With about 7,000 titles for Libronix Digital Library System, one of the challenges we have is getting the word out about what is available. One of our recent experiments has been to write topical product guides to assemble in one place all the titles for a given subject. The latest product guide is a survey of Church History titles. Past guides include Historical and Cultural Background of the Bible, Greek Tools, and Hebrew Tools. Click here to see all the available product guides.
The astute (including those who subscribe to our Community Pricing RSS Feed) have recently noticed that we’ve popped up a bevy of commentaries on Pauline Epistles by Charles Ellicott in our community pricing system. They are:
- St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (NB: As of August 13, this one is now a pre-pub. Yay!)
- St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians
- St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians
- St. Paul’s Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon
- St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians
- The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul
Why would we do such a thing? Ellicott’s commentaries were highly respected in their day for their grammatical insight and general approach. Here are excerpts from some reviews of his work back in Ellicott’s day:
To Bishop Ellicott must be assigned the first rank, if not the first place in the first rank of English biblical scholarship. The series of commentaries on the Pauline Epistles are in the highest style of critical exegesis; so high, indeed, that rightly or wrongly he has felt constrained by friendly criticisms to compromise with the humble capacity of his audience, and make a more sparing use of those expressive old technicals, which enabled him to place his results in the most compact shape. Mr. Ellicott’s genius is endowed with the most opposite qualities. His imagination and feeling are intense, yet his patience of analysis is unbounded. His exegesis is at once dry and glowing. It is microscopic; not because the critic is cold and mechanical, but because of his ardent soul the ultimate particle of sacred thought revealable by only the most perfect lens is infinitely more precious than gold. To appreciate and enjoy Cicero was with Quintillian a test of true intellectual taste; to study, enjoy, and fully appropriate Ellicott in these commentaries is the prerogative of a true biblical scholar. And yet to the popular preacher, who wishes to preach, as far as possible, from the text exactly as the apostle wrote, and from the inspired mind exactly as the apostle thought, these exegeses are a rare aid and insurance.
From: Methodist Review, April 1865, p. 310 (via Google Books)
Bishop Ellicott’s works on the shorter Pauline Epistles are so well known to students of the New Testament text that his characteristics as a commentator need not be enumerated. This volume closely resembles his earlier ones in plan and execution. It is above all things a philological commentary; that is, it aims to expound the sense by the close application of grammatical tests and principles. This fact will repel those who have too little time or patience to carefully follow the critical processes which have been necessary to the author’s purpose. But we agree with him in saying: “If the student will patiently wade through these details of grammar, he will be rewarded by a real knowledge of the mind of the original, which, so far as I know, cannot certainly be acquired any other way” (Preface, p. 7).
From: New Englander and Yale Review, 1889, page 389 (via Google Books)
But why else? The only volume of Ellicott’s that I have any experience with is his volume on the Pastorals. And I consult it not only because of his grammatical insights, but because — at least in the volume on the Pastorals — he interacts with classic and patristic Greek literature and also looks for exegetical insight from the early versions (Latin, Syriac and even Gothic!).
Here’s what Ellicott has to say in his preface to his volume on the Pastorals:
Possibly a more interesting addition will be found in the citations of authorities. I have at last been enabled to carry out, though to a very limited extent, the long cherished wish of using some of the best versions of antiquity for exegetical purposes. … …
In thus breaking ground in the Ancient Versions, I would here very earnestly invite fellow-labourers into the same field. It is not easy to imagine a greater service than might be rendered to Scriptural exegesis if scholars would devote themselves tot he hearty study of one or more of these Versions. I dwell upon the term scholars, for it would be perhaps almost worse than useless to accept illustrations from a Version, unless they were also associated with a sound and accurate knowledge of the original Greek. (Ellicott, Pastorals, pp. ix-x)
On sources and influences for his work on the Pastorals, Ellicott writes at the end of his preface:
These, [some previous commentators, particularly Coray's Συνέκδημος Ιερατικός] with the Patristic commentators, the able Romanist expositors, Justiniani, Cornelius a Lapide, and Estius, and a few other writers noticed in the preface to the Epistle to the Galatians, are the principal authorities which I have used in the present commentary.
It’s because of the sources and depth of commentary that I enjoy Ellicott on the Pastorals. I’ll be excited to see if these volumes make their way from community pricing, into pre-pub, and finally into Logos Bible Software.
NB: We’re still doing research into Charles J. Ellicott’s published writings. Do you know of other commentaries by Ellicott that we should pursue? Once we isolate all of them, we may take the next step of making a collection. So help us out and comment on this post if you have more information about Ellicott’s commentaries. Thanks!
Vincent’s post about mapping outand harmonizing all the variousbook-chapter-verse schemes for the Bible has sparked some great discussion among other bloggers. Here are a few selections; click through on the links to read the complete posts at each site…
ESV Bible Blog – “They plan to use the data in the next version of their software to allow for a ‘higher degree of precision when it comes to Bible navigation, comparing Bible versions and viewing them in parallel, and Bible reference tagging.’ The amount of effort put into this project boggles the mind.”
The folks at Crossway also point to a series of posts by blogger Ben C. Smith, who is working his way through a detailed description of thevarious canonical lists assembled by the early church. Interesting stuff which has a bearing on the Bible we read today.
Randy McRobertsofThe Upward Way Presswrites,
“Most people know that the chapter and verse divisions of the Bible aren’t part of the original text. Many people may not know that the versification of all Bibles is not the same. For example, if you look up a psalm in the Septuagint, it might have a different number than it does in the English Bibles. It is a very complicated situation. Particularly if your Bibles are digital.”
I’m sure Vincent would concur with this assessment. He’s been looking a little wrung out lately, and could probably use a care package. :-)
In a post entitled “Here’s Why I Believe in Logos Bible Software” (we appreciate the vote of confidence but would direct such praise to the One who truly deserves it), Benjamin Janssen writes,
“There are many good reasons why any serious Bible student should invest in, learn, and use Logos Bible Software. But here’s the best reason I can think of: the company is dedicated to getting it right. This is a Bible study software that I am confident will always be on the cutting edge of research and analysis without compromising quality, even down to chapter and verse divisions.”
We do work hard to stay at the cutting edge of Bible technology,and are taking steps topromote a healthy “give and take” with others in the industry.The BibleTech 2008 conferencein January will be a great opportunity for all those who work at the intersection of Bible and technology to share best practices and spur one another on to even greater levels of excellence.
If things like XML versification maps get you excited, you definitely need to be at the conference!
Dr. Robert Lowery, seminary professor, dean, and author of Revelation’s Rhapsody, was recently asked why he chose to publish his first book both electronically (with Logos)and in print (with College Press).
My favorite quotes:
Simply put, Logos is the world’s biggest developer of Bible software, and if I believe that my book will behelpful to people, I want to reach as many as possible.
How many of the readers of my book will actually look up all of the Scripture references? If they choose not to do so, my book will not be as helpful as I desire. How many will actually turn to the back of the book and read the footnotes, notes that I believe are as helpful as the text itself?! In the electronic edition, notes and Scripture referencesare quickly available, just a mouse hover away.
I find it interesting to read an author’s perspective on electronic publishing and see how his priorities align with ours: get the book into the most hands possible and help readers get more out of the book.
But it only makes sense: labor-intensive details such as footnotes and Scripture references represent hours of wastedeffort…unless readers actually use them! And making these features easy to use is one of the great strengths of Logos Bible Software.
Most of us are probably aware that the original manuscripts and early copies of the books of the Bible did not have chapter and verse numbers. These were added centuries later for convenient reference. However, some might not be aware that there are actually many competing reference schemes for dividing the Bible into books, chapters and verses. Take this snapshot by way of example:
In the LXX (the Greek version of the Old Testament) Esther 5:1a is Esther 15:2-15:4 in the KJV. The use of letters here (as in 1a) indicates that this material is in the Greek, but not the Hebrew, edition of Esther, which added material the Latin translators moved to the end of the book. The English tradition of versification more closely follows the Latin in Esther, thus accounting for the radically different chapter number. But it gets more complicated than that: there are differences between the Latin numbering and the English, so Esther 15:2-15:4 in the KJV is Esther 15:5-15:7 in the Latin Vulgate. But after Vatican II there was a concerted effort to make the Vulgate follow the older Greek and Hebrew traditions more closely, so the Nova Vulgata, or New Vulgate, numbers that section as Esther 5:2a-5:2c. But to make matters worse, the LXX numbering we use today comes from the Stuttgart edition, but the numbering in the older Cambridge edition edited by Swete and several other, older editions follow a different LXX numbering. They designate Esther 5:1a as Esther D 2 – D 4, introducing the use of letters as chapter indicators for the Greek additions.
[[Note: Homer's Iliad has now entered into "under development" status. We hope to make it available as soon as we can! — RB, Aug 15, 2007]]
The guys over in marketing asked me about the editions of Homer’s Iliad that we have on pre-pub. Why would Logos users find that sort of stuff useful?
So I thought I’d take a quick stab. First, it’s Homer. Classic epic poetry and all that. If you’re not familiar with the basic storyline of the Iliad (and the Odyssey, for that matter) you really should be just because it will make you a more well-rounded individual.
As regards Biblical studies, I think there are two main areas where something like Homer’s Iliad can be used.
The first has to do with parallel concepts. One of these parallel concepts can be illustrated using 1Th 4.9-10a:*
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. (1Th 4.9-10a, ESV)
Now, here’s Iliad 23.304-308
304 drew his car. And his father drew nigh and gave counsel305 to him for his profit – a wise man to one that himself had knowledge.Antilochus,306 for all thou art young, yet have Zeus and307 Poseidon loved thee and taught thee all manner of horsemanship;308 wherefore to teach thee is no great need, for thou knowest309 well how to wheel about the turning-post;Homer, & Murray, A. T. (2007). The Iliad. At head of title: Homer. The Loeb classical library (Homer, Iliad 23.309). Bellingham: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The parallel concept is that of deity teaching man. The Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament further explains: “Achilles had offered a prize for the best driver in a chariot race. Antilochus is encouraged by his father with words that may have been current in the Hellenistic world, echoed by Paul, and recognized by his readers — though of course communicating a different content.”*
Second, and to my mind the more useful of the two areas, is examining usage of words and concepts also found in the LXX or the New Testament. The Iliad is a large corpus, routinely dated in the seventh or eighth century BC (read: a looooonnnngggg time ago). The Greek version is fully morphologically tagged. This means that parts of speech and dictionary forms are encoded behind the actual word in the text. The Greek version also has English glosses for each word (note that the interlinear lines can be turned on or off using View | Interlinear, so you can remove the gloss line, and the morph line, and the lemma line if you see them as “crutches”). There are parallel aligned translations in English, French, Spanish and German. Lots of area to look for classical Greek usage of words and concepts, and lots of help for the person somewhat familiar with Greek but unfamiliar with Homer.
The Homeric literature (the Iliad included) gives us a glimpse into how words were used then, in the context of epic poetry. This can help us better understand the Greek of the New Testament. One quick example is that of the word ἁμαρτάνω, the verb form of “sin”. The NT uses this sense of the word, but the word did not always directly communicate the concept “to sin”. In classical literature (e.g. Homer, Iliad 5.287) ἁμαρτάνω is used in the general sense of ‘miss the mark’, particularly of thrown spears (cf. LSJ p. 77, which also cites Iliad 10.372). In specific contexts within classical literature, including Homer, this could be seen as failing or of doing wrong. BDAG notes this generally with no citations (BDAG p. 49); LSJ helps with some citations (Iliad 5.287, 10.372); a search of the Logos edition of the Iliad, however, gives the total list so the word usage can be further evaluated.
In the Logos edition of the Iliad, there are 16 instances of the lemma ἁμαρτάνω. These were located with a search for “lemma:αμαρτανω“. The “lemma:” specifies the field to search, the word after the colon is the search target. (Sort of like how some of Google’s advanced search operators work). Here are the results:
From here, you can run a lemma report. See the link to Search Analysis By Lemma? Click on that. Here’s what you’ll get:
With this information to hand, you can work through the morphologically-sorted list of instances and see what you think. The Greek text has glosses, but you can also consult the English (or French or Spanish or German, if you please) as you work through the issues to see how your term was translated.
Finally, the question everyone always asks. “Why only the Iliad? Why not the Odyssey too?” We’d love to do the Odyssey and have plans to pursue it — if the Iliad prepub succeeds, then keep your eyes open for a version of the Odyssey at some time in the future!
* Boring, M. Eugene, Klaus Berger and Carsten Colpe. Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament, (Abingdon: Nashville), 1995. pp. 493-494.
The winner of the Logos-SBL syntax paper awardwas announced in Vienna at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting this week. Here’sthe announcement as posted at the SBL Forum:
In September 2006, Logos Bible Software and the Society of Biblical Literature announced the establishment of a Technology Paper Awards program. The goal of the initiative is to foster creative biblical scholarship in the use of technology and to expand our understanding of the grammar and syntax of the biblical Hebrew and Greek texts.
A total of twelve awards were made possible, with the first-place awards consisting of $1,000 cash, a $1,000 Logos software credit, and a $200 SBL book credit.
Fifteen papers were received. After review of the papers by a three-member panel of SBL scholars, it was determined that a first-place student award would be given. In addition, all who submitted papers will be given a $500 Logos software credit and a $100 SBL book credit.
The criteria used to evaluate the papers were: (1) utilization of the relevant databases; (2) originality in framing a significant question for investigation; (3) creativity in using technology to address the question posed; (4) clarity of expression in presenting the study’s process and results; and (5) significance of the process and results for biblical scholarship.
The winning paper was written by Andrew David Naselli, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Theological Studies with a concentration in New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. The paper was entitled “A Test Case for Aktionsart VS Verbal Aspect Theory in New Testament Greek: Aorist and Imperfect Indicative Verbs Joined by Kai and Sharing the Same Subject.” Congratulations to Andrew for his fine work. Logos and the SBL wish him success in his ongoing studies. Thanks to all who took the time to submit their work.
The awards will be continued in 2008 so look for the announcement!
What is the one book or series that you want Logos to release? What is the one feature that doesn’t yet exist but would take your research to the next level?
We want you to tell us the answer to those questions by sending an email to Suggest@logos.com. Don’t just limit yourself to one book or feature. If your mind is overflowing with golden nuggets of inspiration, we want to hear about it. We don’t just want you to feel involved in the creative process – you actually are instrumental in what we decide to release or produce.
The way we see it, technology should not only make Bible study better; it should make dialog with our customers better as well. Suggest@logos.com is one way that this is being done.
Through Suggest@logos.com we keep track of everything you ask for and if it is possible and feasible, we look for a way to make it happen. We place all requests into one of three categories: process, functionality, and content.
- Process refers to how we do things like customer service, technical support, how information is displayed at our website and so on.
- Functionality has to do directly with how Libronix operates and what features and add-ins are included.
- Content of course has to do with what resources (Bibles, books, journals, image archives) we offer.
Logos processes, functionality and contenttoday are the result of almost 16 years of suggestions from Logos users and those suggestions continue to shape how we do things. Here’s a closer look at each area.
What happens when you write to Suggest@logos.com?
Your message goes right to the inbox of the publisher relations assistant, who then forwards it to the appropriate department at Logos. Lately the assistant has received between 5 and 10 suggestions per day and, yes, she reads every one. Typo notifications go straight to Electronic Text Development; website recommendations are sent to marketing; and software functionality suggestions end up in development. If you are requesting the addition of a specific book into the Logos digital library, the publisher relations assistant adds that title to an ever-growing list. When we have an opportunity to speak with the publisher of that title we request your book along with all of the others that have been requested.
By what criteria is a suggestion judged?
When our customers make suggestions regarding Logos processes – we pay very close attention. These requests usually warrant the quickest responses in terms of the time it takes to implement a recommendation. Do you think our ‘on-hold music’ is too loud? Was there insufficient information on a product page at the Logos website? Don’t just grin and bear it, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.
As far as Libronix functionality, we don’t have an unlimited budget to do anything we want so we place a relative value on each suggestion. We do this in terms of its ability to do the most good to the largest number of users and balance that with the cost. A suggestion might be very expensive, but if a high percentage of our users would be happy about it, that weighs in very heavy. If a suggestion is moderately expensive but would only cause a few to smile, that weighs in a bit less.
As mentioned above, the likelihood of whether or not we release suggested content depends mostly on the publisher’s stance toward electronic books. Many publishers have seen the proverbial light and are completely behind our efforts to digitize their content. On the other hand, some think that venturing in this direction would negatively affect sales of print books and as such have decided to avoid electronic publishing altogether (until they absolutely have to release a title in electronic format). Other publishers arewillingto do no more than just dip their toe in and license a few books at a time. But each year more and more publishers are catching on that the Libronix user base exists in its own parallel universe to the print world and that the electronic editions of their books will be used in a way that print cannot be.
So what does all that mean? It means that even if every Libronix user suggested a particular title we’ve been unable to license, there is very little Logos can do about it besides keep working to convince the publisher that it would be in their best interest to digitize their content.
That being said, you need to request your favorite books (a quick e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org is the most direct route) because if we don’t know about it, it may not show up on our book radar.
One great example of how a suggestion came to fruition is the Charles Simeon Horae Homileticae Commentary (21 Volumes). The story of how that product was created can be found at the Logos blog. To sum up the story, it all started with a suggestion made via email from blogger Adrian Warnock. This product ended up being extremely popular, but we might never have released itwere it not forAdrian’s recommendation.
Help us improve!
We want to know what you love about Logos and what you want changed. It seems odd, but we would actually prefer to hear the latter. Your suggestion might raise an issue that we’ve never considered before.
So when you’re using Logos Bible Software always keep an open mind for how the software, the Logos website or our book selection could be tweaked. You could also tell us which features should never change because they are exactly what you need. When the inspiration hits, make sure you let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.
Announcing BibleTech 2008, January 25-26, 2008, in Seattle!
I enjoy hanging out with Bible geeks and talking technology. I enjoy it so much that every morning I tag along with a handful of Logos developers for a brisk walkabout, and learn all aboutthings like”expression trees” and “lambda methods” (or is it lambda trees and expression methods?).
Regardless of whether you know your trees from your methods, you are invited to BibleTech 2008!
It is a two-day conference where publishers, programmers, webmasters, educators, bloggers, and others who work (or dabble) at the intersection of Bible and technology will come together in one place for great networking, presentations, and discussion!
I don’t know of any other conference like this, and I hope2008 will be the first of many. Be sure to visit http://www.BibleTechConference.comand check out the details and tentative list of speakers!
Also visit the Call for Participation and propose a talk on a project you’re working on, new technology you’re excited about, where you see the industry headed, or any Bible+Technology topic you’d like to address.
What BibleTech is Not
BibleTech is not a conference about Logos Bible Software…it’s about Bible software, and online Bibles, and open source Bible databases, Bible mark-up schemes, software for Bible translation, Bible microformats, Unicode fonts for Bible display, semantic Bibles, visualization of Bible data, and I think you get the picture. Technology related to the Bible.
So mark your calendar…and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Seattle!
Note to bloggers: If youblog about the BibleTech conference, consider using the “bibletech08″ tag so that posts about the conference are easy to find in Technorati and others. Thanks!
Guest blogger Mark Van Dyke(when does he get promoted to a regular?) writes about typo reporting in Logos Bible Software.
Dr. Daniel Wallace’s lecture about preserving the Word of God was a good reminderabout the importance of textual accuracy. Just like the ancient manuscripts that are studied in Middle Eastern monasteries, Logos book files have an occasional misspelled word. That’s why Libronix has a nice little feature for reporting typographical errors and grammatical glitches. It only takes a moment but helps us out immensely!
You can report a typo by following these three simple steps.
Highlight the error.
On the top task bar select Help | Report Typo.
Fill out the form with the typo correction and your email address. Then click “Submit”.
Please note that if you are reporting an error with Logos’ syntax database you might need to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than using the internal ‘Report Typo’ dialog.
When you let us know that there is a misspelled word in one of our book files, that word is put on a list so the next time we update that book file we can fix the problem. This means that the typos aren’t always fixed the next day after you tell us, but your message will definitely be read and acted upon.
As always, we love getting feedback. Even in the case where we need to change something about a book. That’s because the textual accuracy of every book we create is of the utmost importance – whether it’s the Bible itself or the Scripture Alphabet of Animals.
Thanks for helping!