Weights and Measures Calculator

One of the features of Libronix DLS that was completely redesigned for version 3.0 was the weights and measures calculator.

Click on the thumbnail to take a look at an example. This example was taken from Revelation 14:20, where we’re given an image of a horse-high river of blood running 1,600 stadia. Ick, right? But enquiring minds want to know, just how icky are we talking about here? So I click ‘Tools | Bible Data | Weights and Measures’ and enter ‘1,600 stadia’. I could have used ‘stade’, ‘stades’, ‘stadion’, ‘stadioi’ or ‘furlong’ if I wanted. A stade is an eighth of a mile, but the length of a mile in Roman times was different than today’s standard mile. One of the really cool features of the new calculator is that it doesn’t assume it knows which stade length you want, nor does it assume you know that there are two lengths to choose from. Instead, it displays both.

Note the second line of the results: 1.00 stades (Roman) = 0.92 furlongs (modern). (A furlong is another name for an eighth of a mile, the report just happens to call the modern measurement a furlong, though as you can see, it is savvy enough to show furlongs when you ask for stades.) So right away you are informed that the measurement for a stade will be different depending on which stade you are interested in (Roman or modern), even if you didn’t know there was a choice!

Beneath the conversion formula between the related measurements, the report is split into columns, one column for each measurement that 1,600 stadioi might be referring to. From here, it is easy to look up conversions to other measurements of length, such as kilometers or miles. Again, each list shows ‘miles (Roman)’ as distinct from the modern standard ‘mile’. 1,600 Roman Stadioi equals 200 Roman miles, but only 183.93 modern standard miles.

Take a look at the next example. Here I entered 1 shekel, but a shekel can be a measurement of weight or of money. And when it is money, it might be gold or silver. (The modern Israeli shekel is not listed here, though that would have been an interesting addition to this table.) Note how two different charts of two different colors make it easy to separate out the different kinds of shekels. Again, you didn’t need to know that there are three different things a shekel could refer to in order to see the conversion charts.

Trying to fathom (pun intended) modern equivalents to ancient measurements is always a bit difficult, and exact precision often eludes us. But with Logos Bible Software, getting to reasonable estimates just got easier than ever.

A More Advanced Syntax Search

In yesterday’s post, Dr. Heiser demonstrated a simple example of using the Bible Word Study report with the syntax databases to get answers to syntax questions without ever learning how to write a syntax query manually, showing how even people who don’t know Greek or Hebrew can use these databases to make connections between verses. However, if you learn how to compose your own syntax queries, you can learn to ask a wider range of questions about the Bible. In today’s example, Michael uses the syntax databases to find hits that would take hours to sort through with the older generation of tools.

One of the Hebrew terms for God is Elohim. The ‘im’ ending is morphologically plural, but almost everywhere in the Hebrew bible, the verbs associated with Elohim are singular in number, making it clear that these are references to God, not the plural ‘gods’. Dr. Heiser has done a lot of research in the field of Israelite religion, so when he was learning about syntax databases, one of the first questions he asked was: where does Elohim appear as the subject of a plural verb? He knew that instances of this phenomenon might be theologically or exegetically significant and was quite familiar with several examples, but had never encountered a published list of every time this happens.

Knowing if ‘Elohim’ is the subject of a verb in a given sentence, rather than an object for example, is a syntax question. Without access to syntax tags, one could search for every plural verb that occurs in the same verse as the word Elohim. One would get over 3400 hits (i.e. words returned) in 1057 verses. Only a small fraction of those verses are useful, though, and wading through 1057 verses isn’t a small chore. One might be able to get really creative with filters, and start ruling out verses where certain words occur immediately before Elohim that would typically indicate that Elohim is something other than the subject of the sentence. This approach of simulating syntax using only morphological or lexical form tags is a rather blunt instrument, but I’ve used it in the past to narrow my search results. In capable hands, this blunt instrument can save time over manually checking thousands of hits, but there is now a better way.

Click here to watch the video.

Syntax Resources and Topical Sermons 2

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, our Academic Editor.

In a previous posting, I shared some thoughts on what syntax databases mean for the English-only reader, stressing that the new syntax databases in several Libronix 3.0 collections are hardly the exclusive domain of scholars. I want to offer a short illustration of the kinds of observations that can be made by the “non-scholar” who utilizes the syntactical information produced by the Bible Word Study report. With a simple right click, the user can get on the path of “doing biblical theology” and make amazing discoveries.

Click here to see a Topical Sermon Using Syntax (Flash, 10:02).

Cap’n Moe & the Camp Logos Ark

Today’s guest blogger is Dale Pritchett, vice president of sales and marketing for Logos.
Aaarg! Captain Moe, you didn’t mention that it rains in Alaska.

While the rest of the country experienced record heat, Captain Moe and the crew of the first floating Camp Logos sailed north, one mouse click at a time, through rain, fog, and cold seas.
What a great time we had. Nearly eighty people participated. The camp was both longer and more personal than a normal Camp Logos. Confined to a ship, everybody enjoyed the opportunity to share meals and to get to know each other better and the evening informal discussions were great. Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed spending our time with real Logos users. We also got a lot of great ideas and suggestions for future versions of Logos.

We can’t wait to do it again and we will! Moe is already arranging another cruise. Details will be announced soon. I understand the next cruise will be to the Caribbean.

While the weather was challenging, it did nothing to dampen spirits. It was a real time of refreshment and encouragement for us all. Moe says there will be two hundred people on the next cruise. Let’s take over the whole boat and close the casino! Maybe someday we will.






Syntax Resources and Topical Sermons

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, our Academic Editor.

In a previous posting, I shared some thoughts on what syntax databases mean for the English-only reader, stressing that the new syntax databases in several Libronix 3.0 collections are hardly the exclusive domain of scholars.

Here I want to offer a practical illustration of their value for coming up with topical sermons that are rooted in grammatical relationships (believe it or not!). Anyone interested in relationships between words (i.e., syntax) understands that just knowing that God is the subject of a certain verb that has a certain object can yield some penetrating insights for sermon material and Bible study.

The video linked below illustrates this simple, down-to-earth benefit of tapping into our revolutionary syntactical resources for those outside the scholarly fraternity.

Click here to see a Topical Sermon Using Syntax (Flash, 12:52).

National Camp Logos 2006…Recap!

“It was a scorcher, but the training was fantastic.” That seemed to sum up the views of those who attended National Camp Logos here in Bellingham in late July.

About 80 Logos users turned out for Morris Proctor’s 2-day training seminar, held at a local church. They came from all over the U.S. (and Canada) to take their Bible software skills to the next level and to hang out with other Logos users. The temps reached the upper 80s on Friday, but that didn’t seem to dry up the crowd’s enthusiasm.
For many attendees, this was not their first Camp Logos experience. A handful of users come back every year. A common theme I heard when asking attendees what they get out of attending multiple times is that Camp shakes them out of a rut, pushes them to use more of the software’s features, use it more effectively, and try new things.

The folks who attended also had an opportunity to interact with Bob and Dale Pritchett, dine together at a local restaurant, and tour the Logos facility. If you missed it, don’t worry—we’ll do another one next year. And in the meantime you can check the Camp Logos calendar for an event near you…without some of the fringe benefits of the “National” event but very worthwhile, nevertheless.

Click any of the photos on this page to see a larger version and be sure to check out the video to watch some Camp clips and brief interviews with Camp Logos attendees. As you’ll see, everyone I talked to was very fired up about Logos 3 and Camp Logos!


Windows Media Video, 3:48, 4.3MB



Windows Keyboards for Ancient Languages

Logos Bible Software version 3 introduced new keyboards for Greek, Hebrew and Syriac that are designed for easy entry of the ancient languages on an English/Roman keyboard. We’ve also created identical duplicates of the Logos keyboards that can be installed as standard Windows keyboards for Windows 2000 and XP users. This means that you can use the same keyboards in Libronix DLS that you use in Microsoft Word or any other Unicode compliant application!
For more information and download instructions, click here.

A shout out to our users

The latest issue of Christian Computing Magazine included the results of a reader survey on Bible software…with Logos emerging as the clear leader!

Thanks to those of you who took the survey and selected Logos Bible Software as your favorite Bible study product. It’s always great to hear that we’re making an impact and that people really enjoy the user experience.

You can download the PDF (622 KB) if you want to read the entire article relating the results of the survey. Here are the highlights:

“…the average person taking our survey owns 2.5 Bible study programs.”

“…Logos was the clear winner when it came to the number of products purchased by our readers. 39.3% of those taking the survey reported that they owned a Bible study product from Logos.”

“…most of those taking the survey own two or three Bible study products…With a two to one vote over second place, our readers picked Bible study software from Logos as their favorite.”

The survey also asked some general questions about how and when people use Bible software. Here are a couple of the results for that section:

“When asked about their favorite use or feature, 38% said they used it to search the Bible to find a specific scripture, 25% used it to search commentaries, 17% used it to do word studies, about 12% used it for Greek and Hebrew studies, and about 8% stated they used it for all of the above. About 1% used Bible study software to read their Bible through, such as using a Bible reading plan. How often do people use their Bible study software? 38% said daily, 38% said weekly, and 13% said several times a month.”

Graphical Query Editor Tutorial

The Graphical Query Editor Tutorial has been rewritten for version 3.0. Folks who have worked through the old tutorial will notice only a few significant differences, such as the use of the new Logos keyboards, and the regular expression section has been significantly revised because the syntax changed from version 2.0. There are some minor changes to the sections on field searching and reference searching. Happy searching.

Ultimate Fun

Today’s guest blogger is Erland Injerd, a developer who works in the Network and Systems department at Logos.

So you’re sitting at your desk at the end of a long day inside. The sun is shining outdoors, and the sky is the deepest crisp blue you’ve ever seen.

“Hey,” a coworker drops by your desk. “Let’s play some Ultimate Frisbee.”

This sounds promising.

“There are eight other people already on their way — meet you at the park!”

Off to the park you go…and sure enough, there’s a whole crowd of familiar faces, ready to start running in a friendly game of Ultimate.

Sound like a pleasant, post-lunch daydream?

Not at Logos Bible Software. During the summer months, what better way to work out some stress, get a bit of fresh air, and enjoy God’s creation than a game of Ultimate Frisbee, right after a hard day’s work?

“But getting enough people together is like pulling teeth,” the skeptic might say. “Schedules conflict, people leave early, no one knows exactly what park you’re going to…the list goes on.”

Fortunately, we work for a software company full of enterprising developers. Several years back, one of our devs made a website that manages the Ultimate games for interested employees. Just tell the site what days you can play, and it will send you an E-mail in the morning, asking you to sign up that day. If enough players sign up on a given day, all the Ultimate Heroes get a “Game On!” E-mail — we’re headed to the park! The game is always at the same place and the same time, so no one gets confused, and if not enough people sign up, well, no one arrives at the park wondering where everyone else is (we hope).

But it’s not enough to know that some of Logos secretly plays Ultimate. How do the games go?

Thankfully, nowhere in the hiring process at Logos does it mention “skill at Ultimate Frisbee.” While some of us are fairly gifted at running and throwing and yelling (or just yelling), most of us are pretty casual, average players. The little website that schedules our games is also smart enough to take past results, crunch the statistics, and figure out the real movers and shakers. They all get stuck on one team, and everyone else….
Actually, the teams tend to shake out pretty balanced, after each player has a few games recorded. There have been some embarrassing 15-3 or 15-5 final scores (yes, we play to fifteen), but for the most part, the games tend to end up fairly close.

Of course, that keeps things interesting. When the score is 13-12, and it’s 7PM, people start getting focused. Do you really want to throw long? How about we send someone to the end zone. Cover that guy, he’s getting physical…just give him a little elbow. Some of us are good at throwing, some are good at catching, some are good at guarding — and there’s my personal favorite: running a lot.

But when the day is done, and everyone shakes hands, gives high-fives, talks a little smack about “that last pass,” you know the Ultimate game was worth it. Lots of exercise, lots of sun, lots of great times with friends — what a way to end a day’s work for an awesome company. So, the next time you’re wondering: how do we do it, remember the Ultimate. Sometimes, making software isn’t all about a computer screen.