Mike Heiser Starts Blogging

Our own Mike Heiser has entered the blogging world, and he’s not messing around. On May 1 he launched not 1, but 7 new blogs!

Here they are:

Mike describes Every Thought Captive as his "nerve center" blog. The Exegetica Digita blog is about "bringing research in the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament into the 21st century." The Naked Bible, which may ruffle a few feathers, proposes to show us "what biblical theology looks like in its ancient context, freed from denominational confessions and theological systems." PaleoBabble is "your antidote to cyber-twaddle and misguided research about the ancient world." Scribal Practices is devoted to "learning and discussing the languages of the Bible and the ancient Near East." Two Powers in Heaven focuses specifically on Mike’s study on the divine council and is sure to help you better understand "the ancient Israelite context for first century Judaism’s binitarian monotheism and the Christian Godhead." UFO Religions deals with how, for many people, the UFO phenomenon replaces or redefines traditional religions, especially Christianity.

I’m happy to see yet another scholar begin blogging, and I look forward to keeping tabs on Mike’s latest musings.

To learn more about RSS and see the other feeds that we have available, check out the article Logos and RSS.

Help from ‘Left Field’

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Steve Runge, a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, whose work focuses on the discourse grammar of Hebrew and Greek.

I am currently teaching a class on the parables of Jesus at my church. We are looking at the parables that occur in more than one gospel and taking note of how they are used in each. Along the way we have come across differences in wording, begging that question: ‘So what?’

This week we looked at the ‘salt’ passages, found in Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49-50; and Luke 14:34-35. We noticed that there are some significant differences in how this parable is related to the preceding context in the different gospels. There are two new resources called the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament that provide some really helpful insight into issues like this. These resources annotate where the NT writers used various devices to get our attention, emphasize things, build suspense, etc.

Another important contribution of these resources is a description in the left column that tells you what each line of the text is doing. This analysis is informed by things like the Greek conjunction used, the morphology of the verb, and the role that it plays in the larger context. We were using the Lexham High Definition New Testament in class, and it was really easy to point out how the different gospel writers wanted to connect the salt parable to the preceding context, since it was plainly spelled out in the left column. ‘Proposition means that there are no specific instructions about how to relate what follows to what precedes.  ‘Support’ indicates that what follows in intended to strengthen or support what precedes, but does not advance the story or the argument. ‘Principle’ indicates that what follows is a summary or conclusion drawn from what precedes, often providing the big idea for the section that follows. Take a look at the highlighted descriptions in the left column.

In Matthew’s gospel, the saying follows right on the heals of the Beatitudes. In Greek there is no specific conjunction that tells the reader how to connect it; it is just the next saying.

In Mark the section just before describes how it is better to cast off a part of you that causes you to sin than to keep it and risk being thrown into hell. The saying about the salt is connected to this with the Greek conjunction γάρ (for). This instructs us to understand what follow as supporting or strengthening what precedes, rather than introducing a new point. In other words, Mark has signaled with γάρ that the saying about the salt is connected to what precedes, supporting and strengthening it.

If you look at Luke 14:34, you will see that the verse begins with a bullet. In the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament, you can see that the bullet stands in the place of the Greek conjunction οὖν (therefore). This word signals that what follows is a principle or summary drawn from what precedes. In other words, it either summarizes what precede, or introduces a new principle that is drawn from what precedes. The preceding section in Luke describes counting the cost of discipleship, illustrated by the consideration that should be given before building a tower or going to war against a superior force. This means that Luke wanted us to read the saying about the salt as drawing from and building upon what precedes.

In each of these gospels, the saying about the salt losing its saltiness warns us about the hazard of losing the distinctive quality that makes us who we are, illustrated by salt losing its saltiness. In Matthew Jesus has just taught that when we encounter persecution for pursuing righteousness, we should rejoice and be glad. In such circumstances, one might be tempted to water down their faith, or put their light under a basket (cf. 5:15). The reference to salt adds to this same point by asking the question: ‘What good is salt if it loses its saltiness?’ If we water-down or hide our faith, then what’s the point?

In Mark, the same point is made by the reference to salt. If there is some part of us that is causing us to sin, that might destine us for hell, is it really worth hanging on to? The reference to salt presents the same issue from a different angle. The salting with fire suggests a refining process. But if this process does not produce real, salty salt, then what’s the point? The Christian life is not about hanging on to what Jesus died to free us from, but about being the salt and light that he redeemed us to be.

In Luke, Jesus has just given a summary principle in v. 33 drawn from the illustrations of building a tower and going to war: “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (ESV). The saying about the salt is building upon this point, providing a practical illustration of what happens when someone follows without renouncing all: he or she is salt that is not salty. If the salt is no longer salty, then what’s the point?

This is just a one example of the kind of help that the left column information of the Lexham High Definition New Testament and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament can provide. It can really pay dividends in helping you understand the really hairy passages that use very complex grammar, unpacking it one bit at a time. Check out Romans 2:17 in the HDNT:

Paul wants to set up a very complex state of affairs, one which can get confusing in a hurry if you are just reading it in a continuous paragraph. His main point is this: Do you not teach yourself? The ‘complex’ marker tells you that the line that is only indented one place is the main idea of the complex clause. In this case, the main thought is the ‘principle’ line. The rest of the parts are indented and labeled to help you understand what role each plays, and to let you easily find the main idea.

We are nearing completion on this project, which means two things: it will be shipping soon, and the price will be going up when it is removed from Pre-Publication. Take warning; buy soon if you haven’t already!

If you missed them, be sure to check out Steve’s previous posts.

Which Theologian Uses the Most Latin: Fun with Data Types and Regular Expressions

I thought it would be fun in our series on understanding data types (see the introduction and definitions) to give you an example of how you can use language data types to perform language-specific searches.

Before we actually get into the searching, let’s see how well you know your theologians. Which of the following theologians uses the most Latin? For the purpose of setting some boundaries, I’m limiting our analysis to theologians who have written a systematic/dogmatic theology.

Here are the ones we’ll be looking at:

What’s your guess? Which one has the highest percentage of Latin?

Here’s how you can find out.

Step 1: Search for All Latin Words

To find all Latin words, there are two things you need to know. First, you need to tell Libronix to search only Latin text. To do so, use {la}{/} putting the word or phrase between the } and the { (e.g., {la}pro{/}). To find all words, you’ll need to use the regular expression /[A-Za-z]+/ or the simpler /.+/ (or /[^0-9]+/, if you want to omit numbers). For simplicity, we’ll use {la}/.+/{/}.

Here are the results in descending numerical order:

  • Barth: 66,896
  • Hodge: 38,674
  • Berkouwer: 11,603
  • Henry: 2,742
  • Strong: 2,528
  • Pannenberg: 2,050
  • Shedd: 2,001
  • Bloesch: 1,812
  • Calvin: 1,034
  • Reymond: 674
  • Chafer: 102
  • Ryrie: 84
  • Finger: 44
  • Duffield & Van Cleave: 19
  • Grudem: 9

Here’s a graph so you can visualize the data.

Click the image to see a larger version.

These results aren’t really "fair" because they don’t take into consideration the size of the work. To get more accurate numbers, we’ll divide the number of Latin words by the number of words in the entire book or set.

Step 2: Search for All Words

To find the total number of words, use the regular expression search /.+/. Notice that we are dropping the language tags because we want to find all words of all languages.

Here are the results in descending numerical order:

  • Barth: 5,327,292
  • Berkouwer: 1,567,109
  • Henry: 1,388,491
  • Chafer: 1,252,806
  • Hodge: 38,674/963,935
  • Strong: 884,930
  • Bloesch: 735,382
  • Calvin: 668,753
  • Shedd: 636,429
  • Pannenberg: 632,803
  • Grudem: 598,925
  • Reymond: 463,720
  • Duffield & Van Cleave: 276,956
  • Ryrie: 209,797
  • Finger: 196,014

Here’s another graph so you can visualize the data.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Barth’s 14-volume Church Dogmatics certainly is a massive work! (As a comparison point, Luther’s 55-volume Works has 8,210,982 words, only 50% more than Barth’s CD.)

When we divide the number of Latin words by the total number of words, we get these percentages (in descending order):

  • Hodge: 4.012% (38,674/963,935)
  • Barth: 1.256% (66,896/5,327,292)
  • Berkouwer: .740% (11,603/1,567,109)
  • Pannenberg: .324% (2,050/632,803)
  • Shedd: .314% (2,001/636,429)
  • Strong: .286% (2,528/884,930)
  • Bloesch: .246% (1,812/735,382)
  • Henry: .197% (2,742/1,388,491)
  • Calvin: .155% (1,034/668,753)
  • Reymond: .145% (674/463,720)
  • Ryrie: .040% (84/209,797)
  • Finger: .022% (44/196,014)
  • Chafer: .008% (102/1,252,806)
  • Duffield & Van Cleave: .007% (19/276,956)
  • Grudem: .002% (9/598,925)

Here’s what those data look like in a graph.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Did you guess Charles Hodge? By percentage his Systematic Theology is the most dense with Latin. If you’re going to read Hodge or many of these other theologians, then you’d better brush up on your Latin or have a good Latin dictionary handy! (Thankfully, all of the Latin in our edition of Barth’s Church Dogmatics includes English translation.)

Currently, the only Latin dictionary that is available in Libronix is Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary, which comes in the Collegeville Catholic Reference Library. But that’s about to change very soon. We currently have three Latin dictionaries on Pre-Pub.

Be sure to put your pre-order in for one—or all three!

If you’re into Latin, you’ll also want to check out the Works of John Owen (17 volumes), which restores all of Owen’s Latin works left out of modern reprints.

Other posts in this series:

Try Out the Pre-Pub Program—and Get a Free Book!

Have you ever tried out our Pre-Publication program? If not, this post is especially for you.

What Is the Pre-Pub Program?

Very simply put, the Pre-Pub program is a way for you to pre-order Libronix books at discounted prices before we produce them. It’s a win-win-win situation for you, us, and the publisher. You lock in the lowest prices and get a say in which new books we release. We benefit by knowing that at minimum our costs will be covered. And the publisher can test the waters to see if sufficient interest exists in digital versions of their books.

How Does It Work?

When we put new books or collections on Pre-Pub, they appear on the Pre-Pub page. (If you prefer, you can also see the latest releases by subscribing to our Pre-Pub RSS feed.) You "vote" for a title by placing a pre-order. Your credit card is not charged until the product ships, and you can cancel your pre-order any time before it ships.

The status of a new title begins at Gathering Interest. As pre-orders are placed, the bar moves up.

Once there are enough pre-orders to cover the production cost, the status changes to Under Development and our Electronic Text Development department begins creating the digital books.

Once the end is in sight and we have a solid estimated shipping date, we’ll add it to the page below the status.

When the product is ready to ship (or download), your credit card will be charged and your CD-ROM will quickly be on its way to your mailbox. If you chose the download option, you’ll receive an email telling you how to download and unlock your new books.

That’s it. It’s really that simple!

Try It Out

If you’ve been hesitant to use the Pre-Pub program because you’re not sure how it all works, now’s your chance to give it a try without any risk. We are offering How to Write: A Handbook Based on the English Bible by Charles Sears Baldwin on Pre-Pub for the special price of $0! Since we don’t normally give away Pre-Pubs, you will need to enter your credit card information to place your pre-order. But we promise that you won’t be charged a penny.

If you are a regular Pre-Pub purchaser, please pass the word on to your friends and encourage them to give it a try.

To learn more about our Pre-Pub Program, check out these two articles:

Who Has the Logos Blog on Their Blogroll?

In the blog post on Friday, April 18, we invited you to add us to your blogroll and to let us know by leaving a comment on that post and sending an email to blog@logos.com. I thoroughly enjoyed checking out your blogs. I was already aware of a good number of them, but many were new to me.

Here’s the list of everyone who responded, in chronological order:

Nick Norelli: Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Eric Morgan: Eric G. Morgan

Reid Ferguson: ResponsiveReiding

Charles Savelle: BibleX

Jonathan Swales: The Theological Ramblings of an Anglican Ordinand

“Roger Mugs”: Theologer

Jason Siemens: Pastor Jason

Chuck Cherry: Scribblings

Richard Wilson: Bibbia Blog

Shawn Anthony: Lo-Fi Tribe

Randy McRoberts: The Upward Way Press

Andrew Tatusko Notes from Off-Center

Rob Kuefner: Why Would Anyone Read This?

Jay Crisostomo: Mu-pàd-da

Mark Ward: MarkLWardJr

Kevin Purcell: KevinPurcell.org

Nathan Stitt: Discipulus Scripturae

Justin Langley: Woe to Me If I Do Not Preach the Gospel

Wendy Morgan WendyHMorgan

Mark Hoffman: Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

Garrett Ho: Seminarian

Terry Lange: From the Unknown

Adam Couturier: Thoughts from a Young, Slightly Cantankerous, Aspiring Theologian

Mike Aubrey: ἐν ἐφέσῳ: Thoughts and Meditations

Stephen Jones: The Desert Chronicle

Mike Johnson: The Siberian Grinder

Howard Diehl: Sans Contexte

John Fidel: Bible Software Newsletter and Comments

Andy Naselli: Thoughts on Exegetical, Biblical, Historical, Systematic, and Practical Theology

Robert Austell: Lighthouse/Searchlight Church

Brian Henderson: TheGatherings!

Wilson Tan: The Inklings’ Cafe

Michael Wilson: Living Free Today

Alan Gielczyk: The Truth IN Context

Samuel Powell: Nerd Heaven

Thomas C. Black: Truth Is Still Truth

John Norman: Truth Is Still Truth

Jacob Hantla: Hantla.com

Vitali Zagorodnov: Three Ways to Live

Pastor Wit: I Do You To Wit

Steven Baxley: Pleonast.com

Sean Boisen: Βλογος

Jeremiah Gumm: The Shepherd’s Study

Steve Allen: A Sermon a Day...

Christopher Gallagher: Preacher’s Pen

Jeff Brown: By Grace Alone

Brandon Schmidt: Shore Youth Ministry

Matt Flummer: Said at New Orleans Seminary

David Wells: Reformed Cruiser

Go give them a visit and find out how others are putting Logos to use.

If you have Logos in your blogroll but missed out, leave a note in the comments with a link to your blog.

Two New Lexicons on Pre-Pub

Digging into the original languages is a very important part of advanced Bible study, and we are continually striving to find ways to make it more accessible and more powerful. Tools like the reverse interlinears and the Bible Word Study report make rich data—formerly available only to those with a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek—easily accessible to those with little or no original language training. For those who are comfortable working with the original languages, our syntax tools make a whole new level of study possible.

While there’s a huge range of tasks involved in Bible study, one of the most fundamental is gaining a proper understanding of the various nuances of meaning that individual words are capable of communicating. Having a number of different lexical tools to consult is crucial. We already have quite a nice offering of Greek lexicons and Hebrew lexicons, but there’s always room for more. And, of course, there’s really no better way to access lexical works than in the Libronix Digital Library System, where lookups are only a click away.

Now on Pre-Pub are these two first-rate works:

Both would make great additions to the library of every serious Bible student. If you don’t know much about them and don’t want to take my word for it, there’s lots of good information on the product pages. In less then 24 hours, both sets reached nearly 50% of the pre-orders needed to send them into production. Your pre-orders will help take them to 100%.

Understanding Data Types: Definitions

Last week I started a series on data types. If you haven’t yet read the first post, Understanding Data Types: Introduction, take a minute to look it over. It’ll give you some very basic starting points that will help you with this post and the following posts.

According to Eli Evans, one of our information architects, “datatypes and keylinking are the two most important concepts in the Libronix DLS.” If you’re like I was prior to digging into this recently, you’re probably missing out on some of the power of Libronix by not fully understanding these key concepts. Eli’s discussion of data types is hard to improve upon, so I’ll just borrow from it and put some of the ideas in my own words. I encourage you to read his post as well.

What Is a Data Type?

A data type is a grouping or association of similar data. There are several different categories of data types. Two of the most common ones, which we’ll discuss in future posts, are language data types (e.g., a Greek word in an English article) and reference data types (e.g., a Bible reference or a Josephus reference).

A data type is not resource specific. Some of the links in Libronix resources will take you to a specific location in a specific resource. There’s only one place the link can go, and if you don’t have the resource, it won’t go anywhere. These are not data type links. There’s a second type of link that doesn’t point to a specific place in a specific resource but rather to a data type that often has several suitable destinations. A great example of this is Bible reference links. Clicking on most Bible references doesn’t take you to a specific Bible like the KJV, but to your preferred Bible, which you can set in Tools > Options > Keylink by selecting Bible from the Data Type drop down and promoting your favorite Bible from the list of resources at the bottom. (You can also select your preferred Bible by clicking “Customize View” on the Logos home page.)

This is one of the benefits to data types: you can choose your keylink targets and prioritize them according to your liking.

What Is a Keylink?

It might be helpful to think of keylink and keylinking as just a fancy way of referring to looking stuff up—things like words (or other bits of text like abbreviations) or references. Reference keylinks look like hyperlinks on web pages (but without the underlining). Clicking them will execute them and open the keylink target based on what resources you have and how you have prioritized them. But just about every word, even if it is not hyperlinked, can be a keylink, as long as there is an appropriate keylink target. (BTW, you execute a keylink that doesn’t look like a hyperlink by double clicking it or by choosing “Selected Text” > “Execute Keylink” from the right-click menu.)

What Is a Keylink Target?

A keylink target is a resource that contains relevant data for a certain data type. So any version of the Bible would be a keylink target for John 1:1. Any English dictionary (as well as any Bible dictionary or encyclopedia) would be a keylink target for an English word. Any Greek lexicon would be a keylink target for a Greek word. And any edition of the Apostolic Fathers would be a keylink target for an Apostolic Fathers reference.

There are two ways to find out if a certain resource can be a keylink target for a given data type. The first is to look in About This Resource, which you can access from the right-click menu in My Library

or, with a resource opened and selected, by clicking Help > About This Resource.

Look for checkmarks in the column titled Keylink Target.

The second way is to look at the data type in Tools > Options > Keylink. Select the data type from the drop-down box (e.g., Greek), and look at the resources listed under “Default Order of Resources and Actions.” These are the resources that Libronix will use to look up that data type. You can promote and prioritize them however you want for each of the data types.

What Does It Mean that a Data Type Is Searchable?

In About This Resource under the Data Types section, there is also a column titled Searchable.

This has to do with reference data types, like Bible references, Calvin’s Institutes references, etc. A checkmark is telling you that you can use the Reference Browser to search for all the places where a given reference or range of references is cited in that particular book or series of books. This is possible for two reasons: (1) our team of book designers and book developers has meticulously tagged these references, and (2) these references are data types. There are most likely other links not listed here because they are not data type links but links to specific locations in specific resources (for the difference, see above under “What Is a Data Type?”). I pointed out one example of this kind of searching in the blog post on the Works of Cornelius Van Til. In a future post, I’ll show some other scenarios where this can be incredibly useful.

Here are some related posts you might find helpful.

Other posts in this series:

Logos on Your Blogroll

We love having a passionate group of users who talk about us and promote us on their websites and blogs. Word of mouth promotion from happy customers goes a long way in helping Logos grow. And that growth allows us to make better software and offer even more top-notch books. So a big thank you to all of our vocal users, new and old, for spreading the word about Logos Bible Software! We’re grateful to have such an enthusiastic user base.

Add the Logos Blog to Your Blogroll

One additional way that you can really help us out is by adding the Logos blog to your blogroll (and adding a link to www.logos.com in your web links, if applicable). Many of our users who blog already have us in their blogrolls, but perhaps some of you have just never thought about it. If you like the Logos blog and benefit from what you read here, please add us to your blogroll.

We’ll even do you a favor in return. Our blog post on Monday, April 28, will feature all of the bloggers who have us in their blogrolls—at least all the ones we know about. Make sure to let us know by leaving a comment on this post and sending an email to blog@logos.com with Blogroll in the subject line. (Make sure to do both in case one doesn’t make it.) What if we’re already in your blogroll? That’s okay. We’ll make sure you make the list either way.

The deadline to receive your submission is midnight (PST) on Friday, April 25. Please leave your comments and send your emails by then.

One final thing: if you can work “Bible Study” into your link text somehow, that would be great.

Let the linking begin!

Spider Webs, Video Games, and Fun at the Office

It’s no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we like to have fun. While our fun usually involves food (our 2008 Salsa Cook-Off is tomorrow, by the way), sometimes it’s just a good prank.

Vincent Setterholm, who works in our design and editorial department and contributes to the blog on occasion, has been enjoying a pretty good chunk of vacation time. (Some of us were starting to wonder if he still worked here.) David Mitchell, one of our developers, and Ben Swier, our systems administrator, decided that this was the perfect opportunity to decorate Vincent’s office for him.

A prank like this doesn’t have to be in response to anything, but in this case there was a little payback going on. Last September on the day of the launch of a well-known video game, Vincent decided he’d have a little fun with Ben. He hid Ben’s brand new copy of the game (simply moving it 4 feet from its original resting place) while Ben was out of his office. Ben had been eagerly awaiting that day and had big plans to celebrate with some friends, so he was more than disappointed when it suddenly disappeared. Vincent was kind enough to show Ben where it was later that day, but enough time passed to warrant this nice little decoration party.

Vincent returned to the office yesterday. When I asked him if he had an official response to share with you, our blog readers, he declined to comment. He did point out, though, that his poor plants didn’t get any water in his absence.

Someone even went so far as to take note of their dire situation but do nothing about it.

Logos in the Blogosphere

I’m subscribed to a number of services like Technorati and Google Alerts so I can stay up with what people are saying about Logos on the Web. It’s a lot of fun finding out about new users and reading about how people from all walks of life are using Logos.

I’ve seen a few things that I thought were worth mentioning here on the blog, since most of you probably don’t keep up with what everyone is saying about Logos like I do. :)

Tutorial Videos

First, a user named Brett has started a new blog, Logos Bible Software Lessons, which provides basic and advanced video lessons on how to use Logos better. He has four helpful videos there so far:

  1. Customize the Logos Homepage
  2. Create & save a custom workspace in Logos
  3. Viewing Inline Strong’s Numbers
  4. Creating Parallel Resources

You can even subscribe to his video podcast. Nice work, Brett. Keep it up!

Don’t forget to check out all of the videos at www.logos.com/videos as well.

Syntax

Second, Mike at his ἐν ἐφέσῳ blog is doing a series of posts on our syntax searching tools. Here are the first two posts in the series:

If you’re trying to learn more about syntax searching, you’ll want to give Mike’s posts a read.

Also, if you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out the host of syntax videos at www.logos.com/videos.

Barth’s Church Dogmatics

Finally, there’s a nice review of Barth’s Church Dogmatics over at Faith and Theology. Ben has a helpful summary of its features and several cool screenshots.

Here’s his conclusion:

In sum, this is a wonderfully rich and delightfully user-friendly resource both for general theological readers and for students of Barth. The new digital edition will certainly be a tremendous help in my own future research! With its accessible format, enhanced search capabilities and seamless integration with so many other texts, it will no doubt establish itself as an indispensable resource for the next generation of Barth scholars, and for the wider community of pastors, theologians and students.

If you haven’t ordered yours yet, there’s still time to get in at the Pre-Pub price before it ships next Monday.