A condensed version of this review was published in Bibliotheca Sacra, April-June, 2005
Review of Scholar's Library Silver Edition
© 2004 W. Hall Harris, III and Matt Blackmon
Dallas Theological Seminary
Scholar’s Library Silver Edition. Logos Bible Software Series X. Libronix Digital Library System. Logos Research Systems, Bellingham, Washington, USA. Web address: http://www.logos.com/silver. List Price $999.95. Various upgrade pricing levels available.
Logos Bible Software Series X – Scholar’s Library Silver Edition represents the latest evolutionary development in the venerable Logos Bible Software Series X software line.
Building on the high-end Scholar’s Edition, Silver Edition raises the bar unbelievably high in terms of both excellence and inclusiveness of powerful academic resources for both the pastor and biblical scholar.
While comparisons with print editions are often illusory and notoriously difficult to evaluate given the oft-included plethora of public domain titles included in “by the pound” Bible software offerings, Logos reports the Silver Edition includes approximately $8000 worth of print equivalent content, and integrates completely with the almost 4,000 other titles now available—with many more offerings being announced on an almost-daily basis.
The Scholar’s Library Silver Edition (as does the Scholar’s Library itself) now fully integrates all thirteen of the add-in modules—many of which were formerly separate add-on products (such as the Biblical Languages Supplement and the Original Languages Supplement). The Biblical Languages Supplement includes a number of helpful features for working with the original languages, including “Visual Filters” that mark up a resource automatically. The two most significant of these include the Summarization Filter that does an amazingly adequate job of summarizing a passage by displaying automated highlighting. The Morphological Filter allows the user working with original language texts to markup Greek or Hebrew Bibles based on morphology and part of speech, a very useful feature for isolating the major structural markers in the original languages.
In terms of added resources, Silver Edition adds only one English Bible, the KJV Word Study Bible (Zodhiates) and its associated Complete Word Study Bible Dictionary and 4 volumes of Zodhiates’ Sermon Starters.
However, the real value in the Silver Edition lies elsewhere—namely, in the inclusion of quality technical resources for students of Scripture.
With respect to resources for the study of Old Testament, the Silver Edition includes Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with the Groves-Wheeler Westminster 4.0 Hebrew Morphology (again, as does the Scholar’s Library QB)—itself a powerful inducement to upgrade to gain the corrections from previous versions as well as the new features (such as cantillation marks and accent marks, the marking of differences between electronic editions of BHS, the texual annotations from the Westminster Morphology Database, and the enhanced handling of Kethiv/Qere readings available in customized interlinear-style displays). Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar as well as the Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the OT Scriptures complete the Hebrew-related offerings in Silver Edition.
Of particular benefit to students of the Greek New Testament is the inclusion of the Newberry’s The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament, as well as the Analytical Greek New Testament (Friberg) and the USB 4th Edition Greek New Testament with Morphology. In terms of lexicons, Silver adds the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Friberg), the Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, and A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust – Eynikel – Hauspie). Synonyms of the New Testament (Trench), Nunn’s The Elements of New Testament Greek as well as his A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek join the existing original language reference tools in the Scholar’s Edition. The Swanson New Testament Greek Morphologies for both the UBS 4th Edition and the Westcott-Hort Edition round out the Greek New Testament tools.
Other versions of biblical texts included are the Latin Vulgate, as well as several Syriac texts (Codex Curetonianius, Codex Siniaticus, and the Syriac Peshitta) and the Analytical Lexicon of the Syriac New Testament.
In terms of commentary resources, Silver Edition includes the older but still useful multi-volume Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament. Thirty-one volumes of the scholarly New American Commentary (all that were available at production) are included, as are the more popular-level Daily Study Series: OT and Barclay’s Daily Study Series: NT. Several classic Greek Commentaries are included (i.e., Lightfoot’s commentaries on Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians). Rounding out the collection are the Early Church Fathers (37 volumes) and Ancient Egyptian Literature (3 volumes by Lichtheim).
The Silver Edition integrates seamlessly with the already clean and sleek lines of the user interface—and Logos Bible Software continues to improve both its performance and usability. The Word Study Guide (keyed to Strong’s numbers) and the Exegetical Guide (keyed to the original languages) are still the starting points for serious and detailed study of the Scripture. The sentence diagramming feature offers a helpful perspective to visually analyze a passage. Visual filters provide a convenient way to summarize lengthy articles or to highlight user-selected morphological forms.
Finally, the Graphical Queries feature facilitates complex grammatical (and other types of) searches. One caveat: this feature, while powerful in and of itself, has not quite attained the fully developed usability of Oak Tree Software’s Accordance or BibleWorks 6.0. However, given diligence (and a certain degree of trial and error), the authors have not found any biblical searches that any of the three competitors could not duplicate (excluding resources that are unique to one product) although for command line searching ability, admittedly serial searches are at times somewhat cumbersome compared to the ease of use of BibleWorks 6.0 and Accordance. For example, BibleWorks contains many tools to assist in the development of command line searches making their implementation of a graphical search engine (their Advanced Search Engine) merely a powerful extension to their searching capability. Modifications to those searches can happen either using the ASE or the command line—potentially a great time saving feature for those who become familiar with command line searching over time. Libronix’s Graphical Query Editor, on the other hand, seems more like an add-on utility than an extension to the search platform, and operates much the same way. Overall, this drawback will probably only affect the most experienced and ardent searcher of the text and then perhaps only in the amount of time required to develop the searches. In short, both BibleWorks and Libronix provide more than capable search facilities.
Future features—both announced and unannounced (some already in alpha and beta testing) promise that Logos is not resting on its accomplishments but continues to push the envelope for both scholars and pastors alike.
With the release of Silver Edition along with the release of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible (review forthcoming) co-developed with the German Bible Society featuring electronic editions of the critical apparatuses, Logos Bible Software has firmly established itself as the clear leader in the development of scholarly academic tools for both Greek and Hebrew biblical studies.
From a corporate perspective, the recent (September 2004) creation and subsequent staffing of an academic editor position, coupled with the commissioning of the Fairhaven Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible and the funding of a $100,000 initiative for the creation of new academic reference projects for electronic delivery, all indicate the ongoing commitment at Logos to be at the forefront of biblical studies software development. Five new Hebrew pre-publications (Studies in Hebrew and Aramaic Orthography, The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Approaches, Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew, Futato’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew and The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, A Corrected, Enlarged Edition of The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts edited by Comfort and Barrett) show a promising trend for future development—although admittedly pre-publications merely gauge interest and are not guaranteed development to completion. The recent announcement of publication rights for the New International Greek Testament Commentary series further establishes Logos Bible Software as the dominant source for high quality technical biblical commentaries.
While the recommended system requirements are rather moderate (128MB RAM and 700 MHz Pentium III) and certainly will deliver basic performance, most users will notice dramatically improved performance from a faster processor, at least 512 MB of memory, and enough hard disk space to fully install all the resources from CD or DVD.
In short, Logos Bible Software Scholar’s Silver Edition is a very large theological library, research assistant, and advanced study tool combined in one comprehensive package. It is an essential upgrade to the professional’s library, and one that any serious student of the Scriptures should carefully consider—and look no further.
© 2005 by W. Hall Harris, III and Matt Blackmon. Used by permission of the authors.