Thursday, July 25, 2013

BibleMap App

Introducing the BibleMap App…a Must Have for Everyday Bible Study | Parchment and Pen
Only available for iOS for now but promised for Android in the fall. Looks interesting and only 99cents at iTunes.
If you are working on the web, be sure to check out Bible Geocoding at

Tyndale Launches Online STEP Bible Study Resource

Tyndale House Cambridge Launches Beta-version of Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP), a new free Bible study resource

Tyndale just released their STEP online Bible resource. From their announcement:
Today the STEP development team of Tyndale House Cambridge launched the Beta-test version of a new free Bible study resource at

STEP software is designed especially for teachers and preachers who don’t have access to resources such as Tyndale House Library, which specialises in the biblical text, interpretation, languages and biblical historical background and is a leading research institution for Biblical Studies.

The web-based program, which will soon also be downloadable for PCs and Macs, will aid users who lack resources, or who have to rely only on smartphones or outmoded computers.
Be sure to read the announcement page for more info about this project and how it developed. You will see that this is a product of many volunteers and contributors, and the primary focus is to make it downloadable for persons in the Majority World. "Ten language interfaces are available and another 83 are ready for volunteers to work on."
Here are some of my initial impressions of this online beta version.

Ancient texts available include:
  • Hebrew: Leningrad, Aleppo - All have vocabulary encoded and some have extra grammatical coding and interlinear capability.
  • Samaritan Pentateuch: with Hebrew MT, with MT & DSS, with DSS, (and in KJV English)
  • LXX Greek: Orthodox LXX, Rahlf's LXX (and Brenton's English)
  • NT Greek: Orthodox NT, Byzantine, Elzevir TR, TR, Tregelles, SBLGNT, Westcott-Hort w/ NA & UBS variants
  • Syriac NT Peshitta: in Syriac and with Etheridge and Murdoch English translations
  • Latin: Jerome's Vulgate, Sixti, Clementine, (and Douay-Rheims English)
Modern texts include a wide variety of non-English versions, but among the English versions are: AKJV, ASV, BBE, ESV, JPS (OT), KJV with Apocrypha, Lexham, Tyndale, WEB, and Young's. Of these, the KJV and ESV are most useful because they are capable of the 'sympathetic' highlighting of Greek or Hebrew, and the KJV additionally has grammatical information for every word.

DISPLAY: It took me a while to figure out how to manage the display features. I ended up choosing a two-panel display and keeping the right in sync with the left. (The sync did not work well for me.) With most panes, you also have the option of choosing a Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced view. You can set up a display like I have pictured above. Note the capability of sympathetic highlighting. Clicking on a word in any language will popup original language information on that word. With the Advanced view option, you can set up text to be viewed as interlinear or interleaved. Cf. the graphic below. Note that hovering your mouse over a highlighted chapter:verse reference will pop up vocabulary data for every word in that verse. Using the Advanced option for that popup will not only give the basic Strong's information but also include LSJ data as well. With the KJV, you can also enable grammatical coding. I could not figure out its coloring scheme, but there is full English grammatical analysis of every word provided.
Pointed Hebrew and marked Greek did display nicely, but the text critical marks of the SBLGNT did not show up correctly.
Navigation to texts and selection of options is intuitive, but a bit clunky. (E.g., you can type a passage reference to get there directly, but using the dropdown boxes takes some clicking and scrolling.)
I did try viewing the web page on a smartphone browser, but it was a frustrating experience. The menu bars and center column take up quite a bit of screen room leaving little space for the text.

SEARCH: Searches can be conducted from the text (click on a word and in the popup, you have the option of searching for the same word or all related words) or from a search pane. You can conduct your usual passage, text, or subject searches, but you can also conduct Greek/Hebrew searches using Unicode. Doing a Greek search, you can choose to search multiple versions, so that means you can search the LXX and Greek NT simultaneously. I was getting inconsistent results determining whether the search ignores diacritical marks. There are no diacriticals in the LXX or BYZ versions (so no problems), but STEP can sometimes search the SBLGNT--which does have diacritical marks--using unmarked Unicode Greek entries. With the Text Search, you cannot search for Greek lemmas, so it helps to use an asterisk wild character to get results. The Advanced Text Search in Advanced mode allows for English double queries with something like a 'fuzzy' search capability. (E.g., a search for "Include spellings similar to run" returns hits with run, sun, ran, runs, Nun... Perhaps the most interesting and useful capability is the Original Word Search. You can search for "words meaning" and start typing an English word. A drop down list of Greek and Hebrew words will appear, and you can choose from the list or choose all. Note my example of a search for "test" and the Hebrew/Greek results it displays. The results can be grouped by Scripture order, lemma, or original spelling. Very nice! (Note that all of this searching capability seems to be enabled by use of Strong's numbers and definitions.)

SUMMARY: There are still some beta-version issues to be worked out, but this is a useful web resource. I found the display to be a bit cumbersome, but it has some nice features to display multiple versions and languages. One of the best features is the ability to do an original language word search from the English and discover all sorts of related words. It's great that this is available online, but remember that it is intended to be a downloadable resource, especially for those in the Majority World who might not be able to afford or have access to a major software program. For now, STEP is mostly restricted to biblical texts with no associated resources other than lexical and grammatical info. For an online Bible resource, I still think that the NET Bible Study Environment offers a better selection of texts, especially the NET Bible with all its notes. The interface is a bit cleaner and does not use popup windows. There are many more 'social' options on the NET Bible site, but it doesn't have the search capabilities of the STEP Bible site.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Textal, A Free SmartPhone App for Text Analysis & Other Concordance Programs

This notice regarding Textal comes from ProfHacker on The Chronicle of Higher Education. It is only available for iOS, so I am unable to test it, but it looks interesting as a textual analysis tool.
First Look: Textal, A Free SmartPhone App for Text Analysis - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Education
More info on their website.
There have been other textual analysis or concordance type tools around for a while. (Online, try Text Analyzer or Textalyser or see this list.)
Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos can all create concordances of texts in their databases. I also know that Logos can create a Wordle type of word analysis diagram using the Passage Analysis tool. (Expand the "Interesting Words" entry and choose either English or Greek.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Working with Hebrew, Greek, and English in the MT and LXX - Logos5

In the previous post, I noted how David Lang was writing about "Using the MT-LXX Parallel" in Accordance. Since I am a BibleWorks9 and Logos5 user, I wanted to see how they handle the tasks Lang is describing. That previous post showed what to do in BibleWorks9. This post will deal with the procedures and capabilities in Logos5. Here's what we want to do:
  • Show how to set up the Hebrew MT and the Greek LXX with English versions so that hovering over a Hebrew or Greek word will highlight the English word. The example used is in Genesis 1.1 of שָּׁמַיִם and οὐρανὸν.
  • See the connection between the Hebrew and Greek, using Tov's "MT-LXX Parallel" tool. This tool matches up each word in the Hebrew with the word(s) used to translate it (or not!) in the LXX.
  • "Find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon." (This is the word usually translated in Genesis 1.26 with "image.")

Logos 5

The graphic below shows just how easily and excellently Logos shows the relationship between the Hebrew MT, the Greek LXX, and the English translations. All of this works because of Logos' implementation of reverse interlinears. (Note: I'm using the Windows version. I don't know how similarly it works on a Mac. For more info on Logos interlinears, check the Logos Wiki.)
  • For the Hebrew, use either the Lexham Hebrew Bible, the Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible, the BHS SESB, BHS Westminster 4.2 Morphology, Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes, or the BHS WIVU.
  • For the Greek, use either Swete's Greek-Hebrew Reverse Interlinear Septuagint or the Logos LXX. (To see the reverse interlinear at work, click on the Interlinear icon at the top of the tab. It looks like a small box with lines at the bottom. It will open the interlinear data at the bottom of the tab. Now when you click on a Greek word, it will show you the underlying Hebrew.)
  • For English, you can use KJV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, Lexham English Bible, or NRSV. (The interlinear display works similarly to the Greek.)
Here's what you do:
  • Open one of each of those Bible, set them up in columns or rows as desired
  • Synchronize them (click on the book and choose the same link set for each; I'm using "A" which you can see in my graphic)
  • If not by default, click on the Visual Filter icon (the intersecting color circles at the top of the tab) and make sure Sympathetic Highlighting is checked
  • Personally, I also dock the Information window which you can see in the lower left
  • Left click on any word in any language, and the Info window will show the word's analysis, what it is translating, or how it is translated
  • Right click on any word in any version, and the word will be shaded 'sympathetically' in the other versions.

Logos does have Tov's Parallel Hebrew-Greek, as you can see below, but frankly, it's not of much use. It's not morphologically tagged, and everything you would want it to do can be better accomplished with the reverse interlinear resources and the Bible Word Studies which I will describe in a moment.

Finally, the last task... Again, here is the question posed: "Find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon." There are a few  ways to get at this.
1) Bible Word Study:
  • Go to Genesis 1.26 again, right-click on צלמ, but this time choose to do a Bible Word Study.
  • If it's not expanded, click on Translation. With the  mouse on the Translation line, click on Settings on the right, and choose Logos LXX. (For some reason, LXX Swete does not work.)
  • Now click on צלמ in the middle of the circle, and it will generate all the LXX texts. Here's what you get:
  • A couple issues... First, we only have the Hebrew and not the Aramaic results. Second, you will see that Greek forms, not lemmas, are given. (It appears as if this information is being drawn from the non-morph tagged Tov.)
  • But do note the extra information embedded here. Let the mouse hover any of the colored wheel parts, and, as the graphic below shows, a popup will show all the other Hebrew forms that this Greek form is translating.
2) Simple Word Search
  • I could start with a search for צלמ but we'll jump right to Genesis 1.26 in the Hebrew where initiated the question.
  • I could right-click on the Hebrew word, but note that I can also right-click on "image" in the English version as well.
  • As you can see in the graphic below, I want to choose the correct lemma, and then click on "Search this resource"
  • If you run that search yourself, you will see a problem that I identified in the previous post. Logos, like BibleWorks, makes a distinction between the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the OT. Our search only found the Hebrew instances of צלמ . You can see in the graphic below that I actually created an OR search and added the Aramaic form.
    • You can also see that I floated the results window (CTRL-F11).
    • Click on Verses
    • If a second column is not already visible, click on Add a Version and enter "Logos LXX"

  • Now you can see all the instances of צלמ highlighted and see all the Greek words translating it highlighted as well.
  • The search works fine, but it will take a little bit of scanning to see where εικων is translating צלמ or not. There is a better way!
3) Sophisticated Word Search
  • Using the results of the word search you just did, instead of looking for All Bible Text in All Passages in Lexham Hebrew Bible, click on that last term, and change it to Logos LXX = Septuagint with Logos Morphology. Yes, it seems odd to be looking for Hebrew and Aramaic roots in the Greek LXX, but the reverse interlinear coding can handle it.
  • When the results come up, click on Analysis.
  • Now, as it says, "Drag a column here to group by that column" - So, choose Lemma (Greek) and drag it there. Here's what you get:
  • Note that this is the info we want! (If you right-click on the little down arrow next to the Greek lemma, you can choose to expand/collapse the levels as I've done to make the graphic smaller.)
  • You still may need to do a little sorting. (E.g., the 3 instances of "--" are actually coding issues and are included properly in the other hits.
But, there is yet a BEST way
4) More Sophisticated Word Search
  • Don't want to sort through results? Do you exactly and only want to answer the posed question: "Find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon." Here's what you do.
  • Using our results of the previous search, and still using All Bible Text in All Passages in Septuagint with Logos Morphology, use this in the search command line:
    (<Lemma = lbs/he/צֶ֫לֶם:1>,<Lemma = lbs/arc/צְלֵם>) ANDEQUALS <Lemma = lbs/el/εἰκών> (If you see &lt and &gt here, those are supposed to open and close angle brackets.)
  • Note that I've grouped the Hebrew and Aramaic terms in parentheses, but also note that you cannot use an OR to link them. Use the comma instead.
  • The ANDEQUALS now is functioning to look at all instances of צלם in either the Hebrew and Aramaic when they are translated in the LXX with εικων.
  • I can drag away the Lemma (Greek) organizer, and here's the result
  • Perfect!
  • Most of your searches like this won't be so tricky if you're not worried about getting both Hebrew and Aramaic.
  • Note that you can also work this somewhat in reverse. I.e., you can search for a Greek lemma in the LXX and then use the Analysis to organize your results by the Hebrew (or Aramaic) lemma.
  • The tricky part in all of this when using Logos is that you need to get the right Hebrew lemmas and the Greek requires proper diacriticals. My solution is to do a search on a word I want by right-clicking on the word and then copy/paste the search coding to reuse it. Also, always be sure to select the options that Logos offers rather than trying to type the whole thing yourself. (This applies to Greek/Hebrew as well as to resources.) You'll still find that sometimes you can type using g:... or h:... to start getting Greek or Hebrew results. Sometimes you will need to switch your keyboard to Greek or Hebrew.
  • My biggest complaint? What if I want to save the list of verses generated by my search? Logos offers no way to generate a condensed listing. (See the list I was able to generate with BibleWorks in the previous post.) Logos does have Print/Export options. It also can generate a "Passage List," but even in its "compact" form, it still gives each verse as its own separate entry/line and doesn't condense them. I.e., I want this:  Gen 1:26, 27; 5:3; 9:6; 2Ki 11:18; Psa 39:7; 73:20; Eze 7:20; 16:17; 23:14; Dan 2:31, 31, 34, 35; 3:1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18. But the best Logos can do is give me this:

Logos 5 Overall

  • CONS:
    • You have to keep track of which resources are capable of which search possibilities
    • Entering the proper Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic can be tricky
    • Logos cannot generate condensed verse lists
  • PROS:
    • Logos is extremely powerful and flexible in the tools it offers, all in an attractive and (mostly) intuitive package
    • Logos has done a great job of implementing their reverse interlinears
    • The Sympathetic Highlighting which can connect Hebrew, Greek, and English is wonderful!
    • The Bible Word Study offers helpful perspectives on the connections between the Hebrew and Greek
    • It's possible to construct sophisticated searches that provide good visual results as well as offering further analytical and organizational possibilities
If I've missed something with Logos, be sure to let me know! David Lang has promised further work in this field, so I'll try to keep tabs on what he's doing with Accordance.

Working with Hebrew, Greek, and English in the MT and LXX - BibleWorks9 (and Logos5)

David Lang is writing about "Using the MT-LXX Parallel" in Accordance. If you use Accordance, you definitely want to check it out.

  • First, Lang shows how Accordance has linked the Hebrew MT and the Greek LXX with English versions so that hovering over a Hebrew or Greek word will highlight the English word. He uses the example in Genesis 1.1 of שָּׁמַיִם and οὐρανὸν. The problem, however, is that though you can see the relationship of Hebrew>English and Greek>English, you cannot see the relationship between the Hebrew and Greek
  • To see the connection between the Hebrew and Greek, Lang shows how to use the "MT-LXX Parallel" tool. (I'm assuming this is Tov's work or one similar to it.) This tool matches up each word in the Hebrew with the word(s) used to translate it (or not!) in the LXX.
  • Since the Hebrew is not tagged in that resource, Lang then shows how to use a MERGE command to handle searches like: "Find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon." (This is the word usually translated in Genesis 1.26 with "image.")
Very helpful! Since I am a BibleWorks9 and Logos5 user, I wanted to see how they handle the tasks Lang is describing.


As an example, how is שָּׁמַיִם translated in the LXX and English versions? There is no easy way to see this visually in BibleWorks. The closest option I can think of is to find that the Hebrew word is assigned 08064 in Strong's. You could then use the Graphical Search Engine and search for this:

Run the search, and you will see this in the results:

This does let you see both words highlighted, but it only works with the MT and either the KJV or NASB (the only versions with Strong's coding). When hovering the mouse over the Strong's number, you can also see in the Analysis tab the usage statistics. Like Accordance, this kind of matched visual highlighting will not work for Hebrew MT and Greek LXX. So, similarly, BW9 offers Tov's Parallel Hebrew and LXX. (Click on the little icon with the Greek alpha and Hebrew aleph or find it under the Resources in the menu line.) Doing so will give you this:

One thing that should be noted here is that both the Hebrew and Greek are morphologically tagged. This will make it easier to answer Lang's question, "Find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon."
There are a number of ways to do this in BibleWorks.

  1. You could use the Graphical Search engine and conduct a search like this:

    In .08 seconds it will generate the 11 hits that match. Hmmm.... Lang came up with 26 or so hits. What's going on? It turns out that Tov's Parallel Hebrew-Greek does not distinguish between the Hebrew and Aramaic parts of the OT, but BibleWorks does separate them. And there a whole bunch of "images" in the Aramaic parts of Daniel! So, your Graphical Search engine query needs to look like this:

    (Note that the percentage sign % following the root indicates Aramaic and the at@ sign indicates Hebrew. If you want the QF file of this search, HERE it is.) Now I get the 30 hits in 23 verses in 0.14 seconds. This is good, but... it's not necessarily what you want. It's actually searching for verses where the Hebrew/Aramaic word appears and the Greek word also appears. It does not necessarily mean that the Greek is translating that particular Hebrew word.
  2. Another way you might answer our question is by using Tov's Parallel again and take advantage of BW's morphological tagging of it. Click on the little binoculars with the א=α above it. When it opens, you can type in the Hebrew root, start the search and you will get this:

    This is a good way to look at all the ways that a Hebrew root is rendered in Greek (or, conversely, how a Greek lemma is rendering the Hebrew), but you also see that the results will need some closer inspection. (You see that the article or conjunctions or prepositions are sometimes listed. This is an issue w/ how Tov categorized things.)
  3. SO, HERE IS THE BEST SOLUTION! Click on the line with the words you are interested in, and then click on the bigger binoculars in Tov, and the Alignment Search Window will appear. Now you can search according to particular Forms or Analysis or Lemmas. For the specific question we were asking, I did a little editing of the fields so that my search looked like this. (Note which boxes I checked.)

    The search takes a bit longer, but it gives exactly the results I want. I can also easily select all my results, send them to the main BW search window, and then generate a list of verses I want: Gen 1:26, 27; 5:3; 9:6; 2Ki 11:18; Psa 39:7; 73:20; Eze 7:20; 16:17; 23:14; Dan 2:31, 31, 34, 35; 3:1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18.
    Note that this is also the better way to generate all the instances of Hebrew>Greek or Greek<Hebrew. Unfortunately, I don't see any easy way of extracting and synthesizing the results to get the numbers of times a Hebrew word is being translated by particular Greek words.
So, to summarize how BibleWorks does for this kind of work:
  • CONS:
    • There is no visual link of Hebrew, Greek, and English in the normal display mode.
    • There is not easy way to extract a count of how a Hebrew word is rendered by Greek words or a count of what Hebrew words are being translated by a Greek word.
  • PROS:
    • BW offers a number of ways of working with the texts.
    • BW's implementation of Tov's parallel Hebrew and Greek is notable for its morphological tagging which allows for powerful searching capabilities.
    • It's easy to generate lists of verses that match search criteria.
Let me know if I've missed something! In the next post, I will show what Logos is capable of doing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Laridian PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter

I'm not a Mac user, and I can't keep up with all the Mac developments in the biblical software area, but Laridian does fine work, and Craig Rairdin is a good person... so, if you're interested help them get this kickstarted!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Choosing a Bible Atlas - Part 2 - Advice?

In a previous post, I laid a background for my quest for a Bible atlas to use in a class I will be teaching, "Survey of the Lands of the Bible." I have surveyed many atlases, and there is a rather lengthy collection of my summary reviews on this page.

Again, my perspective is not an expert one, reflects my personal preferences, and is oriented to selecting a core textbook for my class. If you don't want to go through the long listing linked above, I have condensed all my work down to my "Top Ten (Eleven) Recommended Bible Atlases."

I'm still trying to choose, however, the best book for my class. From that top ten list, three rose to the top for my purposes:
The Moody and Zondervan atlases are somewhat similar, and I have a preference for the Moody. (Additional bonus: The Moody Atlas is included in BibleWorks9 which many of my students already own.) So, I really am trying to choose between the Crossway and Moody atlases.

I would really appreciate hearing from people who have classroom experience (either as teacher or student) with either of those atlases. Please leave a comment! I have read Phillip Long's helpful conclusions, but he is a bit torn between the Crossway and Moody as well.

Thanks for any insight or experience you can provide.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

High-Resolution Maps of Science... with Religion at the Center!

Be sure to enlarge the network map. 
PLOS ONE: Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science

According to the above mentioned methodology we constructed a map of science that visualizes the relationships between journals according to user clickstreams. We first discuss the visual structure of the map, and then attempt to validate the structural features of its underlying clickstream model by comparing the latter to journal centrality rankings and an alternative model of journal relations derived from classification data.
 Interesting to see how the sciences are related... with Religion in the middle!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Choosing a Bible Atlas

In preparation for a trip I am leading to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan in January 2014, I decided to offer a "Survey of the Lands of the Bible" course to help prepare students. To give you a sense of what I envisioned the course to include, here is the rationale I wrote in order to get course approval.
A better understanding of the Bible is enhanced by a better understanding of the larger scope of the history, geography, and other practical realities of the lands in which it was written and its events occurred. This course will provide a survey of the lands of the Bible and consider topics such as biblical geography, topology, culture, climate, flora and fauna, travel routes, archaeology and the like. It will benefit both readers of the text and visitors to the biblical lands. It will increase understanding both of the biblical world and of the realities in those lands today.
I plan to make use of a variety of resources available in Bible software programs, web sites like BiblePlaces and BibleWalks, and a tool like Google Earth. Still, I'd like to have a common core textbook, and the scope I want to cover would generally be shared by any good Bible Atlas. I don't have particular expertise in biblical geography, but how hard could it be to select a good Bible Atlas for my class? As it turns out, it's been a very hard task.

First, I discovered that there are MANY Bible Atlases available. I thinned the list somewhat by simply looking for ones that have been published or revised within the last 10 years or so and are still in print. That still left me with over 15 ones to check over.

So, I composed some parameters for evaluating atlases. It's long enough that I will point you to a separate web page HERE. To summarize all that, I looked at the following:
  • Approach: Is it intended as a reference book (like a Bible dictionary) or as a full-blown introduction and overview of biblical geography and related history?
  • General Matters: Quality, contents, and cost! I'm looking for books that have value for the students beyond the class I'm teaching. (One significant consideration is whether it is a book they will take with them--as a book or as a digital version--as they travel.)
  • Scope: Is it strictly focused on the Bible (and thus ends in the 1st century CE) or on the lands of the Bible (and may extend its interest to the modern day)?
  • Perspective: This turns out to be a critical factor. The extremes are represented by a) those who start with the Bible texts and use it to interpret all other archaeological and historical data and b) those who start with the data and largely disregard the Bible as mythical or theologically motivated history. I, with many others, am somewhere in the middle. I do not need archaeology to prove anything in the Bible. I do not understand the Bible to be focused on relating history and science, but I think it is a historical resource that should be considered and included with all the other information available when it comes to creating an 'objective' history. I list a number of examples I used to determine perspective.
In the next post, I will provide a summary of contents and a brief assessment of all the atlases I considered. In the meantime, you can check the comparative reviews of Bible atlases by Bolen (Carta, Moody, Zondervan, Satellite, and many other resources), Notley (Biblical World, Biblica, Aerial Atlas, IVP Atlas), and Long (Moody, Zondervan, ESV, IVP).
Part 2 now posted HERE.