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Stuff like stacked window tabs, fuzzy searching, and quick navigation?
Of course you do.
Then you need Power Tools. If you don’t have ’em, you should check out the Power Tools Addin.
Mon, May 7, 2007 | Training|
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Fri, May 4, 2007 | Training|
Today’s guest blogger is Sean Boisen, senior information architect at Logos.
Logos Bible Software iscontinually undertaking new projects to expand our tools for Bible study. Many of these involve wading through data, usually lots and lots of data.
For example, the Biblical People feature (described in this previous post) provides Bible references, family relationships, social roles, and other information for every person mentioned in the Bible, some 3000 different individuals in all.
I’m currently working to enrich this data set much further to include place names, other named entities (like ethnic groups and languages), and an even richer set of relationships: people who knew each other or collaborated together, places they lived or visited, their beliefs, and many other kinds of information.
But too many projects chasing too little time means you have to prioritize. This raises an interesting question: how to prioritize development for our people data so we spend the most effort on the names that will matter most to those studying the Bible?
Since I’m inherently a data-driven, quantitative type of guy, my practical answer is to:
- assign a numeric weight to each name
- start at the top and work my way down the list in order
- stop when when the available resources, enthusiasm, or both are exhausted
Since we’ve got the data that connects people to the passages that refer to them, a good starting place is simply to go through and count how many times each person is mentioned in the Scriptures. There’s an important technical detail here:I really do mean references to people, not just names (as strings). To see why this matters, consider:
- the same person can be known by several different names (Peter, Simon, Simeon and Cephas are all names used in the New Testament for Jesus’ disciple)
- the same name can be used for several different people, or even different kinds of things
As an example of this second point, it’s not enough to find the string “Judah” in a verse: you want to know when it’s Judah the person, as opposed to a cover term for Israel or the Southern Kingdom. For hard cases like Judah, the only way to know is to go through verse by verse by hand and decide. (This investment of effort is one thing that makes Logos’ Biblical People data such a uniquely valuable resource.)
For many other cases, while the name is only used to refer to people, there are numerous individuals with the same name. Zechariah is the toughest case here: there are 30 distinct ones in our database. So just counting occurrences of the string “Zechariah” doesn’t get it right: you need to know whether it’s the prophet Zechariah (from the Old Testament book of the same name), the father of John the Baptist, or one of the 28 others (most of which are only mentioned oncein the entire Bible). So some pretty detailed data is required to do a reasonable job with this computation.
There are many different ways you could count and compute weights on a per-person basis. Here’s one (there are other reasonable possibilities too):
- Let frequencybe a count of the number of verses that mention a given individual (only counting one for verses like Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you like wheat”, which shouldn’t really count as two observations of Simon’s significance as a Biblical character).
- Let book dispersionbe the number of books of the Bible that mention the individual. The intuition here is that, for two individuals with the same frequency, the one that’s mentioned in more books is probably more important, broadly speaking.
- Let chapter dispersionsimilarly be the number of chapters in which a mention occurs. This helps distinguish people mentioned frequently but within a relatively shorter range of verses.
- Normalize these values by their maximums (frequency=1370, book mentions=31, chapter mentions=258) just to scale things more nicely
- Assign a weight to each of these three factors (I used 0.6 for frequency, 0.2 for book dispersion, and 0.2 for chapter dispersion: clearly this choice affects the outcome).
- Multiply each factor by its weight, and add the results to get a number between 1 and 0.
Here’s a graph that shows this metric for the top 50 people, along with the individual factors. (The image is linked to a larger version where the names can be read.)
While the top names (Jesus, David, Moses, Jacob, Abraham) are no surprise, there are some interesting observations farther down.
First, the composite metric really does change the rankings: Levi is #15 by this method, but #52 if you only ranked by frequency. Likewise, King Saul would be #51 if you only ranked by book mentions, because he’s mentioned in just a few books: but he’s clearly one of the most important characters in those books, and so it seems fitting that incorporating frequency and chapter dispersion boosts him up to #10 in the composite metric rank.
Graphically, the places where the lines approach each other are the cases where the various factors are more equal, and places where they’re farthest apart (Judah’s a good example) where they’re most skewed. Back to the previous point about counting genuine person name instances versus strings: only 99 of the approximately 780 occurrences of “Judah” actually refer to Jacob and Leah’s son, so counting strings would be highly misleading here.
Since names, like many linguistic phenomena, typically follow a Zipfian Distribution(sometimes called a “long tail” or power law distribution), it’s no surprise that the majority (1634 of the 2987) of these names occur exactly once in the Bible, and the 59 most frequent names account for about half of all the name mentions in the Bible. So clearly these top names deserve much more attention than the long tail. Important disclaimer:I’m not making any claims here about theological or historical importance. That’s a subjective matter, and you’d get different answers depending on your perspective.
One advantage of making ideas explicit and quantifiable is that you can compare their predictions against your intuitions and see how they compare. Some other factors that might improve the estimate even further (and remember, this is just an estimate):
- Though we value the whole of Scripture, there’s a sense in which certain sections are broader in their implications. For example, anyone mentioned in the first chapters of Genesis should probably get an extra measure of importance: these are the foundational stories of Hebrew and Christian history.
- We’re only counting proper names here: other descriptions and pronouns would help refine these measurements even further (we don’t have this data yet, however)
- External sources (like Bible dictionaries) are a rich and quantifiable source of judgments about importance: the more words or sentences used to describe an individual, the more important they’re likely to be. By consulting several dictionaries, you can overcome the biases of an individual work or editorial slant. The key feature here is making the connection between the described individual (often in a numbered paragraph) and the Biblical character: we don’t have that data yet, but it’s in our plans for the future, and an approximation with
a bit of programming ought to be possible at better than 90% accuracy.
- Some of this material was previously posted hereat my Blogos weblog. Unfortunately, as of this writing, some problems with my service provider have made these posts unavailable.
- This post at OpenBible.info is a response to the original series, with some interesting thoughts about alternative ways to rank names.
Follow-up posts here at the Logos Blogusing Many Eyes to further analyze and visualize the data:
Update 5/25 — Chris Anderson, author of the best-selling book The Long Tail and editor-in-chief at Wired magazine wrote about this post on his blog! Check it out: The Long Tail of Bible People (AKA Jesus is #1!)
This is the second post in a series of posts (first post here) having to do with the Apostolic Fathers in Greek and English. Today’s video focuses on basic capability of the morphologically annotated Greek texts, including configuring the interlinear lines, keylinking and using visual filters.
In the third and final installment next week, I’ll show how to configure linking and hovering preferences related to the Apostolic Fathers and dig into the Bible Word Study report.
Note: The video discusses two items that do not ship with Apostolic Fathers but can be added to your digital library: morphological filter (part of Biblical Languages Addin, which is included in “language” base packages) and the BDAG lexicon.
The long-awaited Apostolic Fathers in Greek and English has shipped! This includes three editions of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (each edition has both Greek and English text, so six resources in all). More info, of course, is on the product page.
I thought I’d take a few posts and show some of the things you can do with these resources. Today’s video has to do with general use of the resources with some ideas of further things you can do to get more from the books as you read them. Today I’ll focus on the English, though I’ll focus on the Greek editions in future posts.
Future posts will likely include things like keylink preferences, hovering and highlighting and also integration with the Bible Word Study report.
- Video: Flash, 9 megs, 7:40, with sound.
“So you work for that Logos software company…”
With 130+ employees and 5 years in Bellingham, Logos has become a big enough fish in a relatively small pond that I now hear something like this pretty regularly when I meet someone new.
This past weekend, I was at a birthday party for my wife’s good friend. My wife’s friend’s dad (let’s call him Bill) heard I worked for Logos and jumped right into a discussion of translation philosophies, the benefit of studying the New Testament in Greek, and the rendering into English of a number of his favorite passages.
It was a fun conversation, but, man, was I ever pining for my Logos Bible Software.
At one point, the discussion turned to Luke 17 and the cleansing of the ten lepers. As you recall, ten were cleansed but only one—a Samaritan—returned to thank Jesus. Jesus tells the man, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Bill observed that the Greek word translated “made you well” in verse 19 is not the same word used for the lepers’ cleansing earlier in the passage. In verse 19, the word is a form ofσῴζω (rescue, save, heal) while in verses 14 and 17 καθαρίζω (make clean, purify, heal) is used. [My glosses here are from DBL Greek.]
Bill wanted to make a distinction here that the man’s faith was instrumental in his salvation, not his healing.
I hadn’t studied the passage in enough depth to have an opinion…but the cool thing is that Logos Bible Software makes it very easy to dig in and explore a question like this. A great place to begin is with the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear of the New Testament.
A quick glance shows me that there are actually three different Greek words used in this passage to describe what happened to the lepers. In verse 15, Luke writes that the Samaritan sees that he is healed (ἰάομαι).
To give myself some visual markers, I grabbed the highlighter tool from the main Logos toolbar and applied a different color for each of the three words I was interested in studying (click the image above for a closer look).
From here it was mere child’s play to execute the mechanics of word study and dig into these three words. I don’t have an answer yet (and I’m holding off on looking at commentaries until I get a little further into the study) but if you are inspired to check it out for yourself here are a couple of pointers:
- To very quickly find out how the ESV translates each of these words across the New Testament, use either Speed Search or Englishman’s Concordance (both available from the right-click menu).
- If you use Speed Search, you want to right-click a word and choose Selected Text | Lemma | Speed Search This Resource. (Use lemma instead of manuscript form because we want to find all instances of the word in the NT, not only instances that share the form of the word as it appears here in this passage.)
- Bible Word Study report gives you visualizations that make it easy to see translation frequencies at a glance. Because of the syntactically tagged resources in Logos 3, it also shows syntactical patterns. For example, your faith is the most common subject of clauses where σῴζω (rescue, save, heal) is the verb.
Last Thursday’s post explained how to view all the papyri fromComfort & Barrett’s Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscriptsthat contain the verse or passage you’re studying. We set up the Compare Parallel Bible Versions report to scroll synchronously with Exegetical Guide (or any Bible or other canonically-organized resource or report for that matter) to make it easy to consult the papyri as you study.
Today I want to briefly offer an alternative way to view themanuscripts related to your passage and that is the Passage in All Versions report.
Passage in All Versions does not visually highlight the differences between the manuscripts but it does retain formatting such as brackets and uncertainty dots.
Here’s how to set up the report to show the papyri:
- Click Tools | Bible Comparison | Passage in All Versions.
- In the report window, click the Properties button.
- Set language to Greek and check the boxes next tothe Greek texts and manuscripts you want to appear in the report (or Check All and then clear the boxes next to the items you don’t want).
- Click OK.
Now you can enter a passage, click the Go arrow and see eclectic texts, received texts, and manuscripts for that passage. You can also use the “chain link” icon to link this report with other reports or resources so they move synchronously.
Compare Parallel Bible Versions and Passage In All Versions…two options for viewing manuscripts alongside the GNT text.
Update 4-16-07—a bug in the Passage In All Versions report causes some versions that you’ve deselected to appear in the report. Libronix DLS 3.0d (available as a beta download) fixes this bug.
In the course of working on a review of Ugaritic Library andLogos 3, blogger and pastor Dr. Jim West recently asked me whether Comfort & Barrett’s Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts could be made to appear in the Exegetical Guide report. Since that reportprovides exegetical helpsfor a given passage of Scripture, wouldn’t it be neat if it would automatically discover and link to any papyrithat overlap withyour passage?
I agreed that this would be grand, but since it’s not currently coded into the Exegetical Guide report I wanted to find a way to do something similar.
Rick Brannan reminded me that the Compare Parallel Bible Versions report is a great way to examine and compare manuscript evidence for a given portion of Scripture (as outlined in this article).
Note: If you don’t own this addin, you can use the standard Parallel Bible Versions report (sans highlighting of textual differences) or buy it here.
Now if I could only find a way to get the Compare Parallel Bibles report to stay in synch with Exegetical Guide so that they would track together as I move from verse to verse.
Wonderful news: in Logos 3 this is possible. Just set the “chain link” icon in both reports to A.
Now the two reports track together. Whenever I move Exegetical Guide to a new passage of Scripture, the Compare Parallel Bibles report updates itself to show that passage.
Just one problem, though. How do I get the Compare Parallel Bibles report to show not one but all the papyri containing the verses I’m studying? As you may know,a given biblical verse or passage can appear in any number of manuscripts and fragments. For example, John 1:30 is attested in four different papyri:P5, P66, P75, and P106!
If you open My Library and locate Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts you’ll see that this single volume contains all the papyri from Comfort & Barrett’s book and is, in fact, laid out just like the print edition of that book. It even contains a list of manuscripts in canonical order, which is how I knew that John 1:30 appears in four different manuscripts.
Because this single resource contains all the manuscripts in one place you might think you could specify it in the Compare Parallel Bible Versions report and the report would automatically show you all the manuscripts containing your desired verse. But you’d be wrong…
Whenyou tell the report to compare NA27 and TENTGM (the all-in-one resource), the report only shows the first papyrus that matches the verse selected…in this case John 1:30 from P5.This is because the report is designed to compare Bible versions that are individual resources within the digital library…not multiple “versions” within one book.If only we could split the manuscripts up into individual resources!
Fortunately for us, the Logos book designers anticipated this need and did just that. Each manuscript appears twice in your digital library—once in the all-in-one resource (TENTGM) and once in an individual resource (e.g., TENTP30which appears in My Library as P30 from The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts).
So all we have to do is specify each papyrus (Pnumber) individually, putting them all into the Versions box. The report is smart enough to show onlymanuscripts that contain data for the specified passage.
Since there are 69 different resources, it’s a bit of a hassle to type in “P1, P4, P5, P6, etc.” But I already endured the hassle, so I’ll make it easy on you and share my workspace. Just right-click this file, choose Save Target As,and save it to My Documents\Libronix DLS\Workspaces then open it from within Libronix via File | Load Workspace.
Here’s what you’ll see, more or less (click the thumbnail for a larger view)…
Starting from the top leftand moving clockwise: Exegetical Guide, Compare Parallel Bible Versions, NA27 Apparatus (Tischendorf apparatus on tab), SESB edition of NA27 with apparatus markers (ESV NT Reverse Interlinear on tab). Of course, if you don’t own SESB or SESB for Logos Users Special Edition the apparatus and NA27 at the bottom of the workspace will show up as locked. But you can replace them with another book for your own workspace.
Now when you scroll or jump any of these four linked windows to a new verse, all the others will follow. As you can see, the Compare Parallel Bible Versions report is comparing NA27 against Scrivener’s TR and all relevant papyri from Comfort & Barrett (in this case, P5, P66, P75 and P106).
Tip: You can either use this workspace “as is” or just add the Compare Parallel Bible Versions report to your Favorites and call it up whenever you want…saving you the trouble of entering all 69 papyri in the Versions box. Once the report is saved to your Favorites, you will be able to easily come back to it later or add it to another workspace.
Caveats and Links
Eli Evans saw what I was doing here and is giving some thoughtas to how to make this all work a little smoother in the next major version of Logos. He also offered these caveats which I will pass along to you:
Beware that most (all?) of the C&B stuff has chapter-level milestones in it, so you may get a few papyri poking in where they don’t have any evidence. Try John 1:1, for example. Neither P5 nor P106 has verse 1, but they both have chapter 1, so they show up with 100% variance from the base. The report asks for “John 1:1” and the resource says, “The closest thing I have is John 1, but it doesn’t have any content,” to which the report replies, “Close enough, I guess.” P5 starts at 1:23, and P106 at 1:29.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that where it looks like there is a significant variant, one really ought to click on the MSS title in the report and look at the resource. Things like brackets and uncertainty dots are stripped in the report, so there’s a whole level of detail that isn’t represented here. But this is good for finding the drill-down spots.
He’s right on both counts, of course. Take a look at the screenshot below and you’ll notice that brackets and dots have been stripped out for this report. Also, things like hard returns get flagged as differences (see, for example,blepei in P5 and P106). Since manuscripts may have words missing along the edges these hard returns can actually hold significance but it’s always a good
idea to open up the actual manuscript for further detail.
All that to say that uncritical use of this report would be unwise but with some discernment as to what it can and cannot do, it’s a great way to quickly flag differences between the manuscripts and know where to dig in for further analysis.
- Here’s that workspace file one more time: right-click this file, choose Save Target As,and save it to My Documents\Libronix DLS\Workspaces.
- Comfort & Barrett’s Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscriptsin case you don’t already own it.
The video introduces the unique features of reverse interlinear Bibles and, through an extended example, shows how these features solve five common problems that plague the person who studies the Bible in translation:
- You can’t trust your search results with English only searches.
- You can’t see the author’s original word choice.
- You can’t see different words functioning differentlyin the original text.
- Meaning can be obscured through the English translation.
- Strong’s numbers can’t reveal how the word is functioning.
Check it out: Better Bible Study Through Reverse Interlinear Bibles (14:21, 21.2MB)
Tue, April 10, 2007 | Training|
In a previous post, we looked at how English translations delimit the quotation in James 4.5. Do other resources shed any light on this question?
Greek New Testaments
We can examine the formatting of Greek New Testaments much like we examined the formatting of English New Testaments. In Logos Bible Software, the relevant Greek NTs are the NA27 and UBS4 editions along with Westcott & Hort. If you have a product from Thomas Nelson, you may also have the Hodges/Farstad edition of the Majority Text, this is formatted as well.
In the above, you can see that Hodges/Farstad formats v. 6 as a quotation (complete with angle quotes). In v. 5, the relevant portion appears to be treated as a quotation of some sort; this is traditionally what an upper-cased letter after introduction would imply (ἡ Γραφὴ λέγει, Πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ). The upper-case gamma in Γραφὴ also implies the editors see this as referring to the Scriptures, and not to generic writings of some sort.
The NA27 uses italicised text for v. 6, which indicates an Old Testament quotation. But no special formatting or casing appears in v. 5. The UBS4 is similar, only they have no special formatting implying quotation or quotation source.
Westcott and Hort use bold text to indicate some sort of quotation or allusion (not always to the Old Testament). So v. 6 includes a quotation, but no special formatting on v. 5. (note also the placement of the question mark in WH vs. NA27/UBS, that could be significant when translating the verses).
Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament
The Lexham SGNT marks what the editor considers to be quotations from or allusions to external source with what is called a Quotative Frame.
The Lexham SGNT Glossary defines the Quotative Frame as follows:
Quotative Frame: A frame which contains an explicit quotation, or citation, from an external source. Where allusion occurs or where, as in sections of Hebrews, the text of external sources is woven inextricably into the main text, this is annotated as if it were original on the part of the author.
Lukaszewski, A. L. (2006; 2006). The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary. Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Logos Bible Software has a wide selection of Commentaries. Commentaries focused on working through the Greek text or that are focused on interpretational difficulties will assist one in this verse. I’ve reviewed a few commentaries on this verse (NIGTC, Hermeneia, ICC, Word Biblical Commentary) and they don’t agree any more than the translators do. But the better commentaries will explore the possibilities and explain the positives and negatives of each in some degree of detail before arriving at a conclusion. Comparing these sorts of discussions across commentaries can be enlightening and helpful in sticky situations like this one.
Using resources like these — in ways you may not have thought of — helps in examining the questions we’ve run into in James 4.5. Hopefully this series of posts has been helpful.
My primary purpose has been to show that when one runs into ambiguities in the text, there are a lot of places one can turn. The options are knowable and explorable, utilizing both textual resources (Bibles and commentaries), databases (morphology and syntactic databases) and reports (like Passage in all Versions). So next time you run into an ambiguity … have fun digging!
Thu, April 5, 2007 | Training|
In arecent issue of Rick Warren’s MinistryToolBox email, Rick wrote,
One of the most helpful habits you can develop as a preacher is to become a collector. I’ve been a “collector” for years, and it has made my preaching much more effective. I’m not talking about a hobby. I’m talking about constantly being on the lookout for items that can be helpful for your messages.
He went on to describe his system for collecting Bible verses, memorizing the Word, and keeping word lists related to a subject. Rick uses plastic buckets from Wal-Mart to file articles, illustrations, and other ideas he comes across that may be useful in his preaching someday.
As soon as I saw Rick Warren’s article about being a collector, I dashed off an email to let him know about the new Sermon File Addin for Logos Bible Software that was just released today. I told Rick how, instead ofaccumulating piles of paper and having no way to efficientlysearch and organize his material, he could use Sermon File Addin to conveniently store it in one place—tagged, indexed, and ready to search!
That’s right…Sermon File Addin takes the power of the Libronix Digital Library System (which represents, I don’t know, several millions of dollars of research and development) and applies it to your ownsermons and illustrations. Wanna know more? Check out the video demo…
I haven’t heard back from Rick yet (does anyone have his direct line?)…so if you want to get an edge on Rick Warren you can add the Sermon File Addin to your digital library right now and benefit from the convenience of a fully digitized archive of sermons, illustrations and other ideas collected over time.