Tyndale House GNT in Accordance

Accordance has just released the first fully tagged edition of The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (THGNT) to appear in any Bible software. I’ve been reading the print edition since November, and I received early access to Accordance’s digital edition. In this post, I’ll explain what THGNT is, describe some of this edition’s unique features, and share some thoughts on how Accordance has created an electronic edition worthy of the thoughtfulness and care that went into the print edition of THGNT.

What is Tyndale House?

In my mind, it is a magical place where scholars go to study in an environment filled with rare and abundant resources — every book you could ever want and a host of brilliant people with which to drink tea and discuss your research. Here’s how they describe the initiative:

Tyndale House is a study centre focusing on advancing understanding of the Bible. Between forty and fifty scholars study here on a daily basis. Many PhD students from Cambridge University as well as other universities base themselves at Tyndale House during their studies and leading biblical scholars in all parts of the world have been formed at Tyndale House.

What is THGNT?

THGNT is a beautiful, affordable new edition of the Greek New Testament produced by Dirk Jongkind and an editorial team connected to Tyndale House.

Those three things alone — beautiful, affordable, and produced by a world class team of scholars — justify its existence. The font is beautiful, the apparatus is minimal but sufficiently helpful, and the text itself fills the pages in a single column format that makes reading immersive. To top things off it comes with a slip case and Smyth-sewn binding, all for about $25 at Amazon.

Aesthetics aside, the preface describes it this way:

This edition, based on a thorough revision of the great nineteenth-century edition of Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, aims to present the New Testament books in the earliest form in which they are well attested. To do this it uses careful analysis of the scribal habits and typical transmission errors of individual manuscripts to establish which readings are likely to be prior.

As you read through this edition you will encounter words that are spelled a bit differently. We are accustomed to the spelling standardizations of other modern editions, but the editors of THGNT are committed to presenting the text as it is preserved in the earliest manuscripts. This means you will find forms like γείνομαι, instead of γίνομαι.

The commitment to following the tendencies of the early manuscripts leads to two other significant features. The editors break the text into paragraphs in a unique way, and they have ordered the NT books in a way different than modern editions. In THGNT, the books are ordered Gospels, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline corpus, and Revelation. This means that after the Gospels and Acts, you encounter James, 1–2 Peter, 1–3 John, Jude, and then Romans and the Pauline literature, followed by Revelation. As a matter of fact, the next edition in the Nestle-Aland series might order the books in a similar way.

There are other differences, and all these are explained in the book’s introduction found at the back of the book. These guys are serious about the reading experience. There is no hundred page introduction before you hit Matthew 1:1. When you open the cover, you see a title page, a table of contents, a one and a half page preface, and then you find ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΘΘΑΙΟΝ.

The Accordance Edition

Since mid November, I have tried to switch my daily NT reading from NA28 to the THGNT. One problem I have encountered is that so much of my daily reading happens outside my office. It might be by a fire pit with friends, while I’m waiting in line at a barber shop or coffee shop, or while students are taking a quiz. In these moments, I’ve had to fall back to electronic editions of NA28. Accordance has solved this problem with their release of the first fully tagged edition of THGNT.

Accordance has done a great job of enhancing the text with morphological tagging, adding links to all the manuscript sigla and numbers, and making the text accessible on the go. The morphological tagging allows you to easily see grammatical information about each word, search the text for all forms of a word, or jump quickly to lexicons in your library, like LSJ or BDAG.

Preserving the Paragraph Style

One of the coolest features of this digital edition is that Accordance persevered the print text’s unique way of presenting paragraph breaks. THGNT uses ekthesis, rather than indentation, to mark the first line of each paragraph. You can see an example of this in the pictures of the print edition above or at the bottom of this page. Accordance was able to implement a version of ekthesis in their digital edition without sacrificing too much space on smaller digital screens. Here’s a pic of THGNT beside NA28 on an iPhone:

Night Mode & Searching

The iOS app night mode is great in low light reading environments. Whether I’m on an iPad or iPhone, when I encounter a word that seems rare and want to see every occurrence in THGHT, all I have to do is long hold on the word, click search, and then select lexeme.

Here’s a picture of the search results for διοδεύω on an iPhone:

Apparatus with All Front and Back Matter

The Accordance edition includes two separate modules: the tagged text and the apparatus. In addition to the verse-by-verse listing of variant readings, the apparatus module also contains the full text of the preface and an introduction detailing the editions unique features.

Moving from THGNT to Mss Images

In the Witnesses section of the Introduction, clicking on a manuscript number takes you to the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforshung Virtual Manuscript Room. This website allows you to view high resolution images of the many NT manuscripts. Here is a video that shows moving from the text of THGNT on my iPad, to the witness section of the apparatus, to the INTF website, and to images of P10. The video has no sound if that’s a concern for you:

In the video, I started in the THGNT text of Romans 1 and noticed a mention of P10 in the apparatus:

At this point, I opened the Apparatus module and navigated to the Witnesses section:

Clicking on P10 in the Witnesses section takes me to the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room:

This website provides more information about the manuscript, but if you click on the pages tab you will see a link to images of P10:

Finally, clicking the manuscript twice will open a beautiful, high-res image of P10:

THGNT & the Accordance Internal Web Browser

I primarily use iOS products, but the Accordance desktop app provides additional features. You can use Accordance’s new internal web browser to move from the linked apparatus to manuscript images with just a few clicks:

Here is a picture of THGNT in the desktop app and the internal web browser:

Comparing Texts

On the desktop app, you can use the compare text feature to find differences between THGNT and NA28.

Finally, Accordance has preserved one of the key benefits of the print edition: affordability. The retail price of Accordance’s electronic edition matches the retail price of the print volume, and for the time being you can buy THGNT in Accordance for the introductory price of $19.90.

Conclusion

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience provided by the Tyndale House Greek New Testament, both in print and in Accordance. The Accordance edition is morphologically tagged and searchable. It preserves the unique paragraph style of the print edition, and the apparatus links allow users to see many high-res images of the manuscripts themselves. Finally, it is affordable. THGNT presents a text that allows readers to step a little closer to early manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, and in light of the features described above, I think editors and readers of the print volume will be pleased with Accordance’s electronic edition. I certainly am.

For more information on THGNT, visit https://www.thegreeknewtestament.com.

For more information on interesting variants found in THGNT, visit the THGNT blog.

Accordance THGNT product page: regular price $39.90, sale price $19.90

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.

Best Blogging Platform, Revisited

For the past couple years Squarespace has been my blogging platform of choice for one reason: even without much knowledge of CSS, Squarespace allowed me to customize the site to my heart’s content. It was partly about the template I used, too. I had a Squarespace template that was close enough to my style preferences that I could use the built in customization features to get things exactly as I wanted them.

The last time I wrote about this I said that customizing your theme/template is necessary because no simple, elegant blogging theme exists on any platform. Well, things have changed. I found a WordPress.com theme that I really like (the one you are looking at), and the move to WordPress brings along several benefits.

Money

The monthly cost of Squarespace is the primary thing that sent me looking for another platform. Squarespace cost me $16/month. WordPress is $4/month. The $4 WordPress personal plan allows me to map my Hover domain to my WordPress.com site. Squarespace is setup to be much more than a blog, and I finally realized I do not need to pay for such a robust platform.

Mobile

One of my biggest frustrations with Squarespace was their mobile apps. Getting a post up was not difficult. I cold write a post in Ulysses, and then copy and paste the markdown directly into Squarespace’s iOS app. But if I wanted to access my site’s dashboard, forget about it. Navigating the Squarespace website is a horrible experience on mobile devices. At one time, when I went to the site to customize the template, I was told I could not proceed on my mobile device; only way to proceed was on a laptop or desktop. Mind boggling.

WordPress on the other hand allows me to post directly from Ulysses, and I can run just about every aspect of the site from my iPhone or iPad using either their website or their mobile apps.

Style

Finding the “Independent Publisher 2” WordPress theme was the turning point. It isn’t perfect, but it is minimal, single column, and prioritizes the reading experience. I like the large sans serif headings and the way the theme allows me to set the main font to Noto Serif, which has a nice, full featured set of Latin and Greek characters.

Final Thoughts

The only drawback to the switch from Squarespace to WordPress was that I had to edit the slug for every post on this site. Initially, every link to my posts was broken. This problem only took a couple hours to fix, and for the reasons above, it was totally worth it.

If you are looking to start a blog, I recommend registering a domain with Hover — great support and not tied to a particular blogging platform — and getting a WordPress.com personal plan.

Teaching Online iPad Only

For the first time, this week I taught a formal online class using only my iPad. By “formal online class” I mean not a one-on-one teaching environment. This class was for an accredited institution with multiple students all over the country. They see a live stream of me teaching, and each student has a microphone they can use when I call on them.

I normally run the digital classroom on my laptop and use my iPad as a white board. The reason I did the class on my iPad yesterday is because my car transmission is shot. It’s not drivable. This means I get rides to work, and on this day I couldn’t get a ride home until after my online class. I happened to forget that all this meant I “needed” to bring my laptop.

The normal workflow was out the window, and it didn’t take long to figure out that I wasn’t going to be able to use the white board in the Adobe Connect iOS app as a normal classroom white board. More on that in a minute. I improvised. Instead of writing everything on the whiteboard, I took screen shots of the key paradigms and exercises in the Logos version of Croy’s grammar and cropped them. In the Adobe app, instead of sharing a whiteboard, I shared the pics. The only problem was that each time I wanted to share a different pic, I had to stop the share and then initiate it again picking a different pic. Each time I selected a pic it had to upload, but the upload was fast. Sharing the photos worked really well otherwise. I could hit a ‘draw’ button and lightly annotate them with no problem. The students seemed to like seeing the paradigms in the way they actually appear in the book, and I might actually shift to doing something like this regularly instead of just writing on the whiteboard.

Even after this overall good experience, if I am able to be home I will use my laptop to run the digital classroom because writing on the white board within Adobe Connect is really, really bad. You write for a couple seconds fluidly, and then it’s like it has to process that writing to actually get it on the board. Whatever you are writing during that processing period isn’t recorded.

The definite take away is that this is yet another scenario I have discovered where I can leave the laptop at home. Now, whether I am doing online private tutoring — for which I use Zoom and it’s amazing — or a formal online class, I can leave my laptop at home. There is no situation when my laptop needs to leave my desk except when (1) I am working on a paper or (2) writing multiple quizzes.

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.

Online English to Greek Lexicon

Someone asked me today how to say “differently” in Ancient Greek. I pointed them to Woodhouse online and then remembered that I have never highlighted this resource on the blog.

The University of Chicago has put together a nice website that allows you to search for English keywords and go directly to the relevant page scan of Woodhouse. Searching for the word differently will take you to a link for page 223 where you can see the Ancient Greek options.

You can purchase Woodhouse in Logos, as well.

On Teaching Greek

I did a three hour talk today on teaching Greek in a middle/high school context. This was a part of the the Classical Latin School Association teacher training conference.

Here’s a portion of my notes, the online handout.

I wrote the handout in Ulysses‘ iPad app and exported it to PDF using a customized version of the Rough Cut style. Here’s a link to the Ulysses PDF style sheet. You’ll need to download and install the Brill font.

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.