Syntax: What’s New?

There have been a number of changes and improvements to the syntax feature of LDLS 3.0 in the last couple of beta releases. To obtain Beta 7, visit the Logos Beta Download page. You’ll need to install both the LDLS 3.0 Beta 7 download and the 3.0 Beta Resources in order to get all the functionality I describe below.

I’ll start off with what’s new with the Syntax Search dialog, which can be accessed by choosing Search > Syntax Search from the main LDLS menu. The Syntax Search dialog has seen a lot of exciting changes. If you’re interested in syntax at all, I encourage you to use and abuse these new features. If you find any bugs, log onto the beta newsgroup on our news server and let us know.

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Words, Words Everywhere: Episode III

In Episodes I and II, I showed how every word in a Libronix DLS resource is a potential link, whether English or another language. I hope you’ve started going around your digital library double-clicking everywhere.

Here’s one more little tidbit: the “ubiquitous link principle” extends beyond resources. It even works in some reports!

While playing around with the Biblical People report that will ship with Libronix DLS version 3.0 I discovered quite accidentally that I could double-click a Hebrew or Greek name at the top of the report and look it up in a lexicon.

So, for example, I’m looking at Obed in the Biblical People report and want to consult my reference works to read more about him. I double-click on the English, Hebrew, or Greek version of his name to open Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, HALOT, or BDAG, respectively.

(Note: Libronix DLS 3.0 Beta 7 required; your mileage may vary depending on the resources you own and how you’ve configured your English, Hebrew and Greek KeyLinks).

These are the articles on Obed that open when I do this:

I have to hand it to the developers…they’ve implemented the concept of KeyLink-ability with remarkable consistency.

All I can say is…Click On!

Rescuing the Copyrighted Orphans

The majority of works offered for use with Logos Bible Software are modern, copyrighted books that we have licensed from authors and publishers. Typically these date from the 1980′s or later. Logos is also able to digitize and offer many public domain works, generally from before 1923.

There is a wealth of material from the middle years, though, that is out of print and hard to find in libraries, but which is still under copyright. When the publisher has gone out of business, or the author’s heirs are impossible to identify or locate, copyrighted works can become effectively orphaned. The chance that a copyright holder emerges after an orphaned work is republished may be slim, but when the statutory damages are $200,000 per infringement few publishers are willing to take a risk.

The US Copyright Office has been studying this problem and has proposed reasonable legislation that addresses the rights of copyright holders as well as the public good of continued use of orphaned content.

Below is a version of the letter I sent my elected representatives in support of the proposed legislation. I hope you will consider supporting it as well.

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/) The proposed statutory language 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 proposal which advances the causes of commerce, education, and human knowledge.

Meet the Staff: Video Interviews

Way back in April 2005, before the Logos blog, Bob kicked off a series of video posts on his personal blog, touring our building and introducing some of the fine folk who work for Logos.
Those posts can be found here…


Bob’s been after me for awhile to continue the series so I’ve been taking a few minutes here and there to interrupt my fellow employees and ask them what their role is at Logos. Most of them have taken it kindly enough.

To inaugurate the continuation of the video post series, let’s start with the guy who keeps our computers running: Gabriel Powell.
Windows Media (1.9MB) | Quicktime (1.6MB)

Comfort & Barrett’s The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts

One of the books that Logos has recently released is Philip Comfort and David Barrett’s The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts.

One of the cool things you can do with Comfort & Barrett is compare the text of a given papyrus with an edition of the Greek New Testament. So, if you wanted to know how P75 compares to the NA27 (or Westcott-Hort, Tischendorf, or the Byzantine, or Stephanus, or Scrivener, or even other papyri) for a reference that they both share … well, just fire up Compare Parallel Bible Versions, select the desired reference(s), and let ‘er go.
Like this:

Be sure to check out the article that explains the comparison feature in a little more detail.

Comments on Commentaries

We’ve posted a new article at Logos.com that introduces commentaries as a category of reference book, shows why and how they are useful, and surveys the benefits of owning commentaries in an electronic format. Check it out...

Author Interview: More Light on the Path

Logos recently made available an excellent resource entitled More Light on the Path—a devotional of daily readings in Greek and Hebrew (with a dash of Aramaic). The book is a great way to build proficiency in the biblical languages by using them regularly in a meaningful context. “Use it or lose it,” as language teachers like to say.

The authors of the book selected readings based on the church calendar and include translation helps: English glosses for less common words and parsing for difficult forms. They also provide a brief prayer or meditation in English. The concept for the work originated from Light on the Path, written in 1969 by banker and student of biblical languages Heinrich Bitzer.

I was recently in contact with David Baker, one of the authors of More Light on the Path, and asked him to do an email interview for the blog. He kindly accepted and invited his co-author, Elaine Heath, to participate as well.

The interview follows; further info about the book, Eugene Peterson’s Foreword (itself worth reading!), and a sample screenshot are available at Logos.com.

Interview with David Baker and Elaine Heath

Logos: Were either of you readers of Bitzer’s original Light on the Path? What was it like?
Elaine Heath: Yes, I used it when I took Greek and Hebrew as a seminary student. It was a helpful way to practice what I was learning in class.

David Baker: I used it some, but was unable to discern an overarching philosophy of text selection. I was intrigued by the concept (which also let me brush up on my German, since it included that in the translations, as that was Bitzer’s original language.

Logos: What prompted the decision to create a new version of the work?

DB: We wanted something which would be attractive and accessible to students I was teaching (Bitzer was a bit hard to find). It really came from student demand.

EH: David and I were talking about Bitzer’s book one day, imagining how good it would be to have a sequel with some additional features. For example we thought it would be more helpful to readers if we followed the liturgical calendar and if each week was treated thematically. These were features that weren’t present in Bitzer’s volume. David thought the addition of meditations and prayers written in English and keyed to the texts would be a way to increase the devotional possibilities for the book.

Logos: When you put together More Light on the Path how did you envision it being used?

DB: I saw it as a supplementary text for an intermediate level language course, and also something graduates could use to keep their language use fresh.

EH: We knew it would be helpful to seminary students, just as the original volume had been. However, we thought more pastors would use it to help keep their language skills sharp if it could be used devotionally.

Keying it to the liturgical calendar and selecting theological themes that would be helpful in sermon preparation or Bible study made it a more versatile resource for pastors.

Logos: What level of language proficiency does someone need to use the book?

DB: It can be used by those with a year of language study, but will in some cases push students with this level of competence. This is good, since there is always a bit more to learn.

Logos: How did you select the readings?

DB: Together we went through the liturgical year (Christian and Jewish), selecting relevant themes. For the rest of the year we came up with ideas and then chose relevant texts based on them. Where there were allusions or quotations of the OT in the NT, we thought that using both would show an important part of the hermeneutical process.

Logos: Were there any particular challenges you encountered when creating the book?

EH: My biggest challenge was my commitment to use Lectio Divina in order to write the meditations. This meant being centered, silent, and taking as much time as I needed in order to hear what emerged from the text as I prayed. This required patience, which at times was a challenge! Prayer can’t be hurried.

DB: Another one was determining which words/forms to explain. We had to hit and miss for a while before coming across a workable plan. It was also hard to remember to be devotional in our text selection, and not to be completely academic in selection, since the object of the books was partly devotional.

Logos: I’ve read that Logos Bible Software 2.0 was used in the process…what role did it play?

EH: It was very helpful for me in using the search tools to locate texts thematically.

DB: I used it to copy and paste the language text material, saving a lot of time.

Logos: Is there any reader feedback you’d like to share?

EH: Several of my colleagues have expressed gratitude for the book, finding it to be a helpful resource for language students. I have also heard positive comments from people who do not have facility in Greek or Hebrew, but who use the book devotionally anyway, reading the daily scripture passages in English.

DB: Most of it has been very positive. I was struck by at least one reviewer who negatively reacted to one of the English devotional readings. I wish we could have been in touch directly, since the devotional simply brought out the clear meaning of the text itself, which itself is hard to read, so the problem is less with us than with the clear call of the text.

Logos: How have you or your family used and benefited from More Light on the Path?

EH: I have used the book devotionally and also for sermon preparation.

DB: I have used it personally in preparation for class, and periodically think, ‘Ah, there’s another text we could have used.’ Maybe we need a volume II!

Logos: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our users?

EH: David and I hoped to model an interdisciplinary approach to the study of biblical languages that was rooted in prayer and worship, and that would invite readers to deeper theological reflection.

DB: I appreciated working with two women, Elaine and my wife Morven. They both are much more spiritually sensitive than I, and I hope it was useful from both sides to see how the analytical and the sensitive, female and male, theologian, counselor and biblical scholar could each enrich the project through providing different but complementary perspectives.

Read more about More Light on the Path and buy the electronic edition...

Greek Syntax: Gaps Happen

In an earlier post, I wrote:

You’d be amazed the sorts of things you stumble upon in scrolling through the text and visually recognising similar graph structures in close proximity.

One of the things I keep an eye out for when scrolling through the Greek Syntax Graphs are gaps. If you’ve studied Greek, you’ll know that sometimes it seems like word order in Greek and word order in English have little if anything in common. So I keep an eye out for where one structure has an intervening structure. These sorts of things are called gaps; at least for the purposes of the Syntax Search dialog and underlying syntax database implementation. (Linguists have a more precise definition of “gap”, my casual use of “gap” is not to be misconstrued with that more technically correct perspective).

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Beautiful Joe

Brought to you by Bryan Albert, Logos programmer and coffee artist.Get mugged.

Greek Syntax: OpenText.org Clauses and Word Groups

I’ve blogged about the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament in the past (see the Syntax Archives).

The folks who do the work on the OpenText.org project have been doing a lot of work since I last blogged about the project, and the result is that we have a vastly updated data set. The primary new goodie is the consolidation of the Clause and Word Group information.

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