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Syntax: Not Just For Searching

In previous blog posts, I’ve focused on how the syntax databases we offer are used when searching, when asking questions of the text. But this is not the only use. I don’t even know if it will end up being the primary use. I was reminded about this with a recent comment on one of my posts:

These blogs are extremely helpful for things like [structure searching], but make it difficult for an average joe like me to get a search result and have confidence that all the cases of what I’m looking for would be covered. . .I’d think “what kind of clause component will this show up in that I’ll miss with this search”. Certainly, I’ll get some results I’d want, but will I get them all?

Instead of focusing more on searching, I figured I’d step back and show another use that doesn’t require any searching knowledge at all. Just being able to see the structure of the text in a different way is helpful when reading through the text.

We read through the text in translations with paragraphs/etc frequently. Reading through a syntax graph in addition to reading the text in modern translation can help us slow down when we read, and take note of not simply each word but also the things going on around each word at the clause level.

Ephesians 5.18b-21 offers a good example. I’ll give you two hints: Look only at the clauses (primary and embedded) and the verbs in those clauses, and the relationship between these things. No searching necessary. Just reading slowly paying attention to the annotated syntax.

And there’s a video (Flash, 3 megs, with sound) that provides a little more information to help in seeing how this can be done.

Here’s Eph 5.18b-21 in the ESV, just plain text. Read it in this form and try to think about the underlying structure of the text:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5.18-21, ESV)

What can we see from just looking at the syntax here? Check out the video for more explanation, but in short, you’ll see how to:

  • View only clause information in your graph, removing some of the word group annotation since we’re just looking at clause level data here
  • Find verbs in the annotation
  • Show why this is relevant when looking at the annotation for Ephesians 5.18b-21 (which is a whole primary clause)

Update: If you’re interested in using the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament to assist as you’re reading through the text, check out this post from May 2006. It’s a handy way to work through the Greek text of, say, First John and beef up your knowledge of the syntactic goings-on at the same time!

Update II: Note that I’ve blogged again about how reading the syntax graph can help when analyzing or outlining a particular passage: Organizing an Outline with Syntax Graphs.

Syntax Search Example: Preposition with Dative Object

On the Logos Newsgroups, a user asked a question about syntax searching:

I’d like to search for every instance of the construction in Heb 1:2 — ἐν υἱῷ – i.e. ἐν followed by noun without article … Also (I think) in 1 Thess 1:5 – ἐν λόγῳ — our gospel did not come to you not simply “by means of word\speech”

I could do a normal search, but is this a category of construction that I could find with a syntax search? If so, could someone perhaps suggest how to go about it?

The answer is a resounding “YES!” It was like a slow-pitch softball that I couldn’t resist swinging at. So I did. You can watch the video now (Flash, 9 megs, with sound) but be sure to read the rest of the post too.

I should note that I’m running 3.0a beta 2, and you may see some visual changes inside of the Syntax Search Dialog.

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Syntax Search Example: Same Word as Subject and Verb

I was reading in 1Th 3.5 the other day and came across the phrase “for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you” (ESV). Here it is in the ESV NT Reverse Interlinear:

You can see the phrase highlighted using some of our new Visual Markup features. If you click and view the larger picture, you’ll see that the same lexical form (πειράζω) is repeated in the verse. Not only is it repeated, but one instance is the subject of the clause, the other is the predicator (verb) of the clause. The syntax graph from the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament shows this a little better:

Is this exegetically significant? Perhaps. But I also had the question — how many other times is the same word used as both subject and verb in the New Testament?

With syntax searching and Logos Bible Software 3, it is a relatively easy question to answer.

As an added bonus, I’ve even included a video of setting up the search. This video is the first in which you’ll hear my “smooth dulcet tones” (as the colleague sitting next to me describes it) narrating the action. You can try the video (Flash, 12 megs, with audio) but be sure to read the description below the fold as well.
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It’s Raining Books

For a bibliophile, it felt like the floodgates of heaven had opened.

On Wednesday, a truck pulled up to our offices 1313 Commercial Street, the driver got out and started loading up his dolly with boxes. He made another trip, then another, and another. When he was finished, there were four or five stacks of boxes, each stack five feet tall…

After a company meeting, Bob invited us to open up the boxes and spread out the wealth of riches on the conference room table. Books! Lots of books. Things got a little crazy after that.

Watch the Video (Windows Media, 2.5MB, 1 minute)

The boxes contained about 450 titles, all licensed from Continuum, all headed your way soon via the Logos pre-publication program.

In fact, these books are just the first shipment…another will follow soon. The 450 titles are part of a license we signed with Continuum for some 2,000+ books—books you’ll be able to add to your digital library in the coming months (and years).
Most of the books in this first batch were originally published by T&T Clark and Sheffield Press.

There are books on theology, NT studies, OT studies, biblical languages, rhetorical studies, church history, gnostic and apocryphal writings, Dead Sea Scrolls studies, Bible introductions/guides, hermeneutics, and more. There truly is something for everyone and I, for one, can’t wait to add these books to my digital library.

Now please don’t call your favorite salesperson to ask whether your favorite book is going to be on the prepub page soon (we haven’t told them and, anyway, they’re pretty busy taking orders for Logos 3).

But please do subscribe to NewsWire if you aren’t already on the list. Then you’ll be sure to hear about the books, and get the best discount as they are put up for pre-order. The first titles and collections from the Continuum license will start appearing on the prepub page within the next week or two.

Let the books rain down!

Greek Syntax: Syntactic Force Annotations

I’ve blogged a bit about the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament before. Sure, it’s syntax, and that’s important. But how can it be used?

One way is very simple: Use hover popups to show the syntactic force of any word as you read the text, or as you’re brought into the text from searches. The syntactic force annotation is a note as to the role that the word plays in the current syntactic context. It isn’t about morphological form, it is about syntactic function.

Hover on the inflected word in the Lexham SGNT running text, and see the syntactic force annotation (with definition!) pop up. How cool is that?

Pictures are always good at conveying this sort of thing; moving pictures are even better. The video uses James 1.27 as an example: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (ESV).

Syntactic Force Annotation
Video: Flash, .75 MB, approx. 1:27, no sound.

Note that all I did here was move the mouse. Also, when multiple notes of force occur on a word this displays what could be multiple possibilities in a given context or a mixture of possibilities acting together. The Expansions and Annotations resource further spells out those complex relationships.
So if your knowledge of Greek syntax is rusty (or even non-existent) you can still work through the text looking into the structure of the text and the syntactic function of words in the text — just by moving your mouse through the passage you’re studying.

Who Did What? Looking at Verbs in a Reverse Interlinear

Earlier I blogged about Highlighting English based on Greek Morphology. This involved using Logos Bible Software 3 and a Reverse Interlinear of the New Testament to highlight words based on the underlying language’s morphology (word form, part-of-speech type information).

Over the past weekend I was thinking that this would be perfect to use when working through a text doing something like participant analysis. One thing that I find handy when working through a text at a paragraph/sentence level is to stop at each finite verb (verbs that aren’t participles or infinitives) and determine who is taking part in the action. I also like to see if there is someone or something that the action is being done to, or if there are other circumstances to the action.

Using Logos Bible Software 3, the Morphology Filter applied to a Reverse Interlinear makes this easy — particularly if you don’t know Greek. Here’s what you do.

  • First, check out the video on how to specify a morphology filter in a reverse interlinear.
  • Second, once your Logos Bible Software 3 is fired up, specify a morphology filter for the ESV New Testament Reverse Interlinear. Your Part of Speech should be Verb, the Verb Type should be Finite.
  • Third, specify the style of highlighting you’d like. I just specified yellow highlighting.
  • Fourth, go to your passage and stop at the highlights. Ask yourself questions like:
    • Who or what is doing this action? That is, who is the actor?
    • Who or what is the action being done to? That is, is there an object?
    • Are there additional circumstances to the action? Clarifying adverbs or prepositional phrases?
    • Is the same person/thing doing action here that was doing the action with the previous verb? Or has there been a shift?
    • [whatever other questions you think appropriate]

When examining the text at this level, you should keep track of where the same party (or parties) is doing the action, and where the actor changes. This may indicate secondary action (e.g., “Jim said, ‘When I was with Dorothy, she decided we’d have dinner at the Olive Garden’ “.) or it may indicate a larger shift at, say, a paragraph level.

Stopping at verbs and examining the flow of action in the passage is one very useful way to work through a passage at a high level. Using reverse interlinears to combine the underlying original language part-of-speech information with highlighted English makes it much easier for those with no knowledge of the original languages to start to consider these issues in their study.

Syntax Search Example: Relative Pronouns

When working through a passage, it can be important to work through pronoun usage. Sometimes pronouns have direct referents, sometimes the referents are implied.
A familiar example is found in the first three verses of First John:

1 That whicha was from the beginning, whichb we have heard, whichc we have seen with our eyes, whichd we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal lifef, whichf was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that whiche we have seen and heard we proclaimabcde also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1Jn 1.1-3, ESV)

In the above, the English words translated from relative pronouns are in bold, the pronoun referent is in bold italic text. Note use of superscript letters to align pronoun with specific referent as there are two referents in the above example.
How did I know that? Well, let’s just say that the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament and the Syntax Search dialog are my friends.

Continue Reading…

Syntax Search Example: Articular Participle in Clause Complement (Object)

I was talking with Daniel Foster yesterday afternoon. We were talking about syntax search examples and how they’re different than other sorts of morphological searches.
One type of search that we used to rely on the Graphical Query Editor to do (and still do; we didn’t take this capability away) was to do what is generally known as “agreement searching”.
An example would be: Find where two words exist N words apart (where, say, N = 5) and the two words agree on some sort of morphological criteria (like, say, case, number or gender).
This sort of approach is commonly used to find where a noun or participle has an article, or where an adjective is associated with a noun. Things like that. In essence, we approximate an established syntactic relationship using proximity (within N words) and morphological criteria (sharing same case, number and gender).
What we really want, though, is where an article modifies a participle or noun. That is, where the article and participle have an established relationship. The number of words that separate them is incidental, they could be next to each other or they could be 15 words apart. We’re interested in the specific relationship.
The good news is: This search can be done in the New Testament with an underlying syntactic database. Since we’ll be searching the entire New Testament, we’ll use the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament, which has been discussed previously on this blog.
The better news is: We can do even more — like, say, find where participles have an article that modifies, and where the “articular participle” is (for example) in the Complement (object) of a clause. Like what the below syntax search specifies.

Continue Reading…

Highlighting English Based on Greek Morphology

It’s cool to see features and datasets combine in ways that weren’t originally anticipated.
Just the other day, Eli and I were talking with Dale Pritchett (VP Marketing and Bob’s father!) and Dale wondered about how to highlight an English text based on Greek or Hebrew morphology. Sort of like this:

Eli and I looked at each other quizzically. Then at about the same time we had the answer: Reverse Interlinear! And the cool part is that the feature already works in Logos Bible Software 3! It is a consequence of having data and functionality already in place, we just hadn’t quite stopped to realize the extent of the functionality. But it is a consequence of:

  • Having Reverse Interlinears available that align the original language texts (Greek and Hebrew) with a modern language translation at the word level.
  • Having morphological information in the original language texts underlying the English translation of the Reverse Interlinear.
  • Having a Visual Filter (a method of overlaying highlighting based on specified criteria) for morphologies.

Because of the architecture of Logos Bible Software … well, it just works. Nothing extra needed.
Here’s a short video (Flash, approx. 0.7 MB, no sound) that walks through how to specify the visual filter for the reverse interlinear. It walks through setting up a visual filter that highlights where finite verbs (i.e., verbs in the indicative, imperative, subjunctive or optative moods) occur in the Aorist tense. These will be visually highlighted with the “Box” style, so you can simply see them as you scroll through the text. And you’ll see how the ESV handles translating them. After the visual filter is set, I then show how interlinear lines are customizable. In the end, you see only the English text of the ESV, but the English words that represent the aorist verbs are highlighted … and no Greek is in sight.


Video: Flash, approx. 0.7 MB, no sound

Pretty cool. Give it a try if you’re running the Release Candidate!

Deissmann is Downloadable!

Folks who follow the Logos Newsgroups or have read this blog for awhile know that I have a soft spot for Adolf Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East (LAE). This book went from dream, to community pricing project, to pre-pub, and it is now available for users to download and purchase!

If you don’t know much about why a book by a guy named Deissmann could be helpful for your studies of the New Testament, check out this blog post I wrote last August.

If you’re unfamiliar with our Community Pricing projects, you should acquaint yourself with them. In Deissmann we have a tangible example of how beneficial it can be to subscribe to projects in their early (and somewhat uncertain) stages.

Here’s how the pricing progressed during the early stages of this product’s lifetime:

Thanks and congratulations to those who subscribed early (and, some of you, often!). You got a great resource at a fantastic price. I trust you’ll find Deissmann’s LAE to be a beneficial secondary source to consult for more information when working with New Testament (Hellenistic) Greek.
If you are not a regular pre-pub or community pricing bidder, jump in now. There are still plenty of deals to be had!