaeology for its own sake, or as part of the larger conversation about creation and the Bible’s historicity, you’ll want to pick this one up.

  • Dennis Gordon Lindsay on Creationism – 10 volumes on the topic of creationism and evolutionism. If you purchased a Logos base product prior to May 2006, you probably already have these. But if not, they are now available for individual purchase via download.

  • The Genesis Factor – Taking a different approach to life’s big questions, the authors of this book use the Socratic method to help readers engage in a “conversation” with the book of Genesis.

Engaging the Culture

  • Christian Ethics in Plain Language – Author Kerby Anderson offers a survey of Christian ethics followed by 18 chapters addressing important ethical issues that are a hotly debated today.
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Well-known author Norman Geisler and Frank Turek throw down the gauntlet for skeptics by exposing and challenging their dearly-held beliefs, then arguing that Christianity is the most reasonable worldview.

  • Reasonable Faith – One of the heavyweights among apologetics resources, this volume by William Lane Craig serves as a textbook in apologetic or philosophy of religion courses. As Craig explains in the preface, this work is intended to “fill the gaps” left in traditional theological education and works of systematic theology. Here he addresses the apologetic angle of each major theological topic in post-Reformation Protestant theology: faith, man, God, creation, and Christ.

More new books (many of which did not pass through the prepub program) can be browsed in the New Products listing.

How Much Do You Want to Pay?

What if you could visit the website of your favorite publisher, browse a list of books that are candidates for publication, and put a bid on the ones you’d like to own? That’s right…tell the publisher which books you’d like to see published and how much you’d be willing to pay for each one.

Sound too good to be true? Truth is, this is the experience enjoyed by hundreds of Logos users who have discovered the Logos Community Pricing Program.

In a nutshell, the Community Pricing Program works like this: Logos posts a list of public domain titles, you browse the list, put a bid on any title that catches your eye, and sit back and wait for the book to get produced. Your bid is the top price you’re willing to pay, so there are never any unpleasant surprises!

That’s it…easy as pie.

Going Once, Going Twice…

I grew up in a rural part of northern Michigan (some would say “rural northern Michigan” is a redundancy) and loved to go to the Old MacDonald Auction Barn in the neighboring town of Pickford whenever I got the chance. When looking for a new couch recently, I discovered a monthly auction held at a warehouse here in Bellingham. This auction has a lot less farm equipment, but it’s still the fun experience I remembered…and an all-afternoon experience, which doesn’t work out real well for our two kids, aged 2 and 3-1/2.

But it turns out auction houses have anticipated the desire to bid on items in absentia. When nap time came around, we filled out a brief form with our bidder number and the top bid amount for each item we wanted to bid on. The auction house had a person to bid on our behalf and they’d call us the next day if we had the top bid for any item on our list. Absentee bidding lacks the thrill and energy of being there, but it is rather convenient!

If it helps, think of the Community Pricing Program as absentee bidding. You show up at the “auction” (in this case a webpage), take a look around, kick the tires, register your top bids for the stuff you want, and walk away. We’ll get in touch with you by email if your bid was successful. Even better, if your bid was too low we’ll shoot you an email to let you know before the “auction” closes…at which point you can choose to either raise your bid enough to get the book, or let it pass.

Oh, and did I mention that with Community Pricing you’re not bidding against the other bidders…you’re all working together! See, we love our customers so much that as more people bid for a book, the price goes lower! Yes, you read that right:

More bidders = lower prices for everyone!

Ready, Set, Bid!

If you’re ready to get started, jump over to the Community Pricing page to see all the titles currently available for bidding. The bright, red circles at the top of the page walk you through the 3 simple steps to get started.

What, you’re still reading this? Then here’s a preview of what you’ll find on the Community Pricing page: classic commentaries, works on the Life of Christ, Greek and Hebrew helps, a fascinating historical survey, and more. Authors whose names you may recognize include Ironside, Barnes, Alford, Deissmann, Schürer, and Driver.

And if you need any more incentive to get started right now, check this: three items on the Community Pricing page are very close to having enough bids to end the “auction” on those items and move them into production. Now is the time to tell us how much you want to pay for these great additions to your digital library!

Classical Greek Lookup

When studying Greek words, it is sometimes fun and beneficial to see how the words are used outside of the New Testament. One of the features of Logos Bible Software, version 3 is the ability to look up Greek words in the online Perseus database, which includes a wide variety of classical Greek texts, many with morphological and lexical tags, and some with English translations.

Let’s say you wanted to see references to crucifixion outside the New Testament. In this screenshot, I’ve right-clicked on σταυρόω – the verb form of ‘to crucify’ – in my lexicon (in this case BDAG), chosen ‘Selected Text’ and ‘Perseus Greek Word Lookup’. I could also have right-clicked the word in a Greek Bible and chosen ‘Selected Text’ and the ‘(Lemma)’ form instead. Of course, I may also want to run this lookup on related words, such as σταυρός – ‘cross’.

Here Perseus has provided some analysis of the word. Note the link to ‘Configure display’. Use this link to choose between displaying texts in transliteration or Unicode or some other Greek encoding. After some initial analysis, you can see hit counts by genre – in this case 92 hits in prose and 1 hit in poetry.

Clicking on ‘Greek Word Search’ will generate a concordance of the 93 hits of this word in the database, as seen below.

You can see hits in authors such as Josephus, Xenophon, Epictetus, Thucydides, and Appian. Clicking on the first line of each hit will open the Greek text to the larger context of the hit. Clicking on individual words will provide analysis to help you translate the passage. Sometimes a link to an English translation or Latin version is available as well.

KeyLink Summary

In a recent article on Hebrew KeyLinking, I mentioned that using the arrow keys to scroll between lexicons isn’t always the best way to survey all the articles on the word you are studying, because the arrow key navigation is based on how a lexicon spells a word, not on the KeyLink look-up tables Logos Bible Software 3 supports for navigating from the Bible directly and accurately to the lexicons. I mentioned that you can more accurately get to all your lexicons using the Bible Word Study report or the Exegetical Guide, or you can use the right-click menu to select a specific lexicon as a KeyLink destination if you want to consult a resource other than your default lexicon.

I’m sticking with my story; it’s all true. But I over-looked a new feature in version 3. Sometimes I want to do a quick survey of my lexicons on a given word, but I don’t need all the other searches and features of the Bible Word Study report. Of course, I could manage my preferences and turn off most of the sections of the Bible Word Study report until I stream-lined it for the task at hand, but then I’d have to reset my preferences the next time I wanted to dig deeper. As it turns out, there is a fast way to execute all my KeyLinks on a given word while making use of the KeyLink look-up tables for increased accuracy: the KeyLink Summary report.

As an example, open one of the newer Hebrew Bibles (such as the Westminster 4.2 morphology or the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text) and go to Psalm 19:9. Let’s say we wanted to check out what our lexicons had to say about the word ‘pure’ (bar in Hebrew). We only care about the entries for bar that mean ‘pure’; we don’t want to read about when it means ‘son’ or ‘grain’ or ‘field’ or a ‘soothsayer’ or a ‘cargo ship’. Right click the word and choose ‘Selected Text’ and then select the Hebrew word with the term ‘(Lemma)’ after it. (‘Lemma’ indicates that you are working with the dictionary form of the word. Selecting this form also makes use of the KeyLink look-up tables, if they are present.) Now click on ‘KeyLink Summary’.

Your exact results will vary depending on what lexicons you own, the order of your KeyLink preferences and whether or not you’ve downloaded the new texts and lexicons that are part of version 3.0 or, even better, the beta version 3.0a. But you should see something like this:

In the screenshot, I’ve clicked the plus signs next to the top three articles in order to be able to read their articles right in the summary report. You can see that we’ve landed on the correct homograph on the expanded examples. (Some of the other lexicons don’t have look-up tables yet, so they still link on spelling alone. Most of the prestigious lexicons have completed look-up tables for version 3.0a, but other lexicons are still works in progress.) You can navigate directly to the lexicon articles themselves just by clicking on the title of the lexicon. That way you can follow any links in the lexicon, or read surrounding articles, or execute searches against the lexicon.

Clicking the word ‘More’ will expand the report to execute more KeyLinks further down your list of KeyLink preferences.

That’s it: the KeyLink Summary is a simple, one-purpose tool for quickly surveying your lexicons.

A More Advanced Syntax Search

In yesterday’s post, Dr. Heiser demonstrated a simple example of using the Bible Word Study report with the syntax databases to get answers to syntax questions without ever learning how to write a syntax query manually, showing how even people who don’t know Greek or Hebrew can use these databases to make connections between verses. However, if you learn how to compose your own syntax queries, you can learn to ask a wider range of questions about the Bible. In today’s example, Michael uses the syntax databases to find hits that would take hours to sort through with the older generation of tools.

One of the Hebrew terms for God is Elohim. The ‘im’ ending is morphologically plural, but almost everywhere in the Hebrew bible, the verbs associated with Elohim are singular in number, making it clear that these are references to God, not the plural ‘gods’. Dr. Heiser has done a lot of research in the field of Israelite religion, so when he was learning about syntax databases, one of the first questions he asked was: where does Elohim appear as the subject of a plural verb? He knew that instances of this phenomenon might be theologically or exegetically significant and was quite familiar with several examples, but had never encountered a published list of every time this happens.

Knowing if ‘Elohim’ is the subject of a verb in a given sentence, rather than an object for example, is a syntax question. Without access to syntax tags, one could search for every plural verb that occurs in the same verse as the word Elohim. One would get over 3400 hits (i.e. words returned) in 1057 verses. Only a small fraction of those verses are useful, though, and wading through 1057 verses isn’t a small chore. One might be able to get really creative with filters, and start ruling out verses where certain words occur immediately before Elohim that would typically indicate that Elohim is something other than the subject of the sentence. This approach of simulating syntax using only morphological or lexical form tags is a rather blunt instrument, but I’ve used it in the past to narrow my search results. In capable hands, this blunt instrument can save time over manually checking thousands of hits, but there is now a better way.

Click here to watch the video.

Syntax Resources and Topical Sermons

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

In a previous posting, I shared some thoughts on what syntax databases mean for the English-only reader, stressing that the new syntax databases in several Libronix 3.0 collections are hardly the exclusive domain of scholars.

Here I want to offer a practical illustration of their value for coming up with topical sermons that are rooted in grammatical relationships (believe it or not!). Anyone interested in relationships between words (i.e., syntax) understands that just knowing that God is the subject of a certain verb that has a certain object can yield some penetrating insights for sermon material and Bible study.

The video linked below illustrates this simple, down-to-earth benefit of tapping into our revolutionary syntactical resources for those outside the scholarly fraternity.

Click here to see a Topical Sermon Using Syntax (Flash, 12:52).

Windows Keyboards for Ancient Languages

Logos Bible Software version 3 introduced new keyboards for Greek, Hebrew and Syriac that are designed for easy entry of the ancient languages on an English/Roman keyboard. We’ve also created identical duplicates of the Logos keyboards that can be installed as standard Windows keyboards for Windows 2000 and XP users. This means that you can use the same keyboards in Libronix DLS that you use in Microsoft Word or any other Unicode compliant application!
For more information and download instructions, click here.

Graphical Query Editor Tutorial

The Graphical Query Editor Tutorial has been rewritten for version 3.0. Folks who have worked through the old tutorial will notice only a few significant differences, such as the use of the new Logos keyboards, and the regular expression section has been significantly revised because the syntax changed from version 2.0. There are some minor changes to the sections on field searching and reference searching. Happy searching.

Syntax: Talking Animals in the Bible

Several readers have requested that we produce more examples of syntax searching. Your wish is my command — at least in this case. I made a video that shows how to make a syntax search to find all the places in the Hebrew Bible where an animal speaks, or more specifically, where a clause has a verb of speaking with a “creature” in the subject. The query uses the semantic categories present in the A-F markup to narrow the hits down to only verbs of speaking with “creature” subjects.

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