Friday, December 7, 2012

CleverKeys and WordWeb: Reference Aids to Supplement Bible Software

Sometimes as you are reading something on your computer, you would like to have some quick information about the term: a dictionary meaning, an encyclopedia article, check in Wikipedia, etc. There are two programs I can recommend to make such a lookup quick and easy. Both of them are 'run and stay resident' program. I.e., you will usually have them start when you start your system, and they lurk in the background ready to be called up with a keystroke or mouse click.

CleverKeys is a free program available for both Windows and Macs, and it is the program I have ended up using regularly. It indicates that it was
developed for by Art & Logic - is free software that provides instant access to definitions at, synonyms at, facts at and more — from almost all Windows [and Mac] programs, including word processors, Web browsers and most e-mail programs. With CleverKeys, the answers are just a click away.
It is a very lightweight program (only 5Mb on my Win7 system) and is highly configurable in terms of hotkeys and linked sites. (The default hotkey is CTRL-L, so be aware if you have any keystroke conflicts with that.) Simply highlight a word, hit the hotkey, and a webpage will open looking up that term.
Since it was developed by, the default is to jump to that site which is built on the latest Random House Dictionary. Using CleverKeys to lookup Passover, you not only get that dictionary with pronunciation, definition, related questions, and origin, but scrolling down you also get info from the World English Dictionary, Word Origin and History, American Heritage Cultural Dictionary, and the 1897 Easton Bible Dictionary. One nice feature of here is that all the definitions on this page have with them a "Cite this source" link that will provide correct citation of the reference in a variety of style formats. The site also provides and has links at the top of the page to Thesaurus, Quotes, Reference, and Translator resources.

CleverKeys does allow you to create your own weblinks (cf. graphic above), and I have created a link to OneLook Dictionary Search, a dictionary aggregator. For "Passover" it finds definitions in 42 online dictionaries including, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc., and 6 "Religion" dictionaries including Easton's, the Catholic Encyclopedia (1914), the Glossary of Spiritual and Religious Terms (at, Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860's at, Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion (1999), and the Glossary of Biblical English of the Authorised Version of the Holy Bible (a bad link).

As you can see, we are dealing with mostly public domain resources, so the quality of results will vary, but that's the problem with most of what is floating on the web or is packaged for free with most Bible software.

WordWeb works a bit differently. It's a bit 'heavier' than CleverKeys (using 50+ Mb of memory), but it can do a bit more including work offline.
WordWeb is a comprehensive one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows. It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links.
You can either use a hotkey combination or a key+mouse click combination to activate WordWeb, and you don't need to highlight the word. You just need to have the cursor on the term. Instead of opening a web page, it opens its own popup window. As you can see in the graphic below, it has a number of lexical and grammatical features: definition, pronunciation, usage examples, synonyms, and other ways of classifying the term.
You also have tabs that link into Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and WordWeb online with links into still more resources.

There are a number of ways that WordWeb is a more sophisticated program than CleverKeys, but I have uninstalled it because of its unique pricing policy. The program is indeed free according to these licensing terms:
You may use the program free of charge indefinitely only if
  • You take at most 4 flights (2 return flights) in any 12 month period
  • AND you do not own or regularly drive an SUV (sports utility vehicle).
I applaud their environmental concern, and I don't drive an SUV, but I have already had to make 4 round trip flights this year. If you don't meet the licensing terms, then you need to buy a $19 Pro version which does offer more options and functionality. So, instead of paying $19, I'm using CleverKeys. Do note that though the free version only runs on Windows, there is a $5 Pro version for Macs. There are also free Android and iPhone/iPad versions. We now also need to specify that the free version runs fine under Win8 desktop, but they have also a free Win8 app.

CleverKeys, WordWeb, and Bible Software
It is great that these programs work anywhere on your system: web, Word, email, etc. I was interested in these initially as supplements to the Bible software I've been using. If you have Logos, it does have just about everything (depending on your library) including the 2003 Merriam-Webster dictionary and at least 10 Bible-based dictionaries in their most basic library. If anything, Logos, is a bit of overkill, so sometimes I use CleverKeys to more quickly find some basic info or to jump quickly to Wikipedia. Even in their Starter collection, Accordance does include the 1913 Webster's Dictionary, the old Easton's, and the much more useful Eerdman's Bible Dictionary (2000). You can see where CleverKeys or WordWeb might still be useful for Accordance users. BibleWorks has never focused on such auxiliary reference works and only includes Easton's, the Fausset Bible Dictionary (19th century), and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915). For BibleWorks users and for users of other programs like e-Sword, OliveTree, Laridian, and others which only include some old reference works, CleverKeys or WordWeb should prove to supplement their study nicely.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"The Text This Week" (Textweek) now available for Android and iPhone/iPad

I'm assuming that just about every pastor knows about "The Text This Week" aka site. What started as something of a hobby for Jenee Woodard turned into one of the most popular sites related to the Bible on the web. I just discovered that Chris Ruddell of Church Mag turned the site into an Android and iPhone/iPad app. (Read more from Ruddell about it over on Church Mag
. He notes that the project is not yet complete, but for now it provides:
  • Lectionary resources – it wouldn't be much of an app without this!  Look up lectionary readings for the current and upcoming Sundays, or browse by lectionary cycle.
  • Scripture – Not following the lectionary per se?  Look up your current scripture reading by browsing the listing sorted by book of the Bible
  • Artwork – Find artwork and images tagged by topic and theme.  A great way to find bulletin covers or PowerPoint slide images.
  • Movies – Find inspiring clips for your sermon to bring a point to life.
It runs rather slowly on my now-aging Droid X, but it's great to have this available.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Moving to Logos 5

I recently posted a 3-part review of Logos 5.Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

On their blog, Logos has now posted the clearest explanation of the many different ways you can move to Logos 5. It's all logical enough, but it is still complicated enough that you are better off just using the online calculator or calling them.
A few things to note since the earlier reviews:
  • I had posed a question about getting condensed verse lists from search results. I have confirmed that you cannot get such a list (e.g.: Matthew 1:1; 2:2-4; Mark 6:34) In one of the recent updates, however, Logos has now made it possible to create a "Passage List" from any of the searches which can be displayed as a compact list with each reference on a separate line. I still want the condensed reference list to paste into documents.
  • I had been aware of the "Biblical Languages" package, but Logos was not promoting it since it is only available to institutions that require their students to have Logos. (They note as much in the blog post.) I have not yet seen what is in the package, but it apparently is similar to the Bronze package, though I'm guessing it has additional original language resources.
  • There have already been a number of updates to Logos 5, but it has been fast, stable, and reliable for me.
  • Logos has updated their splashscreen logo and the logo as it shows up in your task bar. I have them displayed above.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Better Bible Search Suggestion: Accordance, BibleWorks, Logos

How would you go about looking for all the instances in the Bible where it says that Jesus is doing some kind of teaching. (I'm going to use English examples here to simplify things.) Using Bible software such as Accordance, BibleWorks, or Logos, I suspect that your first inclination would be to look for all instances of "Jesus AND teach." [For English, "(teach* OR taught)" - Yes, Greek would be easier searching for some form of διδασκω or words related to that root.] You would get about 35 hits in about 34 verses.

So, what's wrong with those results? The problem is that the software is only searching for where the two words occur in the same verse.

So, how do we get around that problem?
  • You could just search for "Jesus" and then skim through all the results to look for all the instances when it says, "He was teaching..." (or something similar) and the "he" refers to Jesus.
  • The new Logos 5 is trying to accomplish what I just described with their Speaker Labels and their Clause Searches where you can identify with greater specificity who is the subject or being mentioned. This is a great improvement, but it still won't get you all the results, however.
Similarly, let's say you want to find all instances of "light* AND dark*" You will get lots of hits, but again, due to the search-by-verse orientation of the software, you would miss texts like Isa 42:6-7; 60:2-3; Luke 23:44-45; Col 1:12-13; 1 John 1:6-7. The new Logos features won't help you out here, so what should you do? Each of the software packages has a way of searching apart from verse limitations.
  • I don't have the latest version of Accordance, but I know it can do this. (Cf. UPDATE below)
  • In BibleWorks, you can specify occurrences within X many verses. (This can be done both from the command line and in the Graphical Search.)
  • In Logos, you can specify occurrences within X many words using BEFORE, AFTER, WITHIN, NEAR. (Look here.) For the search to work properly, however, you need to search on the "Surface Text" which is one of the search fields you can specify.
    [I checked, and I do recall in Logos 3 that you could search by "Chapters or sections" or by "Verses." Look here. I can't find that option available any more in Logos 5. Anyone know if it's there and how you access it?]
That is going to work better doing some kind of cross-verse search, but you are still going to end up with odd and unpredictable results depending on how many verses or words you arbitrarily choose to search across.

The Hebrew Bible texts have always had some system of markings indicating various levels, and those have largely been incorporated into our modern chapter and verse divisions. For the New Testament, Eusebius divided the Gospels into what we might call pericopes in the 3rd century. Chapter divisions were introduced in the 13th century by Langton. Verses were introduced in the 16th century by Stephanus. (Pagnini had a prior Latin Bible in 1528 that had a different versification scheme that was based on larger units of thought or action. For more on his [superior] versification, look here and here.) For more on all this Wikipedia provides a reliable enough account.

For better Bible searching, then, here is my proposal.

I would like to see the option of being able to search biblical texts within (what I will call) pericopes rather than just within verses. I am not a programmer, so I don't know how difficult of a thing it is I am suggesting. I also know that defining pericope units can also be a subjective decision in many instances. Still, we already have many Bible outlines breaking biblical books into sense units that could be used. (BibleWorks includes 13 outlines as used in the RSV, NIV, NET, ESV, etc. Eusebius' work on the Gospels has been improved with a variety of Gospel synopses.) The beauty of this approach is that I wouldn't need to specify a verse range. I would be more likely to find the instances where Jesus is teaching based on the words of the text. I would automatically get John 7:38-39 when looking for instances of "water AND spirit." I would get Psalm 23 if I look for "shepherd AND staff."

Does anyone else think this would be a good idea for the Bible software programmers to pursue? Am I missing anything? Is there already a way in Accordance, BibleWorks, or Logos to do this of which I am unaware? What about any of the other Bible software programs?

UPDATE 2012.12.01:
  • Thanks to Rubén Gómez for pointing out in the comments how in Accordance you can use "scope" to search withing paragraph, chapter, or book. I suppose "paragraphs" would be close to pericopes, but I'd still like to search within something like John 3.1-21 (Jesus and Nicodemus) which is usually broken into 4 paragraphs.
  • Thanks also to Devin Roza for pointing out a way you can kind of get at it in Logos. Using the Syntax search feature, you actually are searching within syntactical units. You will get more hits this way, but you still won't get all of them because it still is not searching within conceptual units. (I.e., it won't search across 2 sentences.)
    BTW, thanks also for sharing your search on the Faithlife community forum. That worked well for me to connect to it and open it in my Logos.
UPDATE 2012.12.02
  • In the comments, Dominick Sela appears to have found to get the desired results in Logos by using a Basic Search. To add some specifics, use the Basic Search. Choose to search "Bible Text" (not "All Text") and choose the version you want to search. The scope of the search is within the defined sections of that particular version, so you will get different results depending on the version and how it splits pericopes. Though you cannot conduct morphological searches using Greek/Hebrew, you can still use this Basic Search, choose a Hebrew or Greek text (that has interlinear coding), and search using English terms. The scope appears to be by chapter.

Windows 8 Impressions

Windows 8 Impressions

My mother had been using an increasingly balky, old eMachines desktop running WinXP. Since I had some time with her over Thanksgiving, we decided that it was time to upgrade to something more reliable and take advantage of the weekend sales. She ended up getting a 23" HP All-in-One system with a dual-core AMD A4-5300 3.4GHz processor, 6GB RAM, integrated graphics, 500GB 7200RPM  HDD, and other fairly standard features that would come with a new Win8 system. We debated the virtues of getting a touch-screen display, but for a desktop system, it didn't quite seem to make sense, especially for over $200 more for an otherwise comparable system.

So, this was my first experience with Win8, and I had 4 days to transfer stuff from a WinXP system to a new Win8 one. Further, I needed to set up the system and be able to have it work intuitively for my mostly non-tech mother who was accustomed to WinXP. Here are some impressions and things I learned.

  • Initial setup of the Win8 system was no problem and did not take very long.
  • I used Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer to move as much as I could between the two systems. That worked reasonably well.
  • The system is acceptably fast, but I had heard that I might expect comparatively faster performance with Win8. I was not impressed, and those hardware specs should be decent enough.
  • I'm not sure how much of the default setup was due to HP and how much to the basic Win8 system, but you need to have a Microsoft account to do just about anything. Skydrive, Games, the default music and video apps... They all need a Microsoft account. There are also many hooks into Microsoft's Xbox system which were a bit annoying if you don't use Xbox.
  • When in doubt, we ended up using the general rule of using a mouse right-click. That usually got you where you wanted to go, but we ended up right-clicking a lot, because we were having trouble figuring out how to make things work. Win8 is surprisingly not intuitive to use.
  • Win8, it seems to me, is a transitional operating system. It really is a combination of Win7 and Win8, and there is something of a schizophrenic feel to how it all works. I ended up trying to have my mother think of the distinction between Win8 apps and Win7 programs. Programs will have the X in the upper right corner to close them. Apps will not have the X and need to be dragged down to close them.
  • What gets confusing is that there is some overlap with some programs which have both program and app versions. The biggest offender (and it really is offensive) is Internet Explorer. When you first open the IE app, it does not have any menu or favorites or tabs or URL bar. How do you get anywhere? Right-click, and that brings up open 'tabs' on the top, a URL bar on the bottom and large icons for 'pinned' (to the Start page) sites, Frequent sites, and Favorites. I couldn't find how to organize those or move them around, and the icons are so large that it takes a lot of scrolling to go through your favorites. It was easier to pin a few to the Start page. What's worse, some sites don't work in the IE app, and so you are directed to use the old IE program. The Google app is another odd one. It didn't work as I expected it to do, but maybe it would function better with a touch screen where you would swipes to go back and forth between results and sites. I also very much disliked the Mail app, and I set up a tile for the new as a way to read mail. I also did not like the Skype app (I simply could not figure out how to add someone to my contacts) or the Photo app (I never could figure out how to move to the next photo!).
  • I can see where Win8 is designed as a one-size-fits-all system intended for phone, tablet, and notebook (and desktop as an afterthought). It really is intended to be used with a touch-screen, but after a few days, I could manage acceptably well with keyboard and mouse. I ended up getting around more quickly using the keyboard than the mouse, though. It's simply a pain trying to use the mouse to get the cursor precisely enough in one of the screen corners to activate the "Charm Bar" or the open apps. OTOH, for touch devices, having the larger icons to start apps and using various swipes would work well.
  • The Win7 is kind of still there in the Desktop app. (If this were my system, and I really wanted to keep my Win7 functionality and feel, I think I would use Stardock's Start8.) I missed seeing resident programs in the system tray. I missed seeing open programs in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, and it took a bit to get used to switching using the cursor in the upper left corner method.
  • The Win8 Start page is a mixed deal. The 'live tiles' are somewhat helpful, but if there is a way to organize them without fitting into one of the grid patterns, I couldn't figure it out. There is also lots of horizontal scrolling (instead of vertical), but it works fairly well with the mouse scroll wheel.
  • When we first tried to turn off the computer, there was no intuitive way to put the machine to sleep or into hibernation (other than just pushing the power button on the machine). It turns out that you need to call up the charm bar, click on settings, then choose Power to have shutdown options. It's just a pain. I ended up going into Power settings to create a keyboard shortcut to hibernate the machine, but that's one more thing to remember.
Overall, I do not like Win8, but I suspect that I better get used to it. As someone who likes to 'customize' my machine, Win8 can be rather frustrating in many ways. OTOH, I also suspect that if a person were just starting with the Win8 operating system without previous experience, it might be okay, especially if you were using a touch screen. Win8 tries to maximize screen space--which is great for smaller devices--but it means extra clicks on a desktop.

I saw Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos running on Win8 systems at SBL, and it will be nice to be able to use a program on a variety of devices. There are lots of other pros/cons and delights/quibbles, but for now, I am happy staying with Win7 on my desktop system.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SBL 2012 in Chicago Reflections

The Calder "Flamingo" sculpture in Chicago
I'm back home from the annual AAR-SBL meeting in Chicago. Just some observations and comments:
  • I arrived Saturday morning (and got to McCormick Place shortly before noon) and left Monday evening. That worked well enough, though there were a couple sessions I would have attended earlier on Saturday morning. It appears that the planners have recognized that most people leave on Monday, because there weren't a whole lot of offerings on Tuesday.
  • McCormick Place is HUGE. To get from the east to the west building took at least 15 minutes of walking, and somehow it seemed that the sessions I wanted were scheduled so that I often made that walk.
  • It was kind of a pain not having enough hotel space close to McCormick Place. The buses worked well enough, but it did mean you had to add extra time. I did end up meeting some very interesting people by chance who sat next to me on the bus ride: the new Dean of the Yale Divinity School, a teacher who had grown up as a child of Lutheran missionaries in Africa, David Gowler whose book on the parables I'm using next semester...
  • The exhibit hall was great. Thanks for providing the charging station for our phones and laptops!
  • WiFi throughout McCormick Place worked well. That also was a boon.
  • The evening receptions and the opportunities to meet friends and colleagues is always the best part of the gathering. I especially am glad to connect with my former teachers and thank them again. (This SBL, thanks to Wayne Meeks, Vernon Robbins, and Richard Hays.)
  • Note to self: There were 3 different Hyatt hotels used for the meeting. Make sure you know at which one the reception is at or you will end up losing an hour and a half walking and riding around on the buses.
  • The AAR-SBL app worked well enough. My phone is just a bit slow, so I did end up writing my daily schedule on paper. Using Scanner for Zotero to accumulate interesting books I saw in the exhibit hall worked great.
  • As usual, the sessions were a mixed experience. Some topics are so obscure that you need to be an expert to figure out what's going on. (Okay, so the SBL Fonts presentation was high on my list.) Some presenters do much better than others. (In a number of instances, I really would have preferred to just read the paper.) I wasn't able to stay for the whole session to hear all the reviewers, but Larry Hurtado provided a very helpful review of the Jewish Annotated New Testament. (Perhaps he will publish his full review online.) Another interesting session was on "Intertextuality in the NT" featuring a book review of  the very recently released Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation (Richard B. Hays and Stefan Alkier, eds., Baylor University Press, 2012). They (rightly) assumed that most people had not read the book, but it generated some very interesting discussion. 
  • I also enjoyed visiting the various Bible software booths and posted some updates for Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos.
Next year in Baltimore!

Logos at SBL 2012

Logos had a busy booth at SBL showing off their new Logos 5 running on a variety of platforms. I had a couple questions about the new collections and an export option, and I'm waiting to hear back from them. Specifically,
  • I was wondering about their suggested replacement in Logos 5 for the "Original Languages" library in Logos 4. The new collections advertised on the web site don't have anything comparable. OTOH, the Logos display did include the new Verbum libraries. "Verbum is a cross-platform Catholic library." ("Catholic" here means Roman Catholic.) The "Scripture Study" looks close, but it lists at $890.
  • I am trying to figure out how to export a condensed list of Bible references returned by a search. (I.e., I want something like "Mt 15:32; 20:34, 36; Mk 1:41, 6:34; Lk 10:37") Logos returns those verses but with their text. The closest I can get is a 'compact passage list,' but that still lists each reference in a separate line that can't be exported (as far as I can tell). My search on the Logos forums indicates that I'm not alone in looking for this option.
I did find out that one of the resources that was simply listed in the original list of new material--Lexham Hebrew Septuagint Reverse Interlinear: H.B. Swete Edition--is still coming. I.e., you get the license for it now, and the content will be available later. That will be interesting. I'm guessing that it is basically is using Tov's Hebrew-Greek Parallel Aligned Text and then using Logos' new way of incorporating reverse interlinears as applied to the Septuagint text. This will be very helpful.

Logos has now also also made the "minimal crossgrade" available for current Logos users. Its cost depends on what collection you are crossgrading. A crossgrade, as the Logos site says:
A bare-bones crossgrade to Logos 5. The Minimal Crossgrade includes all the new Logos 5 features and datasets, plus a small collection of resources that equip you to use them.
UPDATE: In the comments, Mark Barnes corrects the information about cross-/up-grading. He states:
The seven core datasets are included in the Core Datasets module, which costs $70. The minimal crossgrade module includes all ten datasets, plus a number of other resources and costs $160.
The core datasets are:
  • Bible Facts:Events
  • Referent Data
  • Phrase Concordance
  • Preaching Themes
  • Reported Speech
  • Thematic Outlines
  • Timeline
You will need to do the minimal crossgrade of your Logos 4 to also get the Bible Sense Lexicon and Clause Search functionality and other features. The free Logos 5 engine upgrade (which would not include any of the new datasets) will likely be released in the first quarter of 2013.

For more on Logos 5, be sure to read my reviews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

BibleWorks at SBL 2012

Jim Barr and Glenn Weaver at the BibleWorks booth at SBL
I had a great time visiting with the guys at the BibleWorks booth. BibleWorks 9 has been out for about a year and a half. There have been quite a few updates and a number of resources added during this time, but I didn't hear any rumors of a new release being imminent. I was assured that they are working on a number of new features and resources. At the booth, they showed BibleWorks running on both a Mac and a Win8 tablet. They both looked good. There is full functionality on the Win8 (not Win8 RT) tablet, and apparently "about 95%" functionality on the Mac. (More info here for BW running natively on a Mac.) I do like my Android phone, and if I had money for a tablet, I would know what to do with an Android tablet, but being able to run BW on a Win8 tablet makes it more attractive. Using touch with BW worked well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Accordance at SBL 2012

I visited with the fine folks at Accordance here at SBL. Their booth was quite busy, and they were demonstrating the recently released (August 2012) Accordance 10 running on Macs as well as other devices. I was particularly interested to see it running on Windows 8 which you can see in the picture above with David Lang. (Be sure to read Lang's practical advice and guides for the application of Accordance he provides on their blog.) I was fortunate enough to bump into Roy and Helen Brown and have supper with them, and he says it will be released "sometime in 2013," and this display running on Win8 is proof that it is not vaporware. (Roy is founder/developer/president of Accordance, and Helen provides a lot help on their support forum.) More on Accordance on Windows here.
BTW, if you are like me and like biblical maps and such, they are running a sale on Carta products through the end of the year. Carta publishes high quality resources, so if you have Accordance, any of their resources are great supplements to the excellent Atlas module you can get for the program.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

SBL 2012 Session: Using SBL Fonts

Using the SBL Fonts 

This session was led by Chris Hooker who is the font person for SBL. He has been doing this for about five years for SBL, both providing support and serving as an advocate for the implementation and improvement of the SBL fonts. His work can largely be accessed at SBL fonts page. (The SBL fonts themselves are designed by John Hudson of Tiro Typeworks.)

I blogged about Hooker's presentation last year, and some of what he did was repeated. Hooker provided a quick history of ASCII, the disadvantages of the old TrueType 'hack' fonts, and the advantage of Unicode fonts. I also have been a long-time advocate of Unicode and have blogged about it and its implementation regularly.

The new SBL fonts are fully Unicode compliant, downloadable and free for personal use. He indicated that they are hoping to release the SBL BibLit soon. (However, this is the same thing he said a year ago...) This is the font set I've been waiting for. It does exist, and Hooker actually used it in his presentation. Basically it's a combination of SBL Hebrew, SBL Greek, and a comprehensive Latin set of characters that might be used by biblical scholars.

He then walked through downloading and installing fonts and keyboards. For Windows, he recommends using the built-in Greek Polytonic keyboard. For Hebrew, he recommends using the SIL Hebrew keyboard. One issue with typing in Greek using that standard Greek Polytonic keyboard is that you need to enter the vowels and diacritics in a specific order in order to get the correct character. Personally, I still recommend using Tavultesoft Keyman (but it does have a minimal cost). (Do note my suggestions here . Hooker noted that there have been some possible problems occasionally with Hebrew.)

Issues with Windows8: Apart from the overall interface, the main difference involves the installation of the Unicode keyboards. Using the Regional settings, you need to add a new input method (and remove the default Hebrew=Israeli keyboard). It looks like in Win8 that keyboard switching uses a "WinKey + space" instead of the "Left-Alt + space" used in Win7 and earlier. With Unicode, he showed how it knows how to work with right-to-left input, final forms, vowel placements, etc. Using WinVista, Win7, or Win8, it also helps to use the onscreen keyboards built-in to the operating system. (Note that in Win7, to get the onscreen keyboard, use Start, and search for "onscreen keyboard." In Win8, you use the Charm bar and search for it.) Also note that if you are looking for a specific character (e.g., a dead key character or some special editing mark), the free BabelMap program is very useful.

From a question that arose, if you have trouble in MS Word when typing with Hebrew and your line spacing changes, go in to the Word paragraph options and set line spacing to "exactly" instead of "multiple."

Hooker pointed to this website in response to another question. If you are trying to update files using the older fonts, I've accumulated a list of converters of which I am aware.
Hooker also went through the process for working with Mac OS10. Go to the SBL fonts page to download the fonts, and install the keyboards. Again, he recommends using the SIL keyboards. Adding diacritics to Greek is more flexible on a Mac. Using Word for Mac poses problems because it does not support right-to-left languages. This has been a problem for years. It's possible that you can copy/paste in Hebrew, but results are not predictable. Some people use Pages, but Hooker recommends using Mellel. ($35 for an academic license.) Unfortunately, few publishers can directly use Mellel's file format. (The workaround solution is to export the file as RTF, but it might break footnoting formatting. Accompany the RTF with a PDF file is the solution. Or, someone suggested exporting to a Word DOC file BUT never open that file in Mac Word!) Hooker did indicate that Outlook in the newest Microsoft Office Suite does work correctly, so perhaps there is hope for Microsoft Word for Mac in the future.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

AAR SBL 2012 Meeting - Great deal on NA28

I'm enjoying the 2013 AAR-SBL meeting in Chicago. It's always a great time to hear some speakers, catch up with friends, and peruse the exhibition hall. Quick tip for anyone who is here and may happen to read this blog: Stop by at the Crossway Books booth #331. Until they run out they are selling a very nice, hardbound, ESV-NestleAland 28th for only $15. I don't think you are going to find the new NA28 for that cheap anywhere else. Mention my name, and it won't mean a thing...
Off to the Fortress Press reception!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Art Catalogs and Guides from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently (?) launched a MetPublications site that will be of interest to biblical scholars. Its purpose is described on its About page:
MetPublications is a portal to the Met’s comprehensive publishing program. Beginning with nearly 650 titles published from 1964 to the present, this resource will continue to expand and could eventually offer access to nearly all books, Bulletins, and Journals published by the Metropolitan Museum since the Met's founding in 1870. It will also include online publications.
From a biblical perspective, you might want to search using thematic categories using such ones as:
Some of the books are only offered in Google Book Preview, but most are free, downloadable PDFs. Here are some I found that were particularly interesting:
I am not an art specialist, so the first two "Resource for Educators" guides were especially helpful. (How do you know if a depiction is that of an Assyrian deity? The guide will tell you.) Coming from an art museum, there are many graphics, illustrations, photos, and descriptions of many notable pieces from antiquity. Lots of archaeological stuff and much more...

[HT: Stephen's Web]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Logos 5 Review - Part 3

I have a few more things that I want to highlight about Logos 5 in this part 3 of my review. (Part 1 and Part 2)


One new feature in Logos 5 that shows up in the Tool menu is the "Bible Sense Lexicon." (It also is available through the Exegetical Guide for a passage in the "Word by Word" section, by right clicking on words in reverse-interlinear coded texts, and in the Bible Word Study about which I say more below.) It is part of a very ambitious project that seeks to organize words used in the Bible according to their function and relationship to similar words or concepts. In effect, it is similar to what Louw-Nida did in the Lexicon of the NT based on Semantic Domains, but this project covers both Hebrew and Greek. We again see that a lot of human-hours has been spent going through the biblical text and assigning words to their various sense categories. I really can't do better explaining this feature than what Logos has on their web site, so be sure to look at this page on the Bible Sense Lexicon. I will simply make some observations and raise some questions and concerns here.
  • There is a hierarchy of listings, and you can move up/down the hierarchy by clicking on the word or concept above/below the one you are looking at. Such a hierarchy is useful for seeing the relationship between concepts. It would, however, be helpful to be able to see the overall outline of how this lexicon is organized. (I'm thinking of something like the domain list structure in Louw-Nida.) "Entity" is one top level category and has six sublevel categories which branch out further from there, but I can't even find what are the other top level categories. As you work down through the levels, the higher ones disappear from the display, so I find that I do a lot of back/forth in the levels trying to keep straight where I am.
  • You can search for words in Hebrew, Greek, or English and will be provided with suggested results (and you need to choose one of those results) as you type.
  • This tool is useful for helping us realize that words do indeed have specific senses. You cannot simply claim that because a word can have the sense of "x" in one passage that it can have the sense of "x" in any passage.
  • As far as I can tell, you can only have one Bible Sense Lexicon window open.
  • It can be helpful for seeing how a certain concept is expressed using Hebrew, Greek, or English. That said, there are still some aspects of it that confuse me. E.g., there is an entry for "lamb" under "livestock" > "young livestock" for which six Hebrew words are provided and three further sub-senses: "ewe lamb," "nursing lamb," "ram lamb." I was expecting to find the Greek word most often used for "lamb" (ἀρνίον) here, but it is listed under "livestock"  > "sheep" > "lamb (year old)" with two further sub-senses of "Passover lamb" and "young lamb." For "Passover lamb," πάσχα is given for the Greek (the word used in the NT), but it doesn't connect to the πρόβατον used to designate that lamb in Exodus 12:3, and neither of them connect to the Hebrew word used for the animal in Exodus 12:3, a שֶׂה which is found under "livestock" > "small livestock" > "young small livestock."  So, I'm not clear about the organizing principles, and it will still be important to work with the Hebrew/Greek collation done in Emanuel Tov's The Parallel Aligned Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture or, even better, the LXX or Hebrew Translation feature in the Bible Word Study.
  • As you can see in the graphic below, a word like πνεῦμα which has a wide possible range of meanings does get sorted out into its various senses. Still, there are limitations to what it does. E.g., I can't find an entry where the Hebrew רוּחַ is directly connected to that Greek πνεῦμα. You can find רוּחַ under "causal agency" > "vital principle" > "spirit (God)" for which their is a sub-sense "soul <=> spirit." It's under that latter sub-sense that you find πνεῦμα, where a definition is supplied: "the soul understood especially according to its composition: being made of a transcendental, immaterial substance known as spirit." Okay, so that's a hard word to define under any circumstance, but I don't see how it fits under this particular category.

Not to look gift horse in the mouth (consider the 'senses' needed to clarify that phrase!), but this remains a work in progress, and there are many subjective choices which invariably had to be made. It's useful, but you will want to use it with some caution and awareness of other ways to come at a word's meaning and its relationship to its Hebrew/Greek/English counterparts.

The Bible Word Study has been expanded with three new sections: Root (which connects the word you are studying with its root and all the related forms with their occurrences; cf. my previous post), Senses (which ties in to the Bible Sense Lexicon; cf. above), and Phrases (which ties in to the Topic guide if there is an entry connected to that word). The Phrases section might not return the results for which you were hoping. E.g., a search on πίστις does not return results for the thorny issue of the "faith in Jesus / faithfulness of Jesus" phrase but instead points to Topic Guides on "Fight of Faith" and "Proportion of faith, Measure of faith." Again we see Logos working hard at integrating its various resources.


Speaking of the "faith in Jesus / faithfulness of Jesus" issue, I want to note the Exegetical Guide which is accessible both through the Guides menu and as a right click on a Bible verse. The graphic above shows the guide for Romans 3:22, and you can see that in Logos 5, under the "Word by Word" section, that a new "Sense" explanation has been provided which is linked to the Bible Sense Lexicon described above. More info on the Exegetical Guide is on the Logos site. I want to draw attention to one enhancement to the analysis of the word where additional information about its "syntactical force" has been added. This provides a deeper level of analysis of the grammar, and all the grammatical terms are helpfully linked to The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary. As Logos advertises, this shows "how syntax determines the word’s function." That's great, but...

Many of you are probably aware of the major issue in Pauline studies related to the πίστεως Ἰησοῦ phrase which occurs here in Romans 3:22 and again in verse 26. The issue revolves around how "Jesus" in the genitive case is to be construed. It is a syntactical issue, and the usual way of laying out the options is as an objective genitive which would mean "faith in Jesus" or a subjective genitive which would mean "faithfulness of Jesus." (Take a look at your English versions. Most have a footnote indicating the possible alternative readings.) As you can see, how you take that phrase has significant implications for how we experience the righteousness of God. In the Exegetical Guide to Romans 3:22, the syntactical force enhancement has identified "Jesus" as a qualitative genitive. I find that rather odd, since it would suggest that it means "a Jesus-like faith." Then, just a few verses later when the phrase occurs in 3:26, it's identified as a subjective genitive. That is one of the usual ways of understanding it as I note above, but how you take it in 3:22 should likely be the same way you take it in 3:26. To add to the confusion, it labels it as a subjective genitive in 3:26, but in the Sense definition provided just below it, it links to "trust in the gospel - trust in Jesus as contained in the content of the Gospel" which is the objective genitive reading.
Once again, it's great that Logos is working at providing all this additional information and integrating its resources, but we also see the limitations--and perhaps even dangers--of simply relying on Bible software (and I'm not just meaning Logos here) to make definitive claims.

  • I was pleased to see the addition of the new Lexham English Septuagint from the Logos team, and it's a welcome replacement to Brenton's 1870 version. Since it is intended as a literal translation based on The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, I was wondering why the English words are not linked to their underlying Greek, nor can I find a Greek Septuagint text with which it has the sympathetic reading capability. (I’m comparing this to Rick Brannan’s work on The Apostolic Fathers in English—another great addition-- where the English works are all connected with the Greek. UPDATE: Cf. Brannan's comment to this post for some explanation.)
  • Lexham Hebrew Bible with Morphology which can hook into word roots (something the BHS/Westminster one cannot do)
  • The new Nestle-Aland 28 (in Platinum or higher libraries; NA28 does not appear to be available separately yet)
  • HarperCollins Bible Dictionary: An excellent inclusion that comes with all libraries
  • Tanakh (both the 1917 and the 1985 editions): I encourage my students to compare this Jewish translation with the standard English versions (comes in Diamond or higher libraries; available separately)
  • The Faithlife Study Bible resources--Infographics, Photos, and Videos--are quite good for the most part. Available in all libraries, I think they will be widely used.
  • The Logos Bible Photos, also part of all the libraries, are collected from the Internet, and are generally of good quality and usefulness. They are public domain images and thus can be used without restriction.
  • The Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Jenni & Westermann) and the Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (Spicq) are part of all but the Starter library.
  • The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Septuagint (comes in all but the Starter library) mainly provides glosses, so it does not replace the Lust/Eynikel/Hauspie lexicon, but it is a good start.
  • Reverse interlinears have now been integrated totally into the Bible versions. This is really the way they should be done, but note that only the following texts have this coding thoroughly worked out.
    • Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia/Westminster and the new Lexham Hebrew Bible
    • Rahlf's Septuagint: This is actually a Greek-Hebrew reverse interlinear and provides the basis for linking the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint as well as to English.
    • English Bibles: ESV, KJV, LEB, NRSV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, NLT, AV
    • Lake’s Apostolic Fathers and Brannan's Apostolic Fathers
  • The information window provides a lot of information quickly. Depending on the resource, you will get: definition, pronunciation, translation, analysis, lexical help. You do need to be working with Hebrew/Greek/English versions of the Bible that have reverse interlinear codings. Even so, there will be some discrepancies due to the English correspondences. The LEB looks to be most distinctly coded to the underlying original language, but with the other English versions you may, for example, get a link to the article that precedes the noun.
  • It really helps to have a wide-screen monitor. Even better, two wide-screen monitors!
  • The color scheme is attractive enough, but I don't see any way to customize it beyond what you can do with Windows system personalization.
  • I was using Logos 4 on an old Pentium 4, WinXP system, and it was pretty slow. I'm now using Logos 5 on a 3rd generation i7 system with 12GB RAM and Win7. That's a pretty fast system, and I can't make a direct comparison of speed between Logos 4 and 5. On my new system, running Logos 5 really does not give me any annoying delays at all. It's very nice working with it.
  • The "Library" packages that Logos offers continue to evolve, and it is a bit confusing. This page provides some explanation, but basically a particular Logos 4 library is not the same as its Logos 5 counterpart. The best thing to do is to go to the Logos site, log in, and use the Custom Upgrade Discount Calculator to see what products are new in Logos 5, which would be new to you, and how big your discount is. I'm disappointed that the "Original Language Library" that I used to recommend to my students is gone. It appears that the Bronze is its substitute, but that looks like a big jump in price (though I can't really tell the exact price, and it would further depend on available discounts).
  • For now, if you want to move to Logos 5, you need to upgrade your Library. This will likely cost you some hundreds of dollars. In the near future, Logos has affirmed that they will offer a minimal "cross-grade" that will be cheaper (under $100) and add features without adding all the new resources. They will also offer a free engine upgrade, but you won't be able to get all new features. Read HERE for more info from Logos' Bob Pritchett.
Logos 5 is a significant upgrade whose new features and databases show a commendable commitment to helping the user work with the biblical texts and secondary resources by even deeper integration of all its materials. It is not a huge jump like moving from Logos 3 to Logos 4 was, but that does mean that the user is not confronted with needing to relearn how to use the program. In Part 1 I highlighted some nice updates, and in Part 2 and above on this page, I indicated the main reasons for updating. As I have indicated, there are pros and cons to some of the features. A person should not assume that Logos 5 is the last word on any topic or grammatical matter, but Logos 5 certainly does provide a strong foundation for gathering the relevant data. I am also sure that Logos will continue to improve their datasets and analyses, and for now, it is exciting to see how all these are being integrated and presented.

So, if you read this far, you are probably wondering if I am recommending that you buy or upgrade to Logos 5. My response: I don't know, and I'm not sure. I don't know because it really depends on what you want your Bible software to do. If you do not have any program and are simply looking for an electronic way to read the biblical texts and have some resources available, you can get by with fine free programs like The Word, e-Sword, or LaParola or an online site like the NET Bible Learning Environment. If you are willing to pay some money for particular resources, you can build up a Bible study library with programs like OliveTree's Bible Reader or Laridian's PocketBible. If your interest is primarily in the biblical texts with connections out to important textual, lexical, and grammatical resources, BibleWorks is an outstanding value. (Accordance should also be mentioned here, but I am not a Mac user and have not kept up with all its developments. My sense from taking the 'tour' linked on their home page is that it is similar to Logos 5 for Mac, and I can report that all my students who use Accordance love it.) Logos 5 is primarily a library management tool that is particularly designed for Bible study. If BibleWorks starts with biblical text and links out to resources, Logos starts with a library and delves deeply into the biblical text. Logos 5 shows how well the integration of biblical text and resources can be implemented. It's a premium Bible study program, but you should expect to pay a premium price for it, even with discounts. That is why I'm a bit unsure on what to recommend to you. Personally, for me to upgrade one level from Gold 4 to Platinum 5 would cost over $400, and there are only a couple of the 300 or so extra books that interest me. If an upgrade turns out to be too much money for you also, then you might consider waiting until Logos rolls out the crossgrades. If they are indeed less than $100, I would think it's a very reasonable upgrade. (Look especially at all the Lexham resources you gain, all the resources listed under "Bible Reference," ones in the "Maps, Photos, and Media" group, and the new "Data Sets.") Also keep in mind that buying a Logos library also means it's available to you on your mobile device.

As for what I will recommend to my seminary students, I still stand by my observations I made a couple months ago explaining why we have mainly ended up using BibleWorks. As for myself, I am very pleased with what Logos 5 offers, and I anticipate I will be using this new version much more than I used Logos 4. It's intuitive, attractive, provides easy linking to the kinds of information and excellent resources I want, and now with this version 5, provides some analyses of the biblical text that no other program can do.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Logos 5 Review - Part 2

In part 1 of my Logos 5 review, I provided some good excuses for getting the upgrade from version 4. In this part, I want to highlight some new features that I think provide more significant reasons to upgrade. That is, these are the more important additions and enhancements to Logos 5 as compared to Logos 4. What we are seeing here is not only the gradual improvement of the interface and user input built on the many years of experience, but we are also seeing the integration of the numerous aspects of Bible study that Logos has been implementing over the years: reverse interlinears (which now are not separate resources but well integrated 'behind' some of the standard English Bible versions), development of their Lexham resources, the SBL Greek NT, Runge's discourse analysis work, etc. It is clear that a lot of humans-looking-at-the-text time has gone into these new features.


One of the little things that makes a big difference is the search helps that now appear. As you can see in the graphic below (click to enlarge it), there are a number of suggested search terms you can use when doing a morphological search. Logos5 also seems to be smarter in terms of handling typing in Greek or Hebrew. I.e., there is less keyboard switching, and you can often get to Greek or Hebrew just by typing g: or h: or lemma:. Similar search suggestion helps are provided for the other types of searches including work with Boolean operators and various search fields.


In the graphic below, the search suggestions will give you an idea of the kind of searches that can be conducted using this new Clause Search.
Here's an example of a clause search that illustrates both its value and its limitations. Let's say you want to find all the times in the NT where Jesus is teaching. If you try to do that in English you would have to start by looking for all the forms for "teach* OR taught". That's simple enough to do using a Bible search, but you end up with 223 results in the NT, and you would have to sort through all those results for the ones you were interested in. Using a clause search, however, you can specify that Jesus is the subject and search for: subject:Jesus verb-lemma:διδάσκω. Note that Logos provides suggestions as you type, and the search box will turn red if you enter an invalid item. When you get the 24 results, note that "Jesus" does not have to be specified in the verse. Here is where someone has hand-coded that Jesus is the subject so that you will obtain a result like Matthew 5:2 where the text only reads, "Then he began to speak, and taught them..."

Further, note that if you use the Analysis view of your results, you can also see further syntactical information: object, indirect object, adverbial, related items and more. You can drag one of those headings to the top space, and your results will be organized by that heading. You can see what a help this can be, but this is also where we need to realize that this is probably still a work in progress. For example, instead of insisting that Jesus is the subject, we could simply ask that Jesus be referenced in the verse somehow. So, use: "person:Jesus verb-lemma:διδάσκω" or, if you want to work just in English but still using the Lexham Greek-English NT, "person:Jesus verb-gloss:to teach." 

Now we get 34 results, but if we compare these results to the previous list of 24, we see that we are dependent on the person who did the annotating, since Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22, Luke 4:31; 13:10; 19:47; and 21:37 (all of them have something like ἦν διδάσκων = he [referring to Jesus] was teaching) are mistakenly omitted from the subject:Jesus search. Additionally, looking at the Analysis view, the listing of the Object is incomplete and has some errors. (For some of the Objects, "Road, highway, street" is listed instead of being coded as Adverbial. I haven't been able to figure out what "Location" means in the Analysis table.) There are other limitations to the types of clause elements you can search. For now, you can only search for verbs in a single Louw-Nida subdomain. It would be nice to not only look for times when Jesus taught (LN 33.224 subdomain), but all the times he was doing any kind of communicating (LN 33 domain).

Rubén Gómez on his Bible Software Review site has also already provided another great instance of how the clause search works and can be valuable. It's easy to use this Clause Search, and it can replace some of the more complicated Syntax searches. I don't want to be overly critical, because it's a tool with great potential, and I trust that Logos will be improving its databases and capabilities. Just keep in mind its limitations at this point. 


About a year ago, Accordance demonstrated an easy way to search for all the words based on a particular Greek root, and I blogged about the difficulty of conducting such a search in BibleWorks and Logos 4. It is now incredibly simple to do in Logos 5. Building on the kind of word lists in J. Harold Greenlee's New Testament Greek Morpheme Lexicon or Trenchard's Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek NT, lexemes can be connected to their roots and then searches conducted.

Right click on any word in a Greek or Hebrew text or English text that has been linked to the underlying original, choose Root, and then choose to conduct a morph search. Results can be viewed in parallel columns of text (as shown in the graphic above), aligned on the root word which makes clear all the words related to the root, or with the Analysis view that allows you to sort on a number of grammatical or syntactical options (graphic below). Why is such a search like this so helpful? Let's consider the important topic of "righteousness" in Romans. There are 36 instances of "righteous" or "righteousness" in the NRSV of Romans. The Greek root behind these terms is δικη. A root search turns up 77 results! If you look at the graphic above, you will see that the NRSV (and every other English version) has to translate in a variety of ways: righteousness, righteous, wickedness, decree, justified, requirements, injustice, justice, unjust, deserved, accountable... The perspective provided by a root search will broaden one's understanding of how a concept or idea is working in a document and also help uncover word contrasts and word plays.

This post is getting long, so I will continue in a part 3 with another important new feature in Logos 5 (the Bible Sense Lexicon) and some additional observations. 

Part 3 of the review is now posted

Friday, November 2, 2012

Getting ready for SBL / AAR meeting: Zotero

I'm getting ready for the Society of Biblical Literature / American Academy of Religion meeting in Chicago later this month. Besides getting the SBL / AAR app I described in the previous post, here's another suggestion that will help.

One of the fun aspects of such meetings is going around the exhibitor's hall and checking out all the new books. I won't be buying very many books, but there a lot of books I want to remember and check out later. Further, I'd love to have the books saved as some kind of online link so that I can easily obtain the bibliographic info and add notes to them. What's the best way to do this? Zotero is the obvious solution for the online database. I've written frequently about Zotero. It is wonderful. If you are not using it, why? Now the only question is how to get the books into Zotero.

I am now using Scanner for Zotero. You can get it for free, but I got it from the Android market and paid the $2 to help out the developer. Once installed, you link it to your Zotero account. Open the app, scan the barcode on the book, and it's saved. When you go online, the book with all the bibliographic info will be there. You can add notes, link to online reviews, attach other resources, etc. Note that Zotero is now available not only in Firefox but also Chrome, Safari, and as a standalone (for Win, Mac, and Linux.)

Further, with Zotero, when working with any word processing tool, you can quickly pull in the bibliographic data you need with drag/drop. If you use MS Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or NeoOffice, use the plug-in to automate the whole process of entering footnotes and generating bibliographies with a variety of standard citation styles. You can even install the Society of Biblical Literature stylesheet.

Do note that there is another Android scanner for Zotero called Zandy. ($4) I have not tried this, but it appears to try to offer more ways of working with the Zotero entries. It may be a better choice than Scanner for Zotero, so if you've tried it, please share your experience in the comments. If you have an iPhone/Pad/Pod, there is a similar scanning app called BibUp available for free through iTunes.

HarperCollins e-book sale

I usually don't promote sales on this blog, but this is a pretty good deal for e-books at $3.99 each in your choice of iBookstore, Kindle, Google, Nook, or Kobo. It's set to celebrate the upcoming AAR / SBL meeting, but the sale is open to everyone. It's a mixed bag of topics, authors, and 'worthiness of reading,' but you may find something you like. Sale is only good until 18 November 2012.
FORGED, Bart Ehrman
IN SEACH OF PAUL, John Dominic Crossan
JESUS, Marcus J. Borg
ALPHABET OF GRACE, Frederick Buechner
THE CHURCH, Richard McBrien
DOUBT: A HISTORY, Jennifer Hecht
THE LEFT HAND OF GOD, Michael Lerner
SAVING DARWIN, Karl Giberson

You’ll find more information and links to purchase here.