Off-Campus Oxford Handbooks Online Ready

Thanks to John Merritt, off-campus access to Oxford Handbooks Online is ready to roll.

Head over to the databases page, and you will see it in the New Databases section on the right side of the screen and in its permanent home in the O-section. Click the link, log in with your normal SBTS login information, and you are good to go.

At the top of the Oxford Handbook Online page you will see a Browse by Subject section. You have access to the religion, philosophy, and history handbooks.

Go ahead and save a bookmark to this address, and next time you can go straight to the login page: http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com.ezproxy.sbts.edu.

Word for Mac & iOS

For writing anything more than a note, I use two apps: Ulysses and Word. I like one of them and tolerate the other. I’m just going to tell you about Word today, the one I tolerate.

If I weren’t a student and a teacher, I would never touch Word because Ulysses is absolutely sublime. If your document has footnotes, however, you should be using Zotero, and this means using Word on a Mac or Windows computer. So for the dissertation and any conference papers, I turn to Word. Word also gives you more control for precise, quick formatting, which I need for writing assessments.

For about the past year, Word for Mac has worked well with right-to-left scripts like Hebrew and Aramaic. For a couple decades, Word and Mac didn’t play well together. I you were doing anything with Hebrew you had to use something like LibreOffice or Mellel. Many people don’t realize that this era is over. The only remaining Hebrew/Aramaic hang up is the fact that the vowel points in SBL fonts do not align correctly. As I understand the situation, this is SBL’s problem and not Word’s. My school allows the use of Times New Roman font throughout the entire document, and I actually like the look of TNR for Hebrew, Greek, and English. It’s not my preferred font, but for technical writing it’s easy and everyone has it on their devices. The only situation where you will run into a problem with TNR is if you want to put diacritical marks above a Hebrew letter to mark the letter as “partially visible” or something like that. If you are working with DSS transcriptions, you will probably still have to use SBL Hebrew and Mellel at this point. Hopefully SBL will update their fonts soon.

The real draw towards using Word is that your documents are easily shareable. The chances are that whomever you want to share your work with uses Word. But there is another significant benefit: the iOS app works pretty well, especially if all you need to do is edit documents on the fly. During the past school year, I would take only my iPad to class, and when we found a typo in a quiz, I would fix it right away in the Word iOS app. Occasionally, I would print handouts from Word using Readdle’s Printer Pro, and maybe once or twice I actually wrote a quiz in Word for iOS. This became problematic for the vocab sections of the quiz because for some reason with a multi-column layout combined with Greek polytonic characters, Word began acting crazy. The cursor would jump around all over the place when I would start typing.

I don’t think you can create new character and paragraph styles in Word for iOS, but if you open a document that already has styles applied, you can use those styles with the same document. I think you can also save a blank document as a template with the style you want, and just start there.

One other thing the Word iOS app does really well is work with cloud storage. You can log into your Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox accounts and open files within the Word iOS app. Word downloads the latest version and opens it pretty quickly. While you are working in the document, everything automatically saves, and when you leave the document, Word uploads your changes to your cloud service. Everything stays in sync.

I really prefer to write in Markdown, and that’s where Ulysses comes in. But good old rich text word processing is still necessary for the time being, and Word isn’t bad.

Graduate Research & Practicality

I often hear people say they want to do graduate research that is practical and easily relatable to the common person — not the case with most textual criticism focused dissertations. Today’s episode of Here & Now was encouraging to me, however, and I hope it is for the rest of you working on the often “irrelevant” minutiae of language or textual study.
The Surprising Outcomes of Nobel Prize-Winning Discoveries” highlights how it sometimes takes decades for the practical payoff of Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to be realized. You won’t win a Nobel Prize for your textual criticism project, but you never know how your work might suddenly become relevant to the person in the pew.

Graduate Research Seminar: Writing Tools

I gave a talk today at the SBTS Graduate Research Seminar about writing tools for seminar papers and dissertations. Here’s the handout: GRS 2016 – Writing Tools

We covered the following:

Google Drive | Office 365 | Templates | Zotero | 1Password | PDF Expert

The last two are not directly related to writing but are too helpful to leave out. If you only subscribe to one thing in all of your life, let it be 1Password (links in the handout).

I didn’t go into Mellel or Bookends because only a small percentage of students use these — especially since Word 2016 now handles right-to-left when using a compatible font like Times New Roman (not SBL Hebrew or BibLit). I also didn’t mention Ulysses, which is the program I used to write the handout (PDF export style: Rough Cut).

Last Day of the Summer Hebrew Reading Group

This was the last week of our Hebrew reading group. The purpose of the group was simply to encourage students to read Hebrew during their break. The goal was to come each week having read three chapters in Genesis, to bring a question or two, and to be ready to translate when called on.
On average 5-6 students came, and in my opinion this was a win. The smaller size of the group created an atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable asking questions and making comments. It would have been fun to have 20 come each week, but for the most part we met in July and we were reading Hebrew. If few seminarians actually learn to read and enjoy Greek, then a minuscule percentage do the same with Hebrew.

Each week I took screenshots of the text in Accordance’s iOS app, and I compiled a notebook of the images in GoodNotes. I cast the screen of my iPad to a TV on the wall using AirPlay. When a question arose, everyone was able to look up and see me annotate the images to illustrate the explanation I or another student offered. All this took place in GoodNotes.

image

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I was able to sit at the tables with students and facilitate, but when the time came to teach, instructions could be given in a way that all could easily see. This method of facilitating, I think, was another factor that contributed to the comfortable atmosphere and the open discussion we were able to have, despite the wide variety of Hebrew reading experience in the room each week.

I hope the library continues to allow us to do these Greek and Hebrew reading groups each summer. It was my pleasure, and the students seemed to be encouraged, as well.

Loeb Online LibGuide

Boyce Library posted a LibGuide I created showing how to use the online Loeb Classical Library. The guide provides step-by-step instructions, via screenshots, for how to do the following:

  • Access the full contents of the online Loeb Classical Library as an SBTS student
  • Make and save highlights and notes
  • Find Loeb volumes important for biblical studies
  • Cite Loeb volumes in an academic paper

SBTS at SBL 2015

There are a handful of SBTS associated people presenting at SBL this year:

Sunday, November 22

  • Michael T. Graham, Jr., “An Examination of Paul’s Use of Ps 51:4 in Rom 3:4 and Its Implications on Rom 3:1-8” – 1:30-2:00pm, Hilton-303
  • Shawn J. Wilhite, “Atonement in the Heavenly Holy of Holies: Early Reception of Atonement in Origen of Alexandria’s Reading of Hebrews” – Sunday, 5:40-6:05pm, Hilton-403

Monday, November 23

  • Jonathan Pennington, “Theological Epistemology in the Gospel according to Matthew: a Watsonian ‘Canonical Perspective'” – 1:40-2:0opm, Hilton-210
  • Shawn J. Wilhite is presiding over the History of Interpretation section focusing on “Apocalyptic Texts and the Psalter in Early and Medieval Interpretation,” – 4:00-6:30pm, Hilton-207
  • Jarvis J. Williams, “Rarely Will Someone Die for a Righteous Man: the Means and the Significance of Atonement in Rom 5:6-11 and the (Ig)Noble Jewish Martyrological Background” – 4:50-5:15pm, Hilton 306
  • Coleman M. Ford, “Eschatology and Ethics: Basil of Caesarea’s Use of Matthew in His Homilies on Wealth and Proverty” – 6:00-6:30pm, Hilton 209

Tuesday, November 24

  • Brian W. Davidson, “‘Warning’ or ‘Turning’ in Isa 8.11 & the Qumran Communities” – 10:00-10:25am, Hyatt-Embassy G