Mark Goodacre is Coming to Town

Guest blogger Mark VanDyke provides some details on Monday’s lecture event…

The next Lecture Series event is just around the corner!


On Monday, June 11 Logos will welcome Dr. Mark Goodacre to Bellingham, Washington. Dr. Goodacre hails from Duke University where he teaches in the Department of Religion. The lecture, titled “Did the Jews of Jesus’ Day Expect the Messiah?”, will begin at 7:00 PM at the Mount Baker Theatre in downtown Bellingham.


It is popularly assumed that the Judaism of Jesus’ day had a clear, well-defined expectation of a Messiah figure whom God would send to liberate them with military might. It is then assumed that early Christians, and perhaps Jesus himself, revised this expectation and proclaimed a different kind of Messiah, one who was to suffer. But how accurate is this picture? Does it explain the evidence found in the Hebrew Scriptures, early Jewish texts and the New Testament? Or should we instead think of a great variety of expectations, as many scholars argue? In this lecture, Dr. Goodacre will revisit the term “Messiah” and explore evidence that it was used as a synonym for a new Davidic “king” or “ruler”. Dr. Goodacre also asserts that when the first Christians called Jesus “Messiah”, they were speaking not only about past events and present beliefs, but also about his future return as king.


Dr. Goodacre not only teaches at one of the world’s top universities but he also maintains one of the web’s best sites on New Testament studies. New Testament Gateway is a web directory of internet resources that is updated each day with blog posts, new information and discussion on anything relating to the New Testament. Dr. Goodacre’s blog is written for an academic audience but his lecture will be geared towards a wide range of people.


So far, the Lecture Series has been a major success. Attendees have been impressed not only by the quality scholarship on display at the events but also by the direct application that can be derived from each lecture. As a matter of fact, the lectures have been so good that a few employees at the Mount Baker Theatre have shown interest in attending when they aren’t “on duty”.


Once again, here are the event details:



  • Date: Monday, June 11
  • Location: Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington
  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Topic: Did the Jews of Jesus’ Day Expect the Messiah?
  • Admission: Free!

We look forward to this event being another resounding success and, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, we hope to see you there!


Update 6/7: Mark shares additional details about the upcoming lecture on NTGateway Weblog.

Update 6/11: Follow Mark’s journeys in the Pacific Northwest: Travel Diary: Bellingham, WA

Radio Ads (Logos on the Airwaves)

Part 2 | Part 3

Logos doesn’t do a lot of radio advertising, but sometimes we have occasion to dabble in this area. Of course, it’s always a challenge to convey a very visual product via an aural-only medium. We’ve pretty well established the fact that when people see Logos Bible Software, they “get it” and are eager to own a copy…but when they hear about it (especially when limited to a 60-second spot) the response is not so automatic.

We don’t have a big budget to go out and hire a flashy advertising firm to create ads, sowhen we do a radio ad it’s usually written in-house. Since we’ve got a couple buildings full of smart, creative people, the Logos marketing department will solicit ideas from the whole office and run with the best idea that comes in.

The two radio spots linked below recently ran on our local Christian radio station, Praise 106.5. You can download and listen to them as MP3s. I edited out the special URL given for the radio campaign (can’t spoil our sales source tracking with a massive influx of orders from the blog!)so you may notice an abrupt ending or jump.

Radio Spots

College Roommates – concept from Brenna Sebens, executive assistant

Leatherbound Bible – concept from Mark VanDyke, marketing assistant

Biblioblogs.com Interviews Rick Brannan

Biblioblogs.com is a list ofblogs on biblical topics, maintained byJim West and Brandon Wason. Besides being a great resource to discover blogs on topics that may interest you,it alsofeatures a different biblioblogger every month and posts an interview with that person.

Why do I mention it now? BecauseJune’s Featured Blogger is none other than our very own Rick Brannan, who writes for the Logos Blog, Ricoblog and PastoralEpistles.com.

Check out Rick’s interview to learn the origins of the name Ricoblog, what Space Invaders and a TRS-80 have to do with Bible software, and how Say’s Law relates to the future of blogging. Oh, and while you’re reading about Rick, stop by Ricoblog and congratulate him on his brand new baby. She’s a cutie!

InterVarsity Press Blogs!

The good people over at InterVarsity Press have ramped up their blogosphere presence with a couple of cool, new,behind-the-scenes blogs. Welcome!

In Andy Unedited, IVP editorial director Andrew T. Le Peau writes about publishing from the inside.One recent post discussed what goes into craftinga good (or bad) book title. Something I’ve always wondered about myself.

Addenda & Errata is written by the IVP Academic editorial team.A couple of recent postsshared jokes that weary authors inserted into indices and dictionaries. Ever heard of the theologian Franz Bibfeldt?

(In the software business we call these hidden jokesEaster Eggs, though I’m not able to say whether the current version of Logos has any.) :-)

Yet another great IVP blog that launched in the past couple of months is called Behind the Books. Its authors have also been on the theme of levity among the bookish, with a great post about ancient scribal blogs. These are great tidbits found in the margins of ancient manuscripts…things like:

“He who does not know how to write supposes it to be no labor; but though only three fingers write, the whole body labors.”

“As travelers rejoice to see their home country, so also is the end of a book to those who toil [in writing].”

Or these “text messages” between Irish scribes, carried out in the margins of a 9th century commentary:

“It is cold today.”

“That is natural; it is winter.”

I, for one, look forward to learning more about our print publishing brethren from these blogs. I’ll also take the opportunity to remind you that our very own publisher relation guy Bill Nienhuis is back in the blogging saddle at Original Expression and recently shared some insightful thoughts on the battle between authors and publishers over print-on-demand rights.

And who said book publishing isn’t fun…?

The Changing of the Guard

Guest blogger Scott Lindsey is back in the office after five weeks on the Bible Study Bus. View more road trip photos at Flickr or readScott’s first and second posts from the trip.

ScottBobHandoff

Bob Pritchett, our fearless leader, and family flew into Dallas on Tuesday evening to take the keys to the Bible Study Bus and continue our Bible study campaign across America!

I can’t believe my leg of the trip is done… WHEW, that was a lot of driving and work. The Lindsey Crew drove almost 5,000 miles in the last 5 weeks. But it sure has been a privilege to introduce people to the best Bible study technology on the planet!

We had some great BBQ and an even better event Tuesday night in Fort Worth at Christ Chapel Bible Church. Attending Tuesday night’s event was Mike Atwell, our new Field Rep for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Wednesday was a day to celebrate… the first installment of the Bible Study Bus Road Trip is complete! So, we went to Six Flags over Texas. GroupAtRVThanks to Sean Fields – our resident graphic artist – and his loud-and-proud Bible Study Bus design, it’s impossible to forget where you park the thing. You should have seen the bus in the massive Six Flags parking lot… thousands of people all day walked by mouthing the words Bible-Study-Bus. We invited the Dossey family up from Austin to enjoy the day with us. Alex and Nicole both used to work at Logos and have remained dear friends. It was great seeing them again!

It was truly a blessing to travel across this great nation for the last 5 weeks and meet so many wonderful churches and show the Body of Christ how Logos can greatly impact personal Bible study. I pray the fruit of our labor brings glory to the Lord and creates a hunger and thirst for His word.

Well, onward Logos Bible Study Bus! The Road Trip continues through August so we hope to see you at one of the events.

- Scott Lindsey & Family

New Bible Widget for Mac

Mac users can download the new and improved Bible Widget from www.LogosBibleWidget.comor Apple.com.

Thebiggest update is that thenew widget adds the ESV Bibleso you can instantly navigate to a verse in either the English Standard Version or King James Version Bible.

Logos Bible Widget version 2 is also much more streamlined, in response to requests from users who foundthe original widgetto be a desktop space hog. It’s alsovery good-looking, if I may say so (kudos to Sean Fields, Logos design director)…

Using the widget is simple: Type a Bible reference to jump to that verse. Click the forward or back arrow to jump to the next/previous verse; click the double arrows to jump to verse 1 of the next/previous chapter. You can copy/paste text from the verse window into another application.

To switch Bible versions, just flip the widget over.

Related posts:

Top 50 Women in the Bible

As promised, I’m back for one final post on this whole “most important people in the Bible” topic. The first two posts in the series are here and here.

Today we’ll take a quick look at a visualization of the top 50 women of the Bible, as determined by Logos information architect Sean Boisen’s calculations. This data is also available at Many Eyes for anyone to manipulate and try out new information visualizations.

Here’s the scatterplot; click the thumbnail for a full view.

This time, dot size is the final “importance” scoreusing all the weights and factors calculated. The x-axis is the total number of mentions in the Bible. Bigger dot = more important; further right = more mentions.

One of the most interesting things we see here is the name Zeruiah with a pretty big dot and fifth place in terms of mentions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever hearing a Bible story about Zeruiah. My girls (ages 3 and 4 1/2) and I are on our second time through the cartoon Picture Bible and we haven’t encountered any such person.

Who is this mystery woman?

With the help of the Biblical People Addintool within Logos Bible Software 3, it’s pretty easy to find out. I fired up the tool and typed “zeruiah” to generate the following graph.

Turns out Zeruiah was King David’s sister. But ifshe’s the fifth most-frequently mentionedwoman in Scripture and is closely related to a majorcharacterwithin the biblical narrative why wouldn’t I know anything about what she did or said?

The answer to this question is also provided by the Biblical People tool. I can hover over or click each of the Bible references to see every mention of Zeruiah in brief context. Or better yet, type Zeruiah’s name into Bible Speed Search and get all the verses on one screen.

Looking through the results, we find that 24 of the 25 mentions of Zeruiah consist of the phrase, “Son(s) of Zeruiah.” The exception is in 1 Samuel 17:25 where we read that David’s sister Abigail (not to be confused withDavid’s wife named Abigail) is a “sister of Zeruiah.”

So it turns out that we don’t know anything about Zeruiah except for her relation to other people. We don’t know of a single thing she did or said. Commentators speculate that her sons are frequentlyidentified by her name because of the link back to King David.Anyonewho trailed an older siblingthrough high school or has a star athlete in the family could commiserate with Zeruiah—”Wait…aren’t you Abigail’s sister?” “You’re Joab’s mom, right?”

It may be that Zeruiah points up another opportunity for improving Sean’s “importance” weighting factors. Can somebody who appears in Scripture by name only, with no speaking or acting role, benumberedamong the mostimportant? I’d ask Sean for comment but he’s presenting a case study at the Semantic Technology Conference in San Jose so I’ll just have to wait until he gets back.

In the meantime, I’ve got to quit playing around with Many Eyes and get back to work. :-)

Learn Hebrew this Summer

You’ve been wanting to do it for some time…why not make it a goal to learn Hebrew this summer?

We’ve got some excellent tools to help make it as easy as it can be. Here are my top three picks, in no particular order:

Biblical Hebrew for Beginners

This brand new Logos book is due toshipat the end of the month, so now is your last chance to take advantage of the prepub discount and get this for less than $20.

The description says,”Biblical Hebrew for Beginners shows you how to master fundamental Hebrew in clear, simple steps. Starting from scratch with the Hebrew alphabet, Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok leads you through the essentials of biblical Hebrew and has you reading the Bible in Hebrew from the very first lesson. There are simple exercises (including answers), a word list, and plenty of examples throughout.”

How much easier could it get? Plus it’s even endorsed by a former Archbishop of Canterbury! So ignore the bizarre cover and check out the details

Beginning Biblical Hebrew

I had the pleasure to meet Mark Futato when he was here in Bellingham giving atalk on Psalmsas part of the Logos Lecture Series. It was a fantastic talk,and Mark would be a great teacher of Hebrew whether in person or via this grammar.

An RBL reviewer said of this one,”Mark D. Futato’s new Hebrew grammar is a simple, thoughtful, and straightforward work that reflects genuine empathy for the beginning Hebrew student. The agenda of the book is to provide the fundamentals of the language unencumbered by information that may fog the road toward basic Hebrew competency.”

Logos user George Somsel warned, “I can see it putting all Hebrew instructors out of work since it’s so simple to teach yourself.” Look to your tenure, Hebrew profs!

The First Hebrew Primer: Textbook, Answer Book & Audio Companion

This one is the big enchilada, complete with audio recordings and a workbook.

These resources begin with the alphabet…or you might say the Aleph-bet (aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, get it?)…and over the course of thirty lessons provides enough information and practice to enable you, with the aid of a Hebrew-English dictionary, to understand most biblical texts.

We just put together a brief video demo so now you can get a look at what the First Hebrew Primer package is all about.

Wouldn’t it be great if you got to the end of summer and could look back on not only a bunch of great barbecues, ball games and days at the beach…but also take with you a new knowledge of and appreciation for the Bible that Jesus used? Learning Hebrew would provide a lifetime of rewards and there’s no better time to begin than now!

Top 50 People in the Bible

Earlier this month, we blogged about the process used toquantify theThe Most Important Person in the Bible by computing factors such as frequency of mentions and the dispersion of those mentions across biblical books and chapters.

As you might suppose, Jesus Christ is the most important person in the Bible.

But what I findinteresting is how the Bible characters fall into rather distinct first, second and third rate clusters when we use Sean Boisen’salgorithm. These three clusters really jump out when the data is loaded into Many Eyes,IBM’sonline visualization engine.

Click the screenshot above to see a full-size static image that I enhanced with name labels…or click here to play with the live visualization at Many Eyes (Java required).

Three Clusters

Moving from right to left (descending order of importance), the three clusters that emerge are:

  1. Jesus, David, Moses, Jacob
  2. Abraham, Aaron, Solomon, Judah, Isaac, Saul (Son of Kish), Joseph, Paul, Joshua, Peter
  3. The remaining 36 characters…starting with Levi, Benjamin, Hezekiah and ending with Jehoshaphat, Uzziah and Adam.

If you wanted to study the various people in the Bible using a top-down list, it wouldn’t hurt to begin with Jesus, David and Moses. Jacob might be a little higher up the list than I would think warranted. But the second clusterseems pretty solid, with Abraham, Joseph, Paul and Peter definitely looming large in the pages ofScripture.

A few biblical figures I didn’t expect would be buriedso far down in Cluster 3: Noah and Adam, those staples of bedtime Bible stories and flannelgraphs. Plus prophets with whole books named after them such as Jeremiah and Isaiah. Of course, these are the top 50 Bible peopleout of 2,987…so we’re not talking about obscurity for any of them.

“Where are all the ladies?” you may rightly ask. None of them made the Top 50 using this name weighting scheme…but Sean did generate a data set for the Top 50 Women of the Bible which I plan to blog about in a follow-up post…

Dot Size vs. Position

Many Eyes also helpsillustrate how Sean’s inclusion of factors such as dispersion overbooks and chaptersaffects the overall ranking. Here’s a close-up of Cluster 2:

The X-axis is the overall “importance ranking” and the dot size is the number of mentions. So Sean’s weighting is evident in those places where you see a smaller dot like Abraham promoted far above a larger dot like Saul. Ranking the Bible names strictly by number of mentions would put Saul above Abraham, so we’re clearly getting a more nuanced view here.

The upshot of all this? We’re not solving the Bible Code or anything…and not trying to. But Ifind it very cool that anaverage joe like me can play around with these data and visualizations without knowing a lick of programming. I made this visualization just by selecting a visualization style and choosing which data to put on which axes. Once the dataset iscomplete (thanks, Sean!) we’ll be able to do all kinds of additional cool things not possible today…and be able to do it using Logos Bible Software!

Related posts around the blogosphere:

Parallel Passages Hack

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again…Logos users are a very clever bunch.

One user, John Minter, recently posted a “wouldn’t it be nice if…” to the Logos newsgroups. Regarding Kurt Aland’s Synopsis of the Four Gospels—a data set within the Parallel Passages and Harmonies tool—he wrote:

I like being able to generate with my desired translation. What would be nice is to generate a table for the given section as a handout…

Six minutes later he posted again to answer his own question:

OK Figured it out. Select a hebrew text like the BHS and all you get is the table. Woo hoo.

I’m not sure whether this little trick should be considereda hack orfeature (no doubt my friends in development would take credit for it as the latter) but it does seem to work and strikes me as the kind of thing that could be useful so I’m sharing it with you.

Try It Yourself!

To try it out, open Logos 3 and click Tools | Bible Comparison | Parallel Passages and Harmonies. For Source, choose Synopsis of the Four Gospels (Aland) if you have it. If not, don’t worry—it works with other data sets, too. For Bible version, choose BHS or ESV OT Rev. Int (the latter is in more packages).

Now when you drill down into a section of the synopsis, you’ll get the report shown below on the left instead of the usual report, shownon the right (click the thumbnail for a full size image):

This references-only table can be printed, or pasted pretty well into a word processor. It’s a handy little hack if you want to include just the parallel references in a handout or other document…

Thanks John!