Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis is an edition of the Hebrew Bible based on Codex Leningradensis (also known as the “Leningrad Codex,” “L,” and “b19A”), the oldest complete Hebrew Bible available, prepared by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research (formerly the Westminster Hebrew Institute). It includes version 4.18 of the Westminster Hebrew Morphology, which provides lexical and morphological analysis of every word. These tags identify each word’s form and function, and facilitate advanced searching. The Logos Bible Software edition integrates with English glosses, to assist in searching, lexicon look-up tables and a glossary of morphological terms, with links to grammars.
NOTE: The last version of the Westminster morphology that Logos Bible Software released was version 4.2. The version number is meant to be read as an integer, not a decimal, so the 4.18 represents a significantly newer version (think of version 4.2 as version two of the fourth edition, and 4.18 as version 18 of the fourth edition). Generally, the even-numbered releases are intended for public release, so the move from 4.2 to 4.18 is a jump of 8 releases and includes approximately 10 years’ worth of improvements!
The Westminster Hebrew Morphology was one of the first databases of the Hebrew Bible ever widely distributed both among scholars and in a variety of commercial software packages. As such, it has probably received more feedback from students and scholars than any other digital edition of the Hebrew Bible. Westminster Hebrew Morphology is backed by an issue-tracking database that allows its editors to organize feedback and store discussions about the decisions they’ve made along the way. The result is a high quality text that gets better with each release.
The lexical analysis generally follows Koehler-Baumgartner-Stamm’s Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) (5 vols.), the most thorough lexicon of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic available in the English speaking world. Though the database creators do correct HALOT or disagree with it at times, following HALOT for the spelling of lexical forms and the homograph numbers used to distinguish different words that are spelled the same makes this database easy to use with the best lexicon.
The morphological analysis in BHW includes standard features, like part of speech, person, number, gender, etc., but it also includes many features not tagged in most other databases. For example, BHW includes careful analysis on when jussive or cohortative verbs are volitive in form only, in meaning only, or in both form and meaning. When the form of a word (particularly its number, gender, or state) doesn’t seem to match the context, those features are tagged as ‘unexpected.’
Codex Leningradensis, like many Hebrew Bibles, follows a system of Kethiv and Qere readings, where certain words are written one way (Kethiv), but read aloud in a different way (Qere). In the manuscript of L, this is done by putting the vowels of the Qere reading on the Kethiv consonants, and then putting the Qere consonants in the margin. This makes it possible to reconstruct the Qere with a high degree of accuracy by taking the vowels from the main line and putting them on the consonants of the marginal reading (sometimes with some slight, but predictable, modifications required to keep from introducing extra consonants to the Kethiv). This leaves the Kethiv without vowels.
BHW provides not only the restored Qere reading, but also offers a provisional reconstruction of the Kethiv form, with vowels. Both the Qere and Kethiv forms are analyzed with lexical form and morphology tags, just like the rest of the text.
BHW includes a detailed series of textual notes indicating where they have corrected Codex Leningradensis and where Leningradensis has an unusual form, but they have not corrected it. The textual notes also compare the editorial decisions with those of other important editions of the Hebrew Bible, such as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the published fascicles of Biblia Hebraica Quinta. The nature of the note system informs the reader if the difference is one of consonant, vowel, accent, or punctuation—though where the difference isn’t obvious, the reader will have to consult the relevant edition or facsimile to look up the precise difference. Readers concerned with the accuracy of the text will appreciate these notes.
Logos Bible Software has added its own index system to BHW to allow it to function with the KeyLink Tables that provide more accurate lexicon look-ups. So for example, even though BHW follows HALOT for its lexical forms, the Logos Bible Software edition will link to the correct BDB article, despite significant differences in spelling and organization.
The Logos Bible Software edition also has added an English gloss list to aid in searching—when picking between homographs in a search drop-down, for instance, an English gloss is provided to help the user select which word they want to find.
All of the morphological terms used in the Westminster Hebrew Morphology have been included in the The Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Hovering over terms like ‘qal’ and ‘piel’ and ‘infinitive construct’ in the search interface reveals short definitions of these features, while navigating to those entries in the glossary also provides links to 6+ standard reference grammars for further reading.