Saturday, May 28, 2011

Search Syriac eResources

Select and Search Syriac eResources: For those who may be interested in Syriac and don't keep up with the Hugoye-list, Gareth Hughes put together a great custom Google search of Syriac eResources collected by Kristian Heal. It is helpful both for the search--which also allows you to filter for journal or manuscript entries--and for the handy links which Heal has been accumulating. Thanks to both for sharing!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SBL's Bible Odyssey Receives NEH Grant

At its annual meeting last November (2010), the SBL was showcasing a Bible Odyssey web site for which they were applying for a NEH grant. I reported on it here, including some pics of the prototype. Today it was reported:
We are pleased to announce that the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) was awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to build an interactive website that invites general audiences to engage with biblical scholarship.
Way to go, SBL! Follow the link for the full press release, but note that release is not projected until 2013.

Evaluation of Android Bible Apps

I have a listing of Android Bible apps HERE to which I have now added a review of MySword HERE

So what Android Bible apps do I use and recommend? 
  • I'm finding that my first choice is almost always the free Cadre Bible. It's the fastest app, has good Greek texts (NA26, LXX), Hebrew Tanach, and English versions. The only thing I miss is some lexical help, but that can be purchased if you want to use the KJV or NASB with Strong's. (Mainly I just use the Parallel version feature to figure out what's going in the Greek/Hebrew. Cadre Bible also has a functional but clunky navigation interface.) 
  • I occasionally use the YouVersion Bible, because of its outstanding access to so many English versions. (And remember that if you don't own or want to buy a version, you can still 'stream' it.) 
  •  UPDATE: Logos for Android is now available. My review HERE.
  • The And Bible still holds promise, but it still doesn't display Greek properly. 
  • As noted in the MySword review, I keep it because of its "Analytic Septuagint."
  • And then there is Olive Tree... This was my app of choice back in the day on Dell Axim using WindowsMobile, but I'm just not using it much on my DroidX. It is just slow enough to load that I will use Cadre Bible instead. It still has the best collection of academic resources for original language study. I was able to transfer my license for the BHS to this device, but my Gramcord Greek NT would not transfer, and I don't need their new Greek module badly enough to pay $58 for the upgrade. They do have the SBLGNT for free, but there is no parallel version view, so I'm back to CadreBible or...
  • With internet access and my Logos resources, I use online. This works great, even to take a look at BDAG and all 885 books I have obtained in Logos4.
  • If you don't own Logos, then the other online site to try is the NET Bible Study Environment, but this site is not really optimized for mobile browsers.
What am I missing? Leave a comment!

MySword Bible App for Android

I'm busy grading papers, but I wanted to get the word out about the free MySword for Android. (I have a larger listing of Android Bible apps HERE.) Copying the info I received from them:

Version 1.3 of MySword for Android

The following are the exciting features of MySword for Android:
  • Multiple offline Bibles, Commentaries and Dictionaries
  • Bible version verse comparison
  • Highlighting
  • Bookmarks
  • Type your personal notes and insights
  • Search (concordance) for Bible, Commentaries and Personal notes
  • Strongs number support linked to dictionary for easy access
  • Full screen mode support for more viewable text
  • Support for Morphological codes and link to the Dictionary view
  • The editor for Personal notes uses a simple wiki syntax for easy formating of your notes
  • Copying of current verse, all text and custom selection of text in all views (Bible, Commentary, Dictionary and Personal notes) including the Search results which is very useful for Personal notes editing
  • Resizeable text (custom text size for easy viewing)
  • Allow fine adjustment of text size
  • Page history navigation (back and forward)
  • Verse link in Commentaries and Dictionaries to the Bible view.
  • Links between documents, e.g. Commentary reference to Bible passage
  • Download of modules (Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries)
  • Backup and restore of settings, highlights, bookmarks and Personal notes
Some quick observations/comments after briefly using MySword for Android.
  • The app is not available in the Google Android Market or the Amazon Appstore. You need to go to the website and download it from there. (See below for a QR code to get you there quickly. The developers hope to have it available in the Android Market in June.)
  • Once you install the program, you need to download modules. Choose wisely and don't just allow the default. (For now, there isn't a built-in option to uninstall modules. UPDATE: See here for info on manually uninstalling modules.)
  • There is a fine selection of free English Bibles for download. Check them out HERE. Beyond the usual (KJV, ASV, NET...), do note that you can get the Lexham English, but it is only the New Testament. 
  • There are quite a few non-English versions, but there is no Hebrew module.
  • For Greek, you can get the LXX including also "The Analytic Septuagint" which provides both analysis and links to Strong's (though words in the LXX not occurring in the NT will not be linked). For the NT, the only option is "Textus Receptus (1550/1894) Greek NT with Strong's Numbers and parsing info." Note that the Greek is unaccented, and where there is accented Greek in the Strong's you will get font irregularities.
  • The usual batch of public domain commentaries: TSK, JFB...
  • The usual batch of public domain dictionaries: Strong's, BDB, Thayer, Nave's...
As for performance:
  • Display is attractive and works fine in either landscape or portrait.
  • Navigation is very easy for getting around the Bible.
  • It does have a verse compare feature so you can see multiple English versions or Greek/English, but you can't choose which versions to display. You get all the versions that are available.
  • As noted above, Search, Highlighting, Bookmarks, Notes all work as one would hope.
All in all, a fine implementation, and you can't complain about the price. (Donations are appreciated.) Rather than having to enter the URL on your Android browser, I generated a QR code to jump straight to the download page. (I'm assuming you have installed a barcode scanner or QR reader on your device. If not, why not?!)
BOTTOM LINE: I'm keeping this on my Android primarily because of the "Analytic Septuagint" module which is not available elsewhere that I see. (I still need some help getting through the LXX...)