Society of Biblical Literature, SBL Forum, June, 2004
Logos Bible Software Series X: Expanded and Improved
Frank Ritchel Ames
Logos has expanded and improved the digital library collections in the Logos Bible Software Series X. Of particular interest to scholars and students are the Original Languages Library, Scholar's Library, and new Scholar's Library Silver Edition. Resources and modules previously released individually and as part of the Biblical Languages Supplement, which is also available and of interest to scholars, are now incorporated in various configurations in these boxed collections.
Each collection in the series combines an expandable library of biblical texts and reference works with a search engine and tools that gather, organize, and summarize information from the user's electronic library. There is one user interface and search engine (also known as the Libronix Digital Library System), but the set of tools and texts differs from one collection to the next. The smallest collection of the boxed sets in the series is the Christian Home Library, which offers 65 titles for devotional Bible reading; other collections seek to address the different progressively demanding needs of Sunday School teachers, pastors, students, and scholars. The selection of titles in the collections reflects a conservative Protestant perspective but also includes important titles used throughout the world of biblical scholarship, both confessional and non-confessional. The selection of titles expresses the publisher's commitment to serve church, academic, and lay markets, but scholars and other users may omit and add titles to library collections to create a unique study resource that well suits individual interests and grows with the individual. Adaptability and expandability are strengths of the software, and Logos now publishes over 3,000 electronic books representing more than 100 publishers, including Brill's Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Koehler, Baumgartner and Stamm) and University of Chicago's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Bauer and Danker). These and many other essential reference works may be purchased individually and added to any collection.
Distinctive Features, Old and New
The newly expanded scholarly collections in the series offer distinctive features, both old and new. Select a passage or word from available electronic versions of Hebrew, Greek, or English Bibles (and a growing number of translations in other modern languages) and automatically create clickable indexes of related articles from other or all volumes in the collection, a concordance of related biblical passages, a list of entries from lexicons, or an analysis of grammatical forms. Users may automatically view all available versions of a given passage, compare versions in parallel, or chart the differences between a number of versions in ancient and modern languages. The automation of these tasks saves hours in the study, and the Logos software assumes the role of a research assistant in small but not insignificant ways.
With a few clicks, one can easily generate statistics of word usage in biblical texts and even graph a visual "verb river" that plots the occurances of a particular verb form through a passage or book. Other "visual filters" allow the user to highlight summations within texts and automatically underline in color selected words that have particular morphological forms in Greek and Hebrew texts. A new module with a palette of standard symbols allows users to diagram sentences in Hebrew, Greek, and English by inserting and arranging elements on the screen, and it supports the addition of glosses in the diagram.
The Graphical Query Editor, another new feature with a graphical interface, facilitates complex searches for sets of terms based on form, order, and proximity. Wildcards and boolean operators may be used in the search diagram that is constructed of boxes, lines, and arrows, and the visual representation of the query not only simplifies the construction of complex searches, it provides a way to communicate the details of searches to others, for visual representations may be copied from the Graphical Query Editor to documents created by many popular word-processing programs.
Handy Resources for Scholars
The expanded collections provide a number of resources that biblical scholars like to keep at hand. In addition to morphologically tagged editions of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Rahlfs' Septuaginta, and UBS 4th edition of The Greek New Testament, one finds ready access to an enhanced and unabridged edition of the Hebrew-English Lexicon (Brown, Driver, and Briggs), Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (Newman), and Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust, Eynikel, and Hauspie), older but useful Hebrew Syntax (Davidson) and Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in NT Greek (Burton), Analytical Greek New Testament and Analytical Lexicon (Friberg), a variety of morphologically tagged editions of Westcott-Hort and the Textus Receptus (Stephen, Elzevir, Scrivener), transcriptions of the Old Syrian Gospels (Curetonianus and Sinaiticus) and Peshitta, plus an analytical lexicon of the Syriac New Testament (Kiraz), and three volumes of ancient Egyptian literature (Lichtheim).
Parallel texts receive ample attention. Users may consult Aland's Synopsis of the Four Gospels or Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels and may instantaneously view the text in any available Greek text or English translation. The ability to select the translation is one of the advantages of these electronic versions and shows thoughtful software design. Among a number of other resources for the study of parallel texts are A Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (Crockett), Jude-2 Peter (Jackson), a list of New Testament quotations from the Old Testament, and the Eusebian Canons.
The configuration of texts and tools varies from one collection to the next, and a complete list of contents for each product in the lineup is available at http://www.logos.com/products.
The capabilities and depth of Logos software products continues to advance, and it is clear that Logos has an eye on academic interests. Logos is currently working with the German Bible Society to develop the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible, which will offer electronic access to the critical apparatuses of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Novum Testamentum Graece and will introduce new forms of syntactical searching (Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible). The Original Languages Library, Scholar's Library, Scholar's Library Silver Edition, and Biblical Languages Supplement provide new features that speed and simplify routine aspects of the study of the biblical text, and many scholars and students will appreciate their power and convenience. Options abound, and potential users are advised to compare contents carefully to select and/or construct collections that meet their specific needs (http://www.logos.com/products/info/comparison) and to install these collections on computers with fast processor, extra memory, and adequate storage for best performance.
The Libronix Digital Library System and collections in the Logos Bible Software Series X operate on Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000, and XP and require a minimum of 64MB RAM and a 350 MHz Pentium II processor (128MB RAM and 700MHz Pentium III recommended), CD-ROM drive, 800x600 display (1024x768 recommended), and Internet Explorer 6.0 or later. The software will run on faster Macintosh platforms using a PC emulation program such as Microsoft Virtual PC.
Series X collections range in price from about $150 to $1000, with special discounts for current users wanting to upgrade older versions. These collections qualify as excellent values for computer-saavy students of the Bible.
Frank Ritchel Ames (Ph.D., Denver/Iliff) is Professor of Biblical Studies at Colorado Christian University and is concluding one year of service as Director of Programs and Initiatives at the Society of Biblical Literature.
© 2004 by SBL Forum. Used by permission.