Biblioblogs.com Interviews Rick Brannan

Biblioblogs.com is a list ofblogs on biblical topics, maintained byJim West and Brandon Wason. Besides being a great resource to discover blogs on topics that may interest you,it alsofeatures a different biblioblogger every month and posts an interview with that person.

Why do I mention it now? BecauseJune’s Featured Blogger is none other than our very own Rick Brannan, who writes for the Logos Blog, Ricoblog and PastoralEpistles.com.

Check out Rick’s interview to learn the origins of the name Ricoblog, what Space Invaders and a TRS-80 have to do with Bible software, and how Say’s Law relates to the future of blogging. Oh, and while you’re reading about Rick, stop by Ricoblog and congratulate him on his brand new baby. She’s a cutie!

InterVarsity Press Blogs!

The good people over at InterVarsity Press have ramped up their blogosphere presence with a couple of cool, new,behind-the-scenes blogs. Welcome!

In Andy Unedited, IVP editorial director Andrew T. Le Peau writes about publishing from the inside.One recent post discussed what goes into craftinga good (or bad) book title. Something I’ve always wondered about myself.

Addenda & Errata is written by the IVP Academic editorial team.A couple of recent postsshared jokes that weary authors inserted into indices and dictionaries. Ever heard of the theologian Franz Bibfeldt?

(In the software business we call these hidden jokesEaster Eggs, though I’m not able to say whether the current version of Logos has any.) :-)

Yet another great IVP blog that launched in the past couple of months is called Behind the Books. Its authors have also been on the theme of levity among the bookish, with a great post about ancient scribal blogs. These are great tidbits found in the margins of ancient manuscripts…things like:

“He who does not know how to write supposes it to be no labor; but though only three fingers write, the whole body labors.”

“As travelers rejoice to see their home country, so also is the end of a book to those who toil [in writing].”

Or these “text messages” between Irish scribes, carried out in the margins of a 9th century commentary:

“It is cold today.”

“That is natural; it is winter.”

I, for one, look forward to learning more about our print publishing brethren from these blogs. I’ll also take the opportunity to remind you that our very own publisher relation guy Bill Nienhuis is back in the blogging saddle at Original Expression and recently shared some insightful thoughts on the battle between authors and publishers over print-on-demand rights.

And who said book publishing isn’t fun…?

The Changing of the Guard

Guest blogger Scott Lindsey is back in the office after five weeks on the Bible Study Bus. View more road trip photos at Flickr or readScott’s first and second posts from the trip.

ScottBobHandoff

Bob Pritchett, our fearless leader, and family flew into Dallas on Tuesday evening to take the keys to the Bible Study Bus and continue our Bible study campaign across America!

I can’t believe my leg of the trip is done… WHEW, that was a lot of driving and work. The Lindsey Crew drove almost 5,000 miles in the last 5 weeks. But it sure has been a privilege to introduce people to the best Bible study technology on the planet!

We had some great BBQ and an even better event Tuesday night in Fort Worth at Christ Chapel Bible Church. Attending Tuesday night’s event was Mike Atwell, our new Field Rep for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Wednesday was a day to celebrate… the first installment of the Bible Study Bus Road Trip is complete! So, we went to Six Flags over Texas. GroupAtRVThanks to Sean Fields – our resident graphic artist – and his loud-and-proud Bible Study Bus design, it’s impossible to forget where you park the thing. You should have seen the bus in the massive Six Flags parking lot… thousands of people all day walked by mouthing the words Bible-Study-Bus. We invited the Dossey family up from Austin to enjoy the day with us. Alex and Nicole both used to work at Logos and have remained dear friends. It was great seeing them again!

It was truly a blessing to travel across this great nation for the last 5 weeks and meet so many wonderful churches and show the Body of Christ how Logos can greatly impact personal Bible study. I pray the fruit of our labor brings glory to the Lord and creates a hunger and thirst for His word.

Well, onward Logos Bible Study Bus! The Road Trip continues through August so we hope to see you at one of the events.

- Scott Lindsey & Family

New Bible Widget for Mac

Mac users can download the new and improved Bible Widget from www.LogosBibleWidget.comor Apple.com.

Thebiggest update is that thenew widget adds the ESV Bibleso you can instantly navigate to a verse in either the English Standard Version or King James Version Bible.

Logos Bible Widget version 2 is also much more streamlined, in response to requests from users who foundthe original widgetto be a desktop space hog. It’s alsovery good-looking, if I may say so (kudos to Sean Fields, Logos design director)…

Using the widget is simple: Type a Bible reference to jump to that verse. Click the forward or back arrow to jump to the next/previous verse; click the double arrows to jump to verse 1 of the next/previous chapter. You can copy/paste text from the verse window into another application.

To switch Bible versions, just flip the widget over.

Related posts:

Top 50 Women in the Bible

As promised, I’m back for one final post on this whole “most important people in the Bible” topic. The first two posts in the series are here and here.

Today we’ll take a quick look at a visualization of the top 50 women of the Bible, as determined by Logos information architect Sean Boisen’s calculations. This data is also available at Many Eyes for anyone to manipulate and try out new information visualizations.

Here’s the scatterplot; click the thumbnail for a full view.

This time, dot size is the final “importance” scoreusing all the weights and factors calculated. The x-axis is the total number of mentions in the Bible. Bigger dot = more important; further right = more mentions.

One of the most interesting things we see here is the name Zeruiah with a pretty big dot and fifth place in terms of mentions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever hearing a Bible story about Zeruiah. My girls (ages 3 and 4 1/2) and I are on our second time through the cartoon Picture Bible and we haven’t encountered any such person.

Who is this mystery woman?

With the help of the Biblical People Addintool within Logos Bible Software 3, it’s pretty easy to find out. I fired up the tool and typed “zeruiah” to generate the following graph.

Turns out Zeruiah was King David’s sister. But ifshe’s the fifth most-frequently mentionedwoman in Scripture and is closely related to a majorcharacterwithin the biblical narrative why wouldn’t I know anything about what she did or said?

The answer to this question is also provided by the Biblical People tool. I can hover over or click each of the Bible references to see every mention of Zeruiah in brief context. Or better yet, type Zeruiah’s name into Bible Speed Search and get all the verses on one screen.

Looking through the results, we find that 24 of the 25 mentions of Zeruiah consist of the phrase, “Son(s) of Zeruiah.” The exception is in 1 Samuel 17:25 where we read that David’s sister Abigail (not to be confused withDavid’s wife named Abigail) is a “sister of Zeruiah.”

So it turns out that we don’t know anything about Zeruiah except for her relation to other people. We don’t know of a single thing she did or said. Commentators speculate that her sons are frequentlyidentified by her name because of the link back to King David.Anyonewho trailed an older siblingthrough high school or has a star athlete in the family could commiserate with Zeruiah—”Wait…aren’t you Abigail’s sister?” “You’re Joab’s mom, right?”

It may be that Zeruiah points up another opportunity for improving Sean’s “importance” weighting factors. Can somebody who appears in Scripture by name only, with no speaking or acting role, benumberedamong the mostimportant? I’d ask Sean for comment but he’s presenting a case study at the Semantic Technology Conference in San Jose so I’ll just have to wait until he gets back.

In the meantime, I’ve got to quit playing around with Many Eyes and get back to work. :-)

Learn Hebrew this Summer

You’ve been wanting to do it for some time…why not make it a goal to learn Hebrew this summer?

We’ve got some excellent tools to help make it as easy as it can be. Here are my top three picks, in no particular order:

Biblical Hebrew for Beginners

This brand new Logos book is due toshipat the end of the month, so now is your last chance to take advantage of the prepub discount and get this for less than $20.

The description says,”Biblical Hebrew for Beginners shows you how to master fundamental Hebrew in clear, simple steps. Starting from scratch with the Hebrew alphabet, Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok leads you through the essentials of biblical Hebrew and has you reading the Bible in Hebrew from the very first lesson. There are simple exercises (including answers), a word list, and plenty of examples throughout.”

How much easier could it get? Plus it’s even endorsed by a former Archbishop of Canterbury! So ignore the bizarre cover and check out the details

Beginning Biblical Hebrew

I had the pleasure to meet Mark Futato when he was here in Bellingham giving atalk on Psalmsas part of the Logos Lecture Series. It was a fantastic talk,and Mark would be a great teacher of Hebrew whether in person or via this grammar.

An RBL reviewer said of this one,”Mark D. Futato’s new Hebrew grammar is a simple, thoughtful, and straightforward work that reflects genuine empathy for the beginning Hebrew student. The agenda of the book is to provide the fundamentals of the language unencumbered by information that may fog the road toward basic Hebrew competency.”

Logos user George Somsel warned, “I can see it putting all Hebrew instructors out of work since it’s so simple to teach yourself.” Look to your tenure, Hebrew profs!

The First Hebrew Primer: Textbook, Answer Book & Audio Companion

This one is the big enchilada, complete with audio recordings and a workbook.

These resources begin with the alphabet…or you might say the Aleph-bet (aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, get it?)…and over the course of thirty lessons provides enough information and practice to enable you, with the aid of a Hebrew-English dictionary, to understand most biblical texts.

We just put together a brief video demo so now you can get a look at what the First Hebrew Primer package is all about.

Wouldn’t it be great if you got to the end of summer and could look back on not only a bunch of great barbecues, ball games and days at the beach…but also take with you a new knowledge of and appreciation for the Bible that Jesus used? Learning Hebrew would provide a lifetime of rewards and there’s no better time to begin than now!

Top 50 People in the Bible

Earlier this month, we blogged about the process used toquantify theThe Most Important Person in the Bible by computing factors such as frequency of mentions and the dispersion of those mentions across biblical books and chapters.

As you might suppose, Jesus Christ is the most important person in the Bible.

But what I findinteresting is how the Bible characters fall into rather distinct first, second and third rate clusters when we use Sean Boisen’salgorithm. These three clusters really jump out when the data is loaded into Many Eyes,IBM’sonline visualization engine.

Click the screenshot above to see a full-size static image that I enhanced with name labels…or click here to play with the live visualization at Many Eyes (Java required).

Three Clusters

Moving from right to left (descending order of importance), the three clusters that emerge are:

  1. Jesus, David, Moses, Jacob
  2. Abraham, Aaron, Solomon, Judah, Isaac, Saul (Son of Kish), Joseph, Paul, Joshua, Peter
  3. The remaining 36 characters…starting with Levi, Benjamin, Hezekiah and ending with Jehoshaphat, Uzziah and Adam.

If you wanted to study the various people in the Bible using a top-down list, it wouldn’t hurt to begin with Jesus, David and Moses. Jacob might be a little higher up the list than I would think warranted. But the second clusterseems pretty solid, with Abraham, Joseph, Paul and Peter definitely looming large in the pages ofScripture.

A few biblical figures I didn’t expect would be buriedso far down in Cluster 3: Noah and Adam, those staples of bedtime Bible stories and flannelgraphs. Plus prophets with whole books named after them such as Jeremiah and Isaiah. Of course, these are the top 50 Bible peopleout of 2,987…so we’re not talking about obscurity for any of them.

“Where are all the ladies?” you may rightly ask. None of them made the Top 50 using this name weighting scheme…but Sean did generate a data set for the Top 50 Women of the Bible which I plan to blog about in a follow-up post…

Dot Size vs. Position

Many Eyes also helpsillustrate how Sean’s inclusion of factors such as dispersion overbooks and chaptersaffects the overall ranking. Here’s a close-up of Cluster 2:

The X-axis is the overall “importance ranking” and the dot size is the number of mentions. So Sean’s weighting is evident in those places where you see a smaller dot like Abraham promoted far above a larger dot like Saul. Ranking the Bible names strictly by number of mentions would put Saul above Abraham, so we’re clearly getting a more nuanced view here.

The upshot of all this? We’re not solving the Bible Code or anything…and not trying to. But Ifind it very cool that anaverage joe like me can play around with these data and visualizations without knowing a lick of programming. I made this visualization just by selecting a visualization style and choosing which data to put on which axes. Once the dataset iscomplete (thanks, Sean!) we’ll be able to do all kinds of additional cool things not possible today…and be able to do it using Logos Bible Software!

Related posts around the blogosphere:

Parallel Passages Hack

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again…Logos users are a very clever bunch.

One user, John Minter, recently posted a “wouldn’t it be nice if…” to the Logos newsgroups. Regarding Kurt Aland’s Synopsis of the Four Gospels—a data set within the Parallel Passages and Harmonies tool—he wrote:

I like being able to generate with my desired translation. What would be nice is to generate a table for the given section as a handout…

Six minutes later he posted again to answer his own question:

OK Figured it out. Select a hebrew text like the BHS and all you get is the table. Woo hoo.

I’m not sure whether this little trick should be considereda hack orfeature (no doubt my friends in development would take credit for it as the latter) but it does seem to work and strikes me as the kind of thing that could be useful so I’m sharing it with you.

Try It Yourself!

To try it out, open Logos 3 and click Tools | Bible Comparison | Parallel Passages and Harmonies. For Source, choose Synopsis of the Four Gospels (Aland) if you have it. If not, don’t worry—it works with other data sets, too. For Bible version, choose BHS or ESV OT Rev. Int (the latter is in more packages).

Now when you drill down into a section of the synopsis, you’ll get the report shown below on the left instead of the usual report, shownon the right (click the thumbnail for a full size image):

This references-only table can be printed, or pasted pretty well into a word processor. It’s a handy little hack if you want to include just the parallel references in a handout or other document…

Thanks John!

Logos and Latin-American Missions

Today’s guest blogger is Rob Haskell, who works in the Spanish department at Logos.

It’s been fun to find out through my work with Logos that missions is a growing theme in Latin-American Christianity. This is so much so that we have been able to create a collection of 40 books on missions from a Hispanic perspective called Biblioteca Digital de la Misión (Digital Library for the Mission).

According to COMIBAM, an umbrella organization for missions from Latin America, there are almost 10,000 Latin missionaries around the globe – many of them in the US! Andthat figure does not take into account the number of “non-professional” missionaries who emigrate every day from Latin-American countries to all parts of the globe, taking with them the good news about Jesus.

Last month an elderly woman approached our booth ata pastor’s conference in Monterrey, Mexico. She was dark skinned and dressed in a sari so my initial thought was that she was East Indian. As it turned out she was a Mexican woman who was headed to India as a missionary in a month. She was outgoing, energetic and particularly excited because the Lord had just given her a laptop. Of course, the Logos booth was her next stop. Another person had also given her a crisp $100.00 billand after applying all possible discounts she was off with her very own Biblioteca Pastoral – our largest collection of books in Spanish. Now she can take a theological library of 144 books in her own language to the ends of the earth.

This committed missionary woman from Monterrey is probably the most striking image I have of the growing Latin-American passion for world missions, but there are many other amazing stories and surprising statistics which all point to a growing movement. It will be interesting to watch it develop and see how Logos can continue to play a role in the Lord’s work around the globe.

Parallel Passages – Verses Like These Verses

If you’ve spent time around Logos Bible Software, you probably already know that Bibles such as the ESV, NKJV, and NASB* include cross-reference linksright there in the text. They’re indicated by the “little letters and numbers” sprinkled throughout most passages.

Just hover the mouse over an indicator and the cross-references pop up in what we call a “tool tip” window. Click the indicator (rather than hovering) and the tool tip will remain in place when you move your mouse away, allowing you to interact with the links inside the tool tip itself. This is a great way to see the cross-references—verses related to these verses—when reading through a passage.

But did you know that Logos also includes a more powerfultool specifically built for working with parallel passages, Gospel synopses/harmonies, and tables of quotations and allusions?

So you could spend thirty bucks to buy a printed “harmonized Gospel” which would give you a harmony in oneversion (NIV, for example)…or use the tool within Logos and viewthe harmonyin any Bible version you own, in any language!

Parallel Passages & Harmonies

The Parallel Passages & Harmonies tool is included in allthe Logos 3base packages—withincreasingly larger data sets available as you move up the product line. If you have a base package you should have at least four parallel passage data sets and maybe more!

To access the tool using Logos 3, click Tools | Bible Comparison | Parallel Passages and Harmonies. Click the Source button to choose a source—”Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Jackson),” for example. Then select a Bible version in the Bible version chooser box to the right.

You will see a table of contents that looks like the image above; click a title to open the report to that section. Here’s what it looks like when I clicked “The Calling of Disciples.”

Mark, Luke and Matthew contain an account of this event so they all show up here in an easy-to-read columnar alignment…in the Bible version I chose.

Notice the commentin the right-most column, which is supplied by Jeffrey Jackson, the editor of this data. To learn more about the source of each data set, click the first item in the table of contents, whichis a description. For this data set, the description explains the approach Jacksonused to create this synopsis and the meaning of special formatting used, such as blueor bolded text.

To get back to the table of contents at any time, just click the title of the data set (in this case “Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, etc.”).

Navigate to the next or previous section of the synopsis by clicking the down or up arrow (circled in red above). Clicking the hooked up-arrow moves you up one level—that is, it will load the entire chapter into the display.

The left and right arrows work just like the back and forward buttons in your web browser—jumping you back to the previous view or ahead (when applicable).

More is Better

The cool thing about having multiple, overlappingdata sets is that each editor follows a slightly different approach when assembling something like a Gospel harmony. All told, Logos packages include no less than six “parallel passages” data sets for the Gospels:

  • Synopsis of the Four Gospels (Aland)
  • A Harmony of the Gospels (Robertson)
  • A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels (Burton, Goodspeed)
  • Synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke
  • Eusebian Canons (Eusebius)
  • Records of the Life of Jesus (Sharman)

A quick glance at the Burton & Goodspeed harmony description shows that any project like this entails certain editorial choices that others may make differently:

“Our study of the Synoptic Problem, extending now through many years, has led us to certain very definite conclusions respecting the relation of the Synoptic Gospels to one another, and their literary sources. The purpose of this book, however, is not to demonstrate this theory; nor is its construction determined by that theory. It aims rather, as largely as possible in independence of all theories, to set the text of the several gospels in such parallelism as will make the facts themselves tell their own story with the utmost possible fullness and clearness.”

Because each data set is compiled by a different editor, each offers a unique perspective on the text. We offer as many as we can license, in hopes that your Bible study will be enriched!

* For the Logos editions of Bibles, we use the cross-reference data supplied by the publisher, which was generated by the publisher’s translation/editorial team. For some versions (e.g., NIV, NRSV) this data was not supplied by the publisher and so is not present in the electronic edition.