IVP’s Ancient Christian Commentary in LDLS Format

The Ancient Christian Commentary Series (ACCS) from InterVarsity Press is one of my favorite in-process commentary series.

The first installment of the electronic edition of the ACCS, known as Volume 1, is now available. Twelve volumes of patristic power, arranged like a commentary, at your fingertips. I’m pretty stoked about this one, it is like having a selected reference index to the church fathers.

These volumes have excerpts from fathers cited in the Schaff edition (which Logos also has available in its entirety), but they are by no means limited to that well of wisdom and insight. Other lesser-known fathers are quoted too. Many of the quoted materials are provided in new translations.

If you’re interested in looking into how the early church interpreted and applied Scripture, then you should consider how this set might help you in your study. More information is availble on the series at the ACCS web site.

Greek Pseudepigrapha is Closing In!

Greek OT PseudepigraphaI’m sure many readers of the Logos Bible Software Blog already know this, but Logos has been planning an edition of the Greek Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

It has been listed on our Pre-Publication page for awhile. But the confirmed pre-orders don’t quite cover our costs yet. They’re so very close (check out the thermometer on the prepub page) but not over the line.

We generally like to make sure our estimated costs are covered before something moves from “Gathering Interest” status to “Under Development” status.

If you aren’t familiar with this material but have some familiarity with Greek and using Greek-English lexicons, then you might want to check this out. One primary benefit of having things like the Greek Pseudepigrapha available in your library is the ability to look up secondary citations in the primary language. Of course the pseudepigrapha are not useful for establishment of doctrine; but they are helpful for comparative word studies, studies of grammatical phenomena, and for understanding more about the religious culture of the day.

So, if you haven’t given this one a look-see yet, maybe you should. While the pre-pub price is still relatively low. Here are some pages with more information:

Update (2005-10-21): It has come to my attention that the Greek Pseudepigrapha pre-pub has “crossed the line” and is now “Under Development”. Thanks to all who have pre-ordered; we’ll do our best to get the work done and the resource to you as quickly as we can!

The Lost Photo Shoot

The attentive reader of Bob’s Sept. 27 post will recall that he mentioned using the ECF volumes for a recent photo shoot.

We were shooting Bob for the Red Herring article and trying to come up with some creative images. The reporter said the more interesting the image, the more likely it would be used in the story.

As with many projects at Logos, this was a no-budget affair. Sean, the graphic designer and all-around art guy, brought in his digital SLR camera and we grabbed some lights from next door…

After getting out the ladder so Bob could climb up and stand atop the 15-foot wall, we abandoned the idea as impractical (not because it was dangerous but because the angles were all wrong). We considered going next door to the dusty, gutted-out building that is being prepared for us to inhabit soon, but that idea was discarded as being an irrelevant backdrop.

We like the aluminum sign that hangs in the reception area, and somebody suggested using some books as a prop. Next thing you know, we’re trotting back to one of the bookshelves to retrieve the Early Church Fathers volumes. Where else can you find a stack of uniformly bound books that reaches more than waist high?

Here are some shots of the shoot in progress…
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Speaking of the Early Church Fathers …

Reading Bob’s post and seeing the picture of Eli holding 37 volumes of the Church Fathers’ writings brings back memories.

I remember when we did the ECF project. That was Eli’s baby, and what an incredible job he did in pullling that thing together. I can recall helping his team out by proofing through Greek in footnotes to make sure it was actually correct. I think I may have even keyed some of the footnotes.

But what I remember most is the topical index.
Huh? You didn’t know that the 37-volume Logos Bible Software edition of the Early Church Fathers has a topic index? Well, it does. And that particular topic index doesn’t exist anywhere else.

This article looks back on how all that happened. Ahhhhhh … nostalgia!

It must’ve been 1996, but it sure doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Eli and I were just figuring out what it meant to make electronic books, and were “kicking the tires” both with LLS resources and with our still-developing programming skills.
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Red Herring

redherring_cover.jpgThe issue of Red Herring that hits newsstands today includes a feature article on religious software, with Logos receiving the lion’s share of their coverage of Bible software.

Red Herring is a national print magazine that reports on the business of technology; it’s read by technology company execs and Fortune 1000 execs, with a subscriber base of around 45,000.

The article is not yet posted at RedHerring.com but the October 3 issue is available at Barnes & Noble and Borders. Here are a couple of excerpts:

God is getting many more clicks these days, powering up a niche software segment…

What seems clear is that more Americans are using PCs as a medium to God. Bob Pritchett, founder of Logos Bible Software, saw this coming nearly 15 years ago.

…Today, Logos has 5,000 titles and its products accounted for 65 percent of dollar sales in the top 10 Bible Reference Software Category titles in 2003, according to Packaged Facts. Last year, Logos had revenues of $8.9 million.

The company’s pitch is simple: There is no higher purpose for your computer than using it for Bible study. Its goal is to replace every Bible with CDs.

“We are out there to take market share from the books that people have [spent] years accumulating,” says Mr. Pritchett, whose customers are largely pastors and seminary students.

I’m pretty sure Bob didn’t say that we want to replace every Bible with CDs (see our stated mission). Had this reporter done the interview in person rather than by phone she would have seen the heavy-laden bookcases in Bob’s office and known better.

But I think it’s safe to say that we’d love to put Logos Bible Software on the computer of every serious student of Scripture.

One quote that the magazine got dead-on was this:

“I don’t believe in luck,” says Mr. Pritchett, “and I am quite certain that the success we have seen at Logos Bible Software is not due to my own brilliance, but rather to God’s choosing to use us to accomplish His purposes.”

Amen.

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.

What People Say About Logos

magazines2.pngDuring the past four years, Logos Bible Software Series X has been reviewed by well over 100 magazines, newspapers and theological journals…and that number continues to grow. For each one, an independent reviewer installs the software, surveys its contents and functions, and records his or her impressions.

You can read 93 of these reviews on our Reviews page.
If you’re researching Bible software prior to purchasing, this page is a goldmine of information. If you’re already a user, point a friend or colleague to the reviews so they can see independent confirmation that Logos is the smart choice. Looking at the comments left on the reviews, it’s clear that some users also find it interesting and encouraging just to see what people are saying about Logos.

Because Logos Bible Software has been reviewed by a wide range of publications which serve various audiences, you’ll find evaluations of the software aimed at the twentysomething, business person, Christian counselor, parent, seminary student, preaching pastor, youth pastor, biblical scholar, classical scholar and Bible translator…not to mention all the different denominational publications represented!

The common thread in all these reviews is that Logos Bible Software is an essential/invaluable/useful/amazing/insert-adjective-here tool for Bible study and exegesis. (Did you expect them to reach any other conclusion?) :-)

As new reviews are posted, they show up on the Logos.com homepage and in the RSS feed. We are usually granted permission to post the full text of the review on our site and link to the reviewing publication so that readers can learn more about what kind of publication it is.

Expect to see some reviews of new products soon, such as the The Parallel Aligned Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture by Prof. Emanuel Tov and Works of Philo: Greek Text with Morphology.

About This Resource: Part II

Part I

Here’s another of Wendell Stavig’s questions to one of my earlier posts:

What is a MARC record?

MARC stands for Machine Readable Catalog, and is a Library of Congress standard way of specifying resource metadata, that is, information about the book. Think of it as an electronic card catalog entry. You could use the MARC record information to do a library search, and if you printed this information out and took it to your local library, your librarian would probably know what she was looking at, but mostly the MARC record represents cataloging information that is used by the Libronix DLS to help organize and find resources in your library.

If you want to learn more about the MARC format in all its splendor, the Library of Congress has a page for you. If you follow that link, I recommend that you refrain from operating heavy machinery for at least twelve hours afterward. Better make it twenty-four, just to be safe.

Anyway, this illustrates one of the things that sets the Libronix DLS apart from other Bible software programs: We really have built an electronic library, and not simply a Bible study program. To be sure, the Libronix DLS is an excellent Bible study program, but that’s not all it is; the features we’ve built for Bible study are simply specialized ways to access certain kinds of information in your electronic library shelves.

Say it with me: It’s not a program, it’s a library.

This is why, for example, we call books “resources” — a library has all sorts of resources, not just books. (So do we: A video resource isn’t a “book,” it’s … a video resource.) We are not tied down to presenting only one kind of information. Just like a library.

This is also why the My Library browser shows you not only the actual title of each book, but also alternate titles, popular titles, and any abbreviated titles we know about. You can type “Little Kittel” into the My Library browser to find The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume. Or you can find them by subject. Or by author. There’s more than one way to find the book you’re looking for.

Just like a library.

Why Electronic Books are Better

EliECF.jpgMy favorite story about why electronic reference books are better than print is from AAR/SBL 1996. We had just released the Early Church Fathers on CD-ROM and a woman came up to our booth to place an order.

“I am so glad you have this in electronic form,” she said. “I already have it in print, but I am a student and have had to move the 38 volumes three times to second floor apartments. I’m selling the paper!”

With more than 5,000 titles available today, the case for saving space and weight is made. Still, the ECF remains our first, best single-title example, and we still drag the paper edition out as a prop for photographs.

During a recent shoot, as several of us hauled the set out to the lobby, I observed that I had seen someone carry the whole set. Logos blogger Eli Evans did not believe me –- but he was the one who did it. I found the photo, from 1998, though the evidence shows he could only handle 37 of the 38 volumes.

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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