A Tool You Didn’t Know You Had

Over the past few weeks, I spent more than a few evenings doing unexpected renovation to my laundry room after finding a months-old leak in the hot water heater. There were a lot of downer moments along the way, but some of the happier moments came when I found that I needed a particular tool for some task…was sure that yet another trip to the hardware store was in my future…then discovered that I already owned the tool!

As any Logos user can attest, there’s a similar feeling when you discover just the right book in your digital library at just the moment you need it. With hundreds or even thousands of books in your library, you can have that experience quite often!

One very cool book you probably own but may not have discovered is The NET Bible. This Bible has been available in Libronix format for some time as a separate purchase…but we were able to include it in all Logos 3 base packages above Christian Home Library. (Haven’t upgraded yet? It’s not too late to get 15% off your upgrade!)

The title page to the electronic edition carries the subtitle “A New Approach to Translation, Thoroughly Documented With 60,932 Notes By The Translators and Editors.” That is certainly a lot of notes and it’s one of the things that sets the NET Bible apart and makes it exceptionally useful for in-depth study.

There are four distinct types of note, as explained in the front matter:

  • Translator’s Note—explains the rationale for the translation and gives alternative translations, interpretive options, and other technical information.

  • Study Note—includes comments about historical or cultural background, explanation of obscure phrases or brief discussions of context, discussions of the theological point made by the biblical author, cross references and references to Old Testament quotations or allusions in the New Testament, or other miscellaneous information helpful to the modern reader.

  • Text-critical Note—discusses alternate (variant) readings found in the various manuscripts and groups of manuscripts of the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament.

  • Map Note—gives map coordinates for site within the two map sections, “The Journeys of Paul” and “The Holy Land from the Heavens.”

As you can see in this screenshot, the text of the NET Bible is littered with notes. What might be a distraction from the biblical text in print is handled beautifully in the electronic edition by simply mousing over the note marker to reveal the contents of the note.


The abbreviation at the beginning of the note tells you which type it is: tn=translator’s note, sn=study note, tc=text-critical note, map=map. Some of the notes are interactive, as I will show in a second post.

Most notes are quite meaty, like the one you see in the screenshot. This translator’s note starts by discussing the tense of the verb but goes on to explain why it matters and how that fact might impact our understanding. This kind of detail makes even the translator and text-critical notes useful to a non-technical reader.

Or, as stated in the preface:

“The translators’ notes make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look over the translator’s shoulder at the very process of translation. This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings (including major interpretive options and alternative translations). This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in the original languages in a way never before possible without years of study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the Bible’s truth from entirely new perspectives.”

I encourage you to spend some time reading through the preface and the introduction to the NET Bible, as well as the Principles of Translation section near the end. These articles answer questions such as, “Why do we need yet another translation of the Bible?”, “What is unique and distinctive about the NET Bible?”, “What is the significance of the NET Bible’s name?”, and “How would you characterize the NET Bible as a translation?”

I’m planning a second post to explore some additional features of this great resource, such as maps and special search capabilities. Stay tuned.

In case you were wondering…one of those long-forgotten hand tools that I discovered was a Wonderbar pry bar. I found the tool on a city street years ago, cleaned it up and held onto it “just in case I ever need it.” (Yes, I have a mild case of that disease.) I must say that for demolition or pulling a bent nail out of a tight corner, this amazing tool is worth its weight in trips to the hardware store. It is a marvel of engineering that seems almost uncannily suited to the task at hand. I guess the same could be said of Logos Bible Software, but that’s fodder for another post.

Syntax Search Example: Two Words in the Same Word Group

A user commented on a recent post:

On the OpenText site, http://divinity.mcmaster.ca/OpenText/resources/articles/a8, Matthew Brook O’Donnell mentions the ability to find THEOS and AGAPE within the same word group. I have not been able to do that yet, probably because I can’t yet figure out the nesting structure I need in my search.
I wonder if you might demonstrate that or point me to one of your earlier tutorials where you have done something similar.

Since I haven’t blogged about syntax searches like this, and since there is a very cool technique using the Agreement dialogue that makes this sort of search (find two words in any order) fairly simple, I figured I’d do a screen recording video to show y’all how it works.

There are two searches detailed in the video. One answers the question with a very general search, the other searches a bit more specifically.

New and different titles on the prepub page

If the flood of new prepub titles has caused you to tune out—or you’ve just been waiting for something other than Continuum books—now is a good time to check back in.
www.logos.com/prepub
In the past week, our prepub guy Zack has added some variety to the offerings in the form of:
JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection (9 volumes) – This is a great complement to The Tanakh, which has been available for Libronix DLS for some time. We’ve had a lot of customer requests for these commentaries over the years and it’s great to finally beef up the library in a category where we’ve been weak.

Continuity and Discontinuity – A perennial source of debate—and a question that stands at the crux of covenant theology and dispensationalism—is “How do the Old and New Testaments relate to one another?” Or as the preface to this volume poses the question, “How are we to relate what he has said through the prophets of old to what has been revealed through his apostles?” The 13 essays in this volume shed light on the issue and deliver some of the best thinking in this area.

Seven Practices of Effective Ministry – Andy Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. In a survey of pastors published earlier this summer by The Church Report magazine, North Point was named third among the “most influential churches in America.” Whether writing a book like this is a cause or a product of such influence, I cannot say…but it should be a worthwhile read, regardless.

The Pleasures of God (Piper) – Satisfaction is universally desired but often eludes our grasp. In this work, Piper shows how our satisfaction is dependent on God’s satisfaction.

Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures – This title was languishing on the Community Pricing Page, if you will excuse the pun, but found a number of advocates among our users. In response to their pleas, we have decided to give it another go as a prepub title and see if it will fly. With more than 13,600 pages of very dense type this is going to be rather expensive to produce…so we’ll need your help (in the form of a pre-order)!

Genre & Source Visual Filtering for the OT

Daniel Foster just came to me and said, “Hey, I didn’t know that the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text has two resource-specific visual filters!” I said, “Sure, I thought everybody knew that.”
Well, if Daniel doesn’t know … okay, I guess almost nobody knows.

Visual What?
“Visual filter” may sound like something you do to a photograph to reduce red eye, but in fact it’s a simple and flexible feature that the Libronix DLS can use to modify a book’s formatting or content on the fly — that is, right when it’s being displayed. A simple visual filter is the Page Numbers visual filter, which shows page numbers inline (for resources that have page number tagging).

[Read more...]

Progress on Copyrighted Orphans

Earlier this year I posted about the Report on Orphan Works published by the Copyright Office. Orphan works represent a wealth of material that is still of great value, particularly in Biblical studies, but which is not widely available and can’t be reprinted or digitized because the copyright status, or copyright holder, is impossible to track down.

In May, Representative Lamar Smith introduced HR 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, in Congress. If passed into law, this Act would provide safe harbor for Logos and others to republish orphaned works without fear of huge legal liabilities if a previously unidentifiable copyright holder came forward. It also provides for reasonable compensation for copyright holders who are found.

This is a win-win-win. It’s good for publishers who want to digitize or reprint older works. It’s good for the works, which get new life and more use. It’s even good for the copyright holders (many of whom are heirs who don’t know they own rights, or that they have any value) who may discover new revenue sources.

And most importantly, it’s good for you. It will put valuable, but hard-to-find, hard-to-use, resources at your fingertips.

Please let your representative know you support HR 5439.

Dear Elected Representative,

Digital publishing, on CD-ROM’s and the Internet, is enabling us to make entire libraries of material available to students who previously had little or no access to valuable content. Students in distance learning programs, in rural areas, and in far-off parts of the world are using computers and the Internet to get access to content that previously could be found only in large libraries in major cities.

Projects like Google Print, and many others at universities and libraries, are putting the contents of irreplaceable, hard-to-access archives at the fingertips of students around the world.

There is a tremendous amount of information in the public domain, but many important works were published after 1923 and are now out of print. In many cases it is difficult to locate or even identify the owner. Publishers have gone out of business. Rights have reverted to heirs who have never heard of the copyrighted work. Titles were published without enough identifying information.

The Copyright Office issued a Report on Orphan Works in January of this year that recommends legislation providing for the use of orphaned works during their copyright period. (http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/)

H.R. 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, addresses compensation for rights holders if they emerge, and provides safe harbor from huge infringement penalties to users who have made a diligent search to locate a copyright owner.

I encourage you to support this important legislation which advances the causes of commerce, education, and human knowledge.

Grammatical Relationships: Parallel English & Original Language

An earlier post on the Bible Word Study Grammatical Relationships feature garnered the following comment. I inserted the referenced graphic as well.

When I do what you did, I get everything except the side by side translations of the passage as you show above (where you made the notes in red). For instance, I just show the cite Matt 13:14, but not the translations with the colored keys to the study word and the subject. What am I missing?

Yes, this isn’t exactly obvious. Grammatical Relationships mirrors the preferences you have set for syntax search results. So try creating a basic syntax search — such as searching for all primary clauses with the word ἀγαπάω as the predicator (verb) in the OpenText.org database. You know, like we find in John 3.16. Here’s a short video to show you how: Flash, 9:20, 11 megs, with sound. [NB: When I recorded the video, my computer was in the midst of a massive process that took some significant processor cycles. So it's a little slow in some areas.]

Then modify the search results. Note the “Current View” drop-down in the results menubar. This controls the columns. Also note the Bible button. This is where the English will come in. If your preferred Bible is the ESV, then toggling the button on should cause the ESV to display with proper highlighting in the search results window. Again,

href="http://www.logos.com/media/blog/swf/SyntaxSearchResults/SyntaxSearchResults.html">the video shows you how this works.

These preferences will then be mirrored in Grammatical Relationships.

New Resources for Apologetics

Over the past couple of weeks, we have quietly released many new apologetics-related resources for Logos Bible Software. Some of these are brand new to the platform and a few are re-releases. Here’s a quick round-up of these titles…

Cults & Religions


Creation/Evolution/Science

  • Bible and Spade Collection – 30 years’ worth of archaeological journals from the Holy Land. The organization behind this journal–Associates for Biblical Research –has as its stated mission to strengthen the faith and biblical understanding of Christians. If you enjoy archaeology for its own sake, or as part of the larger conversation about creation and the Bible’s historicity, you’ll want to pick this one up.

  • Dennis Gordon Lindsay on Creationism – 10 volumes on the topic of creationism and evolutionism. If you purchased a Logos base product prior to May 2006, you probably already have these. But if not, they are now available for individual purchase via download.

  • The Genesis Factor – Taking a different approach to life’s big questions, the authors of this book use the Socratic method to help readers engage in a “conversation” with the book of Genesis.

Engaging the Culture

  • Christian Ethics in Plain Language – Author Kerby Anderson offers a survey of Christian ethics followed by 18 chapters addressing important ethical issues that are a hotly debated today.
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Well-known author Norman Geisler and Frank Turek throw down the gauntlet for skeptics by exposing and challenging their dearly-held beliefs, then arguing that Christianity is the most reasonable worldview.

  • Reasonable Faith – One of the heavyweights among apologetics resources, this volume by William Lane Craig serves as a textbook in apologetic or philosophy of religion courses. As Craig explains in the preface, this work is intended to “fill the gaps” left in traditional theological education and works of systematic theology. Here he addresses the apologetic angle of each major theological topic in post-Reformation Protestant theology: faith, man, God, creation, and Christ.

More new books (many of which did not pass through the prepub program) can be browsed in the New Products listing.

How Much Do You Want to Pay?

What if you could visit the website of your favorite publisher, browse a list of books that are candidates for publication, and put a bid on the ones you’d like to own? That’s right…tell the publisher which books you’d like to see published and how much you’d be willing to pay for each one.

Sound too good to be true? Truth is, this is the experience enjoyed by hundreds of Logos users who have discovered the Logos Community Pricing Program.

In a nutshell, the Community Pricing Program works like this: Logos posts a list of public domain titles, you browse the list, put a bid on any title that catches your eye, and sit back and wait for the book to get produced. Your bid is the top price you’re willing to pay, so there are never any unpleasant surprises!

That’s it…easy as pie.

Going Once, Going Twice…

I grew up in a rural part of northern Michigan (some would say “rural northern Michigan” is a redundancy) and loved to go to the Old MacDonald Auction Barn in the neighboring town of Pickford whenever I got the chance. When looking for a new couch recently, I discovered a monthly auction held at a warehouse here in Bellingham. This auction has a lot less farm equipment, but it’s still the fun experience I remembered…and an all-afternoon experience, which doesn’t work out real well for our two kids, aged 2 and 3-1/2.

But it turns out auction houses have anticipated the desire to bid on items in absentia. When nap time came around, we filled out a brief form with our bidder number and the top bid amount for each item we wanted to bid on. The auction house had a person to bid on our behalf and they’d call us the next day if we had the top bid for any item on our list. Absentee bidding lacks the thrill and energy of being there, but it is rather convenient!

If it helps, think of the Community Pricing Program as absentee bidding. You show up at the “auction” (in this case a webpage), take a look around, kick the tires, register your top bids for the stuff you want, and walk away. We’ll get in touch with you by email if your bid was successful. Even better, if your bid was too low we’ll shoot you an email to let you know before the “auction” closes…at which point you can choose to either raise your bid enough to get the book, or let it pass.

Oh, and did I mention that with Community Pricing you’re not bidding against the other bidders…you’re all working together! See, we love our customers so much that as more people bid for a book, the price goes lower! Yes, you read that right:

More bidders = lower prices for everyone!

Ready, Set, Bid!

If you’re ready to get started, jump over to the Community Pricing page to see all the titles currently available for bidding. The bright, red circles at the top of the page walk you through the 3 simple steps to get started.

What, you’re still reading this? Then here’s a preview of what you’ll find on the Community Pricing page: classic commentaries, works on the Life of Christ, Greek and Hebrew helps, a fascinating historical survey, and more. Authors whose names you may recognize include Ironside, Barnes, Alford, Deissmann, Schürer, and Driver.

And if you need any more incentive to get started right now, check this: three items on the Community Pricing page are very close to having enough bids to end the “auction” on those items and move them into production. Now is the time to tell us how much you want to pay for these great additions to your digital library!

Missing in Action (Part 1): Road Trip Memoirs of the 4th Leg

John Fallahee recently completed the fourth leg of the Bible Road Trip (including the period when the damage to the RV was being repaired) and contributed this travelogue about his experiences. Read previous posts and view photos from the Road Trip.

WARNING: This driver and his family has never been to an RV park, nor driven an RV more than 30 minutes on the highway, prior to this trip! When asked by the president about the RV idea months ago…well, let’s just say that those imaginations were replaced by the following reality!

7/14 – 7/19 “Dad, Where is the Big Car?” Minivan/Hotel: David, my 4 year old son, was having fun helping me place the luggage in the trunk. With a very serious face, he said, “Dad where is the Big car?” I said, “It’s getting repaired, it should be ready in a couple of days.” David in a thoughtful manner carries on, “Well, there is plenty of room in this Mini-Car for me to eat and sleep!” By the way, the family enjoyed Washington D.C..

24 Hours – 4 Presentations: What have you done in the last 24 hours? We visited two churches in the area. I spoke at night at Immanuel Bible Church and trained the next morning. Then in the afternoon we headed to McLean Presbyterian Church and trained in the afternoon and then presented in the evening. Although tired, the fellowship was great! If you are ever in D.C. stop by!
We parked at the RV site by midnight!

7/21 “Mom…What’s that smell?
We drove over 4 hours to Norfolk, VA to pick up the RV and as you can see the kids were pretty excited! When is the last time you ran to a car?

Video clip (WMV, 3.2MB)
Liquid spills, Frightening Smells, but no Chills: During the repair process all power and gas were shut off. When Stephanie went to open the refrigerator door, once-frozen but now rotting, liquid chicken sprung from the dead and onto my wife.

The eggs were breeding a cure to the avian flu and the milk curdled into white cheese balls. We were left wondering if something ate something else! We were forbidden to take pictures of this crime scene.

Don’t Open the Fridge!: Though Stephanie worked hard to clean the fridge, the smell lived on until we discovered a cure. The new RV House rule: only Momma opens the fridge!

HOUSE KEEPING TIP: Place a few chunks of charcoal inside the freezer, wait 24 hours, and all smells removed.

7/21 – 7/24 “Let’s Gas it up!”Our First Gas stop: By the time we reached Mechanicsburg, PA, we needed to get some gas. As we pulled in, John Palm–owner of the local auto repair–expressed curiosity in the RV and tour. I sat down in his shop and showed him Logos Bible Software. He was so excited, he bought the software on the spot. John teaches and oversees the Sunday school program at his church.

RV SURVIVAL TIP #1: To bring the sides of the RV in, you must turn the RV off!

If you choose to ignore this advice, fear not, the RV campgrounds will knock on your door and assist you in operating your RV.

RV SURVIVAL TIP #2: To turn on the gas stove, the gas sensor need to be on!
If you choose to ignore this advice, you will go hungry!

Discmobile

As a city, Bellingham has some unique characteristics. And more than a few unique characters.
One particular street that I often walk along seems to be a favorite for folks living in vehicles. Buses, cars, VW microbuses, campers, you name it…but one of the stranger sights was this car, covered in compact discs.


I suppose the owner/tenant was mostly interested in the discs’ reflective properties that served to keep his vehicle cool. He was probably less interested in the contents of the discs…

Yes, closer inspection revealed that this fellow had plastered his car with hundreds of Logos Bible Software discs! When Logos 3 shipped, we had to throw away a lot of old inventory (sans serial numbers, of course). Normally, our shipping department spray-paints discs that go into the dumpster as an added precaution…but this time quite a number of bright, shiny discs made it into the dumpster and were re-purposed in a way we couldn’t have imagined.