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Mid-America Journal of Theology, vol 14, 2003, pp. 185-89

Logos Bible Software Series X – Scholar’s Library (Libronix Digital Library System 2.0). $599.95.
Biblical Languages Supplement. $129.95. Logos Research Systems, Bellingham, WA.

Not that long ago some of us experienced the trauma of moving from an IBM typewriter to an IBM computer. The anxiety of learning to compose while looking at a screen, coupled with the predictions of digital resources replacing print media, led many in the academic establishment to greet this revolution with apprehension. The digital revolution soon expanded its attention from industry-oriented products to home-office applications, including programs for balancing your checkbook to planning the travel route for your summer vacation. It was only a matter of time before academic software would provide students with more than word processing programs. Today we can scan, query, summarize, and graph a wide array of digitally tagged original language texts. With more than 3,000 titles in digitized format, Logos Research Systems now permits us to store significant library tools on our computers.

As with the move from oral to print culture, this revolution brings megabytes of information to our fingertips, while leaving the discovery of its meaning to the user. The distinction between information and meaning remains a fundamental methodological operating principle for those using academic digital resources like those under review. Manipulating and retrieving data belong to the beginning stage of understanding, never to be equated with mastering the significance of the data itself.

This Bellingham, WA, company has developed the Libronix Digital Library System (Libronix DLS), a comprehensive digital library software platform with three components. The first is a collection of books, digitized forms of the originals that include illustrations and page numbers. This collection is expandable by purchasing from the more than 3,000 titles that are searchable with the Libronix DLS. The library’s second component is the technological core, the operating engine that catalogues, retrieves, and links resources. Third, a large number of addin modules automate many common tasks associated with biblical exegesis, textual comparisons, and topical searching.

Minimum system requirements are a Pentium 133MHz processor (Pentium 300MHz processor recommended), a CD-ROM drive, Windows 98 / 98SE / Me / NT 4.0 (SP6a) / 2000 / XP, 60 MB hard drive, 64 MB RAM (128 MB recommended), and screen resolution of 800x600 or higher. Scholar's Library comes on a set of CD-ROMs, and the user can expand the library by unlocking various additional titles either from the discs or from the Logos website.

The Series X line is a significant upgrade of the entire family of Logos Bible Software products. Scholar's Library comes with six automation addin modules that perform complex searches, comparisons, and reports. The Word Study Guide report reads the Bible passage and generates a word-by-word guide to the passage with the underlying Strong’s number, Hebrew or Greek lemmas (in script and in transliteration), and links to dictionary and lexical entries for each word. The Parallel Bible Versions report permits the display of a specific passage in as many Bible translations or versions as desired, with the results in a verse-by-verse grid for easy viewing, printing, and comparison of different translations. Passage in All Versions is a tool for quickly showing a specific verse or passage in every accessible Bible version. The Auto Lookup report scans the article on screen, looks up all the Bible references, footnotes, etc., and collects them into one easy-to-read report. Verse List performs a similar function on web pages, compiling into a single report all Bible verses referenced on any HTML page.

Scholar’s Library also includes professonal-level tools for working with the Greek or Hebrew scriptures, such as the Exegetical Guide. To prepare a list of Greek words appearing fewer than ten times in the LXX of Genesis 35, for example, the user would click on Tools | Original Language Tools | Exegetical Guide, where he can configure the search to show parsing, glosses, keylinks to other resources, and lemmas. The Exegetical Guide generates a custom report displaying information for each word in a passage along with links to full lexical entries, creating a convenient, ready-to-print report that organizes dozens of resources around the passage you’re studying.

The Lemma Report is an automated research tool that pulls together all available information about a single Hebrew or Greek lemma, including relevant entries in all original language reference works and a comprehensive list of occurrences in the Bible, fully parsed. In addition, simply pausing the cursor on a Hebrew or Greek word will generate a pop-up box with lemma and lexical information about that word. Right-clicking on the word lets you open BDB or the 10-volume TDNT, for example, to that word’s entry. At additional cost, users may have within keystroke range BDAG (3rd edition), the unabridged Liddell & Scott (coming soon), HALOT, ISBE (1979 revision), Luther’s complete works, Calvin’s commentaries, Willmington’s Book of Bible Lists, the Anchor Bible Dictionary, a number of theological journals, and the 20-volume United Bible Societies’ New Testament Handbook series.

The brand new Graphical Query Editor features a graphical interface (rather than a text-based query box) to assist users in creating any number of morphological searches. The Search | Advanced Search menu brings up the options of a graphical or textual search. The program easily performed a graphical search on the combination within the same context of all forms of two Greek morphemes, pist* and dika*, resulting in 43 LXX and 101 NA27 occurrences.

The new Series X Scholar’s Library (one of five packages available) contains over 230 Bibles and Bible reference titles, worth over $5,000.00 in equivalent print editions. Titles included in the Series X Scholar’s Library include more than fifteen English language Bibles, as well as seven Greek editions of the New Testament, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Rahlfs Septuaginta, and the Biblia Sacra Vulgata. Lexica include the work by Louw and Nida, TDNT (10-volume unabridged and 1-volume abridged), the intermediate Liddell and Scott, BDB with TWOT, and Dictionary of Biblical Languages (Aramaic and Hebrew). The Libronix search engine quickly brings the user to analytical concordances, parsing resources, and reference grammars for Hebrew and Greek. The package includes the New Bible Dictionary, the IVP Background Commentary (NT), the New Bible Commentary, and Matthew Henry’s commentary. Study of the biblical text is assisted with the Logos deluxe map set, Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Word Pictures in the New Testament, the Amarna Letters, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Theological and historical works include Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology, Calvin’s Institutes, the works of Josephus and Philo, and Schaff’s History of the Christian Church. (For a complete list of resources included in the Scholar’s Library, see www.logos.com/scholars.)

Biblical Languages Supplement. Logos Research Systems is also investing heavily in developing computer assisted original language study resources, available now in the Biblical Languages Supplement. This software supplement provides the Bible Analysis Addin, Biblical Languages Addin, Sentence Diagramming Addin, Bible Puzzles Addin, and Graphical Query Editor Addin, along with twenty additional original language texts, lexicons, and other resources. Key advances involve searchability (both speed and options), user configurability, and innovative visual representation of complex data and relationships.

The use of Visual Filters allows the user to mark up a resource automatically, visually highlighting morphological features right in the text. The Verb River and Bible Version Difference Rivers display verse-by-verse variation in morphological features and translation choices, respectively, over the course of a passage.

The Sentence Diagramming Addin excels in ease of use and supplies an important step in exegetical analysis. The user chooses a verse or range of verses and each word is inserted as a discreet, movable object. English glosses from an interlinear Bible can be associated with each Greek or Hebrew word, or transliteration can be added on a second line.

Third party software developers are beginning to enhance the software’s usefulness by developing customizations (macros for Word and Corel WordPerfect, and scripts for custom toolbars, for example). As the number of users increases, the features of the Libronix software will become more widely accessible. At this point, the on-screen help is quite adequate for navigating though the basic features of the program, but a printed manual with copious documentation and illustrations of various options and configurations would be welcome.

All texts in the Logos library may be annotated with personal notes, a feature both powerful and useful for pastors and Bible teachers. These notes may be attached to user-selected texts in the library, nested among the resources, kept in a variety of colors, and flagged with a variety of insignia to indicate significance. Also, notes may be easily searched for rapid access.

Besides obtaining the digitized books offered by Logos in its various packages, the user can customize his library (at additional cost) by purchasing unlock codes for the numerous quality volumes that come with the discs. To its credit, the company is investing heavily in scholarly resources and research tools, having made a giant leap forward with the Biblical Languages Supplement in assisting students with biblical language study.

We heartily recommend this software for use by pastors, by Bible students of every ability, and by seminary students seeking to build their lifetime library as economically as possible. To learn more about Scholar’s Library, visit http://www.logos.com/demo or call 800-875-6467. Details about Biblical Languages Supplement can be found here: http://www.logos.com/bls

—Nelson D. Kloosterman

© 2003 by Mid-America Journal of Theology. Used by permission.