Logos Bible Software as a “Dialogical Study Bible”

One of theSBL sessions in November was entitled “Biblical Studies and Study Bibles” and looked at the issues surrounding study Bibles. You know, the printed Bibles that include study notes next to the biblical text and are often marketed to a particular audience, e.g., men, women, students, skaters, etc.

One of the professors involved in the session—Carol Newsom from the Candler School of Theology—wrote an article about study Bibles for the SBL Forum in advance of the society’s annual conference.

Newsom, who haswritten for and edited study Bibles,believes there’s a place for them:

The biblical text is not self interpreting, and there are all kinds of things that readers need help with. Who or what is “Hepzibah?” or “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin”?

But she worries about the trend toward niche marketing and the lack of varying perspectives in a highly targeted study Bible. Her solution?

If I were to envision the “best practices” that might evolve from the phenomenon of diverse study bibles, it would be something that our new internet technologies might make possible-a kind of high tech, inter-religious “miqra’ot gedalot.” I would love to assemble for my students a biblical text surrounded by (at least) four kinds of commentary — mainline protestant, evangelical protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. Or one could construct a similar dialogical volume constructed around North American, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, African, and Asian Christian perspectives. A Jewish seminary might construct a quite different assemblage of traditional and contemporary Jewish annotations. As one can imagine, the possibilities are truly endless.

I read this and thought to myself, “She’s describing the Libronix DLS!”A few minutes later, I’d slapped together a workspace all set up to study the “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin” passage in Daniel 5.

If you click the thumbnail image above, you’ll see a “dialogical studydesk” that I’ve created using only books that are available today. Starting at the top left…the Bible version is Tanakh (it’s the one Newsom has her students use), with the NRSV on a tab as an alternate. Surrounding that are commentaries in the categories Newsom suggests: mainline protestant (Hermeneia), evangelical protestant (New American), and Catholic (Collegeville). Our “JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection” is still under development but I’d expect it to be released sometime in 2007.

At the far right side of the screen, I’ve got open a few select referencevolumes:the IVP Bible Background Commentary and Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, with A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature and Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament on tabs.

Various other titles could be substituted for the ones I chose here. (See, for example,our commentary guideand list of Bible dictionaries.)

And, of course, a workspace like this includes all the little conveniences you’ve come to expect from Logos Bible Software: resources that scroll together, dynamic linking to instantly and effortlessly look up an unfamiliarword in any language, Bible reference expansion upon hover, automatic footnoting, and so on.

But I think you get the point…

“Professor Newsom, the futureis now!”


  1. Tom Reynolds says:

    Nice layout! When will Logos have “Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, African, and Asian Christian perspectives” to add to the screen?

  2. Jeff Hansen says:

    Looks good :), but the link to the .png is a thumb, I had to “hack” my way to the large screen dump which is http://www.logos.com/media/blog/dialogical_study_bible.png and it looks fantastic. Way to much info perhaps.. heh. Looking forward to the JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection!
    cheers guys and gals,

  3. Mary-Ellen Vian says:

    I love your desktop, Daniel. Wouldn’t it be interesting (and fun!) to get some professors of Dr. Newsom’s calibre to suggest “wishlist” workspaces for various types of studies?

  4. Kenneth Siu says:

    Living and working as a Pastor in Macau, I am as distant to Washington as s star is to the earth. I’ve yet to enjoy the fruits of taking part in one of Morris’ camps.
    I’m intrigued by what you’ve done with your example of the “future is now” workspace.
    Is there any possibility of devising a tutorial type of CD or DVD for purchase so we can learn how to use the Libronix Library efficiently without taking the time and travel to attend a workshop in the States?
    It was suggested to me that if I could assemble enough people together here we might get a workshop here but that is too difficult logistically.
    I hope something can be worked out for our benefit.
    Thank you for listening.
    Have a Happy New Year!

  5. Ken, check out http://www.logos.com/training for Morris Proctor’s tutorial disc, free training videos, how-to articles, and more. You may also enjoy the MP Tips & Tricks Blog, updated 2x per week: http://tips.logos.com.
    Jeff, I fixed the malformed link to the full size screenshot. Sorry about that.
    Tom, we’re working on growing the library as fast as we can, both in terms of breadth and depth. If you have particular volumes in mind, send your ideas to suggest@logos.com. We’re always eager to get users’ input!

  6. Brian Smith says:

    Are there any Hebrew perspective commentaries already in Logos Scholar’s Editions? Are there any other Hebrew resources that you are currently working on?
    Also, what kind of resources are available for finding out the theological perspective of various works? (i.e. – how do you know which are mainline protestant, evangelical protestant, catholic, or Jewish?)
    Enjoying all the new tools in Logos, and looking forward to finishing my undergrad degree so I can find some time to start using some of the new functionality.
    Thanks for all the great work!

  7. Brian, we’re working on a number of titles from JPS: http://www.logos.com/search/jps
    Theological perspective can be ascertained from what you know about the publisher, and sometimes from the reviews and endorsements posted on the product’s page. I tried to give some idea of perspective in the product guide on commentaries – http://www.logos.com/commentaries/multivolume – but it can be tricky to navigate the landmines in such a project (see http://blog.logos.com/archives/2006/01/product_guide_to_multivolume_c.html ).
    The links I give at the bottom of that blog post might be helpful…