Greek Syntax: Sleepy Disciples

Hi folks, I’m back after an extended holiday. And for an upcoming home group study, I’m starting to work through the epistle to the Colossians. So I’ve been reading it recently. In reading, I came across Colossians 1.9, which has the phrase “we have not ceased to pray for you”. In looking at the word “pray”, I noticed this is a predicator (“pray”, in an embedded clause) with an adjunct (“for you”). At least, that’s how the ESV translates it. So I wondered what other sorts of adjuncts modify the word used here for “pray” (προσεύχομαι).

This was the beginning of a rabbit trail, but a fun one. I won’t detail the syntax search (I’ve done similar searches before, check the syntax archives) but I would like to poke around a bit in one area where some interesting hits were grouped together.

In searching for adjuncts that modify προσεύχομαι, I happened across Matthew 26.36-46. In those 10 verses, there are three instances of προσεύχομαι. The first (v. 36) has two adjuncts, the second (v. 42) has three adjuncts, and the third (v. 44) has four adjuncts.

This concentration seemed interesting, so I poked through the text further. I spent all of 15 minutes or so thinking about this before I recorded the one-take video below, but it is an example of the kinds of thoughts that slowing down and examining the clause structure through the syntax graph can generate.

Serendipitous discovery facilitated.

Classical Greek Lookup

When studying Greek words, it is sometimes fun and beneficial to see how the words are used outside of the New Testament. One of the features of Logos Bible Software, version 3 is the ability to look up Greek words in the online Perseus database, which includes a wide variety of classical Greek texts, many with morphological and lexical tags, and some with English translations.

Let’s say you wanted to see references to crucifixion outside the New Testament. In this screenshot, I’ve right-clicked on σταυρόω – the verb form of ‘to crucify’ – in my lexicon (in this case BDAG), chosen ‘Selected Text’ and ‘Perseus Greek Word Lookup’. I could also have right-clicked the word in a Greek Bible and chosen ‘Selected Text’ and the ‘(Lemma)’ form instead. Of course, I may also want to run this lookup on related words, such as σταυρός – ‘cross’.

Here Perseus has provided some analysis of the word. Note the link to ‘Configure display’. Use this link to choose between displaying texts in transliteration or Unicode or some other Greek encoding. After some initial analysis, you can see hit counts by genre – in this case 92 hits in prose and 1 hit in poetry.

Clicking on ‘Greek Word Search’ will generate a concordance of the 93 hits of this word in the database, as seen below.

You can see hits in authors such as Josephus, Xenophon, Epictetus, Thucydides, and Appian. Clicking on the first line of each hit will open the Greek text to the larger context of the hit. Clicking on individual words will provide analysis to help you translate the passage. Sometimes a link to an English translation or Latin version is available as well.

Major victory on Road Trip

Dale Pritchett recently started the final leg of the Bible Road Trip. Read previous posts and view photos from the Road Trip.

Yesterday we got through an entire day without a major RV mishap! The feeling was heady! This is big news as we complete our first full week in the Starship Enterprise. This is a big ship in a small galaxy. Jenni kept reminding me that this was not my old Harley Davidson. It would be better for parking lots, curbs, speed bumps, trees, shrubs, stop signs, medial barriers, bridge railings and assorted honking motorists (just wishing me well, I am sure) if it was a Harley. I may deserve special thanks for leaving Michigan, Indiana, and Missouri.

Today I broke the one-day streak. Jenni and I worked out an exhaustive check list to be completed before leaving the RV park. We checked off the items on the list, agreed we had forgotten nothing, pulled twenty feet out of our parking space only to see a bunch of wildly enthusiastic, waving neighbors shouting to us that we had left the door wide open and the steps down.

Despite our general road trials, the evening meetings are going well and we have met some serious Logos users. This is a real source of encouragement to us. We have had some great time of fellowship with pastors, students and long time Logos users. Every night there has also been a small group of curious first-time people who have heard about the software but have never seen it.

One day we had a truck driver at a rest stop come over and tell us he had just heard about the software on the radio and wanted to know more. It is amazing to us how many people recognize the bus and wave or honk and give us a thumbs up.

KeyLink Summary

In a recent article on Hebrew KeyLinking, I mentioned that using the arrow keys to scroll between lexicons isn’t always the best way to survey all the articles on the word you are studying, because the arrow key navigation is based on how a lexicon spells a word, not on the KeyLink look-up tables Logos Bible Software 3 supports for navigating from the Bible directly and accurately to the lexicons. I mentioned that you can more accurately get to all your lexicons using the Bible Word Study report or the Exegetical Guide, or you can use the right-click menu to select a specific lexicon as a KeyLink destination if you want to consult a resource other than your default lexicon.

I’m sticking with my story; it’s all true. But I over-looked a new feature in version 3. Sometimes I want to do a quick survey of my lexicons on a given word, but I don’t need all the other searches and features of the Bible Word Study report. Of course, I could manage my preferences and turn off most of the sections of the Bible Word Study report until I stream-lined it for the task at hand, but then I’d have to reset my preferences the next time I wanted to dig deeper. As it turns out, there is a fast way to execute all my KeyLinks on a given word while making use of the KeyLink look-up tables for increased accuracy: the KeyLink Summary report.

As an example, open one of the newer Hebrew Bibles (such as the Westminster 4.2 morphology or the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text) and go to Psalm 19:9. Let’s say we wanted to check out what our lexicons had to say about the word ‘pure’ (bar in Hebrew). We only care about the entries for bar that mean ‘pure’; we don’t want to read about when it means ‘son’ or ‘grain’ or ‘field’ or a ‘soothsayer’ or a ‘cargo ship’. Right click the word and choose ‘Selected Text’ and then select the Hebrew word with the term ‘(Lemma)’ after it. (‘Lemma’ indicates that you are working with the dictionary form of the word. Selecting this form also makes use of the KeyLink look-up tables, if they are present.) Now click on ‘KeyLink Summary’.

Your exact results will vary depending on what lexicons you own, the order of your KeyLink preferences and whether or not you’ve downloaded the new texts and lexicons that are part of version 3.0 or, even better, the beta version 3.0a. But you should see something like this:

In the screenshot, I’ve clicked the plus signs next to the top three articles in order to be able to read their articles right in the summary report. You can see that we’ve landed on the correct homograph on the expanded examples. (Some of the other lexicons don’t have look-up tables yet, so they still link on spelling alone. Most of the prestigious lexicons have completed look-up tables for version 3.0a, but other lexicons are still works in progress.) You can navigate directly to the lexicon articles themselves just by clicking on the title of the lexicon. That way you can follow any links in the lexicon, or read surrounding articles, or execute searches against the lexicon.

Clicking the word ‘More’ will expand the report to execute more KeyLinks further down your list of KeyLink preferences.

That’s it: the KeyLink Summary is a simple, one-purpose tool for quickly surveying your lexicons.

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