Highlighting English Based on Greek Morphology

It’s cool to see features and datasets combine in ways that weren’t originally anticipated.
Just the other day, Eli and I were talking with Dale Pritchett (VP Marketing and Bob’s father!) and Dale wondered about how to highlight an English text based on Greek or Hebrew morphology. Sort of like this:

Eli and I looked at each other quizzically. Then at about the same time we had the answer: Reverse Interlinear! And the cool part is that the feature already works in Logos Bible Software 3! It is a consequence of having data and functionality already in place, we just hadn’t quite stopped to realize the extent of the functionality. But it is a consequence of:

  • Having Reverse Interlinears available that align the original language texts (Greek and Hebrew) with a modern language translation at the word level.
  • Having morphological information in the original language texts underlying the English translation of the Reverse Interlinear.
  • Having a Visual Filter (a method of overlaying highlighting based on specified criteria) for morphologies.

Because of the architecture of Logos Bible Software … well, it just works. Nothing extra needed.
Here’s a short video (Flash, approx. 0.7 MB, no sound) that walks through how to specify the visual filter for the reverse interlinear. It walks through setting up a visual filter that highlights where finite verbs (i.e., verbs in the indicative, imperative, subjunctive or optative moods) occur in the Aorist tense. These will be visually highlighted with the “Box” style, so you can simply see them as you scroll through the text. And you’ll see how the ESV handles translating them. After the visual filter is set, I then show how interlinear lines are customizable. In the end, you see only the English text of the ESV, but the English words that represent the aorist verbs are highlighted … and no Greek is in sight.

Video: Flash, approx. 0.7 MB, no sound

Pretty cool. Give it a try if you’re running the Release Candidate!

Deissmann is Downloadable!

Folks who follow the Logos Newsgroups or have read this blog for awhile know that I have a soft spot for Adolf Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East (LAE). This book went from dream, to community pricing project, to pre-pub, and it is now available for users to download and purchase!

If you don’t know much about why a book by a guy named Deissmann could be helpful for your studies of the New Testament, check out this blog post I wrote last August.

If you’re unfamiliar with our Community Pricing projects, you should acquaint yourself with them. In Deissmann we have a tangible example of how beneficial it can be to subscribe to projects in their early (and somewhat uncertain) stages.

Here’s how the pricing progressed during the early stages of this product’s lifetime:

Thanks and congratulations to those who subscribed early (and, some of you, often!). You got a great resource at a fantastic price. I trust you’ll find Deissmann’s LAE to be a beneficial secondary source to consult for more information when working with New Testament (Hellenistic) Greek.
If you are not a regular pre-pub or community pricing bidder, jump in now. There are still plenty of deals to be had!

In search of the King James Version

Thoroughness is one of the hallmarks of electronic books produced for Logos Bible Software. When we produce an electronic edition of a printed book we try to include all of the content and every bit of relevant formatting. We also include detailed bibliographic information so that users can cite our electronic editions with confidence.

For this reason it always bothered me that our King James Version of the Bible – the textual patriarch of English-language Bible study – offered so little in the way of formatting, notes, and bibliographic detail. The KJV was our first electronic text, and while we have dozens of print copies, we produced our KJV from electronic sources.

In 1991, when we started working on Logos Bible Software, we purchased a disk set with the KJV text from Public Brand Software. It consisted of the text of the verses and nothing else, but it was adequate for our initial development and testing. Larry Pierce, who wrote The Online Bible, used this same text as the basis for his electronic KJV, but he hand corrected the files to match the 1769 Blayney Edition, published by Cambridge University Press, and added Strong’s numbers.

Larry’s text of the KJV was clearly the best available. Subsequent analysis has shown it to be error-free in its transcription of the Blayney Edition, and the addition of Strong’s numbers made it even more useful. With permission, we used it as the first electronic book released for Logos Bible Software.

Still, we got calls, letters, and emails from users who claimed it did not match their printed KJV. We discovered that, contrary to widely-held views, there is not one single text of the KJV. Almost no one is using (or even could use) the original 1611 text, and in the years since then there have been many intentional and unintentional typographic, editorial, and spelling changes propagated in hundreds of different editions.

Moreover, we did not even have a paper copy of the Blayney Edition we were distributing. Our electronic text was simply the Bible text, and we were missing front matter, notes, bibliographic information and more. While this isn’t a problem for Bible study, it is a problem for people comparing editions and preparing academic papers.

We went on a hunt for a definitive King James Version in print that we could reproduce completely, with all the bibliographic and supplementary material. We wanted a text with a clear pedigree and the smallest chance of errors introduced in multiple settings and printings.

After talking with publishers, Bible societies, and scholars, we concluded that the 1873 Cambridge Paragraph Bible, edited by F. H. A. Scrivener, was the best edition to use. More than a century after the Blayney Edition, Scrivener had done an incredibly comprehensive and careful revision of the KJV text. The text was paragraphed. Poetry was formatted in poetic form. Italics and cross references were thoroughly checked. Most importantly, Scrivener thoroughly documented his work. He noted errors in earlier editions and provided a “List of Passages in which this Edition follows others in departing from the Text of 1611.”

Scrivener’s edition of the text has been reprinted in later editions, but we wanted the whole thing, with all of the appendices and notes, straight from the original. So we began a year-long search for a printed copy that we could borrow long enough to photograph at high resolution using our robotic book scanner.

During our search, Cambridge University Press released A Textual History of the King James Bible, by David Norton. Norton’s book is a companion to the recently released New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, the latest and possibly most definitive KJV edition to date.

Norton’s book is an awe-inspiringly detailed look at the history of the text itself, and its preservation and corruption over the years. (I use the word corruption as a technical, not theological, term.) It reinforced for us the conclusion that identifying a definitive “real KJV” is nearly impossible. It also made it clear that nobody spent more time on the problem than Scrivener. (In explaining why no work was done on the cross references in his New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, Norton confesses to lacking Scrivener’s energy. If you read this book, you will confess to lacking the energy of either of them.)

We are trying to get permission to produce an electronic edition of the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, but we believe that there is still value in having access to Scrivener’s monumental edition, complete with formatting, italics, cross references, introductions, apocrypha, and incredibly detailed appendices. So, when we finally found an 1873 original that we could borrow, we photographed it at high resolution and had it typed at 99.995% accuracy.

(We normally have books typed at 99.95% accuracy, which requires double-keying and comparing the files. We had the Cambridge Paragraph Bible checked to 99.995% accuracy, the highest level our vendor would guarantee.)

Our edition for the Libronix DLS is the most comprehensive and best documented KJV available electronically. The integration of the marginal notes and cross references into popup footnotes makes it easy to read. The Compare Parallel Bible Versions tool lets you compare the two KJV editions, and the ability to search appendices by Bible reference makes it easy to find Scrivener’s explanations for the different readings or spellings.

The 1769 Blayney and 1873 Cambridge editions side by side. The Cambridge features poetry formatting and notes. The comparison report below shows the single word difference in Proverbs 4

The Libronix DLS-compatible Cambridge Paragraph Bible will be available with the release of Logos Bible Software 3. We will even have the page photographs available in the future.

The page image for Proverbs 4 in the 1873 Cambridge edition.

Teach yourself Greek, too!

In response to last week’s blog post about the First Hebrew Primer, astute reader ‘Jeff’ inquired:

…will Logos try something similar with Greek? I would definitely be interested in that as well, just as I would if it was latin :)

In fact, we offer just such a product for Greek—Kairos: A Beginning Greek Grammar & Workbook by Dr. Fred Long who teaches NT Greek at Bethel College in Indiana.

It introduces the student (self-taught or in a class) to biblical Greek, starting with the very basics such as how to write Greek characters.

The accompanying workbook reinforces learning and lets you use the principles and vocab taught in the grammar. Exercises include crossword puzzles, readings, fill-in-the-blank, and sentences to translate.

While Greek pronunciation is not part of the Kairos package, Logos offers an inexpensive and cleverly-implemented Addin that is great for learning to pronounce Greek. With the Greek Pronunciation Addin installed you can right-click on a Greek word in any morphologically tagged resource and hear a pronunciation of that word’s dictionary form. The Addin has two pronunciation styles—Erasmian and Modern—and also includes pronunciations for the Greek alphabet (again, in both styles).

The Greek words in Kairos are not morph-tagged but Greek Bibles such as Nestle-Aland 27th Edition Greek New Testament are. That means you can effectively drill yourself on how to pronounce the dictionary form of every word in the Greek New Testament!

So it looks like 2006 is the year you can learn both Hebrew and Greek! What are you waiting for?

The Lexham Clausal Outlines of the Greek New Testament

I’ve blogged a lot about new resources and capabilities in the realm of Greek syntax over the past months.

One piece of that puzzle that I haven’t blogged about at all is a work that is called The Lexham Clausal Outlines of the Greek New Testament by Dr. Dean Deppe of Calvin Theological Seminary.

Part structural outline, part block diagram and part clausal annotation, this is a unique work that preachers and expositors will find helpful as they examine larger chunks of the Greek New Testament in preparation for teaching and preaching or for personal study.

[Read more...]

Now You Must Learn Hebrew

Think of it…2006 could be the year that you finally get around to learning Hebrew! And I’m pretty sure we just took away your last excuse for not doing it.

On Wednesday, we finished work on The First Hebrew Primer: Textbook, Answer Book & Audio Companion, which is a complete system for learning the language of Moses, David, and the ancient prophets! This is your last chance to take advantage of the prepublication discount pricing so don’t dillly-dally. For one low, low price you’ll get the textbook, the answer key, and 9 discs worth of audio (compressed onto one CD-ROM).

I know, I know…all those squiggles and dots can seem intimidating. But The First Hebrew Primer takes you by the hand and helps you build the confidence to succeed. Starting right at the very beginning, the primer introduces the Hebrew alphabet (‘aleph-bet’), demonstrates correct pronunciation, introduces vocabulary, then builds on that vocabulary in readings and exercises. Each chapter begins with an oral review of earlier material so you’re always building on your skills.

I’ve had the privilege to correspond with the fine people at EKS Publishing, who developed and publish the print edition of The First Hebrew Primer. This is a system created by people who love biblical Hebrew and want you to love it, too.

They realize that the best way to stay motivated is to use your knowledge right away! So the first words you learn will be some of the most frequently-occurring words in the Hebrew Bible. You will be reading familiar folk tales like The Boy Who Cried Wolf (in Hebrew) by Chapter 8 and sections of the biblical book of Ruth by Chapter 10. By the end of the Primer, you will have learned most words that occur 200 or more times in the Bible.

The Logos implementation of this resource is superb. Working closely with the publisher, we embedded links from the textbook to the answer key and to the audio clips.

Click for the full size image.

As you can see, the answer key is a separate resource. This helps you avoid taking shortcuts by peeking. But when it’s time to check your work (which you’ll write out by hand on old-fashioned tree pulp), just click a ‘dagger’ symbol (†) to open up the Answer Book and see how you did.

The text developers also did something cool with the audio, which was to split the tracks into bite-sized chunks and embed them with the textual content. So instead of loading a disc into your CD player, finding the right track, and hitting fast forward/pause/play/rewind/pause…you just click an asterisk (*) to hear the audio clip for that word or that line of the reading, instantly. And click play to hear it again.

The audio is compressed in MP3 format and sounds fantastic. Check out the audio samples and additional screenshots.

Still reading? What are you waiting for…place your pre-order now and make this the year that you finally learn Hebrew!

Tidbit from the UBS Handbook on Mark

I was reading in the UBS Handbook on Mark lately and came across a choice bit on the topic of repentance. If you own the book, you can open it to the Introduction and follow along.

…any translator who is working in a language which is outside the Indo-European family of languages will need to have help on just how the various interpretations, as may exist in the Greek, can be adequately rendered in some other language. For these problems the commentaries are relatively useless, for there is no real need and, consequently, little attempt to explore these difficulties. In English, for example, the explanation that the Greek term for “repent” means “to change the mind” offers little difficulty to the reader. In many languages, however, “to change the mind” means merely “to change one’s opinion,” which is a far cry from the radical change envisaged by the original Greek term. It is necessary, therefore, to add that the meaning of “repent” in Kekchi, a language of Guatemala, is brought out by the phrase “it pains my heart”; in Baouli, of the Ivory Coast, “it hurts so much I want to quit” is the proper equivalent; in Northern Sotho, of South Africa, one must say “it becomes untwisted,” and in Tzeltal, of Mexico, the correct expression is “my heart returns because of my sin.” The idiom “to beat the breast” needs no explanation for English readers, but translators working in many of the languages of Africa need to be warned that this idiom, when literally translated, may mean “to congratulate oneself” (the equivalent to the English “pat oneself on the back”)…

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993, c1961). A handbook on the Gospel of Mark. Originally published: A translator’s handbook on the Gospel of Mark, 1961. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (vii-viii). New York: United Bible Societies.

The quotation illustrates not only how the Handbook Series serves the needs of translators but also how valuable it is for providing a fresh look at familiar passages and theological concepts. And isn’t that the challenge of pastors and teachers of all stripes, in all countries…to communicate the Word of God in a way that stirs hearts and changes lives?

(By the way, the footnote was automatically generated by Libronix. Just CTRL-C copy, CTRL-V paste, and there it is. Bam. I love this software.)

35 New Training Videos Posted

We just posted 35 new training videos to the Training area of Logos.com.

The videos show how to most effectively use Logos Bible Software for biblical language study. And, yes, we have videos for both Greek and Hebrew.

In the coming months we will be producing a lot more web-based video tutorials and have some refinements in mind for presenting them…but I thought you’d want to know about the first batch to come out of the oven.

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...