Mind the Gap

Socio-rhetorical

One of the big hurdles in preaching is bridging the cultural gap between our present setting and the society in which the NT documents were composed. It gets even harder when you realize there is actually more than one gap. Take the Apostle Paul for example. He was born in one of the Hellenistic Greek cultural centers, Tarsus. Let’s not forget that he was also a Roman citizen, which adds to the complexity. Acts 22:3 tells us that he was educated under Gamaliel as a strict Pharisee, adding yet another Jewish dimension to the picture. Is there any hope for properly unpacking the cultural baggage which underlies Scripture?

Ben Witherington and David deSilva have devoted much of their academic careers to addressing these issues, leading to the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series (8 Vols.). This eight volume set is enables you to successfully navigate these complexities by identifying the relevant cultural or rhetorical features in a given context. Each volume begins with a series of articles orienting you to key factors that shaped writer’s conception of the world. The balance of the book guides you through each passage, highlighting socio-rhetorical facets critical to soundly exegeting the passage.

Although the cultural divide can seem unwieldy, the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series is a great resource for bridging the gap. Although Witherington and deSilva are noted experts, their insights are delivered in clear, accessible language. Whether you are a seasoned expert or just jumping into these issues for the first time, I’d highly recommend adding this collection to your library.

Talmud Top Five

Community Pricing

We recently announced a pre-publication offer for the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. I’m pretty excited about this one, so I thought I’d put on my junior marketeer’s hat and share my Top Five Reasons why you might get excited about the Talmud prepub as well:

  1. The Talmuds are two of the most important documents for understanding Judaism, ancient and modern. The Talmuds are by far the two largest components of the dozen or so early Jewish documents that together form the ‘Oral Torah’ – that is the body of teachings passed down by word-of-mouth and eventually codified into writings that, alongside the Written Torah (the Hebrew Bible), are normative for Jewish faith and practice.
  2. The Talmuds are often used to explain Jewish practices mentioned in the New Testament. While the Talmuds were written down three to five centuries after the New Testament, the Talmuds cite individual rabbis for the teachings found within. These rabbis can be dated, making it possible to get a sense for the antiquity of the various teachings found in the Talmuds. (Neusner, the editor and main translator for this set, is less sanguine about the traditional approach to dating Talmudic material, and puts emphasis on the rabbinic literature being products of the time in which they were finally compiled. However, Neusner provides his own criteria for dividing the Talmud into different chronological strata.)
  3. Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other references works already in the Logos library cite the Talmuds extensively. I ran a search for the first tractate, Berakoth, across the entire Logos library and found over 13,000 hits ( using a regex search with Match Case turned on: /[bytp]?Ber(a[kc]h?oth?)?/ ). Some of those are related Mishnah references instead of Talmud references (they share the same tractate names) but Berakoth is just one of 49 tractates covered in the Talmuds, and this count doesn’t include books in production now which will greatly benefit from tagged references to the Talmuds, such as Lightfoot’s A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Tagging these sorts of references makes the software more efficient at helping you dig as deep as you want to go.
  4. Even if one is fairly fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew, reading the Talmud requires special training due to the compact ‘encoding’ and formulae of the compositions. Neusner’s English translations provide parenthetical expansions of the text which ‘unpack’ the Talmuds, making them accessible to a much wider audience. Neusner also structures these texts using an outline format around ‘sense-units’ that visually convey the thought structure of the original texts that is often lost in other translations (you can see this approach in action in Neusner’s translation of the Mishnah as well).
  5. The price is right. The pre-pub cost for this set is the same as the CBD discount price for the PDF editions (a steal at $80 a Talmud—these are massive, multi-volume sets). The PDF editions are searchable and I think quite nice for PDFs, but they do not contain the type of data type milestones or tagging that make Logos books easy to navigate. For example, the PDFs are organized around Neusner’s chapter numbers, but these works are almost universally cited by folio number and an A or B to indicate which side of the folio. The Logos edition will be navigable and linkable by either Neusner’s own structural outline numbers or the traditional folio numbers. References to the Mishnah and the Bible will also be tagged as well, making this edition even more useful than the PDFs, all for the same price.

I’m excited about the avenues of exploration that will open up by having these texts available in the Logos library. If learning about ancient Judaism interests you, either for its own sake or for what it can teach about the New Testament or the Hebrew Bible, have a look at this prepub.

Build Your Library for Less!

Community Pricing

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, on the marketing team.

Logos has always been about providing the best quality in Bible study resources. One of the ways we do that is through our Community Pricing program, where our customers set the price for various titles and collections. We’ve had many deals throughout the years through Community Pricing, but the one that has everyone excited is The Greater Men and Women of the Bible, which is about to close this Friday.

Community Pricing allows you to set the price! Here’s how it works:

After estimating the cost of production, we provide a price range for you to bid for how much you would pay for a particular item. Simply click on a dollar amount on the graph to place your bid. Once there are enough bids, we can start producing the book. With Community Pricing, the more people who bid, the lower the price for everyone.

[Read more…]

Root for the Home Team with a New Logos Cap

mp|seminars Tips

Over the last few days the baseball world converged in Anaheim, California for the 81st Midsummer Classic, the 2010 All-Star Game. From FanFest to the Home Run Derby, to last night’s All-Star Game, fans and players alike were wearing the ball cap of their "home team" and enjoying the festivities.

Now Logos users have the perfect way to "root root root for the home team" with our one-size-fits-most Embroidered Brushed Cotton Twill Logos Cap.

Made from premium materials, the Logos cap features a relaxed-fit, low-profile unstructured crown and a pre-curved visor so it is ready to wear as soon as you get it. An embroidered Logos logo is prominently stitched on the front of the cap’s khaki crown, right above the contrasting navy bill, and the brass buckle on back makes the cap easily adjustable for a perfect fit.

So whether you’re using Logos Bible Software on the go on your iPhone, iPad, or laptop, relaxing in your backyard, or catching a ball game this summer, it’s time to retire your current favorite cap because as soon as you try on the all new Embroidered Brushed Cotton Twill Logos Cap, you’ll have a new favorite!

A cap like this typically costs $20 or more so at only $9.95, this is a steal. Get yours now, and consider ordering a few extras to give to your friends!

Traveling the Bible Lands with Logos 4

Today’s guest post is by Robert Campbell, from the Logos Bible Software marketing team.

Travels

If you’ve been fortunate enough to make the pilgrimage to Israel and the surrounding Bible Lands, then you can attest to the powerful impact it can have on your spiritual life. We are privileged to live in a time when visiting scriptural landmarks is relatively easy—just Google search “visit the Bible lands” and you have access to cheap plane tickets and Bible cruises galore.

What’s fascinating about one of our latest Pre-Pubs, Travels through Bible Lands Collection (15 Vols.), is not only that these adventurous explorers didn’t have our modern luxuries of airplanes and vacation packages, but that they traveled almost blindly into a wild and unknown terrain sometimes occupied by hostile communities. Some of these expeditions took years to accomplish, and many perished during these arduous journeys.

The travelogues and memoirs contained in the Travels through Bible Lands Collection offer us a pilgrimage of a different sort. We get to experience the Bible lands through a 19th century lens, guided by the archeologists and explorers who unearthed much of Babylon or mapped the shores of the Dead Sea. Our tour is on rickety boats and horseback instead of cruise liners and tour buses. We don’t follow a map to take pictures of a scriptural landmark; we get to experience firsthand when those landmarks were discovered.

The dangerous escapades and colorful characters that permeate these works rival any blockbuster action flick or adventure novel that comes to mind, but it’s the inspirational spirit of discovery which makes these works special. These writers shared the same innate urge we all have to see the places where the events of the Bible occurred, and they risked their lives to map them out and unearth them for the rest of us. And while I hope to someday travel the lands of Jesus and his apostles with my digital camera and air conditioned accommodations, I can’t help but marvel and cherish the written accounts these trailblazers left for us.

Pick up Travels through Bible Lands Collection (15 Vols.) at nearly 70% off of the retail price and let Logos 4 transport you to the Bible lands. It promises to be an educational trip.

A Complete Guide to Understanding the Dispensationalism Controversy

Today’s guest post is by Bethany Olsen, from the Logos Bible Software marketing team.

Logos is offering a new Pre-Pub on a much-debated topic. A Complete Guide to Understanding the Dispensationalism Controversy is a thoroughly researched and detailed look at dispensationalist interpretation. Few lay out this doctrine as clearly and meticulously as author Kerry Trahan, whose years of extensive research on the topic make his book a highly indispensable resource for all.

Dispensationalism has been around since the mid-1800s, and John Nelson Darby, creator of the 1890 Darby Bible and John Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible (5 Vols.), is considered to be the founding father of this school of thought. Some of the main points regarding this topic have to do with the dispensation, or grouping, of various people throughout the history of the Bible, as well as an emphasis on eschatology and ecclesiology. This doctrine has made a controversial yet significant impact on biblical interpretation since its inception, and is well-worth taking the time to understand.

For more information on dispensationalism, there is no better resource than A Complete Guide to Understanding the Dispensationalism Controversy. You will find Trahan’s work to be invaluable while researching dispensationalism for yourself, and his research will provide a valuable point of reference for entering into relevant theological discussions or sermon preparation. Whether you are a student, teacher, minister, or are simply hoping to glean more information on this important topic, you will love Trahan’s succinct and holistic approach to dispensationalism.

This Pre-Pub is already under development, and is well on its way to becoming a permanent and informative resource in your digital library.

Also available from Logos Bible Software:

Happy Birthday America

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To help celebrate America’s independence, download Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches & Sermons at almost 45% off the retail price.

Here at Logos, we pride ourselves at being a company that provides cutting edge Bible study materials to the world. When you look at all of the countries where we offer payment plans, you can see that—although we are an American based company—we have a strong international presence. In fact, we have some of the best customers on the planet!

We would love to have you join us in wishing the United States of America a happy 234th birthday on July 4! For those celebrating American independence this weekend, Logos has pulled the book Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches & Sermons out of the WallBuilders American Foundations Digital Library [DVD-ROM] and we’re offering it at nearly 45% off the retail cost through July 12th!

This 256 page book offers nine of the greatest early American orations about the blessings and responsibilities of liberty from some of America’s greatest orators: John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Samuel Davies, George Bancroft, Noah Webster, and others. Along with this collection of sermons and speeches comes historical glimpses and commentaries. If you are looking for a good resource, with plenty to consider and share regarding liberty and independence make sure you pick up a copy of Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches & Sermons.

For those outside of the United States, leave a comment and let us know which national holidays you would like to see Logos acknowledge. We’d love to hear from you.

Imagine a Christian Magazine in Every Public Library

biblestudymagazine

Our goal here at Logos is to make Bible study more accessible than ever. And now you can help!

With Bible Study Magazine, we are able to share better Bible study tips, aids, as well as thoughts about Bible study from well-loved and high profile Christians.

But, we’re not just your average Christian magazine. To quote Mr. Magazine, “Bible Study Magazine is just that: a magazine to study the Bible. Some will be quick to say, so what’s new about that? Aren’t there plenty of magazines that deal with Bible studies and such? Well, on the surface, the answer is yes, but the more I studied (no pun intended) the new magazine, the more I saw its point of difference. It is not your grandfather’s Bible study magazine.”

We want this cutting edge magazine on Bible study to make its way to your public library, to provide Bible study tips and encouragement to a wider audience than ever before. Simply stated, we want more people studying the Bible.

The public library system generally does not carry niche publications—unless people start asking for them. But Bible study is so much more than a niche. That means there’s one reason why a magazine about the Bible isn’t in libraries everywhere: we haven’t thought to ask for it yet. It’s time to take a stand.

Can our magazine go places no Christian magazine has gone before? The fact that Bible Study Magazine has been in the Whatcom County Public Library System, and now is in the Bellingham Public Library (both in Washington state) says it can!

But let’s not stop with Washington State; let’s get Bible Study Magazine into public libraries all over the nation.

It’s easy. It will take you five minutes, max. Just go to your public library’s website, and find their book request form. (They probably won’t have a periodical request form.)

Then enter this info and submit the form.


Title: Bible Study Magazine
Author: John D. Barry
Publication Date: 11/01/2008
Publisher: Logos Bible Software
ISBN (or ISSN): 1945-0923
Price: $14.95

Join us in making Bible study popular again. To find your local library’s website, click here.

God’s Word for Your Questions

Got Questions?

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, on the marketing team.

Logos has an exciting new resource under development for your library: Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered a collection of 2,000 common questions with answers straight from Scripture.

You might be wondering what sets this reference work apart from the other commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, and resource guides that Logos has to offer.

Got Questions is not just another reference guide. It is an invaluable supply of important answers to basic questions about life, faith, the Bible, and theology. The publisher, Got Questions Ministries, identified over 2,000 essential universal questions that affect all of us—questions such as:

  • Does God exist?
  • Is there life after death?
  • What is Christianity and what do Christians believe?
  • What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?
  • What is postmodernism?

Imagine that you are looking for some relevant topics to jump-start your small group or Sunday school discussions. The format of this resource is perfect for planning a meaningful dialogue about the nature of God, applying Scripture, or what the Bible has to say about salvation. You’ll have the Scripture references right at your fingertips, as well as a succinct explanation of the topic. Or maybe you are considering preaching a series on how Christianity answers life’s big questions. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered will help you get started finding the most applicable questions for your congregation. The concise answers will help you focus your sermons on what is truly pertinent to your listeners.

Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered was put on Pre-Pub this week and gathered enough interest for us to send it to development! As a starting point for study or just as a quick guide, this Pre-Pub is essential for your library. Be sure to get in on the lowest price available for this invaluable study tool.

Get Your Bible Study Tips Published!

biblestudymagazine

Do you have some great Bible study tips that have helped you in your study of Genesis? We want to hear about them!

The theme of Bible Study Magazine’s November/December 2010 issue will be Genesis: Tower of Babel to Joseph. We want you to submit your best Bible study tips on Bible Study Magazine’s Facebook page. The best tips will be published in our two-year anniversary issue, Nov/Dec ’10!

If you haven’t “Liked” the Bible Study Magazine page yet, make sure you do so. We are looking at interesting ways we can integrate content from the Facebook community into the magazine, and we are dreaming up some fun contests and giveaways as well! So, make sure you head over to the Bible Study Magazine’s Facebook page and “Like” it.

While you’re at it, check out the new Bible Study Magazine 2008–2009 collection on Pre-Pub. This complete collection of all the 2009 issues of Bible Study Magazine, plus the inaugural issue features over 350 pages of interviews, Bible study tips, info-graphics, archaeological and historical insights, and word studies. Just think, you can subscribe at nearly 50% off the cover price and never miss another issue and get the back issues from 2008 and 2009 you have missed in one bound volume!

And that’s right: Beth Moore is on the next cover! Tell your friends.