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.

Logos 4: Cross Reference Lookup Bible

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

When I studied with print books I had an old, well-used Bible on my desk. This Bible’s sole purpose was to look up Bible cross references. Because it was “broken in,” I could quickly turn the pages to a desired location. My new Bible always stayed open to the passage I was studying and then it would go to the pulpit with me. With Logos 4 you can designate a “cross reference look-up” Bible while staying in the same location in another Bible. Here’s how it works:

Scattered throughout your Logos resources are hyperlinked Bible cross references. Normally when you click a link your Preferred Bible will look up the passage. You can override that default by designating a “target Bible.”

  • Click the panel menu in your secondary Bible. It can be another copy of your Preferred Bible or a completely different Bible.
  • From the panel menu select Send hyperlinks here. Notice a target image appears on the panel menu.

Now when you click a Bible cross reference in any resource, this Bible will jump to that location!

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.

Taking Advantage of Video Tutorials

Video Tutorial

We are amassing quite a collection of feature and tutorial videos for Logos 4. At present, there are over 80 videos covering a variety of topics aimed at helping you get the most out of your Logos 4 experience. If you are looking for some help understanding things like Passage Guides, Layout Management, or Customizable Guides these video tutorials provide a wellspring of information. Would you believe there are six videos alone aimed at helping you use the Notes feature to the fullest!?

We would love to see all Logos 4 users seeing these videos as a valuable tool in their Logos 4 arsenal. Each video is—on average—a four minute investment into using your Logos 4 software to its fullest. An investment which is promised to pay huge dividends in your devotions and study time. In fact, we are so convinced of this that we intend to feature these videos here on the blog site on a semi-regular basis. Stay on the look out for more featured tutorials.

Before You Install Logos 4

If you are considering an upgrade—or a first time purchase of any Logos 4 Base Package—then you are going to want to take a couple of minutes and watch this video. It will walk you through installation, setup, your Logos.com account, resource downloads, and indexing. This video is a great tool to help kick off your Logos 4 experience.

Who Is John Henry Newman, and Why Is He Important?

John Henry Newman

Today’s guest post is written by Louis St. Hilaire, the Catholic Product Manager at Logos Bible Software.

From his evangelical youth to his leadership of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement to his embrace of Roman Catholicism, the career and legacy of John Henry Newman is marked by brilliance and controversy.

His engagement with liberal, evangelical and catholic movements within the Church of England in his time makes him a pivotal figure, important for understanding the Anglican Communion today. Evangelical and Calvinist influences dominated his upbringing and adolescent religious awakening, but his studies of the Early Church led him to advocate—with the other leaders of the Oxford Movement—a return to the theological, ecclesiological and liturgical traditions of the first millennium as a necessary bulwark against liberalism. Many date the end of the Oxford Movement to Newman’s break with the Anglo-Catholics and reception into the Roman Catholic Church, but the work of the Movement remained influential and the conflicts of the nineteenth century are still visible in the High, Low and Broad Church tendencies within the Anglican Communion today.

Though his years as a Catholic were at times overshadowed by conflict and suspicion of his ideas from the hierarchy, he has become a favorite of modern popes, who, according Newman biographer Fr. Ian Ker, “look to him as a man who welcomed modernisation but in fidelity to Church authority and in continuity with the traditions of the Church”. It is widely expected that he will be beatified—the second to last step in being recognized as a saint—by Pope Benedict XVI in September of this year.

Claimed both by liberal Catholics for his insights into the nature of conscience and the development of doctrine, and claimed by conservative Catholics for his vigorous opposition to the liberal Christianity of his day, Newman is widely recognized as a forerunner of the Second Vatican Council and a profound influence on the direction of the modern Catholic Church.

We have put together a 31-volume collection titles written by Newman, available on Pre-Pub in the Collected Works of John Henry Newman (31 Vols.). This collection contains essays, lectures and sermons, spanning his Anglican and Catholic periods, dealing with history, theology, logic, apologetics and education. Right now, they’re on Pre-Pub for a steep discount. Head on over to the product page to learn more.

Here are some highlights from the collection:

  • An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine is Newman’s innovative and historically sensitive defense of Roman Catholic tradition. Written out of his own struggles between his abandonment of Anglicanism and reception into the Catholic Church, the Essay carves out a paradoxically modern traditionalism.
  • An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent is a philosophical defense of the assent of faith, a masterpiece of Christian personalism, illuminating the interior experience of reason and belief.
  • Apologia Pro Vita Sua is Newman’s defense of the development of his own thought against the accusations of Charles Kingsley. It has become a classic in the tradition of Christian autobiography begun by St. Augustine’s Confessions.
  • The Lectures on Justification, written in his Anglican period, carve out a via media on the question of justification, anticipating the rapprochement between Catholic and Protestant positions seen in the ecumenical dialogue of the 20th century.
  • Parochial and Plain Sermons is an 8-volume collection of sermons Newman delivered as an Anglican vicar at Oxford. Inspired by his study of the Church Fathers, they were deeply influential at Oxford and throughout England.

Head on over to the John Henry Newman page to learn more and check out the complete list of titles! You can also peruse the Catholic Product Guide for a wealth of resources written by Catholic authors on matters of doctrine, history, ecclesiology, and Christian spirituality.

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.

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Logos 4: Calculate Distances on a Map

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Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

As you’re reading in the Scriptures do you ever wonder how far people walked from city to city? If so, you can easily answer that question in Logos 4 with a tool called Biblical Places.

  • Choose Tools | Biblical Places
  • Type Corinth in the Place box
  • Click the Search arrow or press the Enter key to generate the report
  • The first map to appear will probably be entitled Paul’s Trip to Rome (if not, select the first thumbnail from the list at the bottom)

To calculate distances between places on the map:

  • Position your mouse pointerat a location on the map
  • Hold down the Ctrl key
  • Move the mouse to another location and the distance between the two places appears on the screen

Pretty cool! Enjoy!

100,000 Downloads of the Logos Bible Software iPhone App

iphoneee.pngWe hit a major milestone this week when our iPhone Bible app was downloaded for the 100,000th time. Launched only four months ago, the Logos Bible Software app has received praise from The Unofficial Apple Weblog, The Apple Blog, AppShouter, and countless individuals who have left comments and feedback in the app store. Which reminds me, If you currently use the app and have never rated the app in the app store, please take a moment and do so. Let us, and others, know what you think of the app.

With 100,000 downloads in just four months, we’re thrilled that so many people are taking advantage of this free download to enhance the study of God’s Word. If you haven’t grabbed the free iPhone Bible app, what are you waiting for? Perhaps you’re someone who got the app a couple months ago, but hasn’t looked at it since. If that’s you, give it another look. Make sure you’ve got the latest version as there are some great new features we’ve added, like offline reading.

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10 Reasons I Love Working at Logos

It was recently announced that Logos is included on BCWI’s 2010 Best Christian Workplaces list. As I was writing the press release about the news, I couldn’t help but think about how grateful I am to work at such an amazing company. Logos truly is a great place to work. In particular, here are 10 reasons I love working at Logos:
Note: If after reading this post you think you’d love working here too, then you’ll be happy to know we’re hiring!

  1. Passion – The people at Logos are a passionate bunch. From syntax to source code, design to delivery, there is likely someone at Logos who is passionate about that area and working to deliver the very best to our customers.
  2. Software – This is a pretty selfish one, but if you’re a Logos user you’ll know where I’m coming from. I love our software and I love building my digital library. While I’m not giving you the exact details, let’s just say that the software perks for employees is very nice.
  3. Challenges – Logos isn’t interested in the status quo. It is great to work in a place that has fun, but at the same time drives you to deliver the very best.
  4. Fun – The first snow day of every year Bob buys everyone soup. Every summer we have a huge company picnic, complete with bouncy house, climbing wall, and amazing food. Five times a year we have a company wide cook-off. We have a bike shop in the office. Free childcare during the Christmas party. The occasional company outing to see a Bells game. Ping-pong table, scooters, free coffee and snacks, the list goes on and on. We work hard around here, but there is also a lot of fun to be had.
  5. EntrepreneurshipBob Pritchett, Logos’ president, is an entrepreneur and that spirit seeps down into every department in Logos. Forging new ground and pushing the envelope of possibility means there is rarely a dull moment around here.
  6. Vision – The saying goes, “Go big or go home.” I love being in a place that has an enormous vision for the future. More than that, it is having the courage and wisdom to actually seize that vision. Being in that environment is pretty inspiring.
  7. People – There are a lot of great people at Logos. Not only that, there are a lot of brilliant people at Logos. Whether you need an expert in Semitic Languages, data systems, literature, programming, or even UFOs, there is probably one right around the corner. And, yes, we really do have a expert on UFOs here.
  8. Benefits – As we say on our jobs page, we offer competitive compensation and a comprehensive benefits package including healthcare, dental care, and 401(k). Gotta love that.
  9. Innovation – eBooks are a hot topic these days. But Logos has been in the digital publishing industry for over 18 years now. While everyone seems to be oohing and aahing over basic eReaders, Logos is constantly pushing the envelope of what can be done with a digital library. We’re pushing into new platforms, delivering content on the web, mobile devices, Macs, PCs, iPhone. This isn’t just about digital books. Logos is leading the way in digital library systems and research.
  10. Customers – I absolutely love hearing about how Logos has helped our customers get more from their time studying God’s Word. Every day I see things on Twitter, Facebook, the blog, and elsewhere about how much Logos means to our customers. For me, this is a huge reason I love working here. I love knowing that I work on a product that truly helps people study the Bible.

I guess I share all this not to toot-our-own-horn, but to let you know that while you love using Logos Bible Software to study God’s Word, we love creating it for you. Logos is a great company that is committed to delivering the best Bible study software in the world. Logos loves its customers and it loves its employees. That’s a pretty good combination if you ask me.
And don’t forget, we’re hiring!

You should follow us on Twitter here.

5 Reasons to Pre-Order the Calvin 500 Collection Before Friday

Calvin 500 Collection (108 Vols.)

This past week, we have been putting the finishing touches on the Calvin 500 Collection—an enormous collection of 108 volumes written by or about John Calvin. This ambitious project began last year in celebration of John Calvin’s 500th birthday, and now we’re just a couple days away from shipping.

If you haven’t yet placed your Pre-Pub order, here are 5 reasons you should do so before Friday:

1. Calvin’s Commentaries

Philip Schaff wrote that “Calvin’s theology is based upon a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He was the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times.”

Calvin’s commentaries display a rare combination of exegetical insight, pastoral concern, and theological depth which have inspired generations of Christians. Calvin wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, and is best known for his commentaries on the Pauline epistles, his harmony of the Gospels, and his 5-volume work on the Psalms—all included in this massive collection.

2. 5 editions of the Institutes, including the rare Norton translation

The Calvin 500 Collection contains five editions of the Institutes of the Christian Religion—the 1559 Latin edition, the 1560 French edition, the 1574 Thomas Norton translation, and two nineteenth century translations—one by John Allen and the other by Henry Beveridge.

The publication of the Norton translation in Logos Bible Software is a significant event for Calvin scholars. Norton’s translation was the first to appear in the English language, and was published in 1574. It was also the standard English translation until its last printing in Glasgow in 1776. John Allen’s new translation in the early nineteenth century replaced Norton’s translation, and a new edition of Norton’s translation has not appeared in more than two hundred years. Early editions of the Norton translation are available today only in private collections and in a handful of libraries around the world. Even later editions are difficult to find. Having the rare Norton translation available in Logos Bible Software is a significant event for Calvin scholars around the world.

3. 600 letters and correspondence

B. B. Warfield rightly called Calvin “the great letter-writer of the Reformation age.” The Calvin 500 Collection includes over 600 letters written between 1528 and 1564. His first letters were written as he studied in Paris; the last letter in the collection was written from his deathbed. In between, we find letters to other Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Knox, as well as letters to kings and government authorities.

4. Tracts and treatises written by John Calvin and his contemporaries

Calvin’s tracts and treatises help us understand Calvin’s role in shaping the Reformation and his lasting influence as a key thinker of Reformed theology. These treatises—written by Calvin, his contemporaries, his supporters, and his detractors—expose and illuminate the emergence of Reformed theology as a legitimate movement during the sixteenth century. The Calvin 500 Collection also includes Theodore Beza’s influential Life of John Calvin.

5. Pre-Pub price expires on Friday

When Calvin 500 Collection ships on Friday, the Pre-Pub price will disappear. That gives you one last chance to add 108 books by or about Calvin to your library for a fraction of the cost. In fact, the current Pre-Pub price works out to around $3.50 per volume—for Calvin’s commentaries, a rare edition of the Institutes, tracts, treatises, letters, biographical material, and dozens of other volumes. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Don’t miss out—place your Pre-Pub order now before this deal expires on Friday!