Accordance Greek Starter Package

Accordance has a great deal this weekend on their Greek starter package. There is a long list of included resources, but these four justify the price of $64.90:

  • Tagged GNT — the text of NA28, the most recent edition of the Greek text behind most modern translations. Does not include any front matter, appendices, or the critical apparatus, none of which are really important for everyday reading.
  • Barclay Newman’s Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (2010 edition)
  • Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible, the best one volume Bible dictionary
  • New Bible Commentary, a one-volume Bible commentary from an evangelical perspective

This package would be worth $65 even if it just included the tagged NA28. The Accordance iOS app works really well for looking up words in a concise lexicon as you read your GNT. The popup window isn’t big enough for displaying long entries found in more thorough lexicons, but with a couple clicks you can jump from a word to your lexicon of choice — you could always purchase BDAG later. If you just use the included concise lexicon you won’t have to worry about the size of the popup window. None of the entries in Newman’s dictionary are very long. While reading on your iPhone, you will be able to long hold on a word and see a pop-up of the entry in Newman.

If you have ever thought about purchasing software to make reading the Greek New Testament more accessible on the go, this is a great place to start.

Reading with a Print Text & Digital Lexicon

Over the summer I did a series of posts about different ways of reading Greek and Hebrew. I said that my the summer time tools of the trade are a print text and a print lexicon. During the school year, however, I am rarely able to read in my home office. To continue reading with a print text and lexicon would mean that everyday I have to carry multiple heavy books around campus. My favorite way to read hasn’t changed, but during the school year I’m really happy to settle for a print text and digital lexicon.

Print text

NA28, Rahlfs’ Septuagint, a Loeb Crito, and Steadman’s Lysias 1 & Crito are in my bag on most days, but because Rahlf’s Septuagint is so thick, sometimes it gets left behind. I prefer a print text because I think holding a book and flipping pages is more enjoyable, unless the book is old and gross. I realize that sometimes an old book is great, but I am not a fan of mold and other people’s finger grime — for example, crusty library copies of Migne or seminary library copies of a GNT.

Digital lexicon

For New Testament, Septuagint, and classical Greek there are a couple really great, affordable iOS options: Logeion & Protagoras. Logeion is free and includes LSJ, Middle Liddell, big Lewis and Short, little Lewis, and several other Greek and Latin lexicons. Protagoras is only a couple dollars, and for Greek it includes LSJ, Middle Liddell, Slater, and Autenrieth. For Latin it has both the full Lewis and Short and the smaller version by Lewis.

Logeion is amazing because of the way it interacts with Attikos, and because the user interface allows for quick entry and easy movement back and forth between the last few words you’ve looked up. Logeion hasn’t yet been updated for the iPhone X, however.

Protagoras, on the other hand, looks great on the iPhone X, and the developer has formatted the text in a way that makes a big difference for longer entries. Every portion of each entry that was originally in italic type appears in Protagoras as bold-italic. This means that as you scan a long entry your eyes can easily jump from gloss to gloss. For quick reading, this is such a timesaver. The bold glosses and iPhone X support means that I’ve been using Protagoras as my digital lexicon more often than not. One additional feature of Protagoras: it has a bookmark feature. As you are looking up words, you can bookmark them, and after your reading session, or maybe at the end of the week, you can go back to review.

For any lexicon not found in Protagoras or Logeion, I turn to Accordance. It is much more expensive, but it is worth every penny. With Accordance you are looking at a price tag much closer to what you would expect to pay for a print text, and this is completely understandable for works that are still in copyright and/or works that they have labored in house to tag in various ways. BDAG and HALOT, for example, are lexicons that I would do whatever necessary to have digitally and in print.

One final note about the digital options: I appreciate the ability in Protagoras and Accordance to type the Greek word you are looking up in beta code. This just saves the step of having to change your keyboard.

Experience

When reading this way, I usually access a digital lexicon on an iPhone, sometimes on an iPad. The bigger screens on the iPhone X or one of the plus models turns thousands of pages with tiny print into a much more readable, handheld reading companion.

This …

becomes this:

I know that the thought of your phone lying directly on top of the book you are trying to read sounds repulsive to some. Random notifications are a real threat, but they’re something that can be muzzled. Waiting for the ideal reading conditions just means you will not read as much text, and the number one thing most people need coming out of their first year of Greek is time in the text reading quickly. For more in that line of thought, see this post on reader’s texts.

Conclusion

Whether you are fresh out of your elementary courses or you’ve been doing this for decades, reading with a print text and digital lexicon is comfortable on the go. Sometimes even at home you just want to sit on the couch and relax with a text and lexicon that makes a small footprint but still gives you all the info you need. This way of reading fits those situations well, too. The print text allows an immersive reading experience and provides all the memory benefits of the sensory experiences that go along with holding a physical book, and the digital lexicon gives you portable, quick access to the vocab you need to keep moving.

This is the primary way I’m reading these days. Read however you like.

Just read.

Obstacles to Going iPad Only

Apple’s 2017 hardware and software releases helped me make significant progress towards going iPad-only, but I’m not quite there yet. I now only carry my laptop one or two days a week. What has to change for me to go i-Pad only?

There’s two prongs on this fork, but both have to do with one piece of software: Microsoft Word. There’s (1) what it would take for me to be able to leave my laptop at home every day and (2) what it would take for me to no longer need to own a laptop.

To leave the laptop at home

As a teacher I write quizzes and tests every week, and I need the ability to open multiple Word documents so that I can copy and paste from one document to another. Currently, the only way to do this is to break out the MacBook Pro. I usually write all my assessments for the week on Monday, so this is the only day I have to take the laptop off my home desk and carry it to the office.

Printer Pro is a key app that allows me to be iPad-only for the rest of the week. Printer Pro allows me to print any document to any printer.

To sell the laptop

Word for iOS would have to be a full-blown word processor for me to be able to sell my laptop. I need to be able to typeset a paper for publication. I have to be able to create and edit styles, and I have to have full control over the formatting of footnotes. It would really help if there were a way Zotero and Word for iOS could communicate.

The Accordance iOS app would also need a lot more development. Using the MT-LXX merge search is not currently possible on iOS. It also takes too many clicks to move from text to lexicon, and the information window pop-up is too small to be a solution. I still love and use the iOS app far more than I do the Mac app.

New Greek Resources in Accordance

Whether you are in Boston or not, for the next twenty-four hours you can pick up two new Accordance Greek resources at an introductory discount. These are a part of their SBL/ETS sale. The best part: both are very affordable!

Gregory of Nyssa’s Great Catechism

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity states that Nyssa wrote The Great Catechism around AD 385 and describes it as “a work of his maturity … a doctrinal summa for teachers who needed a system in their instructions” (vol. 2, p. 184).

This type of resource is great for those of us who are more interested in digging through lexicons and working through texts in original languages but are aware that we should be reading more theology (at least a little, right?). Here, you get early Christian theology in Greek!

Along with the Greek text, the Accordance module comes with an English translation and notes containing a few cross references to scripture and other portions of the catechism.

Check it out here.

Whitacre’s Patristic Greek Reader

This is the one I’m most excited about because I tend to spend more time in biblical and classical Greek. Having this reader’s text in Accordance allows me to get a taste of post-NT Greek during down moments when I’m out and about.

In the Accordance module, the reader’s notes are accessible via verse reference hyperlinks. For example, in the second picture below, by clicking 1:3 the notes for that verse appear in the information window. You can click the hyperlink in the top right of the information window to jump to the notes section, which is something you might want to do ocassionally because all the resources Whitacre mentions, like BDAG or LSJ or Wallace’s Greek Grammar, are hyperlinked. You can navigate to them in your Accordance library with a click (if you own them, of course).

Another great feature of the reader is that the texts are arranged from easy to more difficult. The reader is designed to help students with one year of NT Greek study move into more difficult texts.

I’ll post more thoughts as I’m able to spend some time with these resources.

Check it out here.

Reading & Digital Notetaking

I’ve read with paper and pen, but these days if I am taking notes while reading, I use GoodNotes and a 9.7” iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I don’t know how many times I’ve been working with someone and wanted to check my notes but didn’t have the right little notebook with me. That’s no longer a problem.

Text

There are three elements to this way of reading: print text, lexicon, and iPad. If I’m reading Greek or Hebrew, I prefer to read from a print text — NA28, BHS, Loeb, or a reader’s text. I don’t mind reading on my iPad, I just prefer a print text for this type of literature.

Lexicon

It’s a different story for the lexicon: about half the time I use a digital lexicon on my iPad and other times I prefer a concise, print lexicon. The lexicon varies depending on the medium.

If I’m using a print lexicon, then it is either Clines’ Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, Danker’s Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Liddell and Scott’s Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, or for the Septuagint, either LEH or Muraoka’s.

If I’m working off my iPad, then it’s either HALOT and Clines’ CDCH, BDAG, or LSJ in Accordance. It’s never really just one, and that’s the big benefit of a digital lexicon — you can easily switch between HALOT, BDB, CDCH, and DCH.

GoodNotes

GoodNotes is the distinctive feature. GoodNotes allows me to reap all the benefits of taking notes by hand, while simultaneously storing my notes in a digital platform I can access anywhere. The cherry on top is that GoodNotes automatically recognizes the text of your notes — even cursive — and you can search them. Unfortunately, it does not recognize Greek or Hebrew, but what app really does a halfway decent job with that apart from ABBYY FineReader. It would be unreasonable to expect GoodNotes to turn handwritten Greek or Hebrew into digital text, but one can dream.

You can pinch zoom on the GoodNotes paper and write, but I recently started using the zoom window, which allows me to have a larger writing line, while also letting me see more of the page.

As far as what type of notes I write down, this is my rule: If I look it up for any reason, I write it down. Usually it’s vocab notes, sometimes notes from a grammar, and occasionally something more reflective.

There are times when I use Accordance and GoodNotes in split screen. Because of the auto-advance feature of the zoom window, I can write continuously even though I have a relatively small space, half of a horizontal 9.7″ screen. You can see an example and more explanation of this feature at the bottom of this page, but check this out, too.

I can also copy and paste right along side my hand writing, and if I don’t like the way something looks, I can erase and rewrite it or cut and paste it somewhere else — yes, even the handwriting.

Wrapping up

I read at odd times throughout the day. Maybe it’s in the thirty minutes I have just before the students come streaming in, or maybe it’s while they are taking a quiz. Coffee shop, office, whatever — no matter when and where, I have my notes with me. Being able to share my notes with others is pretty sweet, as well.

GoodNotes and the Apple Pencil work so well together that taking reading notes sometimes feels like art. I can’t imagine a better digital notetaking environment.

A couple more pics:

Comparing OT Texts in Accordance

After saving a workspace, you can launch it with just a couple clicks. This is one of my favorite features in Accordance. As I show below, it only takes a minute to set up, and a second or two to launch. I regularly use this feature to quickly see several ancient versions of the Old Testament in parallel.

Set up the texts

Open your Hebrew Bible, and use the Add Parallel button to add the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls and all the other ancient versions you have in your library.

Save the workspace

Order the columns however you like, and then go to File > Open Workspace > Add Workspace and name it something like OT Texts.

Next time

Now, the next time you are in an OT text and want to check the readings of other ancient witnesses, simply two-finger click (or right-click) on the verse reference and go to My Workspaces > OT Texts. This will open a new workspace in a separate window with all the ancient versions in parallel. When you are finished, close that window and your back to your text.

Video Example

Göttingen Job in Accordance

“The Septuagint says …”

You can’t responsibly finish that sentence without checking a Göttingen edition. If there is no Göttingen edition for a particular book, then we usually turn to Rahlfs, but his edition was never intended to be the last word on the Old Greek (“Septuagint”) text.

Why Göttingen?

This point is not widely understood, even among students at universities and seminaries: The big blue book most people think of when they hear the word “Septuagint” is primarily based on three uncials — Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus. The Göttingen volumes, however, are based on all the extant witnesses to the Old Greek translation of each book. The Göttingen Septugaint is a full scale critical edition, and Rahlfs is just a starting point for a critical edition. Rahlfs and Hanhart themselves called it a handbook or pocket edition (Handausgabe).

At the end of the day, the differences between Göttingen and Rahlfs are often few when you consider the percentage of words that differ between the two editions. Nevertheless, if you want to finish the statement “The Septuagint says …” as accurately as possible (especially if you are doing academic research) you must have access to the Göttingen volumes.

Furthermore, the Old Greek translation of Job is significantly different than the form of Job we see in our Hebrew Bibles and English translations. Claude Cox states,

The translator, in a brilliant way, gives us an edited version of the story of Job; the text is reworked to such an extent that we might say he adopts the stance of an epitomiser, commentator, interpreter. (Claude Cox, “Job.” In T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint, ed. James K. Aitken. Bloomsbury, 2015)

To support a statement like this concerning the how-and-why of differences between the Hebrew and Greek versions of Job, it is important to work from texts based on all the available evidence, and this is what Göttingen provides.

The Accordance Edition

Accordance recently released their edition of Göttingen Job, and it can be purchased as a part of a Göttingen collection ($800) or individually ($80). These prices are cheaper than buying print copies, and Accordance occasionally runs sales during which you can get the Göttingen modules even cheaper.

Using the Add Parallel button you can easily add both the first and second apparatuses to the text so that all three scroll together.

Like almost all of their original language texts, Accordance has lemmatized and morphologically tagged all the Göttingen volumes. This means you can search the text for the lexical form of a Greek word (e.g., ἔχω) and find every occurrence of the word in all its various forms (e.g., ἔχει, ἐχόμεναι, ἔχεται).

Or you can find every instance of ἔχω as a present participle by searching for the following:

ἔχω@ [VERB present participle]

Accordance has also tagged the apparatus modules so that they can be searched in unique ways.

It is pretty awesome to be able to search the apparatuses for all references to Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. You see, in the Göttingen volumes the first apparatus notes variants within the transmission of the Old Greek translation itself, but the second apparatus catalogues differences between the Old Greek translation and later ancient Greek translations — such as those of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. So by searching the second apparatus using the Manuscripts search field one can highlight places where the editor notes differences between the Old Greek and later Greek translations.

To search the second apparatus for all references to Aquilla, Symmachus, and Theodotion, open the second apparatus in a separate tab, select the Manuscripts search field, right click on the search entry area, and select Enter Word.

Simply type “s” and you will see the abbreiations α´, σ´, θ´ in the word list. Select each and hit enter. To navigate within the search results to Job 1:1, simply type Job 1:1 in the navigation box at the bottom right, as you see in the picture below, and hit enter.

Typos

Over the course of about an hour, I checked the Accordance modules against the print edition of Göttingen Job, and I found about 10-15 typos in the digital edition. This is highly unusual for Accordance and is due, no doubt, to the fact that (1) this edition was first published in 1982, which means the initial digital text had to be produced by a scan, and (2) the Göttingen editions present any typesetter with the ultimate challenge. There is absolutely nothing like them. The number of obscure abbreviations and symbols and the combination of various langauges in these volumes is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. So the struggle is understandable.

Some of the typos I found in the Accordance modules were issues with difficult-to-reproduce characters like the μ-characters you see below. The picture below is from version 1.0 of the Accordance module, and in that version the little boxes were actually pictures. The module has already been updated to 1.1. Others were places where the scan didn’t accurately reproduce the dense notes found in the first and second apparatuses.

But in typical Accordance fashion, they have already fixed the typos I reported. Within a couple days of my reports, Accordance had already released version 1.1, which you can see below with the corrected μ-characters.

You can also check out this post where they fixed similar issues with another resource within two days of my reports.

Conclusion

If you are serious about studying the Septuagint, the textual history of the Hebrew Bible, or the New Testament authors’ use of Scripture, the Göttingen Septuagint is essential. It is impossible to carry a shelf of Göttingen volumes with you everywhere you go, and despite the typos found in this volume and the inevitable remaining typos yet to be discovered, I think the Accordance edition is the way to go. The price, portability, search capabilities, and morphological tagging, combined with the company’s commitment to producing quality resources, make Göttingen Job in Accordance the best digital option available.

Accordance Lite & Logos Basic

I highly recommend Accordance Bible Software. The company prioritizes the development of original language resources and works hard to produce quality, reliable software the first time.

I no longer recommend Logos Bible Software. I loved it for years, was frustrated with it for years, and finally sold all of it I could. Logos has some wonderful people working for them — several of whom are friends — but the company’s focus and my interests parted ways. You can find my posts in their forums if you want details. I do, however, still use the software a few times a week because they have Croy’s Greek grammar, which is one of the grammars I teach from, and they also have Steve Runge’s and Rick Brannan’s and Ken Penner’s awesome work. If it weren’t for Accordance — and especially the way the program developed between versions 10 and 11 — I would probably still be using and recommending Logos.

Both Accordance and Logos have recently released free versions of their programs, and I think this is fantastic. Now, the top two Bible software companies have free versions that give the average person studying the Bible what they need most — a searchable text — and both platforms allow users to expand their electronic libraries to their hearts’ content.

When many people first consider Bible software, they just want a searchable English Bible. But they know there is this thing out there called Bible software that promises to help them in many more ways than by simply providing a searchable text. They know they will likely want more in the future, but for now they just want a free searchable text. Now, they can take that first step with either or both of the two best options. They can explore and see which one they like better, and if the time comes to expand, they will already have the two best options on their computer — or more likely their tablet and phone.

Check them out yourself:

Accordance Lite

Logos Basic

TDOT for Accordance Bible Software

The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TDOT) stands out from other Old Testament lexical works in at least three important ways:

  • TDOT provides a responsible discussion of the etymology and ancient Near Eastern background of most biblical Hebrew words — it doesn’t just list related words (cognates).
  • TDOT is much more thorough than the similar New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE).
  • TDOT explains a word’s interpretive significance from a broader theological perspective than NIDOTTE.

The Accordance version allows one to easily access this 15 volume work and seamlessly move from text, to standard lexicons, to TDOT, and back to the text again. I will explain each of these points below.

What is TDOT?

TDOT is an English translation of the 15 volume Theologisches Wörterbuch zum alten Testament. The English translations have followed the German publications relatively quickly, unlike the New Testament counterpart TDNT, which was published in German in the 1930s and didn’t begin to be translated until the 1960s . You can see the publication information concerning the first and fifteenth volumes of TDOT below:

TDOT for background

TDOT is the best place to turn in order to find an actual discussion of a particular Hebrew word’s etymology (besides journal articles, which are not accessible to most). The standard lexicons will usually list the relevant cognates, but TDOT actually discusses how etymology is relevant for understanding a word’s meaning. And it does so in a responsible way. A word’s etymology is sometimes debated and the relevance of etymology is often maligned because of the way scholars sometimes allow etymology to skew their explanations of particular words. Etymology is important, however, and should not be disregarded all together.

For example, the NRSV mentions “ghosts” in Isaiah 19:3, but other English translations do something different here:

NRSV: the ghosts
ESV: the mediums
KJV: them that have familiar spirits

I’ve highlighted the word in Hebrew and each of the English versions below:

screenshot

In this case, etymology significantly affects one’s translation. HALOT lists some related words from various languages but provides no discussion:

screenshot 2

This is where TDOT can come to the aid of everyone from students to pastors to scholars. Below you can see the beginning of the entry for אוֹב and the etymology section in TDOT.

I highlighted three prominent views concerning the origin of the word:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ly discuss the ancient Near Eastern background of the word and its use in the Old Testament. The entire “ghost” article is about four pages long.

TDOT is more thorough

Compare the אוֹב articles in TDOT and NIDOTTE:

First, note the length of the sections on etymology and ancient Near Eastern background in each:

  • TDOT: about 1,000 words
  • NIDOTTE: about 150 words

Second, notice the red text in NIDOTTE pictured above. The ANE section of the אוֹב entry in NIDOTTE is essentially a summary of TDOT.

The articles on “God” provide another good example:

First, NIDOTTE only discusses the occurrences of the word in the OT, while TDOT has several sections discussing the background of the word before turning to the OT occurrences. You can see the subsections of the TDOT article in the blue hyperlinked text pictured above.

Second, the אֱלֹהִים article in TDOT is significantly longer:

  • TDOT: 18 pages
  • NIDOTTE: less than 1 page

TDOT is more diverse

TDOT is the standard theological lexicon/dictionary for biblical studies, broadly conceived, whereas most of the contributors to NIDOTTE write from an evangelical perspective. TDOT can, however, help evangelicals fill in what is lacking in the brevity of the NIDOTTE articles and can provide insight into how mainstream scholarship views the interpretive significance of individual words.

TDOT on Accordance for iOS

I do not know of another app that allows one to seamlessly and easily move from the biblical text, through various lexicons, and back to the text of scripture.

The video below (no sound, less than a minute) shows how one can use the Accordance iOS app to move from text, to preferred lexicon, to HALOT, to TDOT, and back to the text.

Conclusion

TDOT is the best place for students, pastors, and scholars to find background information on Old Testament words, and the Accordance version is the most versatile, easily accessible format in which one can access TDOT. This post focuses on the features that make TDOT stand out from other lexical works. More could be said about the way in which TDOT handles the use of words in the OT and other literature. In short, TDOT should be the first place one turns for more information than the standard lexicons provide — whether one is looking for background information or discussion of a word’s theological significance.

I did experience a few program freezes while navigating the pre-release version, and there were a few places where I could not get certain transliterated characters to display correctly though I tried several different fonts with broad glyph coverage. Accordance will likely have these bugs worked out before the resource is released or they will work out the bugs shortly thereafter. Since Accordance released the Göttingen Septuagint volumes, I and several others noted typos in the extremely complex apparatus formatting. Accordance fixed these issues promptly, and I have no reason to think they would do differently with whatever small issues users discover with TDOT.

UPDATE 3/15/16: Accordance has fixed the transliteration issues I noted. You can see what the issue was by looking at the bottom of the picture above showing the etymology section of the אוֹב entry in TDOT. The picture below shows that, less than two days after I reported it, it is fixed.

Note: Accordance gave me a pre-release copy of TDOT for a review focusing primarily on their digital production of the print work.

Accordance Unicode Font

Accordance has a new unicode font in the works. It includes characters for English, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and more — even DSS transcription like you see listed here. And it includes bold, italic, and bold-italic.
They announced this on the Accordance forums. Unfortunately you need a forums account to see the page.

Here are a couple words I typed in Mellel:

screenshot

Now if that qamets would just slide a bit to the right underneath the daleth, like this אָדָם.

I’m particularly impressed with the fact that all the different language characters are sized appropriately (no gigantic Hebrew and Syriac in comparison to English and Greek):

Here is a PDF where you can see more of the characters included.