The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac

Eugene FieldAmong the 5,000 books available for the Libronix Digital Library System there are a few that make people wonder, “Why did they produce that one?”

Years ago, someone gave our family a copy of The Works of Eugene Field. In high school I read a few volumes with mild interest before getting to the final volume, The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac, with which I fell promptly in love.

I was in my seventh year then, and I had learned to read I know not when. The back and current numbers of the “Well-Spring” had fallen prey to my insatiable appetite for literature. With the story of the small boy who stole a pin, repented of and confessed that crime, and then became a good and great man, I was as familiar as if I myself had invented that ingenious and instructive tale; I could lisp the moral numbers of Watts and the didactic hymns of Wesley, and the annual reports of the American Tract Society had already revealed to me the sphere of usefulness in which my grandmother hoped I would ultimately figure with discretion and zeal. And yet my heart was free; wholly untouched of that gentle yet deathless passion which was to become my delight, my inspiration, and my solace, it awaited the coming of its first love.

Eugene Field was a poet and journalist in the late 19th century (most famous now for Little Boy Blue and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod). His fanciful memoir of an old bibliomaniac delighted me; I found within it the name of my book obsession and license to revel in the malady.
I memorized the first chapter for recitation at a drama competition, and for years afterwards I pressed copies into the hands of fellow book lovers.

One of these fellow bibliomaniacs worked at Logos in our text production department. He took it upon himself to type the entire book and then presented it, fait accompli, in Logos format. And so it went into our collection as an unlock, with about five to ten copies sold each year.

So, is it useful for Bible study? No, but it is a delightful read if you are enchanted by chapter titles like “The Luxury of Reading in Bed,” “On the Odors Which My Books Exhale,” and “Our Debt to Monkish Men.” And now it is free.

Visual Filters and Verb Rivers (Part II)

Earlier, I wrote an article titled Visual Filters and Verb Rivers (Part I) in which I described the use of a particular visual filter, the Morphology Filter in the Biblical Languages Addin.

That article got long, and I promised to follow it up later. Well … it’s later. And this is the follow-up.
The Morphology Filter is good for word-level and paragraph-level work. That is, when you are reading through the text and noticing morphological trends, the Morphology Filter helps these sorts of things jump out at you.

Upon noticing what seems to be a concentration of a particular morphological criteria in a particular paragraph or section, the next question is: Does this happen elsewhere in the book, or is this unique? In other words, with the Morphology Filter, you’re looking at the trees (or perhaps a particular grove of trees). But you need to step back and look at the whole forest now. This is what Verb Rivers help you to do.

(Holding back the urge to mix metaphors and crack a joke about going “over the river and through the woods” … )

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We Did Remember Hebrew

It would not do to have a syntactically tagged Greek NT without something similar for the Hebrew text. So we are partnering with Francis Andersen and Dean Forbes to make their three decades of work available to you for display and searching, too.

Visual Filters and Verb Rivers (Part I)

I’ve been working through 1Ti 4.11-16 in my personal study. One thing that jumps out in this passage is the amount of imperative verbs relative to 1Ti 1.1-4.10. These six verses contain 10 imperatives; nine of them are in the second person singular (thus likely addressed to the reader, Timothy).

This is an important feature of the passage (and in the larger discourse of the epistle), and it should be looked into.

But how does Logos Bible Software help you become aware of this sort of thing? There are two features (at least) that help one “see” these things. Visual Filters and Verb Rivers. These are available in the Biblical Languages Addin, which is already a part of some Logos packages (see bottom of this product page for details).

This article explores what sort of information these addins convey.
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From Morphology to Syntax

Morphologically analyzed texts have been an important feature of Bible software packages for years. Logos offers several different morphological analyses for the Greek NT and we will soon have three different analyses for the Hebrew. Recently we announced or shipped analyzed versions of the Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha, the Apostolic Fathers in Greek, and the Works of Philo. (The Works of Josephus aren’t far behind.)

But what if you want to look at syntax? There have not been a lot of tools available. Logos is partnering with OpenText.org to change that, and you soon will be able to see (and search!) a syntactically annotated Greek NT. The image below is an early view of just one of the ways you will be able to use this data.

Books That Last

When we marketing types at Logos talk about the benefits of electronic books over print, one benefit we include in the list is that electronic books are not easily destroyed. We like to point out that our books do not mold, mildew, fall apart, or fade over time. And when a hard drive crashes or computer is stolen, book files are easily replaced and licenses restored from our servers.

The durability of electronic books can seem like a theoretical benefit until some kind of personal catastrophe or natural disaster makes it very real.

I’m reminded of this as our support department reports they are beginning to hear from users who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina and are calling to request a set of replacement discs and a regenerated license file. Having access to one’s books is certainly a very small comfort in light of the massive losses sustained by so many, but I’m glad that we can help provide even that small step in a return to everyday life.
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Community Pricing: Adolf Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East

Since Bob has brought up the subject of Community Pricing, I figure it’s time to write about one of my favorite references that is (and has been) on the community pricing page: Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East.

I can remember when I first started working through definitions in BAGD (the second English edition of Bauer’s lexicon, now superceded by BDAG). This was in the early to mid 1990’s. I’d just finished college, with a year of Greek under my belt, determined not to let it lapse. I’d asked my professor which books I needed, and he simply said “Get BAGD.” I went to the bookstore, and they ordered it — and told me it would be $70.00! I swallowed that pill, had them order it, and haven’t regretted it.

Because I’d spent that money, I used BAGD whenever I needed to look up a word — which was (and still is) frequently. And I soon noticed an oft-repeated abbreviation: LAE.

It only took me a few times to look that up in the abbreviation table (this was before the electronic edition was released by Logos) to associate it with Light from the Ancient East by Adolf Deissmann. It was cited frequently. I didn’t have a print copy, so I never bothered to look it up.

But I was the one missing out. Two or three years ago, I finally broke down and located a used print copy of LAE and dug in. I read it from cover to cover and soon saw that LAE contained excellent background information from papyri, inscriptions and ostraca. These materials are transcribed, translated and discussed. Photos or drawings exist for most materials, so you can actually see the item being discussed.

The discussions are the valuable part, from my perspective. Deissmann brings much to the table that can help one in examining infrequent New Testament words.

Allow me to present one example:
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Using DBL’s Semantic Domains

When you are studying a word, it’s often a good idea to look at synonyms and antonyms for that word as well. For example, if you were studying the English word run, you might also want to consider how words like sprint, jog, or even gallop overlap in meaning with run, and to what extent they are different. You may also want to consider how run and its synonyms are transformed into other parts of speech: What can the word jogger tell us about the meaning of run that runny cannot?

Finding words that are related to one another in meaning is also useful for studying the Bible, or else resources like Girdlestone’s Synonyms of the Old Testament or Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament wouldn’t exist — not to mention Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains. The Louw-Nida dictionary is particularly interesting, since it arranges all the words of the Greek New Testament by means of a hierarchical taxonomy, where each entry rests within a “domain” of meaning alongside any other words that have some degree of semantic overlap.

That’s all fine and good if you’re only studying the Greek of the New Testament. But what about the Old Testament?

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Spanish Dividends

It costs so much to build English-language tools and, incrementally, so little to enable them for other languages that it seems a waste not to do so.

Our large investment in the large English-speaking market should pay dividends around the world, not just here in the US. Building a multi-lingual technology like the Libronix DLS enables that, but users still need Bibles and reference works in their own language.

We’re working on acquiring licenses to those resources, but it is a slow process made all the more complicated by multiple ownership: a Spanish reference work may be a translation, by a Spanish publisher, of an English work, but the translator only owns the print rights and the electronic rights remain with the English publisher, who doesn’t own the translation. (We are working through this, though, and getting results.)

Years ago Logos funded the development of a complete set of biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek lexicons by James Swanson. Controlling the rights as well as high-quality XML source files allowed us to have this Dictionary of Biblical Languages translated into Spanish at a reasonable cost without having to re-do all the tagging and linking. The translators started with the well-tagged English source files and only translated the English, ensuring that the original languages text and extensive links to other resources remained intact.

The Greek dictionary has been translated, and we hope the other volumes will follow soon. Look for it in an upcoming Spanish release.

English:

787 ἄρτιος (artios), ία (ia), ον (on): adj.; ≡ Str 739; TDNT 1.475—LN 75.4 qualified for a function; capable (REB), efficient (NEB), proficient (NRSV), competent (NAB), (2Ti 3:17+), note: many versions use vocabulary that emphasizes the thoroughness or completeness of the equipping; thoroughly (NIV), fully (NJB), complete (ASV, RSV, NKJV), perfect (KJV)

Spanish:

787 ἄρτιος (artios), ία (ia), ον (on): adj.; ≡ Str 739; TDNT 1.475—LN 75.4 calificado para una función, capacitado (RVA, NVI), eficiente, eficaz, preparado (RVR, DHH, TLA), equipado (LBLA) (2Ti 3:17+), nota: muchas versiones usan un vocabulario que enfatiza la meticulosidad o totalidad de la preparación; minuciosamente, completo, perfecto

More on Looking Up Citations: Pseudepigrapha

I blogged about looking up Philo citations in BDAG awhile back. But Philo (and even Josephus) aren’t the only potential targets you can work with.

There are a number of reasons to use pseudepigraphal writings (Greek or English or both) to supplement one’s study, though I think such reasons fall into two primary categores: cultural and linguistic. In this article I’ll focus a bit on the linguistic side of things (though I do venture into the cultural a bit), looking particularly at word meanings.

In my personal study, I like to look up cross-references when looking into word meanings. This is particularly handy if a word doesn’t occur often in the New Testament but does occur in other non-canonical writings. I was recently looking at 1Ti 3.8, specifically at the word ?????????????, which the ESV translates as greedy for dishonest gain.

The first thing, of course, was to look it up in BDAG. Here I found that it occurs 2 times in the NT, and both of these are in the Pastoral Epistles (1Ti 3.8 and Tt 1.7). Both contexts are the pretty much the same. But BDAG also cites instances of ????????????? in the Works of Philo (Sacr. Abel. 32) and in the pseudepigraphal Testament of Judah 16.1.
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