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Ashland Theological Journal, vol 37 (2005), pp. 106-107

Review of Logos Bible Software Series X (v 2.1b) and
Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible

Electronic resources for biblical and theological study are expanding at a rapid rate, as they are in all fields of study. These two products continue the expansion of offerings using the Libronix Digital Library System. This journal has published two previous reviews of earlier versions (ATJ 28 [1996] 116-120 and 34 [2002] 94—97). Many of the features of the software, as well as some shortcomings, were addressed there, so here we will look at some additional features.

The Logos software continues to add Bibles, Bible study tools, and a plethora of other material across the spectrum of theological education. Same very useful new tools have been added to the libraries to aid in linguistic analysis. One is called a ‘verb river’ which presents the occurrence of verbal forms in a passage in a graphical, visual form so one can see changes in, for example, number and gender within a passage. For example, Exodus 20 is clearly shown to have both singulars and plurals at the beginning and end, but only singulars in the middle, Decalog section. There is also a similar graphical river showing variants between 10 different English translations including KJV, NIV, NRSV, and NLT.

A feature not reviewed before is the Word Study Guide. Opening this tool from within Genesis 1, for example, can open up a screen with each Hebrew word listed with an English gloss, e.g. ‘beginning’, a transliteration, ‘rēšît, and various links: the enhanced Strong’s lexicon, Englishman’s Hebrew concordance (referring to every occurrence of the word), the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains, and several other dictionaries and word study tools. These links open up the resource in its own window, making word analysis tools easy to access, though one still needs to know how to analyze, evaluate, and use the information provided.

A largely forgotten tool for language analysis is sentence diagramming, where the relationship between words in a sentence can be clearly demonstrated. The program provides a diagrammatical function which can be used for Hebrew, Greek or English, aiding in understanding a passage’s syntax.

Finally, the Graphical Query feature makes complex searches easier through visualization of the relationship between the words to be searched rather than simply listing the words. For example, it is relatively straightforward to make a query regarding every occurrence in the NIV where David precedes Jesse by not more than 5 words, and it is also possible to search for proximate words displaying various grammatical features. This sophistication allows textual analysis in ways impossible or extremely time-consuming without computer resources.

The Logos tools will help students of Scripture at all levels, from novice to seasoned scholar. The company is also always eager to hear of available resources which they might add to their repertoire, or of new concepts which need to be developed.

[SESB] is more limited in scope to actual Bible analysis tools: 18 Bible versions in Hebrew, Greek, German, English, French, and Dutch; dictionaries (Hebrew-German, Hebrew-English, Greek-English of the LXX, and NT Greek-English and Greek-German); and 4 helpful databases (the BHS database from the Free University of Amsterdam; the CCAT LXX database; the GRAMCORD NA27 NT database; and the German lemmatization database. A most valuable prize in this package for serious scholars of the original language biblical text is the availability for the first time, to my knowledge, of the marginal text-critical apparatus for BHS and NA27. This relieves the frustration of having to constantly consult a printed source while working with a computer-based resource.

Both of these resources have great depth which can be plumbed for serious Bible study. Some of these are easily accessible, but some of the more advanced need one to consult the help material available in electronic and printed form. When using these in [SESB], remember that it originated in German, so if you find you can’t read the instructions, don’t panic, but look for the English translation which is also included.

David W. Baker

© 2005 by Ashland Theological Journal. Used by permission.