Today we continue our People behind the Product series. In this interview we meet Jim Straatman, Logos’ IT Manager. As you’ll see, Jim is an avid biker. However, what didn’t make the cut in today’s video are Jim’s mad scooter skills. A lesser known fact about the IT department is that there is a large space in the work area that is perfect for scooter races. It’s no Indy 500, but winning a few laps around the desks can earn you some serious respect. Next time you drop by our office, be sure to challenge Jim to a race.
Wed, November 5, 2008 | Products|
The best way to get started with Logos Bible Software is to purchase one of our base packages. Not everyone has the same budget or needs, but the bigger packages are definitely the better value. For those who are serious about studying the Bible and are convinced of the value of building a digital library, there’s no better place to start than Scholar’s Gold.
But once you have your base package and are ready for more, what should you buy next?
That’s the question that a new Logos user asked in the newsgroups recently:
I bought the Scholar’s Gold edition. Can you suggest any other good resources I would want to add to it?
I use it mostly for speaking/preaching so I enjoy having lots of good commentaries.
With around 9,000 resources, it’s good to have a little guidance to find out what others consider most useful.
Several longtime Logos users responded with their recommendations. Here are some of the things that they suggested:
- Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
- Word Biblical Commentary
- BDAG and HALOT (available at a discount in a bundle)
- Theological Journal Library
- Robert Reymond’s Systematic Theology
- Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology
- Cornelius Van Til
- Pillar New Testament Commentary
I’d concur with most of these recommendations and probably add the Essential IVP Reference Collection and the new Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament Bundle. I’d also point out our Top 10 lists, our Commentary product guide, and our Pre-Pub system.
What would you recommend? What are your top picks for moving beyond a base package?
Tue, November 4, 2008 | Apps & Web Tools|
If you manage your own website or blog and use RefTagger, you get to choose the default Bible version that is used for the tooltips and the links to Bible.Logos.com. But your readers probably don’t all have the same favorite version as you do. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could all see the Bible passages in their preferred version?
Now they can with the RefTagger control panel. Every one of your visitors gets to chose their favorite Bible version and decide whether or not they want to see the links to Libronix. All you have to do is add one of the small control panels anywhere on your site—like in your sidebar—and your readers will be able to set their own preferences. The control panel uses a cookie to remember these preferences every time they return to any page on your site.
Try It Out
The control panel is now in the sidebar here on the blog, so test it out to see how it works. Watch what it does to these Bible verses: 1 Thes 2:13; Exodus 5:5ff; Rev. 1:1-3.
Add It to Your Site
Set up is a simple, two-step process. Just click on one of the sample control panels to get the necessary code and instructions on how to add it to your site. We provide you with eight different options to choose from, but we invite you to style the control panel any way you’d like to match the look of your site.
If you have RefTagger on your site, consider adding the control panel to make RefTagger even more useful for your readers.
Spread the Word
If you frequent a site that uses RefTagger, drop the site admins a note and encourage them to add the control panel. We don’t have contact information for all of the 4,000 sites using RefTagger, so we need your help to let them know about this cool new tool.
Mon, November 3, 2008 | Products|
The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint is a project that we’ve been working on for some time. This is perhaps one of the largest projects we’ve taken on, involving 29 (at present) contributors and two editors (Randall Tan, the General Editor, and David A. deSilva, the Contributing Editor). Several of the contributors have also contributed copious notes covering different text-critical, translational and lexical issues. In this first release, a 20-book portion (see book list below), there are over 6700 notes.
In tandem with the development of the interlinear portions, we have also been working on a new morphology to the Septuagint (LXX) that will accompany the interlinear.
As mentioned on the pre-pub page, our plan all along has been to release portions as they are available. Those who have been Logos customers for awhile may recall that this is how we released the Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible. There is one resource; as new portions are available the resource will be updated to include those new portions, and released on FTP. Those who have the license simply download the update to get the revised and updated resource.
I’m happy to report that we finally have our first major chunk of The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint just about ready to release. There are 20 books of the LXX included in this release. Books fall into two different categories, those in a draft status, and those in an edited status. The draft status means that by and large, the interlinear portions have been completed by the contributor but they have not yet been reviewed by the editor. The edited status means that the interlinear portions have been reviewed by the project general editor.
Books in an edited status are as follows:
- Additional Psalm (Psalm 151)
- Song of Solomon
- Letter of Jeremiah
The following books are in draft status:
- Psalms of Solomon
The interlinear has seven interlinear lines; these are:
- Manuscript (Transliterated)
- Greek Lemma
- Greek Lemma (Transliterated)
- English Lexical Value
- English Literal Translation
Why are there two English entries for each word? The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, takes advantage of its digital environment to offer multiple layers of English glosses that reflect the complexity of the Greek language structure. Like the other Lexham interlinears (Hebrew-English Bible and Greek-English NT) there are two levels of interlinear translation. The first is the English Lexical Value, which is a gloss of the lexical or dictionary form of the word. The second is the English Literal Translation, a contextually sensitive gloss of the inflected form of the word. The difference in these glosses is subtle, but powerful. The first gloss answers the question, “What does this word mean?” The second gloss answers the question, “What does this word mean here?”
The English Literal Translation line also includes a word order number, where necessary, to allow the reader to re-assemble the text in an order more friendly to English readers. The below screen capture, with only the Manuscript and English Literal Translation lines shows how helpful this can be:
One would reassemble the text as follows:
1And (then) the Lord spoke all these words, saying, 2“I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. 3There will be not to you other gods except me! (Exodus 20:1-3)
Somewhat rough, of course, but remember it is an interlinear translation. The goal is make it easier for the LXX to play a role in one’s study of the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament.
If you haven’t subscribed to this pre-pub already, you may want to consider it sooner than later. Once the first portion ships, the pre-pub will be filled, and then the price will go up.
Fri, October 31, 2008 | Training|
We’ve decided to extend the special offer on the Sermon File Addin through the weekend, so if you haven’t yet taken advantage of this tremendous offer, it’s not too late!
If you missed the earlier post (which mentions a number of other specials as well), for a limited time we’re “selling” the downloadable version of the Sermon File Addin for the whopping price of $0. That’s right. It’s totally free. No tax. No shipping. And no waiting.
The Sermon File Addin allows you to turn years of old sermon manuscripts into a powerful, organized, searchable Libronix book file. You can create a second book of all of your illustrations as well. Not only can you search and interact with your new books like the other books in your Libronix library, but you’ll even see your own sermons and illustrations show up in the Passage Guide. If you haven’t seen how it works, be sure to watch the two-minute demo video.
Get Started Today
If you’ve already picked it up, it’s easy to start importing your sermons from a variety of common file formats. In these five tutorial videos, we walk you through the simple process.
To watch these videos in higher resolution, see the Sermon File Addin section of our videos page.
Update: This offer has expired.
Thu, October 30, 2008 | Products|
One of the features in Bible Study Magazine is an ongoing Bible study that focuses on the practical value of the book of Hebrews for Christians today. In conjunction with this series, we created a product guide of commentaries and Bible study tools on this important letter.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a list of most of the commentaries that we sell on the book of Hebrews—more than 35—now you can in our Hebrews product guide.
If you’re planning to study or preach through Hebrews, you’re sure to find some great tools to add to your digital library.
For more lists of resources, be sure to check out our other product guides. Have an idea for a product guide that you’d like to see? Drop us a note in the comments and let us know.
Joomla! is one of the the most popular Content Management System software. It’s a great choice for church and ministry websites, and I’ve seen many build some sharp sites with it.
Setting up RefTagger on a Joomla! site is quite easy.
There are the simple steps to getting it up and running in no time:
- Log in to your admin panel (http://yoursite.com/administrator/).
- Hover over the “Extensions” tab and click “Template Manager.”
- Click on the name of the template that you are using. The default with Joomla! 1.5.2 is “rhuk_milkyway.”
- Click the “Edit HTML” button at the top right.
- Scroll to the bottom of the code and paste in the customizable RefTagger code from the RefTagger page right before the </body> tag.
That’s it! RefTagger is now working on your entire Joomla! site!
Tue, October 28, 2008 | Products|
A potential customer emailed me his concerns about investing in an electronic library:
“I have had the desire to invest in an electronic library, but I am terrified of investing all of this money into one and then losing my money’s worth because new computers will not be able to read them. How does Logos deal with this? Will my grandchildren be able to use my electronic library?”
This is a fear we hear regularly, but one that quickly goes away once we explain how Logos licenses the content, not the file-format.
It’s true that digital data can be lost if it is not constantly migrated to new storage media and kept in up-to-date or easily parsed formats. Paper books can be lost, too — just look at New Orleans and the libraries lost to flooding and mold.
The key issue is, who is ensuring your continued access? With paper it’s you — you have to keep it dry and away from fire, and you have to be willing to store and move it. (Most books are “lost” when people don’t want to move them yet again.)
I can’t make guarantees about the future; nobody can. But in Logos’ case, we’ve got a 17 year track record, we’re a strong business, and we’ve honored users licenses to the electronic books through various format, media, and operating system changes for more than a dozen years. That’s a pretty good record.
Moreover, what we sell you is the license to the book, NOT the digital file. When we change formats (which we’ve done) you don’t have to re-acquire a license. When music went from vinyl records to cassettes to CD’s, you had to re-purchase the album each time. But we aren’t selling you “today’s format” — we’re selling an electronic license. With Logos, it’s as if you’re provided the song free on cassette, CD, and then digital download, all because of your original vinyl purchase.
Can you loan the book, and can your grandchildren have it [see the clarification below]? No. But not because of the electronic format. It’s because we offer a really good price in exchange for licensing to one user. We sell our electronic books (in collections) at a huge discount from list price.
The big question is, what is your goal? To have beautiful books on your shelf that you can pass as heirlooms to your descendents, or to get convenient, useful access to a large library of content with a powerful set of tools for searching and reports?
I can “acquire a movie” in several ways: $9 at the theater, $1.99 VHS rental later, $29.95 to own the DVD, or (maybe) hundreds of dollars to acquire a film print. Each format has strengths and weaknesses. The theater experience is the best way to see it, but when it’s over, it’s over. The rental lets me rewind and pause and watch it a few times, but it’s on a small screen and later in the release cycle. The DVD is also on my home screen, costs more, and might still go obsolete years down the road. The film is physically simple — shine light through the film to project — and actually the “safest” format to ensure my descendents can watch it, but it’s more expensive, more awkward, etc.
The biggest risk with our electronic books is that we go out of business and then, some years later, computers change in a way that doesn’t let you run our software. We intend, of course, to stay in business, and (to the best of our knowledge) we’re the largest and strongest player in Bible software. But still, A) virtualization technology will probably ensure the ability to run this generation of applications for a long time and B) we have a large enough customer base that even in a bankruptcy someone would probably acquire and retain our product line and/or customer relationships.
So is your investment in e-books a safe bet? I believe so. Plus, it’s easier on the back when it’s time to move your library.
Mon, October 27, 2008 | Products|
I have been reading through one of my seminary textbooks, the first edition of Robinson’s Biblical Preaching. The more I read, the more I was struck by how closely his approach to exegesis matched up with the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and the High Definition New Testament. Grammar professors are usually interested in the detail, the specifics of the words. The homiletics profs focus on the ‘big idea’, i.e. how the smaller parts contribute to the whole. The hard part is synthesizing these two elements.
This synthesis is captured in Robinson’s Stage 3 of preparation, after the lexicons, dictionaries and commentaries have been consulted. He states, “As you study the passage, relate the parts to each other to determine the exegetical idea and its development” (p. 66). What is interesting is that while he lists eight different kinds of resources to help you through your study Stage 2, he does not list any for Stage 3. Apparently, you’re on your own.
The core part of Stage 3 is identifying what Robinson calls the Subject and the Complement. The Subject “accurately describes what the author is talking about” (p. 67). Complements “complete the subject and make it into an idea” (p. 67). In other words, any given passage is made up of subjects, to which complements are added. The most important part of identifying these elements, says Robinson, is understanding the structure of the passage. If the structure is understood, then the flow of thought or reasoning can be accurately discerned and communicated. This is accomplished by developing what he calls a ‘mechanical layout’, essentially a block diagram that charts the flow of the text.
Such a layout points up the relationship of the dependent clauses to the independent clauses. . . . Either a diagram or a mechanical layout brings analysis and synthesis together so that the major idea of a passage is separated from its supporting material. (68)
Here is the sample of his mechanical layout from Appendix 2 of the first edition. It is not included in the second edition.
Now let’s shift gears and take a look at what is found in the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. It provides the same kind of block outline for the entire New Testament as seen in Robinson’s layout.
The independent clauses can be differentiated from the dependent ones by the labels in the left column, by the indenting, and by the discourse annotations like backgrounding (e.g. Text).
Where the Greek writer uses special devices to highlight that something is part of Robinson’s Subject, the LDGNT annotates this as a frame of reference (e.g. [TP Text TP]). Some frames of reference introduce topics, others introduce information that helps you relate what follows to the preceding text. Either way, they are clearly marked to avoid confusing them with Robinson’s Complement. Greek writers also used special devices to emphasize the most important part of the Complement. This too is indicated for you using bolding.
The LDGNT was intentionally developed for preachers and teachers. It includes many other devices that help you identify where the writers highlight key themes, or highlight significant connections between ideas, and much more. We felt like this information was so important that it had to get into the hands of folks without training in Greek. This resulted in a slightly simplified version called the Lexham High Definition New Testament: ESV Edition.
Those of you who already have the LDGNT will be excited to hear about a forthcoming resource I’ve been working on: Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction to Discourse Features for Teaching and Exegesis. This text introduces the discourse concepts annotated in the LDGNT, starting with how standard Greek grammars like BDF, Robertson, Wallace and Porter treat them. Keep an eye out for it on the Pre-Pub page.
Fri, October 24, 2008 | Misc.|
Today’s guest blogger is Adam Navarrete, who works in the marketing department here at Logos.
I want to thank everyone that came out to our last lecture with Arnold Fruchtenbaum—it was a packed house! Can you believe that it’s time for another lecture already? I am really excited about this lecture as I have heard nothing but great things about Professor Zylstra—and the topic looks to be quite interesting: “Understanding Radical Islam.”
About the Lecture
Many people in Western democracies know little about Islam, especially the beliefs of some of its minority groups. Professor Clarence Zylstra of Whatcom Community College has taught political science and history for over thirty years. In this lecture, professor Zylstra focuses on the beginnings of Islam, its historical radicalization, and how Islamic eschatology is a driving force behind the Islamo-fascism mounting a threat to the West today.
About This Month’s Speaker
Professor Clarence Zylstra was born in Holland in 1930 and lived there through World War II and the Nazi occupation. In 1948 he immigrated to the United States. He served in the U.S. Army as a linguist from 1951 to 1952. Following his discharge he became a dairy farmer in Everson and student at Western Washington University. Upon obtaining a master’s degree in Economics, History and Political Science, he became an instructor at Whatcom Community College where he has taught for more than 30 years.
- Title: “Understanding Radical Islam”
- Speaker: Professor Clarence Zylstra
- Date: Monday, October 27
- Time: 7:00 PM
- Location: Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington
- Cost: Admission is free!
There’s just one lecture left before 2009! Check the lecture page for updated information.
Hope to see you there on Monday night!