Friday, July 25, 2008

Books you should download...

Picking up on an earlier post, I noted that Microsoft had backed out of the book digitization process. Yale's library was one of the casualties. Internet Archive is still alive for now, and I have to believe that the funding will be found to keep it going. In any case, it might be a good idea to pull down some of the worthwhile books that are out there. In the comments on that earlier post, I suggested:

and Jim Darlack suggested:Logos is now promoting The Expositor's Greek (New) Testament at a prepub special pricing. I don't want to take business away from Logos, and their prepub price is certainly quite fair, and you get all the great features of the Logos/Libronix format with all the searching and text linking benefits.... but, if you want The Expositor's Greek (New) Testament now, and you want it free, it is available at the Internet Archive:
BTW, I could only find 2 of the volumes on Google Books that were fully viewable, so this is an instance where you really need Internet Archive.
Please add other books that you recommend be downloaded in the comments, and I will add them to this post.
eklektekuria said: I would also add Field's edition of the Hexapla. Excellent suggestion! (Vol. 1) (Vol. 2)
UPDATE 2008.08.04
Check out the list of books to plunder from the archive at Between Two Worlds

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Laridian PocketBible 4 for Windows Mobile Review

The July 2008 issue of Christian Computing Magazine has a review of Laridian PocketBible4 for Windows Mobile devices which includes smartphones. The reviewer highlights a few features that I also think (cf. here) are noteworthy:

  • I appreciate Laridian's efforts at making the software available for so many platforms, both desktop and mobile.
  • The ability to synchronize notes and such on the various platforms on which you may be using the program. Personally, I'm running it on my Dell Axim PDA and using the USB drive option to run it on my other computers.
  • PocketBible works especially well with mobile devices that have a touchscreen.
  • Laridian has done a nice job of maximizing the limited screen real estate on mobile devices.
Check the full review.

Codex Sinaiticus Online

There has been considerable media coverage about Codex Sinaiticus being brought together online from the various libraries where it is now housed. The best place to track down the reports is over at PaleoJudaica where Jim Davila has been on top of things. It is, as of today, now officially online. I just checked it out, but the site is too busy to be serving up pages at this time. The previews and promised resources will be great.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BibleWorks, Logos, Accordance on your mobile device

The question was recently asked again on one of the Bible software forums whether the Bible software application could be run on a mobile device like a smartphone or such. Short answer: No, you can't really run one of these programs on your WindowsMobile or smartphone as far as I know.
BUT... if you really need it and are willing to put up with a little inconvenience and have good eyes... You can see from the screenshot below that I do indeed have BibleWorks7 on my WindowsMobile device. (In my case, it is a Dell Axim x51v with true VGA display.)

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Go to or go here directly for the free version.
  2. Download/install the program on your home PC or Mac. Set up account, access codes... (It is indeed free and secure.)
  3. Now, on your WindowsMobile device or smartphone, you need to get on the web, go to the LogMeIn site, and logon.
  4. You will get a display showing which computers are online and on which you have set up the LogMeIn software and provided access. Click on your home computer, supply the access code, and you will now see your home computer screen on your mobile device. You will have complete control over your home computer, but due to screen resolution/sizes, you will probably have to move around the screen quite a bit.
Okay, note a couple things:
  • You don't really have the software on your mobile device. You are simply running your home computer's installation. Hence >>>
  • You do have to leave your home computer running and LogMeIn enabled...
  • It really is quite fast. The only real issue is viewing and moving around the screen, not the speed. (If you want to make it easier, reduce the resolution on your home computer display.)
  • I use this program regularly, but my main use is to control computers for other members of my family. I'm the computer guy in the extended family, and when they have problems... well, it's just a lot easier taking over their computer and fixing things than trying to provide instructions over the phone.
  • I have had absolutely no problems with security or with spam using this program.
Give it a try...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bible 3D Animation

A bit off the focus of this blog, but I think you will like it. A site called Look and Learn has done a neat job depicting Jesus and Peter walking on the water. (Matthew 14.22-33 and parallels) Click on the link, then on "3-D Fly-Throughs," then on the walking on water animation. Neat...
The site was brought to my attention by the Bible Illustration Blog which I have mentioned before. They take seriously the historical accuracy of the biblical illustrations they produce, so they have links and discussions on ancient clothing and such.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Can Real Academics Do Flash? - Teaching and the Costs and Benefits of Technology"

I wrote one of the case studies for an article on "Technology, Pedagogy and Transformation in Theological Education: Five Case Studies" which appeared in the April 2007 issue of the Wabash Center journal, Teaching Theology and Religion. The other case studies were written by my colleagues, Steve Delamarter, Javier AlanĂ­s, Russell Haitch, Arun W. Jones and Brent A. Strawn.

This article was not viewable except by subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article. According to the copyright agreement, however, I am now able to publish my contribution on my own website with the notice that "the definitive version of this article is available at"

My section was entitled, "Can Real Academics Do Flash? - Teaching and the Costs and Benefits of Technology." Steve Delamarter who edited and collated our various parts described my contribution thus:

Mark Vitalis Hoffman wanted to help his students experience a fresh encounter with Jesus’ parables and ended up in the esoteric field of video gaming theory (ludology) for help in conceiving an environment and process interactive enough to do justice to all of the possibilities.
This article feels somewhat dated to me. Ludology and video gaming studies and eLearning types of stuff are pretty commonplace now, but they were innovative, especially in the field of religious studies, when I started writing it nearly 2 years ago. As for the answer to the title of my article: No, at least for me. I learned enough Flash to do a single simple project, and then I never found enough time to go further with it. If you want to try it out, HERE is my experiential approach to one of Jesus' parables.

HERE is a PDF of my section of the article.

Review of BibleWorks7 and Logos3 Silver

I wrote a review of BibleWorks7 and Logos 3 which appeared in the April 2007 issue of the Wabash Center journal, Teaching Theology and Religion. This article was not viewable except by subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article. According to the copyright agreement, however, I am now able to publish this article on my own website with the notice that "the definitive version of this article is available at"

It is a three page, single-spaced article, and I tried to focus especially on the actual use of the programs and applications in the classroom. Here was my conclusion, and I don't think much has changed since the article appeared:

This brief review only begins to touch upon the capabilities of the programs. My descriptions should illustrate how Logos is the more comprehensive program for doing biblically related research, but BW7 is the more efficient tool for focused work on biblical text. There are tradeoffs with each, and personally I have ended up usually having both programs running. Logos will cost more (though significant academic discounts are available), and one should compare the various collections offered. The Original Languages Library ($415.95) provides a good starting point that is more comparable to BW7 while the Gold collection ($1379.95) offers some outstanding additional resources well worth the difference from the Silver collection. For what it intends to accomplish and so capably does, BW7 is a tremendous value, but there is nothing like Logos for working with a digital, biblical library. For further information on these programs, I have collected links to web resources HERE.
Here is the PDF of the whole review.

iPhone Bible Apps

My daughters consider me some kind of clueless Hittite because my cell phone is over 3 years old and doesn't even have a camera. So, I'm just as clueless about Bible apps for the iPhone, but if you are interested, check out why Rick Mansfield is still looking for a decent iPhone Bible app over on his blog, This Lamp.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Free Online/Downloadable Hebrew Grammar Resources

I have updated an earlier post and created a separate web page for Free Online/Downloadable Hebrew Grammar Resources. I've included resources suggested in the comments and added a section on public domain grammars. A number of these are also available as BibleWorks7 addons.

Note that the operative word here is FREE, but even so, there are some reliable and extremely helpful resources available.

For an excellent summary of Hebrew grammars available for purchase, check these references on the Codex blog: "Introductory Hebrew Grammars" and then "Mastering Biblical Hebrew."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vocabulary Profiling

A lot of people have discovered Wordle lately and have been using it to make attractive word 'clouds' of biblical texts. (Our church is considering using it to create occasional bulletin covers.) While Wordle is attractive and gives a quick glimpse of important words in a text, for more helpful analysis of a text, you want something like the VocabProfiler. To understand what this tool does, it helps to understand a bit of corpus linguistics, but this blog posting will give you a quick background. I've talked about this kind of stuff before with reference to strategies for minimizing the amount of Greek vocabulary one needs to know. I'll summarize:

  • A person needs to know about 95% of the vocab in a text to comprehend it without frustration.
  • Analyzing large amounts of texts allow one to construct reliable frequency lists.
  • In English, learning the 1000 most common words and their families will give you 74% comprehension. (The K1 list)
  • Learning the next 1000 words and their families will add another 5% bringing one up to 79% comprehension. (The K2 list)
  • Rather than trying to learn the next 1000 words which only adds 1%, it is better to identify the most common field-specific words, i.e., words used in a particular field of study or reference. For example, adding 570 word families of words in academic texts increases comprehension 8.5%. This group of words is called the Academic Word List. (AWL - In non-academic writing, it will provide much lower improvement.)
What VocabProfiler does is provide this kind of analysis. As an example look at this representation of the text of 3 John from The Message.
The words in blue are on the K1 list, in green are on the K2 list, in yellow on the AWL, and the red words are the remaining words. One of the things we can do is use this tool to compare translations. Below is 3 John in the NRSV. In this case, there is not much difference.Another possible way of using this tool is to compare different passages using the same version. Here is Jude in the NRSV, and it is easy to see that there is a much higher percentage of red words as compared to the 3 John graphic.
[UPDATE: As Iyov helpfully notes in the comments, this tool only works for English and French texts.]
Some practical applications of this tool--and you really should use the tool and see all the data it returns in addition to these highlighted texts--include the following:
  • Identify the best words to memorize if one is learning English as a second language and is interested in biblical texts.
  • It can be used to compare various translations to gauge the reading levels.
  • A person can, of course, also run there own writings through this tool. Preachers, check out the likely-more-challenging words in your sermons! I suspect this tool will turn up a lot of 'churchy' words in red.
  • You can see how James Tauber is trying to apply this kind of linguistics work to Greek (check this post and follow the links) and the development of a graded reader (check this post by James).
(HT: Downes)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Library Management Made Easy

With thanks to Cynthia F, I now have a CueCat, one of those nifty little barcode scanners that a dozen years or so ago were given away for free so that a person could scan coupons in magazine ads. If you have a large library of books that you want to catalog, you may want to get yourself one of these little gadgets. Using the CueCat, I am now able simply to scan the barcode/ISBN code on a book, and it automatically is entered into my library with most of the bibliographic info included. It really is that simple: just wave it back a forth a few times, and it reads the barcode, converts it, and searches for the book. Okay, now that I have your attention, here are the qualifications...
I've highlighted library management tools before (here and here: LibraryThing, Shelfari, Zotero, Endnote, ShelfServant, and others), but there are only a few programs for which this CueCat scanning trick will work (and unfortunately, Zotero is not one of them):

For PCs, you have a couple options.
  • LibraryThing is a neat online option. It's free for up to 200 books and only $25 for a lifetime unlimited collection. It has a community commentary component to it, and it can generate a bibliographic reference for a book using OttoBib. It can also export your whole library to an Excel file. A couple drawbacks: it really isn't intended to be a research/footnoting resource, it only handles books, and it stores your data online.
  • Here's the new one I discovered: Libra. It's free. It's graphically attractive. (It looks similar to Shelfari. Cf. the graphic above.). It's a small download that runs locally. You can use it to catalog books, DVDs, games, and music CDs. You might not even need a CueCat, since the website claims that you can simply use your webcam to scan in the barcodes. (I was able to make it work for books using the CueCat. I couldn't make it work on CDs, and I couldn't get it to work with my webcam at all.) It has an easy way to check books in/out to friends. You can export your libraries to Excel files and to attractive HTML pages (eg). It does have some drawbacks. Like LibraryThing, it's mainly a book cataloger, not a research tool, though you can add description details in addition to what it pulls from Amazon. It pulls a bunch of bibliographic info, but it can't sort by author's last name. The other drawback is that it appears that it may be an orphaned or at least a temporarily abandoned program. In any case, it works as is and is free and does a great job with the CueCat for books.
Psyched to get your own CueCat? LibraryThing sells them for $15 shipped, but you can also find them on eBay.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Migne’s Patrologia Graeca in prepub at Logos

Migne's Patrologia Graeca (PG)... I can almost smell those dusty old volumes (all 166 of them) buried deep in the library stacks... PG is really the only way to get at most of the Christian writings in Greek from the 1st to 15th century. I have posted previously about ways of gaining digital access to this collection, but Logos recently announced work on digitizing the first twenty volumes in Libronix format. Be sure to read this post by Phil Gons on why it is important and check Rick Brannan's table of contents for these first 20 volumes (print) which will be organized as 18 digital volumes. (There was a 16a, 16b, 16c turned into a single vol 16.)

Logos is to be commended for undertaking such a project, but at $400 for a prepub price, I'm wondering how many people are going to be buying in. I suspect I have looked up stuff in PG more than most people, but I won't be committing $400. (I have lots of other books I'd like to get first, and this first set of volumes doesn't even include Eusebius...) At some point too, there really is the issue of how much I should be spending on biblical resources in comparison to other needs. In any case, I will encourage my seminary's librarian to check about getting the set for our library.

Accordance8, BibleWorks7, Logos3: Some Comparisons

In the previous post I described how well Adobe ConnectNow worked for David Lang of Accordance to give me a quick tour of the program. I know Logos has offered to give 'webinars' similar to this. With Adobe ConnectNow, I was impressed how easy it was. Now, for some comments on Accordance, especially in comparison to BibleWorks and Logos.
(Note: I split the earlier post, and in this update I have added another section on program interfaces.)

Accordance 8 is very nice. I have extensive experience with BibleWorks and Logos, so I was most interested in understanding their 'philosophy.' I.e., BibleWorks is primarily a biblical text research tool with the capability to link into related tools. Logos/Libronix is primarily a library management system with sophisticated ways of working with books, especially biblical ones, within that library. Accordance is somewhat closer to the Logos model of managing a library, but it does seem to me that each of these publishers has been watching what the others have been doing. A few notes (and these are generalizations... There are workarounds for all sorts of things in each of the programs.):

PROGRAM INTERFACE: The primary layout of BibleWorks7 is three vertical panes (but there are options for hiding, making horizontal...): Search Window > Browse Window > Analysis Window. It is a layout that makes sense to me, and I actually have set up my Logos workspace to emulate it somewhat. (Cf. here.) You do have some tabs to work with in the Search pane (a great addition to BW7 compared to BW6), and you have more tabs in the Analysis pane. The advantage is that you get most of the information you need visible or available within a click or two. You do not, however, really have multiple workspaces. Some of the resources/tools you may want require popup windows, and this is both good and bad. Most of these are based on Windows Help files interface, so though it is probably familiar, it is not consistent with the rest of the program. One really good thing about this, however, is that it is not overly complex for users to create their own linked resources. It is also free to do so, and that's why there are so many outstanding, downloadable free resources. Accordance and BW7 are a bit similar in that both have a primary workspace and additional resources can popup in new windows or tabs. With Accordance, however, the workspace is a bit more customizable, but you do get a bit more clutter of windows. As you can see in the graphic above, there is a free-floating icon toolbar (double column vertical window on the right) that provides an effective way of organizing texts and tools. As a concession to PC users, they have also provided the directory tree library window (which can be turned off) on the far left, but this certainly would be the way I would use to access the texts. Logos is a consistently Windows-centric program. The program runs within a single window, but within that window you can have as many windows as you want. Organization is a key issue so you don't get lost in all the windows, but Logos does allow for multiple workspace configurations. It really helps to have dual monitors...

An example: When hovering a word in the Greek texts, Accordance uses a separate window to indicate morph/lexical info. In BW7, I usually have the Analysis window tabbed to "Word Analysis," and I have access to every lexical entry for that word in my collection. In Logos, I do not find the hover tips to be particularly helpful (and I turned them off), but I do keep the "Info Window" open with my choice of lexicon. I could also have windows open with all my lexicons, but I have found it better to locate all my lexicons in a single space so that they appear as tabbed windows, and then linked all the lexicon windows so that they all show info for the same word.

PRESENTATION OF TEXTS: BibleWorks presents the biblical texts straightforwardly with minimal options for indicating paragraphs, quotations, etc. There is no true "interlinear" text
(for better or worse). Setting versions in parallel (e.g., Greek and a few English translations of a NT text) is usually a verse at a time deal in horizontal arrangement, or else it means opening a parallel views window that sets them in vertical parallel. (Pro: It's a fast way of seeing the text, and one is not prejudiced by the editing of others. BW does make it easy to export to a word processor texts in parallel verse by verse that are 'interweaved.' Con: It is sometimes hard to quickly grasp larger structures of the text or pick out things like OT quotes in the NT.) Logos really attempts to recreate the way the texts look in the physical book, so it is easy to see the larger organization of a text and poetic structures, etc. Logos offers a number of interlinears (for better or worse), and setting versions in parallel requires either linking up various windows or using the Parallel Bible Versions window to display in vertical parallel. (Pro: Displays are beautiful; just like reading a book with all the linking advantages. Con: You would have to move/size a number of windows to get a horizontal parallel display.) Accordance has a neat way of allowing the user to display parallel texts in a variety of formats. You can choose whether to display the book formatting of paragraphs, poetic lines, etc. You can also choose a combination of ways of displaying texts in horizontal or vertical parallel arrangements. Though Accordance, like BW7, doesn't have a true interlinear (for better or worse!), it does try to pick up some of the advantages of both approaches to text presentation.

MORPHOLOGICAL SEARCHES: For conducting morphological searches, BW7 is by far the fastest both in terms of setting up the search and generating results... but you need to be experienced in working with the BW7 command line. Logos has a very intuitive way of getting at the morphological coding, but it requires keyboarding switching and finding the right boxes to click. If you are experienced enough in Logos, you can use a command line, but I find it more difficult to remember than the BW7 setup with its hints. Accordance is closer to the Logos approach, but they have organized grammatical categories to simplify selection. (You can also use a command line of sorts, but it is probably easier going through the checkoff process.) Accordance, like BW7, automatically changes to the correct language (English/Greek/Hebrew) depending on context without requiring keyboard switches.

DETAILED RESULTS DISPLAY: All three programs have ways of working with search results on biblical texts to provide detailed statistics and visual displays of such stats. Logos results are probably the most attractive, and BW ones are fast and simple. Accordance has kind of an interactive way to work with the stats that allows one to display multiple graphs together (cf. the graphic above) and even to overlay them. One can quickly change parameters and see the results. Very nice...

ACCORDANCE ON A PC: I am running a limited version 6 on my PC under Mac emulation. Accordance provides the tools to make this work, and they are aware of PC users interested in using Accordance. As one would expect, running Accordance on a PC is slower, especially with the graphical things like their Atlas module. I'm still having some problems figuring out the matching keystrokes on a PC/Mac keyboard. (If I draw a line on a user-defined map, I for the life of me can't figure out how to delete it...) Some things are just PC/Mac issues that probably take a little more experience. (I'm always right-clicking the mouse for options that don't seem to do anything with a Mac. And the close window is in the upper left, not right!) All in all, however, Accordance on a PC does appear to be a viable option. BW and Logos could learn a few tricks by watching Accordance, and it remains to be seen what the native Logos on a Mac will do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adobe ConnectNow

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half with David Lang from Accordance looking at some of the features in the new Accordance 8. Now David is in Florida, and I am in Gettysburg, and I don't have a Mac, so how did this work? We used Adobe ConnectNow, part of Adobe Acrobat Online, I described in an earlier post. It really worked well. He shared his screen, so I could see everything just as it worked on his Mac. We both used microphones, so we were talking to each other the whole time. (We did have to do a bit of typing as we were checking on getting things started as you can see in the 'chat box' on the right in the graphic above which is a screen shot from my computer during our session.) We could have even used webcams if we wanted to. I'm not sure of his Internet connection, but I have Comcast cable, and both the screen display and audio were excellent, though the screen display probably was a couple seconds behind the audio. (We just had a brief audio loss [probably as my antivirus was updating itself...].) And this was all free. Amazing. If I ever need to teach over the web, this will work out great.

Thanks again to David for showing me how Accordance8 works!

Zotero Sync Preview Available!

Dan Cohen has announced on his blog the release of Zotero 1.5 with Sync Preview. This is really welcome news. What it means is that you can now use the Zotero servers to keep your Zotero bibliographies synchronized with multiple computers. Here is the Zotero announcement which highlights the following:

We are excited to announce the launch of Zotero 1.5 Sync Preview, which introduces a powerful slate of new features, including:

  • Automatic synchronization of collections among multiple computers. For example, sync your PC at work with your Mac laptop and your Linux desktop at home.
  • Free automatic backup of your library data on Zotero’s servers.
  • Support for thousands of existing Endnote® export styles. While the CSL styles utilized by Zotero are a much more robust and powerful long-term solution for styling references, we are happy to offer users the ability to use Endnote styles where there are currently no available CSLs.
  • A new style manager allowing you to add and delete CSLs and legacy style formats.
  • Preliminary support for local sharing of collections through ZeroConf on OS X. Other platforms and full support to come with the final release of Zotero 1.5.
Some things to note:
  • You must be using Firefox 3. Part of the reason for the Zotero delay was waiting for Firefox 3.
  • This is an initial preview version with some known issues. Be sure to follow the directions on the Zotero page for backing up your Zotero data before installing this version. (Note:
    they basically want you to create a new Firefox profile for testing purposes. If you know what you are doing and are willing to take a little risk, you can simply backup your Zotero data. If you should run into a problem, you would need to restore the sqlite file and the folders & data in the storage subdirectory.)
  • Note that are still a few limitations and known issues, most notably, annotations, highlights, snapshots, and file links are not synced. To keep annotations and such synced, they recommend that you continue to use a file synchronization tool.
  • You do have to set up a Zotero account. It's free.
  • What basically happens is that with Zotero running, click on the little 'gear' icon and select Preferences. You will see a new Sync tab, and here you enter your Zotero user/password.
  • You will repeat the process on a second computer. Note that syncing occurs automatically, but if you want to force a sync, look for the little green 'sync' button on the top right of the Zotero bar.
I have given it a spin, and I can report that it works great!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Zotero, Making Digital Count, Collaboration, Future of Education

As Tim notes on SansBlogue, Zotero is good to go for SBL styles.

Follow the links on this post for discussion on the nature of digital scholarship and whether and how it should 'count' in an academic setting. It's a good followup to couple of earlier posts on this blog here and here.

A good survey of online collaboration tools with brief descriptions is here.

Making sense of new technologies has a couple of good items:

  • My previous post on mindmapping got some info here, but scroll down a ways and be sure to check out the Michael Wesch video on Media Literacy. (Direct video link here.) It's over an hour, but it is pretty interesting. In particular, about half way through, he shows what the online components of his courses are. (Here is the start page.) Here is the link to his course wiki using Wetpaint. This gave me some good ideas of how I might incorporate wikis in my own courses.
  • Also on this page is this notice:
    BC Campus and Common Wealth of Learning are offering a free download of their book Education for a digital world (the book can also be purchased). The book covers significant topics, including: impact of instructional technology, implementing technology, preparing online courses, e-learning in action, and engagement and communication.


I'm still trying to figure out if "mindmapping" is a useful tool for me and for my students. I've noted a few mindmapping programs before here and here, especially in connection with diagramming sentences. Here is a good introduction to the topic with links to a number of mindmapping tools and a rather thorough review of MindMeister. One of the main issues that is emerging in this field is the degree to which mindmapping is valuable as a collaborative tool. Is the point to show others how you personally envision a topic? Or is the greatest advantage in having others work together to envision a topic? In light of my field of work, I'm trying to think of ways that it will help in biblical studies. Maybe I should create a mindmap and have you all sort it out... Wikipedia does have a decent survey article on the topic of mindmapping, and it links to another article on the similar, but significantly different, topic of concept mapping.

Some options

  • Check out this list of mindmapping tools.
  • Another free online tool that has recently become available is Wisdomap. I do like the idea of separating but keeping available more info apart from the map in articles and links. (Free account allows for 3 maps. HT: Jane's) Also check Mindomo which has a very rich interface, and you can use it as a collaborative tool. (Free account allows for 7 maps, but it is ad-supported.)
  • UPDATE: In the comments, Judi points to "View Your Mind." Here is what a project looks like. Do note that is only available for Linux and Mac OS X. Thanks, Judi.
If anyone has made good use of mindmapping tools in their own work or in the classroom, especially in the area of biblical studies, please share some links for us.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Accordance, BibleWorks, Logos: Greek New Testament Texts

Rick Brannan from Logos recently posted a very helpful article on the differences between the Nestle-Aland27 (NA27) and the United Bible Society 4th Ed. (UBS4) Greek New Testament texts. As he points out, the Greek texts are essentially the same, but there are differences in punctuation, casing, spelling, and formatting. With his post as an impetus, I pulled together a quick spreadsheet showing how NA27 and UBS4 are implemented in Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos.
Some observations:

  • Morphological coding is independent of NA27 or UBS4, so Rick doesn't mention it, but it is a significant factor in one's use of the texts. Each coding scheme is slightly different, and so one has to be somewhat familiar with the design of each. For the NA27/UBS4 texts, there are schemes by Gramcord, Logos, Friberg, Swanson, and a custom one by BibleWorks. (Sections 44a and 44b of the BibleWorks7 Help file provide excellent coding scheme tables and explanations of the BW7 and Friberg coding philosophies.)
  • Since BW7 does not provide paragraph formatting, one of the main differences between and NA27 and UBS4 is obscured. The BNM/T version is based on the NA27 punctuation and the GNM/T on the UBS4, so one can detect those differences.
  • In addition to NA27/UBS4, there are quite a few other Greek NT texts available. I have included them in my table. Note that the Stephanus text of 1550 was the basis for the Beza text of 1598 that was the text used for the KJV. Scrivener in 1894 used the Beza text and modified it to more closely match what must have been the underlying Greek text used by the KJV translators. The Stephanus and Scrivener texts are both representatives of what is called the Textus Receptus. The Robinson-Pierpont text, updated by Robinson in 2005, presents the so-called Majority Text which reflects the Greek text which is supported by the majority of ancient manuscripts. (There is a separate and different Majority Text presented by Hodges-Farstaad, a text available only in Logos.) Critical editions of eclectic texts (which also describes the NA27 and UBS4) are presented by Tischendorf and by Westcott and Hort.
  • In my table, users of each of the Bible software programs may most appreciate the abbreviations which I highlight in bold. Especially for BW7 and Logos, typing the abbreviations in the command line or Go box will call up that particular text.
  • The basic BW7 package comes with all the texts listed (except for the von Soden; cf. below). For Accordance and Logos, the texts you get depend on the package you buy, but you can add on the modules individually.
  • Note that BW7 handles the morphological coding of the texts somewhat differently than Accordance and Logos. In BW7, the text and its morphological coding are two separate but closely linked files, hence two separate texts are indicated. In Accordance and Logos, the text and its coding are embedded together.
  • Getting a critical apparatus for the Greek NT text is, well, critical, and the most useful one is the NA27 apparatus. It will cost you, however, and is only available as the Mac Studienbibel for Accordance or the SESB package for Logos. (There is a full version and a cheaper Logos version of SESB focused for English readers.)
  • There are many other ways to deal with text critical issues, however. Metzger's Commentary on the Greek NT is available for each. Tischendorf's apparatus is also available for each as well. The NET Bible also provides extensive text critical notes.
  • The CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus is the attempt to provide the most comprehensive view of the Greek manuscript texts. Though not entirely complete yet, it is available for Accordance (and also for BW7?).
  • Nothing beats looking directly at the texts of individual manuscripts. Accordance has modules for Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Bezae, and Washington. BW7 has user-created databases for Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, and Washington hosted on the BW blog.
  • Another great resource for textual criticism that includes Greek texts of the 69 earliest Greek papyrii is Comfort and Barrett's The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. It is available in Logos (without photographs, however) and BW7.
  • BW7 users also can use the free custom module, a Textual Commentary on the Gospels by Wieland Willker compiled by Pasquale Amicarelli and hosted on the BW blog. In addition, note that Clint Yale and Pasquale have teamed up to provide von Soden's 1911 Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments hosted on the BW blog. (Note that it is a 170Mb ZIP file.)
If I've missed anything, please pass along corrections to me.
So, here is the XLS file if you have or can read Excel files, and here is a PDF version or you can click on the graphic at the top of this blog post.

UPDATE: 2008.07.10: Phil Gons from Logos just posted about textual apparatuses available in Logos. He also points to this very helpful article, "Critical Apparatuses: What and Why."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Syriac Tools and Resources (Update)

I had posted previously on Syriac Tools and Resources, but it is a bother keeping an old blog page updated. I have, therefore, updated that listing of resources and moved it to THIS PAGE.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NoiseTrade: Fair Trade Music

This is a bit off my blog focus, but (non-'churchy' and non-secular knock-off) contemporary Christian music is a side interest of mine. (Hey, if the irrepressible New Testament scholar and publisher of countless fine books, Mark Allan Powell, can publish the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music in his spare time, I can take a few minutes off here.) I've enjoyed the music and perspective of a musician like Derek Webb (and Over the Rhine, Bill Mallonee & the Vigilantes of Love, Mark Heard, Bruce Cockburn, Jonathan Rundman, Charlie Peacock, Sara Groves, Vector, Brent Bourgeois, Salvador, PFR, Pierce Pettis, Innocence Mission, Chris Rice...), then you will want to check out a new venture he has started, NoiseTrade. The email I just got reads:

It was through the support and success you gave [Derek Webb's] Mockingbird experiment that inspired Derek, with the help of a few friends, to start NoiseTrade. Now any artist can freely distribute their music online, via NoiseTrade's remarkable and embeddable widget, offering fans the choice to tell 3 friends or to pay any amount in exchange for an immediate download.
Derek concludes, "If artists and fans realized how they could help each other and started making direct connections, without a middleman, the whole industry would change overnight. It would start a revolution."
Rather than over-charging for music, we want to let you choose your price or will give you the record for free in exchange for a little help. NoiseTrade believes it's time to stop applying the old rules to a new world. If we can work together, an environment is created for the long-term benefit of both fans and artists.
Thank you for your continued support of Derek and for participating in this grand experiment. Check out NoiseTrade today!

I already had Webb's outstanding Ringing Bell CD, but I just downloaded (his wife) Sandra McCracken's Gravity/Love by sharing a few emails. No problems.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Ephesus too

From Jerusalem to Athens to Ephesus...
A couple sites that provide virtual visits to Ephesus:

Athens 360 Panorama Tour

From Jerusalem to Athens... Since I allowed you to Get Lost in Jerusalem in the previous post, I figured I would bring up Athens360, a site with many full 360 panorama views of Athens. Look for the "Enter Tour Here" section part way down the page and then click on DialUp or Broadband. Then click on one of the 9 markers on the Athens map to get access to all the views. Helpful commentary, but the Acropolis pics all appear to be from about 2003 when there was considerable construction getting ready for the 2004 Olympics.

HT: Ora di Religione 2.0

Get Lost in Jerusalem - Free Interactive Program

If you want, you can go to Amazon and buy a used copy of Get Lost in Jerusalem for $35, or you can visit the site of the author, Prof. Ted Hildebrandt of Gordon College, and get it for FREE. (You can read the Amazon page for a much lengthier description of this resource. Before you jump to Ted's site and download, it will help to read the info I have posted below.)
I have been in communication with Ted, and he is graciously providing the program for free. He wrote:

The Get Lost in Jerusalem program is no longer under Zondervan and I hold the copyright to it. So yes feel free to download it (PC only though). It should be fun, and I have my students learn the geography of Jerusalem and some things about, say, Hezekiah's tunnel or the church of the Holy Sepulchre by walking through and reading about what they are seeing in the program.
The program provides an excellent introduction to Jerusalem. You can take a "Guided Tour" or "Conquer Jerusalem' Environments" (which provides Geography, Timeline & History, and Theology info), or "Explore Virtual Jerusalem" which gives an interactive map approach as shown here.
Navigation through the program is easy. It is well narrated and is accompanied by music that can be toggled off/on. Lots of great pictures, many of which are 360 degree panoramas that you can move/zoom.
Before you download it, here are some things you need to know:
  • The program is designed for PCs. Considering that it was first released in 2000, it has minimal hardware requirements typical of that time. (Only 32Mb RAM!) The ReadMe indicates that it can run in Win95-WinNT, but it runs fine on my WinXP system. (I don't have Vista to try it out.)
  • The program is designed for 640x480 resolution. It looks fine on my much higher resolution monitor, and you can play around with changing your screen resolution or using compatibility mode to run it in lower resolution.
  • The ZIP file is 550Mb so be prepared for a long download. When the files are extracted, they expand to 625Mb. Hard drive getting full? Do note that you can burn the extracted files to a CD, and the program can run directly from the CD.
  • Almost surely your computer already has QuickTime on it, so don't use the "Install." Look for and simply use the EXE files that either run the program full screen or in a window.
  • Since Zondervan is no longer supporting or holding the copyright to the program, you don't have to register it. You also should not expect to get support from either Zondervan or Ted! (The ReadMe does have a FAQ.)
There you go. Thanks again to Prof. Ted Hildebrandt!
HERE is the direct link to the ZIP file, but you most certainly will want to also go to his web page and check out all the other outstanding resources he has compiled. The bibliographical information he has collected is excellent.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

11111: The Binary Biblical Studies Carnival Meme

Okay, having been tagged by the slightly cantankerous Adam (yeah, I'm sure he was looking for non-FREE software...), I'll play along with Lingamish's game of blog tag. Here's the idea:

This meme is very simple. You choose five Biblical studies types and invent a post that they might have written over the last couple of months. Those parodied are entitled, yea, obligated to tag five other bibliobloggers in similar fashion. Don’t forget to link to this original post.

Hence, my tags, but I'm only coming up with three to tag...:

  • 5 Minute Bible - Due to the recent decline in the world economies, we regretfully must become the 4 Minute Bible site
  • BiblePlaces Blog - Ark of the Covenant Discovered in Plano, Texas
  • BibleWorks Blog - BibleWorks being BibleOverWorked

Online Koine Greek Instruction Site and more

Just came upon this site by Ted Hildebrandt who teaches at Gordon College.... In this post I particularly want to highlight the Greek instruction resources he has on the site.

  • The graphic below is from his Animated Videos for learning Greek that appear to be taken from his Mastering NT Greek resource (US$37.49 at Amazon; follow that link for more reviews and descriptions). You don't get the texts included with the CD, but the animated videos would still serve you quite well. 28 lessons broken into subsections basically cover a year's worth of Greek. The videos load very quickly.
  • Greek Vocab Builder: A nice implementation of an online Greek vocab drill. The vocab is organized by frequency of NT occurrence in groups of 10-15 words each. (The numbers of Set 1 on the left.) You can also work with groups of about 50 words each. (The R for Row numbers on the right.) This online version does not provide pronunciation, but you can toggle Greek/English and proceed in order or shuffled.
  • Books, Theses, Articles: There are a ton of important Greek reference works posted here in PDF or DOC (and HTML) formats. Some of them are classic public domain works (Westcott/Hort/Robinson, Burton, Deissmann, Moulton, Robertson, Trench...), but there are also numerous articles from the Grace Theological Journal and from Bibliotheca Sacra and others. (E.g., check the articles by Bruce Metzger and Daniel Wallace.)
HT: SCSaunders on the BibleWorks forum.