Thursday, April 23, 2009

World Digital Library Officially Launched

Another fascinating collection of old items to add to your bookmarked pages...
According to the official announcement:

UNESCO and 32 partner institutions today [2009.04.21] launched the World Digital Library, a Web site that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world. The site includes manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs. It provides unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.

You'll want to look around a bit at the site, but I did find a number of interesting items. The full Codex Gigas is here. (Though I had previously noted its availability here also.) Here is the Book of Hours. I especially liked the collection of ancient maps of the middle East. Depicted below is a map of 1659 that is quite detailed and surprisingly accurate.

Other maps are more of a curiosity, such as this map of 1585 which is remarkably inaccurate. (Nazareth and Cana are located quite a bit north of the Sea of Galilee among other strange locations.)
[HT to Stephen's Web who notes that for $10 million you would think they would be able process a bit more than 1170 items.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Google Labs: "Similar Images" and "News Timeline"

Lots of stuff going on leaving little time to blog, so this will need to be brief...
Google Labs released a couple neat new tools yesterday. (Another report here.)
One is "Similar Images" which uses the colors and shapes of one image to become the basis for a subsequent search on similar images. For example, I searched for "Jerusalem" and two clicks later on pictures that are closest to the view I want, and I have about 600 pics simply of the Temple Mount viewed from the Mount of Olives.
The other new release is Google News Timeline. It is mainly intended for more recent history, and one can specify a view (day/week/month/year/decade), a date, and then apply additional filters either by search term or news source. (Click on "Add More Queries" to include additional Wikipedia items, a number of newpapers [Pittsburgh Post and St. Petersburg Times] or magazines [Time, Baseball Digest, Popular Science, and Vegetarian Times: go figure!], and other options with varying degrees of accessible material.) It appears that one can only go back to 1400 to find material.
For more ancient events, the other option you have is to use one of the Google Labs Experimental projects and enable "Alternate views for search results."
Google also updated their Google Labs page, and you can have some fun checking out some of their other projects.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New "Greek and Hebrew Reader's Bible" Site!

John Dyer, on his blog don't eat the fruit, recently described a new project he has posted online. Reflecting his concern for a technological minimalism in relation to faith (a topic he described more fully at BibleTech09; MP3 of his presentation here), he developed a "Greek and Hebrew Reader's Bible" site. This is really nice. Once at the site (as noted on the site, it does not work with IE; use Firefox or other browser), simply highlight the current reference and start typing in the passage you want. (Note: you must use a colon to separate chapter:verse/s.) The Hebrew is based on the BHS with definitions from Strong's (and BDB if you use popups), but the morphology is not yet functional. The Greek text is Tischendorf's with definitions from Strong's (and Thayer if you use popups). Note that you can indicate the word frequency for which definitions are provided and choose whether you want the part of speech, morphology, or frequency displayed. Optional popups provide additional lexical info. Parts of speech can be colored as you wish. Fonts and size can also be selected.

This is a fine implementation of a "reader's Bible," and while it works well online, Dyer also anticipates that one could easily print out the page for offline use. (Note that background shading will not print.) Thanks to John Dyer for sharing this resource!
[HT: BiblePlaces]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai in Virtual 3D

I've previously mentioned the work of ARSights which provides virtual 3D, 'in your hand' representations of various locations. (Check these models of the Roman Coliseum and Solomon's Temple and accompanying videos to see how you can rotate and tilt the model in your hand.)
They just recently added Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai to the collection now making 100 models available. Saint Catherine's is connected to the traditions of Moses and the burning bush, but it is also notable as the location where Codex Sinaiticus was found. As you can see in the static image above, it is a very attractive model. If you have already downloaded the free AR software, here is the direct link to the monastery.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Comparing Greek New Testament Texts using Accordance8, BibleWorks8, Logos3, and Manuscript Comparator

A blog post by Matthew Burgess, responding to a debate between Bart Ehrman and James White, notes that the reliability of the Greek New Testament is at least 95% even between the two most extreme text traditions (Textus Receptus vs. Westcott & Hort). That led me to this posting where I compare the tools available for comparing Greek NT textual traditions using Accordance8, BibleWorks8, Logos3, and the online Manuscript Comparator. Actually, it ended up being a rather long post with lots of graphics, so to read the full review, you can READ THIS PAGE on my Scroll and Screen site. Here, though, is my conclusion UPDATED (2009.04.07) in light of the comments:

Each program has its strengths and special capabilities. Manuscript Comparator does the best job of displaying differences, but it lacks the NA27 and is intended as an online resource. Accordance does a good job of display, allows for a variety of comparison options, and creates useful lists of differences. BibleWorks has the most versatility and is the fastest Windows application. Logos has the most texts available for comparison, provides numerical and graphical comparisons, and results export easily.


  • If you don't have any of the Bible software packages, Manuscript Comparator will achieve most of the the results you need.
  • If you do own one of the programs, my best advice is to familiarize yourself with the text comparison implementation in that package.
  • If you are looking to buy a Bible software program, the text comparison tools will probably not be a deciding factor, but the descriptions I provide here should make you aware of what is possible with each.
I am most familiar with BibleWorks, so if I have missed something significant in one of the other programs or in BW8, please let me know.

BTW, Logos provides a percentage difference between two versions. I ran a comparison of Scrivener's Textus Receptus (1894) against Westcott & Hort for the whole NT, and I came up with a 6.6% variance. (It took well over an hour to get that result.) So, a 93.4% reliable Greek NT? (And remember that this includes some spelling variations, insignificant transpositions, etc.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Free Bibles for Kindle, iPhone, or iPod Touch

Bibles are big on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list. On 4 April 2009, Zondervan's TNIV is at #8, God's Word translation at 17, and the ESV at 19. What's more, these are all available for FREE.
[HT: He Is Sufficient]
You can also get a number of other Bibles for free or inexpensively, and you also apparently can get all 9 volumes of the Dor Gallery of Bible Illustrations for free. I don't have a Kindle, iPhone, or iPod Touch, so I'm wondering how the illustrations show up. If you know, let the rest of us know!
Note that to read Kindle books on the iPhone or iPod Touch, you need the free Kindle for iPhone app.