The Other Third of the Hebrew Bible

Approximately one third of the Hebrew Bible is poetry and needs to be interpreted with a sensitivity to the devices used by Hebrew poets. However, most books covering the grammar and syntax of the Hebrew language are devoted almost entirely to prose, and leave investigations of poetry to more specialized books.
Those using Logos Bible Software to study the Hebrew Bible have a great selection of these prose grammars available to them, from Waltke and O’Connor’s An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax and the classic Gesenius-Kautzsch-Cowley Hebrew Grammar to Joüon-Muraoka’s A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew and Christo van der Merwe’s A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. But until now, there have been few works made available for studying Hebrew poetry. Happily, the news isn’t all grim: a number of collections are now listed on the pre-publication page that can round out your Hebrew library nicely.
Hebrew Studies Collection (7 Vols.)
The Hebrew Studies Collection, consisting of seven volumes from the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, includes no less than four books on Hebrew poetry: Traditional Techniques in Classical Hebrew Verse, Classical Hebrew Poetry, A Guide to its Techniques, Directions in Biblical Hebrew Poetry, and Structural Analysis of Biblical and Canaanite Poetry. Parallelism, word pairs, figurative language, metre and a host of other rhetorical and structural devices are explored in this collection, making it an excellent first stop for exploring Hebrew poetics.
Word Order Variation in Biblical Hebrew Poetry, by Nicholas Lunn. Changing the expected word order is one method the biblical authors use to highlight or emphasize certain aspects of their sentences. Word order has oft been studied for Hebrew prose, but this book explores how those dynamics play out in the poetic genre.
The BHS Helps Collection features Luis Alonso Schokel’s A Manual of Hebrew Poetics. The manual is not primarily a reference book but rather a volume of initiation into the practice of analysis. Among the poetic techniques discussed are sound and sonority, rhythm, imagery, figures of speech, dialogue and monologue, development and composition.
Biblical Languages: Reference Grammars and Introductions (19 vols.) includes George Buchanan Gray’s classic The Forms of Hebrew Poetry, which includes extensive discussions of parallelism, rhythm, and alphabetic acrostics. Also included is Wickes’ Two Treatises on the Accentuation of the Old Testament, a study in the cantillation system of the Hebrew Bible.
I encourage those interested in studying the other third of the Hebrew Bible to take a look at some of these collections.

Digging into the Church Fathers

The collection of writings known as the Early Church Fathers (37 vols) is included in Scholar’s Silver, Gold and Platinum collections, and also in Portfolio (LE editions).
That is a large collection. It’s great, and it is very handy to have indexed by reference and topic. I’ve personally benefited from it many times over the years. But it is tough to dig into and understand as a whole, particularly if you’re not familiar with the major writers. What to do?
One place to start out is H.B. Swete’s Patristic Study (sold separately; not included in base collections). This is a small book, but it gives an overview of people and themes in the first five centuries of the church. The product page gives a good description:

Patristic Study focuses almost exclusively on the Fathers of the first five Centuries. After reviewing these writers, Dr. Swete proceeds in the closing chapters to suggest methods of employing the work of the Fathers for the particular purposes of those in different lines of religious and theological study.

Swete’s book is handy to use as an less technical introduction to the writings of the Church Fathers found in the much larger Early Church Fathers (37 vols) collection.
What about other titles in this area? Logos has several available:

  • Getting to Know the Church Fathers; An Evangelical Introduction is a title on prepub (at the time this blog post was written). It distills information about the person instead of only the writings the person is responsible for. So figures in the early church like Augustine, Ignatius, Origen, Perpetua and Tertullian (and more) are described in ways that make their writings more accessible.
  • The Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear is also presently gathering interest as a prepub. Lexicons like BDAG, TDNT and TLNT (as well as several commentaries) cite the writings of the Apostolic Fathers all the time. If you don’t remember as much of your Greek as you’d like, or if you haven’t had a chance to take Greek yet, sometimes an interlinear can be helpful in tracking down these cross-references and examining word usages in context.
  • The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers is a handy work that provides cross references between New Testament passages and writings of the Apostolic Fathers. This can be very handy.
  • Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels by Thomas Aquinas is presently a community pricing title. This is less of Aquinas and more of a compilation of sentences/notes from the church fathers that end up functioning as a commentary — by the church fathers — on the Gospels. Fun stuff, might be worth checking out.

I’d better stop now — but can you tell I’m excited about this stuff? Logos has a goodly amount of titles available in this area (even a chunk of volumes from Patrologia Graeca on prepub!) so I’ll have to blog again about this in the future to point out some more stuff that you might be interested in.

Introducing the Lexham English Bible

Lexham English Bible

The Lexham English Bible (LEB) is a new translation of the Bible into English, and one of the newest additions to a suite of resources from Logos which connect the original language texts to formal translations. New translations of the Bible into English appear every few years. So what’s so special about the LEB?

Your Second Bible

The LEB complements your primary translation. Its transparent design and literal rendering helps you see the text of God’s Word from another angle. Whether you use the ESV, NIV, KJV, or another popular English translation, the entire translation process helps you identify difficult texts, idiomatic phrases, grammatical issues, and more. The result? A better understanding of the Bible in English—whatever translation you use.

In Logos Bible Software, interlinears reveal the path from the original language texts to formal translation. This type of information, used in concert with your primary translation, helps you dig deeper into the text of the original languages. The entire translation process is visible and transparent—you can see the entire process.

[Read more...]

Need Help with New Testament Exegesis?

A few years back, we published a series of seven books called Guides to New Testament Exegesis. The seven titles are also available individually (links below go to individual volumes), but of course you save by purchasing the collection:

These books provide a general introduction (by Scot McKnight, no less!) to the interpretation of the New Testament, as well as genre-specific methods and materials for doing exegesis. One thing I didn’t know (but learned from reading the product page on Logos.com — good stuff there!) was that:

The vision for this collection comes from Gordon Fee’s New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors. By developing handbooks for each genre and book collection, this collection operates as an extended treatment of Fee’s narrower scope.

Fee’s work is detailed and valuable; to have his methodology distilled and applied to these particular genres is a helpful thing. It’s like getting a jump start in New Testament exegesis. And to have it done by folks of the caliber of Scot McKnight, Thomas Schreiner, and Gary Burge? Even better. Check it out.

Speaking of New Testament exegesis, another title that you might find helpful is Donald Hagner’s introduction, New Testament Exegesis and Research: A Guide for Seminarians. This is geared toward seminarians, but helpful for everyone. If I understand correctly how the book came about, it is basically the information that Hagner gives incoming seminarians, to get them properly grounded at the start of their seminary career.

Need some more suggestions? I’m out of room here, but you might try I. Howard Marshall’s New Testament Interpretation, David Alan Black’s Interpreting the New Testament, or perhaps even Katharine Barnwell’s Linguistics and New Testament Interpretation. Check ‘em out!

Last Chance to Pre-Order The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

For years, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary has been one of our most requested commentary sets. Now, we’re pleased to announce that it will be available in Logos Bible Software in just a few days.

The Gold Medallion Award-winning Expositor’s Bible Commentary, published by Zondervan, is a major contribution to the study and understanding of the Scriptures. Providing pastors and Bible students with a comprehensive and scholarly tool for the exposition of the Scriptures and the teaching and proclamation of their message, this 12-volume reference work has become a staple of seminary and college libraries and pastors’ studies worldwide.

Some of the leading evangelical biblical scholars of the past half-century have contributed to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, including:

The Expositor's Bible Commentary (12 Vols.)

  • F. F. Bruce
  • Bruce M. Metzger
  • Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
  • Gordon D. Fee
  • I. Howard Marshall
  • D. A. Carson
  • James Montgomery Boice
  • Richard N. Longenecker
  • Lots of others. Head on over to the product page to see the complete list.

Each volume in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary contains an introduction to authorship and historical issues, outlines of each book of the Bible, exposition and notes on the entire Bible, detailed bibliographies on every book of the Bible, and more. It also covers textual issues, and transliteration and translation of Semitic and Greek words make the more technical notes accessible to readers unacquainted with the biblical languages. In short, this is the premiere evangelical commentary on the Bible, and it will be available in Logos Bible Software in just a few days. Head on over to the product page to place your pre-order before it ships on Monday.

Are You a Pradis User?

If you’re a Pradis user, we want to make your transition to Logos Bible Software as smooth as possible. We realize that you might have spent years building up the titles in your Pradis library, and you’ve made a significant financial investment in buying those titles.

For registered Pradis users only, Zondervan has authorized a special discount on The Expositor’s Bible Commentary in addition to the Pre-Pub discount. The discount is designed to help you transition to Logos Bible Software. If you’re a registered Pradis user, this is your chance to get your books in Logos Bible Software at rock-bottom prices. Remember, the discount applies only for Pradis users. To learn how to get your discount, read the previous blog post for all the details.

You should follow us on Twitter here.

Free Finnish Bible

Raamattu 1933, 1938 (Finnish Bible)

Do you read Finnish? Or do you know someone who does? Or do you just like free books, even if you can’t read them? :)

We’ve recently released the Logos edition of Raamattu—a Bible from the Finnish Bible Society. Best of all, we’re able to offer it for free.

The first Finnish translation of the Bible appeared in 1548 by Mikael Agricola. He used Luther’s German Bible as the translation base. In 1632, the Bible was again translated into Finnish, but this time using the original language texts. The complete version appeared in 1642, and new editions were issued in 1685, 1758, and 1776. In the early twentieth century, the need for an updated translation of the Bible into Finnish had become apparent. Work on the new translation was begun in 1911 at the initiative of the Finnish Bible Society and the Finnish Lutheran Church. The first translation work was finished in 1933, and the completed version was published in 1938.

Here’s how to add this translation to your library for free:

Logos 4 Users:

If you have Logos Bible Software 4, adding resources to your library is easy.

Go the product page. Click Add to Cart (or just add it straight to your cart from here). Proceed through the checkout process and click “Submit Order.” If you don’t have a credit card on file, you’ll still need to enter your credit card information. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged anything. It’s the only way to finish the checkout process in our current system.

In Logos 4, type “Update Now” into the Command Bar. Logos 4 will find and begin downloading new resources, and the Logos icon will appear in your system tray while this is happening. When it’s finished, you’ll be asked to restart Logos 4.

After you restart Logos 4, you’ll be able to access your new Finnish Bible. If you have a Logos 4 base package, you can also access it on your iPhone or iPod Touch using the Logos iPhone app!

If you’re not a Logos 4 user yet, be sure to visit the custom upgrade discount calculator to see what discounts you qualify for on an upgrade to a brand new Logos 4 base package.

Logos 3 / Libronix Users:

If you’re still using Libronix, here are the steps to follow to get your free book:

Step 1: Log in to your logos.com account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one.

Step 2: Make sure that your Libronix Customer ID is associated with your Logos.com account. Go to My Account, enter your Libronix Customer ID, and click “Confirm.” If it’s already there, no need to do anything. (If you don’t know your Libronix Customer ID, you can find it in Libronix by going to Help | About Libronix DLS.)

Step 3: Go the product page. Click Add to Cart (or just add it straight to your cart from here). Proceed through the checkout process and click “Submit Order.” If you don’t have a credit card on file, you’ll still need to enter your credit card information. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged anything. It’s the only way to finish the checkout process in our current system.

Step 4: Unlock and download your new book. If you’re on a Windows machine, just click the orange “Unlock & Download” button. If you’re on a Mac, just synchronize your licenses (Tools | Library Management | Synchronize Licenses) and manually put the book file in your resources folder (Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Libronix DLS/Resources on the startup volume).

Step 5: Start using your new book! Open Libronix, open My Library, then type Raamattu to find it.

Spread the word! If you have Finnish-speaking friends, let them know that they can get a Finnish Bible for free.

An Alternate Book of Esther

I was flipping through the Esther volume of the Göttingen Septuagint and saw something unusual:

Göttingen Septuagint

If you examine this page carefully, you’ll see that the top section contains Greek text of a portion of Esther. Under that is a critical apparatus – a shorthand method of documenting manuscript evidence, showing which manuscripts agree with the text above and which manuscripts disagree, and how they disagree.
Then under the apparatus there is second section of Greek text (market by an L in the margin) followed by a second apparatus. We’ve seen something like this before. The ancient Greek book of Daniel, for example, exists in both the Old Greek and the Theodotion versions, and other editions of the LXX, such as Rahlfs and Swete, have presented both versions of that text either on facing pages or with one version on top of the other. Similar parallel texts are presented for the shorter and longer versions of Tobit and those parts of Joshua and Judges where codices Alexandrinus and Vaticanus disagree. But I’ve never seen this phenomenon in a printed edition of Esther before.
The marginal ‘L’ indicates that the text is thought by some scholars to be a Lucianic recension, or revision, of the Septuagint. Lucian was a Christian martyr who died in 312 AD and was famous for comparing the various Greek translations with the Hebrew Scriptures and preparing new Greek texts that were in greater agreement with the Hebrew originals.
However, the L-Text of Esther is different from the Septuagint text in some surprising ways that seem, to some scholars, inconsistent with the Lucianic reforms. The LXX and the L-Text both contain the so-called ‘Additions to Esther’ not found in the Hebrew Massoretic Text (MT), and the L-Text and LXX are significantly similar for those Additions. But in places where the L-Text and the LXX are clearly translating the same Hebrew, there is very little word for word correspondence. And at several junctures, it seems that the L-Text must be translating a different Hebrew source all-together. Carey Moore in his Anchor Bible volume on Esther, and elsewhere, has argued that the L-Text of Esther is really a fresh translation from a Hebrew original that is, at points, very different from the Hebrew (MT) that we have today. Followers of this line of reasoning usually refer to this as the Alpha-Text or A-Text of Esther, rather than the L-Text. If Moore is right, then the A-Text of Esther isn’t so much useful for determining the original text of the Massoretic version of Esther, but is rather more valuable for illuminating a version of Esther that no longer exists in any Hebrew manuscript known today.
Right now the Göttingen Septuagint is gathering interest on our prepublication program, listed at less than 1/10th of the retail price of the print volumes! The prepub has been well received, but we still need a few more orders to confirm that there is enough interest in getting the best Septuagint available into Logos Bible Software. So if you were sitting on the fence with this one wondering what you’d get that isn’t already in Rahlfs’ or Swete’s LXX, the A-Text of Esther is one example of the cool, useful things you’ll only see in Göttingen.
P.S. If you’re interested in the Septuagint, you might take a peek at Biblical Languages: Reference Grammars and Introductions (19 Vols.), which contains three volumes on the Septuagint: Swete’s classic Introduction (which examines the Lucianic recension on pages 80-86), the introductory grammar and chrestomathy by Conybeare and Stock and the reference grammar by Thackeray. If you want to lock in the early bird price, now is the time.

Which Commentary is Best?

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software and author of the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, Lexham High Definition New Testament, and the forthcoming Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis.

I get asked this question a lot, a people seems somewhat disappointed by my response of “It depends on what you’re doing.” It’s like being asked what the best tool is in my garage: the answer will always be “the tool best suited to my task,” depending on what I’m doing. Here’s what I mean.

When tackling a tough passage I’ll typically consult scholarly commentaries like the Anchor-Yale Bible or International Critical Commentary volumes, and even from the forthcoming Continental Commentary Series among others. I can guess your first question: “Why in the world would I want to read Claus Westermann on Genesis or Hans-Joachim Kraus on the Psalms, aren’t these guys pioneers in source and form criticism?” Why yes, as a matter of fact they are. But they also knew their Hebrew better than most folks alive today, and they have spent most of their lives studying these books in far greater detail than I ever will. I may not share their presuppositions about Scripture, but there is much to commend their exegesis.

One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome in seminary was being willing to learn from someone with whom I disagreed with on certain issues. I learned to read past differences in order to learn from their expertise. In a previous post I mentioned the value of older commentaries, noting that many times you will find a more robust engagement of the text on works by Godet, Olshausen and Alford, who were not distracted by the modern issues that can preoccupy new commentators. But this is not to say there is never a time to interact with critical scholars. Like any tool, each one has its strengths and weaknesses, each contributes something to the process.

Before you get the wrong impression, you need to know that I also make regular use of more devotional commentaries. The Focus on the Bible Commentaries and Christian Focus Biblical Studies Collection are great examples. Getting the difficult exegetical questions answered is not all there is to studying a passage, you also need to be able to clearly and relevantly communicate what you have learned. If you like the academic side of things like me, you too may struggle with seeing the bigger picture of a passage: the theme, flow or theology of a passage or book. I can have all the greatest information in the world, but it is useless to the congregation if I cannot present it in a way that they can understand.

Most often the more technical issues never get mentioned in the sermon, but are more about me feeling like I have handled them. Less-academically oriented commentaries—yes, even the warm fuzzy ones—are a great safeguard against missing the “forest” because of looking too closely at a piece of bark on a single “tree”. I read devotional commentaries just a critically as I do the scholarly ones, sifting wheat from chaff.

So which commentaries are best? The ones that you need for what you are working on. Just like I use my hand saw for some applications and an axe for another, building a diverse collection of commentaries can be a great boon to your study. The academically-oriented volumes can address specific questions, whereas the “lighter” ones can provide great ideas for how best to present what you have found.

For a helpful guide to multi-volume commentaries available for Logos, see our Commentary Product Guide.

Custom-Built Bookcase for Sale, Low Miles

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software and author of the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, Lexham High Definition New Testament, and the forthcoming Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis.

This would be the heading of my want ad if I were to post one. You see, ten years ago when we bought our house, one of the first personal projects I did was build a custom, floor-to-ceiling bookcase in my new office.

At the time I was regularly buying Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplemental volumes, scholarly commentaries like Word Biblical Commentary, ICC, and the Anchor Bible and whatever else I needed to write my MTS thesis. This bookcase was to be the showpiece of my scholarly man-cave. I even inherited a great leather chair from an aunt-in-law, the kind that was scratched by a cat and isn’t allowed in the living room any more. Life was great—until something happened.

[Read more...]

Lower Prices on Zondervan Titles and Discounts for Pradis Users

Zondervan

Last fall, we announced a new partnership with Zondervan, and we posted 87 books, commentaries, and reference works on Pre-Pub. Now, with just a few weeks remaining before the Zondervan books ship, we are pleased to announce lower Pre-Pub prices and steep discounts for Pradis users.

Lower Pre-Pub Prices

In general, Pre-Pub prices never go down. In fact, they often go up, which is always a good reason to lock in your Pre-Pub order at the lower price as early as possible.

We have been able to work with Zondervan to lower the Pre-Pub prices for nearly all of their books. To honor our commitment to our users who have already pre-ordered, we are going through all orders and automatically applying the lower price. That means if you’ve already ordered a Zondervan book on Pre-Pub, you don’t need to do anything to get the lower price. Your account has already been changed to show the new, lower price.

If you haven’t yet placed your Pre-Pub order, make sure you do so right away to lock in your order at the lower Pre-Pub prices. The massive 87-volume Zondervan Bible Reference Bundle has had the biggest price drop of any Zondervan collection, so that’s the best place to begin. It’s by far the best value—and the lower Pre-Pub price expires soon, so don’t miss out!

Shipping Soon!

We are only a few weeks away from shipping! All Zondervan Pre-Pubs will ship on Monday, April 5, with the exception of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, which will ship even earlier, on March 15.

That gives you a little more time to lock in your order at the lower prices. If you haven’t yet placed your Pre-Pub order, don’t miss out on the deals!

Discounts for Pradis Users

If you’re a Pradis user, we want to make your transition to Logos Bible Software as smooth as possible. We realize that you might have spent years building up the titles in your Pradis library, and you’ve made a significant financial investment in buying those titles.

For registered Pradis users only, Zondervan has authorized a special discount of an additional 40% off the newly-lowered Pre-Pub prices. The discounts are designed to help you transition to Logos Bible Software editions for the same books you’ve already purchased in Pradis. If you’re a registered Pradis user, this is your chance to get your books in Logos Bible Software at rock-bottom prices.

Pradis upgrade discounts are available only over the phone for registered Pradis users. To get the discounts, give us a call at 800-875-6467, or (360) 527-1700 if you’re calling from outside the USA or Canada. We want to take care of each Pradis user individually, so you’ll need to call and speak with someone to verify your Pradis registration and get the discount on the Logos titles. Even if you’re a registered Pradis user and you’ve already placed a Pre-Pub order for Zondervan titles, you’ll still need to give us a call to get the discount.

The limited-time upgrade discount for registered Pradis users is only authorized for one combined order, so make sure you know exactly what you want to buy before you make that call. For example, if you call for the discount on the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, and then call back a month later for the discount on the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, we are only able to honor the first upgrade discount. However, if you ask for the discount on both in one call, we can give you the discount on both sets.

The discount only applies for Pradis users who have purchased their books before January 1, 2010. These discounts expire on June 30, 2010, so you need to act now to get the discount. It’s in your best interest to apply the discount to as many titles as possible before they expire. If you’re a Pradis user, give us a call right away to get 40% off!

  • From the USA and Canada, call 800-875-6467.
  • From outside the USA and Canada, call 1-360-527-1700.

Last Chance!

Time is running out to save big on all the Zondervan titles. If you haven’t yet placed your Pre-Pub order, do it right away to save big! Head on over to Logos.com/Zondervan to see the complete list of titles.