Logos 9

Faithlife is releasing Logos 9 today, and in this post I will highlight a few of the new features and resources I find most significant:

  • Dark mode for the desktop apps
  • Improved guide aesthetics and functionality for the desktop apps
  • Factbook on mobile
  • New Lexham Reference Lexicons for the Hebrew Bible, Aramaic portions of the Hebrew Bible, the Greek New Testament, and Septuagint

Dark Mode (desktop)

Dark mode is a long-awaited addition, and it looks great on Logos.

Dark mode on MacOS
Dark mode on MacOS

My son frequently falls asleep in the guest bed in my office, and I often need to keep working. With the lights out, night mode makes Logos so much more pleasant to use.

Logos will, sort of, automatically shift with your OS between light and dark mode. I say “sort of” because at sunset and sunrise, you will be prompted to restart the program to initialize the color shift.

Restart to shift between light and dark mode
Restart to shift between light and dark mode

The only two apps on my computer that require a restart to initiate dark mode are the two Bible software programs — Logos and Accordance. Hopefully, in the near future Logos will do the programing necessary to allow the app to more seamlessly switch between light and dark mode.

Guide Aesthetics and Functionality

Years ago I created a custom guide in Logos to search by Bible reference. This guide includes commentaries, grammars, ancient literature, the atlas, and cultural concepts.

In the images below, you can see how the commentaries section has been significantly improved. Now, the commentary results (1) have book cover images and (2) you can click to sort the results by your library prioritization, series, author, and other fields.

In one sense, this is a small improvement, but it is an improvement that makes my experience of using the app better just about every time I use it. The cover images make it especially easy to see exactly which series have hits. Every time I use this guide, I appreciate that feature.

Factbook on Mobile

Factbook is the Logos tool that gives you a launching pad for researching almost any topic that isn’t reference based. For reference-based searches there is the passage guide or the exegetical guide or your custom guides. For discovering what your library has to say about Jerusalem, for example, there is Factbook.

Logos 9 gives you full access to Factbook on your mobile devices. To give you a sense of the breadth of results this tool returns, I’ve taken four screenshots of the Jerusalem report:

Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (1 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (1 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (2 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (2 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (3 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (3 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (4 of 4)
Factbook on a 12.9” iPad Pro (4 of 4)

Whether you are looking for information on a famous biblical city, discussion of an obscure place or person, introductions to books of the Bible, or you are starting a thematic study, Logos 9 significantly improves your ability to put your library to work on mobile devices.

Check out this screenshot showing the various types of entries you find by typing “James” into Factbook.

Lexham Research Lexicons

Alongside the release of Logos 9, Faithlife has produced four new lexicons culled from their years of hard work mining and tagging texts and hand curating data. These lexicons are unique in both the content and organization of their entries. Take a look at this entry on 1-הלף from Genesis 31:7:

Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible
Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible

Here, the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible includes the following:

  • Basic English glosses
  • Equivalents from the Septuagint
  • Beside each Septuagint equivalent is the number of times that word is used to translate the Hebrew word you looked up. (The LXX base text is Swete, I believe.)
  • In the “Verb Usage” section you are given meanings and example citations that link to the Bible sense lexicon, along with links to other Hebrew words in the same semantic domain
  • Links to key resources in your library that discuss the word

The verb usage section is so helpful in the way it links to the Bible sense lexicon and provides synonyms. Here is an example of what you find in the Bible Sense lexicon when clicking “to transgress,” the first link in the article above:

Jumping from Research Lexicon to Bible Sense Lexicon
Jumping from Research Lexicon to Bible Sense Lexicon

For the parallel word ἀλλάσσω in the Septuagint, The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint lists the following information:

  • English glosses
  • principal parts that occur in the LXX
  • Hebrew equivalents with word counts
  • Key passages
  • Links to occurrences of ἀλλάσσω in contemporary literature
  • Links to key resources in your library discussing the word
The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint
The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint

The name research lexicon is appropriate in light of the unique content of these resources. They are a mix between well organized concise traditional lexicons, concordances, dictionaries based on semantic domains, and word study reports that give you quick access to other resources in your library that discuss the word.

Here is a look at The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament on διοδεύω in Acts 17:1:

The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament
The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament

Finally, The Research Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible on פְּשַׁר in Daniel 5:8:

The Reasearch Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible
The Reasearch Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible

The Research Lexicons are a fantastic addition to any library, and they will be especially helpful to those who don’t have the standard lexicons and are just getting started exploring the biblical languages.

Other Improvements

The features and resources above are the aspects of Logos 9 I find to be most helpful, but there are many other new features and improvements:

  • Sermon builder improvements
  • Preaching mode for Sermons (all platforms)
  • Sermon manager
  • Counseling Guide
  • Images in notes (all platforms)
  • Charts tool (desktop and web apps)
  • Improved reading plans
  • Document info pane
  • App toolbar improvements
  • Easier access to search (mobile)
  • Passage lists (mobile)

Logos will be posting and linking to a host of other articles and reviews discussing these features. You can follow them on Twitter @Logos and #logosbiblesoftware.

Conclusion

If dark mode is something you use and value, Logos 9 is definitely worth looking into. The addition of Factbook on mobile is helpful and the improvements to guides are nice, but dark mode is the major new feature.

The Research Lexicons are the standout new resources; they are absolutely awesome. If you don’t find a package you want that includes them, you might consider picking up one or two as standalone resources.

Logos will have a host of upgrade paths to choose from, and these are all being announced today. Checkout Logos 9 here.

Thanks to Faithlife for allowing me to be a part of the beta process and providing me with the resources necessary to write this review.

NICOT in Accordance Bible Software

This is my second post discussing NIC in Accordance Bible software. The first post is here. The third post is here.

The New International Commentary is wonderfully helpful resource, and it is currently deeply discounted in Accordance. It’s a sale that is worth your consideration. This post focuses on the Old Testament volumes and ways in which they are easily accessible in Accordance.

Who are commentaries for? Commentaries are helpful to anyone who regularly reads their bible — whether layperson, student, or scholar. It is the kind of resource that you want to be accessible when questions arises, and that is why I prefer to have them in a digital format.

One feature of commentaries like NIC that can easily be overlooked, however, is their introductions. Each work provides much more than verse-by-verse comment on the biblical text. The introductions at the beginning of each work offers a thourough overview issues related to authorship, literary structure, theological themes, and more. These introductions are often as valuable as the commentary itself.

Victor Hamilton on Genesis

The introduction to Victor Hamilton’s Genesis commentary, for example, is just over 100 pages, overviewing the title, structure, composition, theology, problems in interpretation, canonicity, the Hebrew text, and offering a twenty-five page bibliography. Granted, for the average reader the bibliography is not going to be quite as useful, but the other seventy-five pages of the introduciton are substantial and very helpful.

Reading a commentary introduction is ideal for teachers or preachers when prepping for a class or a sermon series. When I taught Sunday School, I would either (a) work through a portion of an introduction like this each week before prepping the lesson or (b) read straight through a commentary introduction before the first week’s lesson.

Reading through a robust commentary introduction provides a tour of the unique issues scholars discuss with a particular book of the Bible. Knowing the issues is helpful and important because I found that by becoming acquainted with the scholarly discussions I was able to stand and speak with more confidence. It helped allay lingering doubts of what I might be missing or overlooking. Secions like Hamilton’s “Problems in Interpretation” are especially helpful in this regard.

John Oswalt on Isaiah

In my post on NICNT, I mentioned spending six months teaching through Romans with Moo’s volume as a constant companion. We did the very same thing Isaiah and Oswalt. Oswalt’s Isaiah commentary is one of my favorite single commentaries on any biblical book. Isaiah is difficult, and readers genuinely need help understanding the text. While teaching through the book, I would regularly point people toward Oswalt for help. Sure, there are more succint treatments out there, but Oswalt’s volumes would answer my questions more often than the others.

To provide another example of what an NIC introduction looks like, Oswalt’s two volumes begin with seventy-five pages discussing the title, background, unity of composition, date and authorship, occasion, canonicity, Hebrew text, theology, problems in interpretation, analysis of contents, an outline of the book, and closing with a bibliography.

With a book like Isaiah, it is often difficult to track with the flow of the discourse. Apart from the rich commentary itself, I have regularly benefitted from Oswalt’s detailed outline of the Isaiah. The outline itself spans five pages.

While some might not agree with Oswalt’s arguments regarding the authorship of Isaiah — he argues for a single author — the book pays close attention to the text, the literary structure, the flow of the argument, and the book’s theological contribution to the canon. These are, I think, the issues for which most people turn to commentaries.

Oswalt’s commentary stands out because his writing is so clear. Here’s one example, an extended quote, from comments on Isaiah 2:12–17:

It seems extraordinary that many commentators have difficulty seeing anything but a literal reference here (so Cheyne, Skinner, Gray). It is hard to understand why God should be against anything in nature merely because it is strong or tall. The various attempts to explain this view are all strained and all verge upon the figurative (cedars of Lebanon used to build great buildings, nature under punishment for mankind’s sin; cf. Delitzsch, Cheyne). Clearly, what God opposes is human arrogance and pride. It is these which the prophet is attacking (vv. 9, 11, 17, 19–22; cf. Mauchline). Moreover, Isaiah regularly uses nature, and particularly trees, in a symbolic way (1:30; 6:13; 9:9 [Eng. 10]; 10:33–11:1; 44:14; 60:16; cf. also Ezek. 31:1–18 for an extended figure). There is thus every reason to see the passage as figurative (although not allegorical, where each element must represent one specific thing). The prophet has chosen a number of items that visually represent the spiritual condition of Israel. Kaiser has suggested that he has visualized a windstorm, accompanied by an earthquake, sweeping down from the north (God’s home, 14:13; cf. UT, 51:iv:19–20; ANET, p. 133), and reaching all the way to the southernmost anchorage at Elat. All that is great and impressive is knocked down. So it will be with human pride on the day when the Lord acts. As surely as the wind uproots the trees and knocks down the ship, as surely as the earthquake moves the mountains and cracks the walls, so will the terror of the Lord remove all human pomp and pretension.

pages 126–127

Tremper Longman on Ecclesiastes

One of the first text books many college and seminary students read is John Walton’s Survey of the Old Testament or Tremper Longman’s Introduction to the Old Testament. These two books are classic, evangelical text books, and so many will be intruiged to see that Longman is the author of the NIC Ecclesiastes volume.

Longman’s introduction covers fifteen topics in fifty pages.

Reading through an introduction like this in digital format is ideal on an iPad. The iPad screen provides plenty of space for reading with Accordance’s multi-column view and clicking on references to look at the text in the original language.

Longman’s commentary is written with a balance of argumentative rigor and devotional insight. For example, listen to his closing words:

The book of Ecclesiastes must in the final analysis be understood by the modern reader in the light of the full context of the canon. For the Christian that context includes the NT. For this reason, now that we have looked through the book as a whole, I commend the rereading of the introduction, particularly the sections that concern the theological message of the book. The idea is presented there that Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to Qohelet’s conclusion of meaninglessness under the sun. Jesus emptied himself of his divine prerogatives to subject himself to the world “under the sun” in order to free us of the chaos to which God subjected the world after the fall into sin (see Gal. 3:3 and Rom. 8:18–27).

page 284

Accessing NICOT in Accordance

One of the easiest ways to access NIC in Accordance is to simply triple click on a Bible verse reference to amplify straight to the commentary. On MacOS, a triple click on Ezekiel 1:1 takes you directly to volume one of Daniel Block’s fantastic Ezekiel commentary. This is yet another example of a magnum opus in the NIC series.

Another simple way to quickly access commentaries in Accordance for MacOS is to use the info pane.

I usually prefer a two column layout with texts on one side and lexicons on the other. When I want to take a quick look at a commentary and not necessarily read extensively, adding the info pane from the “Add Parallel” shows me which resources comment on the verse I’m looking at. As I scroll, the info pane automatically updates. Long-holding on one of the book cover images gives me a pop-up, which though not full screen is helpful for quickly reading a commentary on one particular verse.

Conclusion

I think NIC is the best overall commentary for most people, and Accordance is a fantastic platform on which to access it. When you are thinking of investing in a series like NIC, quality control is very important. Accordance regularly release updates to their modules to correct occasional typos that slip in during the digital production process. If there is one software company that consistently demonstrates concern for quality control, it’s Accordance.

Currently, Accordance is having one of the best sales they have ever offered. This Eerdmans sale offers some of the deepest discounts I’ve ever seen. All 19 volumes NICNT are on sale for $299, and the 29 volumes set of NICOT is $399. The entire NICOT/NT set is $599 at 60% off. If you are on the fence and such a large purchse is difficult to do all at once, Accordance offers payment plans making the deeply discounted sale price even more affordable.

In the next post, I’m going to take a look at the NIC commentary on one particular verse and compare it to other major commentary series.

Enjoying Alter’s Translation

I don’t think there is one definitive way to translate anything. There is always more than one legitimate way to say it. Publishing a translation of the whole Hebrew Bible is a Herculean endeavor, but there’s grace here. What I’m looking for when I open a Bible translation isn’t perfection, but insight and fresh expressions. So far, Alter has not disappointed. At this point, I’ve only read Genesis 1–11, but I want to offer a few examples of why I’m enjoying his work.

Fresh Expression

His rendering of Genesis 11:9 might not be original — in fact, it is very similar to Eugene Peterson’s — but it is fresh.

Therefore, it is called Babel, for there the LORD made the language of all the earth babble. And from there the LORD scattered them over all the earth.

עַל-כֵּן קָרָא שְׁמָהּ בָּבֶל כִּי-שָׁם בָּלַל יְהוָה שְׂפַת כָּל-הָאָרֶץ וּמִשָּׁם הֱפִיצָם יְהוָה עַל-פְּנֵי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ

His English is clear while at the same time giving a sense of the wordplay in Hebrew. His commentary on this point is interesting as well:

The Hebrew balal, to “mix” or “confuse,” represented in this translation by “baffle” and “babble,” is a polemic pun on the Akkadian “Babel,” which might actually mean “gate of the god.” As for the phonetic kinship of “babble” and balal, Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (1966) notes that a word like “babble” occurs in a wide spectrum of languages from Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit to Norwegian, and prudently concludes, “of echoic origin; probably not of continuous derivation but recoined from common experience.”

I find his style of expression throughout the first eleven chapters to be enjoyably formal — not stilted, not overly colloquial.

Intriguing commentary

A friend and I were just discussing earlier this week how repetitive Hebrew prose is. Words, phrases, clauses, even whole scenes are repeated, and it really helps the vocabulary to stick. In light of that conversation, when I read Alter’s comments on Genesis 11:4 this evening, I had to snap a picture and send it to him. Genesis 11:4 is where humanity says, “Come, let us build a city and a tower …” Here are Alter’s comments:

Come let us. As many commentators have noted, the story exhibits an intricate antithetical symmetry that embodies the idea of “man proposes, God disposes.” The builders say, “Come, let us bake bricks,” God says, “Come, let us go down”; they are concerned “lest we be scattered,” and God responds by scattering them. The story is an extreme example of the stylistic predisposition of biblical narrative to exploit interechoing words and to work with a deliberately restricted vocabulary. The word “language” occurs five times in this brief text as does the phrase “all the earth” (and the “land” of Shinar is the same Hebrew word as that for earth). The prose turns language itself into a game of mirrors.

That last sentence is the type that makes you set the book in your lap and just stare and think. What more could you ask for from a translation or commentary?

Concise Commentary Where I Want It

I didn’t really buy this set for the commentary, but much to my surprise I find Alter offers helpful comments in places where I have questions. In my experience, study Bibles are usually cluttered with too much commentary. When I actually want a comment about something, their notes are usally sparse because the word count is spent commenting on things I’m not interested in. Well, so far that is not my experience with Alter. He comments on portions of the text I am interested in, and when he does so the notes are sufficiently substantial.

Linguistic Insight

I’ve always struggled to find an adequate way to render the serpents words in Genesis 3:1. I remember discussing this with a friend after community group one evening. I’ve never been comfortable with “Did God really say …” I’ve always thought “really” obscured the meaning of אַף. Here’s Alter’s rendition:

Now the serpent was most cunning of all the beasts of the field that the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Though God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden—” And the woman said …

וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה עָרוּם מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה אַף כִּי-אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה

He comments:

As E. A. Speiser has noted, the subordinate conjunction that introduces the serpent’s first utterance does not have the sense of “truly” that most translators assign it, and is better construed as the beginning of a (false) statement that is cut off in midsentence by Eve’s objection that the ban is not on all the trees of the Garden.

He doesn’t read the serpent’s words as a question at all. This would be another example of aposiopesis in the opening chapters of Genesis. This is the literary technique where someone is cut off midsentence to create a sudden tension. I mentioned it here in reference to God’s words in Genesis 3:22 and Cain’s words in Genesis 4:8.

His translation of אַף as “though” is at least intriguing.

Delight to Look at and Hold

Finally, the volumes are beautifully produced. Each has its own unique artwork, the pages have just the right thickness and gloss, and the font is appropriately sized. It’s a delight to read and hold.

Cover art
Cover art
Page layout
Page layout

Conclusion

Almost every time I sit down to read Alter I walk away having found at least one expresssion or comment to be refreshing. It’s not perfect, but what translation is. Insight is the requirement, and for me it’s here.

2 Chronicles Göttingen LXX in Accordance

Accordance is the only software that has Hanhart’s 2 Chronicles Göttingen edition. V&R published the print edition in 2014, and Accordance released their electronic edition in 2018.

Currently, Accordance has their Göttingen LXX on sale for the lowest price they have ever offered. The 2 Chronicles volume is available apart from the bundle, but the individual volume is not currently on sale.

In this post, I want to demonstrate a few of my favorite ways to use this resource on MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS. This will give you a better idea of what it looks like to work with an electronic edition of Göttingen on each platform.

MacOS

On the Mac, I use the Göttingen volumes more for reference than reading. I find it helpful to save each Göttingen volume in its own workspace and then jump to that workspace when I want to reference it. This setup allows me to reference a Göttingen volume without the need to open the text module, open the apparatus module, and then adjust the size and position of each.

The following video shows you how to setup and save a workspace for the 2 Chronicles module:

Saving a workspace for 2 Chronicles Göttingen LXX

After you have a workspace setup for the Göttingen volume, you can then jump to it easily by two-finger clicking on a verse reference and selecting the workspace name from the context menu. Check it out:

Jumping to the 2 Chronicles Göttingen LXX workspace

Before looking at the module on the iPad and iPhone, I want to show you another way I reference the Göttingen volumes on MacOS. You can set up the Göttingen volumes in a workspace alongside other ancient witnesses and jump to that workspace when you want to quickly look for other readings. I named my workspace OT Texts. In this video, here’s what I do:

  • I jump from 2 Chronicles 1:1 in the the Hebrew Bible
  • to my OT Texts workspace
  • to the 2 Chronicles Göttingen volume
  • and back to the Hebrew Bible where I started.
HB > OT Texts > Göttingen > back to HB

iPadOS

In this section, I just want to share some screenshots of what the 2 Chronicles volume looks like on iPad OS. There will be another post that continues my “Ways of Reading” series, and in that post I’ll talk about reading Göttingen 2 Chronicles on the iPad and using a print lexicon.

Göttingen text with apparatus:

12.9” iPad Pro 2018

Gottingen text with NETS as diglot:

12.9” iPad Pro 2018

Now, let’s take a look at what it looks like to actually jump to a few lexicons while reading the text on an iPad. In this video, here’s what I do:

  • I start with the 2 Chronicles Göttingen text,
  • open the instant details by long pressing on χιλίαρχος,
  • jump to BDAG,
  • switch to LSJ,
  • switch to LEH,
  • and go back to the Göttingen text.
12.9” iPad Pro 2018

iOS

Last but not least, just a couple screenshots on the iPhone.

Göttingen text only:

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Göttingen text with apparatus:

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Göttingen text with instant details:

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Conclusion

The laptop/desktop software allows you to reference the Göttingen volumes in unique ways. You can quickly jump to the Göttingen volume with the apparatus already open and positioned correctly. You can also setup and jump to a workspace that allows you to see the Göttingen volume alongside other ancient witnesses. The iPad and iPhone versions allow you to more comfortably read the text and reference your Göttingen volumes on the go.

I hope this post gives you a better idea of how you can use the electronic edition of the Göttingen Septuagint in Accordance.

Electronic Editions of the Göttingen LXX

Academic bloggers and tweeters show up for International Septuagint Day like no other day. Today, my timeline has been filled with tweets about the Septuagint, and I love it. I wanted to add to the chorus by clearing up some confusion regarding electronic editions of the Göttingen LXX in Logos and Accordance.

Volumes

You have two options for electronic Göttingen LXX editions: Logos and Accordance. I’ve owned it on both platforms for several years, but until tonight I did not realize the nature of differences between the packages. I knew Logos started out far ahead in the number of volumes they offered, but Accordance has consistently released more and more Göttingen volumes the past few years. Here’s where we stand.

Logos has 5 volumes that Accordance doesn’t have:

  • Judith
  • Tobit
  • 3 Maccabees
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Susanna, Daniel, and Bel et Draco

Accordance has 1 volume that Logos doesn’t have:

  • 2 Chronicles

Here is a full list of the volumes included in each package:

AccordanceLogos
GenesisGenesis
ExodusExodus
LeviticusLeviticus
NumbersNumbers
DeuteronomyDeuteronomy
RuthRuth
2 Chronicles
Esdras 1Esdras 1
Esdras 2 (Ezra, Nehemiah)Esdras 2 (Ezra, Nehemiah)
EstherEsther
Judith
Tobit
1 Maccabees1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
Psalms & OdesPsalms & Odes
JobJob
Wisdom of Solomon
SirachSirach
12 Prophets12 Prophets
IsaiahIsaiah
Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of JeremiahJeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah
EzekielEzekiel
Susanna, Daniel, Bel et Draco

Even though Accordance has fewer volumes than Logos, Accordance has continued to develop and release Göttingen modules, whereas I don’t think Logos has added to their offerings since their initial release. This pattern suggests that in the coming years Accordance will catch up and surpass Logos in the number of volumes offered.

Price

There are other pluses and minuses to consider besides which books are included. For example, Logos’ package is significantly cheaper. Right now, Accordance is offering their Göttingen package for $599, but that is a sale price and it’s the cheapest it has ever been. The normal Accordance price is $850. Logos normally sales their package for $699, but oddly enough you can find the Logos’ Göttingen LXX in this expansion pack for $329.

Features

Both Accordance and Logos include morphological tagging, but each platform has a way that it one-ups the other.

If a Göttingen volume has two apparatuses —one for the transmission history of the Old Greek and one for tracking differences in other Greek translations besides the Old Greek—Logos splits apparatus 1 and apparatus 2 into different modules. This makes seeing the text and the content of each apparatus far easier than including both apparatuses in one module. Accordance does this for all its modules except the Pentateuch volumes. For whatever reason, in Accordance the two apparatuses for the Pentateuch volumes are together in one electronic module. There is so much info in apparatus 1 that it makes it hard to see the actual text of a passage and scroll down far enough in the apparatus module to see the apparatus 2 information. You scroll down to the apparatus 2 information, but because the apparatus and text modules are linked, now your text module has jumped a verse or two ahead. This is a bummer because the Göttingen Pentateuch volumes are the ones I reference most frequently. I wish the developers would split the Pentateuch volumes into separate text modules and split apparatuses 1 and 2 like they do for the rest of the series.

Accordance however includes one very significant feature of the print volumes that Logos does not have: the Kopfleiste. This is a header that that appears on each page of the print volumes and tells you exactly which witnesses include the text that appears on that page. Without it, finding this information in the introductions is possible but very difficult.

Quality

Finally, the issue of quality control. It isn’t as simple as you might think. Older editions of the Göttingen volumes do not have digital files. These volumes have to be converted in some way to make digital resources. The Göttingen volumes make this very difficult to do well because of the insanely dense apparatus and the numerous uncommon sigla used.

So which platform pulls this off the best? It’s hard to say. At one point, Abram noted that the Logos editions seemed to be more accurate. I think this was based mostly on a close reading of the Isaiah volume. When I reviewed the Job volume for Accordance, I found many typos in the apparates and introduction. The Accordance developers, however, were all over this and fixed all the typos very quickly. When I read 2 Maccabees in the Logos Göttingen edition, I found many typos in the parsing. These have been fixed, as well.

While this category of comparison is significant, it is really hard to say which platform is more accurate.

Conclusion

I’m sure there are still typos in the electronic editions on both platforms, but to me the most useful Göttingen LXX is the one that I have with me when I want and need it. For this reason and many more, I prefer electronic editions over the print volumes. If I were still doing academic research in this field on a regular basis, I would certainly check a print edition before stepping up to the mic at SBL. For the purposes of reading and everyday study, the electronic editions are amazing. And no matter what time of the year it is or what sale is happening, the electronic editions are so, so much cheaper than the print volumes.

Here on LXX Day 2020, cheers to you, Logos and Accordance. Thank you both for years of fun reading and research. I hope to see both of you develop electronic editions of every Göttingen that has been and will be published. Prioritize these, please.

— a happy Göttingen reader

Postscript

Please note that V&R just published Peter Gentry’s Ecclesiastes edition, and we would love to see this in electronic form by LXX day 2021.

Thanks, Accordance

I don’t know how I missed this. Today, I discovered that in the Accordance iOS app you can copy a link to a particular place in a resource, paste that link in your notes, and make your notes, in whatever app you use, hyperlinked to Accordance. I love it.

For those of you that might be interested in how this can be useful in note taking, I tweeted a screen recording.

During Christmas break, I had a chance to actually work with Accordance 13 on the Mac and the new(ish) iOS app. I really appreciate the aesthetic shine both apps have now. Dark mode is gorgeous on the Mac, but the appearance of both apps has significantly improved over the past year (not to mention the substantial functionality improvements with live click on the Mac and the keyboard shortcuts on iOS). It is stability, however, is what shifted my reading and reference workflows back to being Accordance-primary.

Because some key resources (GE/BrillDAG, Croy’s Greek grammar, Oxford Latin Dictionary, Whitaker’s Words, Collins Latin Dictionary) are in Logos and not Accordance, for the past few months I had been primarily — almost exclusively — using Logos. During holiday travels, however, I took only my iPad for reading. After a few days, the Logos iOS app proved to be too buggy for regular, sustained reading. The primary problem was that the text in resources would randomly jump up half a paragraph or more when I went to scroll. I pointed this out at the end of my Logos 8 review, and it hasn’t been fixed.

This and other stability issues led me to open the Accordance app. During the last few days of traveling, I spent several hours reading in the Accordance iOS app, and it was rock solid. I’m just discovering some of the delightful, newer polishes and improvements. The developers deserve some serious thanksgiving. I want to quote here something I said in a my iOS App Store review:

Accordance is a classy company that focuses on quality work and has done so for 25 years. I trust Accordance, and I prefer to invest my personal library budget in their books over print or other digital platforms.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there isn’t just one way of reading. I read with print books, with Logos, with Accordance, with open source online tools, and various other combinations of print and digital media. I’ll continue to use them all.

Today, however, I just wanted to say thanks to the Accordance folks. Y’all rock.

Reading with a Reader’s Text and Full Lexicon

Lately, I’ve enjoyed the balance of using a reader’s text and a bigger lexicon. I say “balance” because this combination allows you to move quickly when you want to move quickly, and for me that is what I want most of the time. The reader’s text facilitates this wonderfully. When I want to step into the bigger picture and explore the broader meaning of a word, when I want more than a basic gloss or a meaning in this context, the big lexicons are what I want. Lexicons that are devoted to the particular corpus you are reading will often even satisfy the desire to check your understanding of a particular phrase in a particular verse because they provide translations of so many occurrences. So in addition to giving you a more complete picture on the use of a word across time or across the literature you are reading, the big lexicons frequently eliminate the need to consult your favorite translation, as well.

Details by Corpus

For the New Testament, I’ve really enjoyed the Tyndale House reader’s edition this year (leather/hardback). I’ll do full post on it this summer, but what I enjoy about it is everything from the font, to the paragraph layout, to the textual choices (cf. 2 Corithians 5:3, ἐνδυσάμενοι), and more. The lexicons of choice have been either BDAG, Montanari’s GE, or LSJ. Depending on the scenario, I’ll use print or digital versions of the lexicons.

For the Septuagint, the new reader’s edition is splendid (flexisoft). I’ve been in Leviticus and enjoying reference to LSJ, Montanari, and occassionally Muraoka or LEH.

For Anabasis, Steadman’s reader has been great. He only has books 1 and 4, but all I’ve needed this year is book 1. Eventually, I will have to turn to the Loeb, which is fine, but a reader is always preferable. It’s usually a digital LSJ that I turn to when I want more. Montanari would be great, but when I finally get around to Xenophon during the week I’m rarely in my office and I never have time to flip pages and read leisurely.

Hebrew has been on the back burner, but with a friend I’m making another pass through Genesis in the BHS reader’s edition (flexisoft). I normally turn to digital versions of HALOT or CDCH, but when I’m home I go to my print copy of Holladay (because of Michel Gilbert’s experience shared here and here).

Conclusion

Usually when you want to turn from a reader’s text and explore a bigger lexical work, it is more enjoyable to use a print lexicon if the situation allows. This weekend it’s been the reader’s GNT, BDAG in print, and Apple’s Arcade Fire Essentials playlist. Saturday mornings are made for this sort of reading experience.

There are so many ways to read in the original languages. Don’t latch onto one way and make that the only way you can feel satisfied in doing it. Just do it.

Logos 8 – Notable Performance Improvements

For over ten years I used Logos as my primary tool for studying the Bible. A few years ago, however, it seemed clear to me that my primary interests and the focus of Faithlife (the company that makes Logos) were going in different directions. I wanted a product that prioritized original language research, and it seemed to me that Faithlife was focusing primarily on creating new ways for their average customer to discover new things in Scripture. Helping people discover new insights is great, but it wasn’t where my interests were. I was struggling in the forums to get typos fixed in what I considered to be key resources, and so I eventually made the move to Accordance. I love Accordance and still use it every day. So why am I reconsidering Logos?

At some point, Logos ironed out the typographical problems in their Dead Sea Scrolls resources. That was the primary issue that turned me away from the product. Recently, they also significantly upgraded their mobile app — changes that affect the every day reading experience. Tabbed browsing makes it easier to have multiple resources open and easily move between them. What I care about is how quickly and fluidly I can move throughout the program, open resources, look up words, and run searches without seeing the spinning beach ball of sluggishness. The reading experience is the key.

Finally, when Logos 8 released I heard there were significant performance improvements, and this is what made me want to give it another shot. Logos is notorious for severely taxing older computers with an intense, frequent indexing process, and in my opinion, the program has not been snappy since the Libronix/Logos 3 days. The way the promotional material spoke about performance improvements tipped the scales. I had to give it another shot. I’ve been using Logos 8 for a couple months now, and here are a few thoughts on my experience with both the Mac and iOS apps.

Mac app

I have been using Logos 8 on two laptops:

  1. a mid-2014 MacBook Pro with a 2.2GHz i7, 256GB SSD, and 16GB of RAM
  2. an early-2014 MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz i5, 128GB SSD, and 4GB of RAM

Here’s the scoop: Logos 8 runs well on both machines.

On the MacBook Pro, I thought the performance was solid from start to finish. The startup time was very reasonable, it was easy to open and move around multiple resources, searches were very fast, and much to my surprise even the indexing process seemed more efficient. I am really happy with how quickly I can open multiple resources, move them around, and run searches. At no point did I hit a wall where I thought the program was having to catch up. That’s a big deal, but that is also on a MacBook Pro. Granted, it’s a four year old MacBook Pro, but it has 16GB of RAM.

The real story here is that Logos 8 runs well on my MacBook Air with a measly 4GB of RAM! I did not expect this. I want to illustrate what I mean by “well,” so the video below demonstrates basic performance functions like opening the program, opening resources, moving them around, looking up words, and running a simple morphological search — text, lexicon, & concordance work.

Even in a resource as typographically complex as the Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts, I can scroll through the resource with relative ease. If I scroll down or up as fast as I can in any of the resources I opened, eventually scrolling becomes jumpy, but that is not a big deal. You don’t navigate from Matthew to James by scrolling. You use the navigation box. If you just want to scroll a few paragraphs or chapters or even to the next book of the Bible, that’s no problem.

I don’t have any detailed metrics to report — just a video and my testimony based on every day, normal use. I am happy with the performance of the Logos 8 Mac app.

iOS app

The iOS app serves well as an on-the-go reading companion. You can download books for offline access, including morphologically tagged resources. So if you want to download your GNT and be able to double-click for morphological information and quick word lookups, you can do this even when offline. When your text is downloaded and the lexicons you want to access are downloaded to your mobile device, looking up words is fast — down right snappy.

The mobile app features tabbed browsing and the ability to save workspaces. This means that I can create a workspace for reading Anabasis with the text, lexicon, reading notes, and companion grammar, easily swipe between the resources, and then save that workspace when I’m done and navigate to another reading setup for the GNT or Hebrew Bible.

Aesthetically, both the Mac and iOS apps look great. I love the Greek and Latin fonts. The iOS app is particularly noteworthy because it fills the screen of the latest iOS devices, from edge to edge, and has a true black reading mode that is gorgeous on OLED displays. Here is a video that illustrates opening a saved workspace, looking up words, navigating to another workspace, and using tabbed browsing. I’m recording this on a 2018 12.9 iPad Pro:

As a reading companion, the app does its job, but there are a few annoying glitches that affect the reading experience. For example, if you need to look up multiple words in a sentence and want to do this by double-clicking each word, you find that double-clicking frequently just highlights the next word without showing the quick information pop-up. The other issue is that sometimes the app seems to cause the resource you are viewing to jump several lines up. This happens most frequently when flicking between tabbed resources in the same workspace.

These issues are much easier to illustrate with a video. In what follows note that every other word shows the information pop-up. The second issue is harder to reproduce, but it does happen a couple times toward the end. As I move around in the text and flip back and forth between resources, notice that the text jumps from Matthew 5:24 to Matthew 5:9. This happens around second 40. The same thing happens again around second 50.

Conclusion

I’m really happy to say that Logos 8 seems like a mature product. There are new, experimental features, but the performance improvements make Logos 8 seem to me like the most stable, efficiently running version since the era before the major rewrite that took place between Logos 3 and 4. I have tried to show here that for everyday reading, lexicon work, and research, Logos 8 should run well enough on older, entry-level laptops, as well as more robust machines. I’m sure there are portions of the program that would still push an old MacBook Air to the limit, but those are not features that I have encountered as I use the software for teaching, reading, and reference. At this point, the mobile app still seems primarily intended to be a reading companion to the Mac app, but if you primarily use the software to read and reference lexicons, the mobile app can serve as your primary driver. I use it far more than the desktop version, and overall I’m happy with it. I hope the glitches noted above will be fixed soon, and I would love to see more robust, full-featured morphological and lemma search functionality come to the mobile app.

You can learn more about Logos 8 here. Note especially the free basic academic package and the academic discount program. They have other academic packages, as well. These are streamline packages intended to better meet the needs of students and those interested primarily in original languages.

Obligatory disclosure statement: Logos provided me a free upgrade to version 8 for review.

Encountering Exodus 32 in the LXX

I experienced a passage in Exodus this morning as I never have before. I was reading Exodus 32, and verses 17–18 seemed to jump off the page. I have read this passage before in the Septuagint, but perhaps I was moving a little too fast. I was reading for comprehensive exams the first time, and that sort of reading is rarely reflective. Here’s the passage:

καὶ ἀκούσας Ἰησοῦς τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ λαοῦ κραζόντων λέγει πρὸς Μωυσῆν Φωνὴ πολέμου ἐν τῇ παρεμβολῇ. 18 καὶ λέγει Οὐκ ἔστιν φωνὴ ἐξαρχόντων κατ᾿ ἰσχὺν οὐδὲ φωνὴ ἐξαρχόντων τροπῆς, ἀλλὰ φωνὴν ἐξαρχόντων οἴνου ἐγὼ ἀκούω.

And when Joshua heard the sound of the people crying out, he said to Moses, “That’s the sound of war in the camp! [Moses responded] and said, “It’s not the sound of those marching ahead with force or of those turning to run. But the sound of those marching headlong into wine is what I hear.”

Now, that’s my idiomatic translation, and it captures the way I experienced the text. Rendering ἐνάρχομαι in verse 18 is difficult to do in an idiomatic way. It translates three instances of IV.ענה, to sing. Here’s the Hebrew of verse 18:

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵין קוֹל עֲנוֹת גְּבוּרָה וְאֵין קוֹל עֲנוֹת חֲלוּשָׁה קוֹל עַנּוֹת אָנֹכִי שֹׁמֵעַ

It’s not the sound of conquering or the sound of defeat; it’s the sound of singing I hear.”

Whatever you do with ἐνάρχομαι, it seems pretty clear to me that the Septuagint is a little more explicit about what is happening. I hear more contrast and perhaps frustration with the addition of ἀλλά and especially the addition of οἶνος, wine — a word that makes explicit the real reason the people were in such an uproar.

So, I’m drawing no major text-critical conclusions here; it’s just striking. This verse made me stop and reflect and visualize the scene as I never had before. I had to check the Hebrew to see if the Septuagint text was different in any way, and as it turns out, it is just different enough from the Hebrew to at least partially explain why the passage seemed so fresh and new.

Incidentally, I was reading in the new Septuagint Reader’s Edition, which you can still get for a fantastic price at CBD. More on that edition in the coming weeks.

Critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament Online

Charles Jones posted notice that the University of Zurich has made available all five volumes of Dominique Barthélemy’s Critique textuelle de l’ancien Testament.

There is nothing quite like this work. I’ve posted in the past on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, which led to these volumes, and on the unique role Bathélemy played in the committee’s work. These five volumes are the most comprehensive treatment of the textual problems in the Hebrew Bible ever produced.

In print, each volume is very expensive. I’ve always wanted to own copies, but with the price — a couple hundred bucks a piece if I remember correctly — there was just no way. To have each volume in a quality PDF is so fantastic.

Give them time to download. The files aren’t that big, but they took a bit longer to download than I expected. I should note that they are all in French. Here’s the permalinks:

  • Volume 1 (1982) Josué, Juges, Ruth, Samuel, Rois, Chroniques, Esdras, Néhémie, Esther
  • Volume 2 (1986) Isaïe, Jérémie, Lamentations
  • Volume 3 (1992) Ézéchiel, Daniel et les 12 Prophètes
  • Volume 4 (2005) Psaumes
  • Volume 5 (2015) Job, Proverbes, Qohélet et Cantique des Cantiques