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Field Searching in the Critical Review of Books in Religion

Critical Review of Books in Religion (1988-1998)I didn’t plan to continue my field searching series, but I just stumbled across some very helpful fields in the Critical Review of Books in Religion that I didn’t previously know about. They’re too good not to pass on to you. (It really does pay to look carefully at the information in “About This Resource”!)

In addition to the standard Surface Text and Footnote Text fields, there are Review Title, Author, and Review Author fields.

Review Title Field

This field allows you to search for words that appear in the titles of the books being reviewed. I can think of at least two scenarios where this would be beneficial.

First, if you are doing research and trying to build a list of resources on a particular topic, a Review Title search would turn up a very targeted list of hits in seconds. Let’s say that you are writing a paper on Calvin or getting ready to preach through Romans. The search rtitle:calvin turns up 8 books about Calvin, and the search rtitle:romans turns up 45 books on Romans. You can then read the reviews to see if the books look helpful.

Second, you could use the Review Title field to look up a review on a specific book. If you know the title of the book, a simple quote search will normally suffice, unless the name is fairly nondescript. But if you don’t know the exact title, searching on a word or two in the Review Title field will give you much more targeted results.

Author Field

With the Author field, you can quickly find all the books by a particular person. The search author:carson turns up three reviews for three different books by D. A. Carson. The search author:n* author:wright turns up the two reviews of books by N. T. Wright. Whether you want to read the reviews, look up some missing bibliographic information, or find new books by your favorite author, the author search will serve you well.

Review Author Field

Since there are thousands of reviews, many of the reviewers will be unfamiliar to you. It’s often helpful to know the reviewer’s basic views on the Bible to properly assess his opinions. For this reason you may want to read especially the reviews written by scholars whose opinions you trust. The Review Author fields lets you do just that. A search for rauthor:moo will take you to Douglas Moo’s review of James Edwards’ Romans commentary. Since Moo has one of the best commentaries on Romans ever written, he is well equipped to review other Romans commentaries.

If you enjoy having access to all these book reviews in the Critical Review of Books in Religion (CRBR), you’ll be please to know that the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL), which is essentially the continuation of CRBR, is soon to be available in Libronix.

How Can I Find All Geminate Verbs in the OT?

I got an interesting email last week from an individual who was wondering if there was a way to find all of the geminate verbs in the Old Testament. I had never done this particular search before, but I was pretty sure that it could be accomplished fairly easily since Libronix supports regular expression searching. With my scanty knowledge of regular expressions, I took a stab at it, but eventually had to turn to Bradley Grainger for help.

While this search is a little on the complicated side for those without much knowledge of regular expressions, I thought it would be a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of Libronix. And with a little help from the tips below and Vincent’s excellent article on Hebrew Regular Expression Searching, this kind of searching really is within your reach.

What’s a Geminate Verb?

First, let’s define a geminate verb (also sometimes called double ayin, ayin-ayin, or ע״ע verbs). Hebrew verbs in their dictionary form are composed of three consonants. A geminate verb is a verb whose second and third consonants are identical. So סבב would be a geminate verb, as would ארר ,חנן ,צרר ,חלל, and שׁדד.

How Do You Search for Geminate Verbs?

What we want is to do is search the lemma field for words with a consonant followed by another consonant, which is followed by that same consonant again, and we want to search only for verbs, not nouns or other parts of speech.

Here’s the search that we would use to accomplish this for two different morphologies:

lemma:/.(.)\1/ @ WestMorph = v*

lemma:/.(.)\1/ @ AFMorphHeb = V*

To perform this search, you can use the Bible Speed Search, the Bible Search, or the Hebrew Morphological Bible Search (which is handy if you want to search multiple Bibles that share the same morphology).

What Do Those Letters and Symbols Mean?

Let’s break the search down into its main components so you can see what’s going on.

The Field: lemma:

The lemma: is a field search telling Libronix to ignore everything else besides lemmas. (We’ve recently covered some of the benefits of field searching here on the blog.)

The Regular Expression: /.(.)\1/

The next part, which begins and ends with /, is the regular expression. It is composed of three parts.

  1. The first period specifies that we want any character. Since we are limited to the lemma field, it will find only a letter from א to ת (the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet).
  2. The next part, (.), is just a repetition of the first part, specifying that we want another letter from א to ת. (The parentheses are added in order to point back to this part from the next part.)
  3. The final portion, \1, specifies that the third letter must be the same as what was found in the parentheses (i.e., the second letter).

The @ Operator: @

The @ sign is short for ANDEQUALS and simply tells Libronix that you are looking for all the words where both x and y are true. In this case, the x is the regular expression and the y is the specified morphology.

The Morphology: WestMorph = v*

The last part of the search specifies which morphology to search (you may have several different Hebrew morphologies) and what parts of speech you want to include. In this case, we’re going to search BHS with the Westminster 4.2 morphology, and all we want to see are verbs.

Search Results and Search Analysis by Lemma

To get a complete list of all geminate verbs, you could work through all of the hits and compile your list, but there’s a much easier way. Just click the “Search Analysis by Lemma” at the top of the search results to group your search results by verb.

Then you can simply scroll through the list and see all of the geminate verbs in alphabetical order in the right margin.

If you want to learn more about what you can do with regular expression searching in Hebrew, see Vincent’s article Hebrew Regular Expression Searching.

Update: I replaced the regular expression /[\u05D0-\u05EA]([\u05D0-\u05EA])\1/ with the much simpler /.(.)\1/.

That Was Fast!

St. Paul and Justification (Westcott) [DOWNLOAD]In perhaps record time a Community Pricing title reached 100% of the pre-orders that it needed to send it into production—and the orders keep coming in and the price continues to drop.

Frederick Brooke Westcott’s St. Paul and Justification went up on CP on Monday afternoon of last week (June 9). By Thursday morning—just two-and-a-half days later—it had already crossed the 100% mark at $8! Later in the day it crossed at $7 and then that night at $6. Sometime on Saturday it crossed at $5. Bidding doesn’t close until this Friday (June 20) at noon PST, so there’s still time to drive the price down even further.

A recent reprinting of this volume has a list price of $34.95 and sells at Amazon for $26.56. It could be yours in the eminently usable Libronix format for only $5—or perhaps even less.

This is a prime example of how quickly CP titles can move and how low the prices can go when enough people bid. If you haven’t used the Community Pricing Program, now’s the perfect time to give it a try.

For more information on how Community Pricing works, see our previous blog post.

Update: More orders have come in today, pushing it over at the $4 mark. Will it get down to $3 by Friday? We’ll have to wait to see.

Update 2: Sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning it crossed at $3. Can we hit $2?

Introducing the Bible Study Magazine

Today’s guest post is from John Barry, the associate editor and project manager for the new Bible Study Magazine from Logos Bible Software.

Bible Study Magazine is a brand new print magazine (not an e-magazine) sponsored by Logos Bible Software. Six times a year, Bible Study Magazine will deliver tools and methods for Bible study, as well as insights from respected Bible teachers, professors, historians, and archaeologists.

Of course, we at Logos love electronic resources, but we want information on Bible study we can take anywhere—to the park, to the break room, to the bathroom, wherever! We want something we can touch, something we can browse for Bible study inspiration. We live in an electronic age, but as long as there are waiting areas in doctors’ offices, there will be magazines.

Bible Study Magazine is a convenient biblical resource that will help improve your Bible study by bringing you insight from trusted Bible teachers and scholars. The writers and interviewees have spent a lifetime applying the Bible to their lives and teaching others to do the same.

An outline of Bible Study Magazine is available at the Pre-Publication page. The first issue (Nov-Dec 2008) features:

  • “Mystery” interviews of two of the best Bible teachers in the church today (can you feel the suspense?)
  • Craig Broyles on “How the Bible Interacts with the Ancient World”
  • Arnold Fruchtenbaum on “What is Justification and Sanctification?”
  • Mark Goodacre on “How to Read the Gospels”
  • Daniel Wallace on “How to Choose a Bible Translation”

Plus regular “how-to” guides on Bible study tools and word studies, as well as the on-going Bible study “Facing Today with the Book of Hebrews” (great for personal or small group studies). There will also be exciting articles about how a fragment of the Bible saved a life and the untold story of the publication of the Great Isaiah Scroll.

Bible Study Magazine is interesting to the scholar, while accessible to everyone. In each issue there is something useful, something edgy, and of course, something geeky.

Thousands of Book Reviews Coming to Libronix

The Review of Biblical Literature (9 Vols.)If you love books and like to keep up with the latest publications but don’t have the time or money to buy and read them all for yourself, you won’t want to miss out on the Libronix version of the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL)—9 years worth of reviews from 1998-2006.

For only $59.95 you will get access to nearly 4,000 reviews of close to 3,000 of the most important publications of the last decade or so. Having multiple reviews for many of the most significant of these books will allow you to evaluate both sides of an issue. Many of these reviews come from seasoned scholars like Walter Brueggemann, D. A. Carson, James D. G. Dunn, Scot McKnight, and Stanley Porter, just to name a few.

Consulting reviews is a great way to keep up with various fields of study and get guidance about which books to purchase and which ones to pass by. If you want even more reviews, don’t forget about the Theological Journal Library and the Critical Review of Books in Religion.

By the way, the Review of Biblical Literature is actually just a continuation of the Critical Review of Books in Religion, which covered 1988-1998. Watch Mike talk about the benefits of having this resource in Libronix.

RBL was founded by the well-known Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). In case you missed it, the Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL), also from the Society of Biblical Literature, is available on Pre-Pub too.

What’s with All Those Extra Words?

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

This post is about another one of the discourse devices found in the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. When reading the NT, we come across words like ‘behold’ or ‘truly’ that we do not use much in English. So what purpose do they serve in the Greek NT? These and other words function as ‘attention-getters’, and serve to draw attention to something unexpected or important that immediately follows. Attention-getters are often used in combination with other devices, especially meta-comments.

When we are telling a story, we will often throw in extra words at different points to add more drama or flair just before something surprising or important. Take a look at some examples:

  • Just as I looked up, just like that this bear appears out of nowhere.
  • While I was turning into the driveway, bang, I ran over my son’s bike.
  • We were walking down the trail when out of nowhere a mountain biker appeared.
  • I was doing some repairs on the house when, get this, one leg of the step ladder gave way and wham, I hit the ground.

In each of these examples, the bolded words could have been left out without significantly altering the meaning of what is communicated. We also find attention-getting devices in the NT that accomplish similar purposes. They tend to be placed just before something that is surprising or important.

Here are some examples from the NT.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph. (Matt 2:13)

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph. (Matt 2:19)

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. (Matt 3:16)

And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17)

In each of these examples from Matthew, the word ‘behold’ is placed just before something surprising or important, like the appearance of an angel or the voice from heaven. The same information could have been communicated without the attention-getter, but it would not have had the same ‘zing’ as it does with ‘behold’.

Examples of other attention-getters that are found in the NT include:

  • ‘he who has ears, let him hear’ (e.g. Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 14:35; Rev 2:7)
  • ‘truly’ (e.g. Matt 5:18; Mark 14:30; Luke 9:27; John 1:51)
  • ‘woe to you’ (e.g. Matt 23:13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29)
  • ‘alas’ (e.g. Matt 24:19)
  • ‘God is witness’ (e.g. 1 Thes 2:5)

The important thing to keep in mind is that these attention-getters could have been omitted without significantly changing the content of what was communicated. The presence of the attention-getter represents the choice to attract extra attention to what follows. If you are interested in devices like these, check out the description on the Pre-Pub pages of the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Links to previous blog posts describing other discourse devices can be found there.

Free Pre-Pub “Shipping” Soon

A little over a month ago we announced that Charles Sears Baldwin’s How to Write: A Handbook Based on the English Bible was on Pre-Pub for the whopping price of $0. We don’t normally give out free Pre-Pubs, but we wanted to give those of you who have never ordered a Pre-Pub a chance to test out the program with no cost or risk.

Several thousand of you have taken advantage of this offer. If you aren’t one of them, you’ve still got a little time left. The projected ship date is this Friday, June 13. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, don’t miss out on this no-risk freebie. (See the previous post for more details on how the Pre-Pub Program works.)

For those of you who have already pre-ordered it, you should have received a confirmation email informing you that the book is almost ready and asking you to verify that your credit card information is correct.

When the product “ships,” you will receive a second email with instructions on how to download and install your new book.

Enjoy!

Video Interview with Rick: What’s So Cool about the LGNTI?

Rick Brannan was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about one of the projects that he’s been working on for the last several months, the new Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (LGNTI), which should be shipping any day now.

Click on the image below to watch Rick talk about this great new resource.


Windows Media Video: 5:31 | 14.8MB

You can also read about some of the features of the LGNTI or, better yet, watch Rick some demonstrate them in these two posts:

“When I’m stumped . . . I go to Henry Alford.”

A couple of months ago, Dan Phillips emailed me about Henry Alford’s The Greek Testament and asked if we would consider making it available in Libronix. I was familiar with Alford’s work, but had never used it. I did some digging and concluded that it would be a perfect fit for Libronix. So I sent it along to our electronic text development department for a cost estimate, and now it’s up on Pre-Pub for a fraction of the cost of the hard-to-find print volumes.

If you don’t know much about Alford’s Greek Testament, you can learn a good deal by the subtitle: "With a Critically Revised Text; a Digest of Various Readings; Marginal References to Verbal and Idiomatic Usage; Prolegomena; and a Critical and Exegetical Commentary." Alford’s detailed analysis, which spans nearly 3,500 pages in print, covers the entire New Testament.

In his original email, Dan mentioned to me that John Piper often uses Alford’s Greek Testament and speaks very highly of it. He couldn’t remember where he heard Piper talk about it though. So he asked his blog readers for help, and we were able to track down the quote. It comes from the Q&A time at the end of Piper’s biographical lecture on Owen. Piper is answering a question about commentaries that he finds helpful. Here’s what he says:

When I’m stumped with a . . . grammatical or syntactical or logical flow [question] in Paul, I go to Henry Alford. Henry Alford . . . comes closer more consistently than any other human commentator to asking my kinds of questions. (John Piper, “John Owen: The Chief Design of My Life—Mortification and Universal Holiness,” 1:30:11–1:30:31)

My ears perk up when I hear a scholar like Piper talk about the tools that he finds most helpful. I’m excited to see Alford’s work digitized and look forward to consulting it in my own study.

In just the few days that it has been up, Alford’s Greek Testament has already crossed the 50% mark. Go check it out and see if you think it would be a good addition to your Libronix library.

To learn more about Henry Alford, see Dan Phillips’ very informative post "Great News for Greekers: Alford Gets Logosized."

“Will I Become a Rungeianite?”

On the subject of Steve and discourse grammar, there was a helpful exchange in the comments of Steve’s last blog post, which I thought it would be worth calling your attention to.

A commenter asked,

My main quandary when considering the LDGNT has to do with objectivity vs. subjectivity in conducting discourse analysis. I am inexperienced and basically ignorant of the concept of discourse analysis. I read some of Bill Mounce on the topic. What I would like to know is given that a particular scholar, in this case Dr. Runge conducts the analysis of the entire GNT, would another scholar arrive at the same kinds of results or would there be numerous differences with results? More or less, I am asking about “bias”. Would I become a Rungeianite? And I say that in all well intended humor. :)

Perhaps you’ve had the same question. Some components of grammar are more objective than others. Many—though certainly not all—aspects of morphology tend to be fairly objective and agreed upon by scholars. Syntax, on the other hand, involves a bit more subjectivity. What about discourse? How objective or subjective is the work that Dr. Runge has done?

Here’s Steve’s helpful response:

You ask a great question. Most of what I have analyzed is fairly objective in nature, and could be replicated by others using a comparable interpretive framework (i.e. a functional, cognitive approach to discourse typology). What I am doing is better characterized as *discourse grammar* as opposed to *discourse analysis*, with the latter focused on trying to find the overall structure and message of a book. My analysis would give you the building blocks for doing such an analysis, but is more focused on documenting grammatical features and describing their discourse function. Each blog post has focused on one grammatical phenomenon and then described the task that it accomplishes in the discourse. I have striven to annotate only well documented, well attested discourse features. Most of what I have annotated relies upon the research of translators and other linguists. Other parts are original research which has either been peer-reviewed or presented at conferences for feedback.

There are indeed aspects that involve subjectivity, as is the case with some of the decisions regarding the block outline. Let’s say there is a main clause with a subordinate clause, followed by a coordinate clause (linked by και ‘and’). Which clause does the coordinate clause link to: the main clause or the subordinate clause? Grammar alone cannot answer this question. In most cases the decision is fairly objective, but there are times when a good case could be made either way. This project is intended to function as a commentary, something that you interact with in order to ensure you engage all of the relevant issues related to the passage. In the same way that you might disagree with a commentator, I expect that some will disagree with judgments I have made.

I have posted conference papers presented at SBL and ETS at www.logos.com/academic/bio/runge. I also chair a new section at ETS called ‘Discourse Grammar and Biblical Exegesis’, focused on making discourse-related research more accessible to biblical scholars. These papers document the research underlying the HDNT analysis, and include footnotes and bibliographies for readers.

For more information about what Steve has been working on here at Logos, see the following: