Logos 9: Manuscripts of the Bible

[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]

We’ve long wanted to make manuscript data more accessible in Logos Bible Software. With Logos 6, we introduced the New Testament Manuscript Explorer, which provides manuscript-level information (date, location, contents, etc.) based on the incredible NTVMR from the INTF. Throughout the Logos 6 lifecycle (if I recall correctly) we also released the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer and the Hebrew Bible Manuscript Explorer.

While that information is useful, as an interactive resource it is not able to be easily accessed or linked to other resources. And since we wanted to pull manuscript information into Factbook, we needed something different.

Manuscripts of the New Testament, in English, Portuguese, and Chinese (Traditional)

We also wanted to provide page-level links to manuscript images indexed to Bible reference.

That sentence doesn’t make much sense. Let me try again. We wanted to be able to search for a reference (e.g. Mark 1:41) and list images one could browse at the NTVMR with links straight to the images. We wanted to provide something like the below, showing the 278 manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41 with links directly to the page at the NTVMR.

Search for manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41

We’ve created similar resources for the Septuagint (LXX) and the Hebrew Bible, but unfortunately there isn’t nearly the available page-level data for these corpora (Hats off to the NTVMR folks!). So we’ve made page-level references where data was available (LXX Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) and incorporated manuscript-level references to other manuscripts where data is available.

All three resources, in English

Hebrew Bible stuff is different from Greek NT or LXX because we (Logos) have transcriptions of all of the biblical scrolls, and many of the scroll fragments have images published on the web. So for the Hebrew Bible we have links to the transcriptions in Logos and available images at official sites.

But the big gain here is this information is now accessible in Factbook. We all know we can look up what “1Q1 Gen” is if we have the right resource open, or if we do a search across the library. But now, because it is all accessible from Factbook, you don’t have to remember which book or series to open to look. Just open Factbook and type in “1q1 gen”, and see what happens.

P52 entry in Factbook, and looking up “1q1 gen”

Now when you run across a reference to an NT, LXX, or Hebrew Bible manuscript, you just need to open the Factbook and look. You can read the article in Factbook’s Key Article section, or click the link to read it in the relevant manuscripts resource. We’re hoping this incorporation of manuscript information in Factbook makes it easier to follow up on questions about manuscripts you may encounter after reading technical commentaries or consulting textual apparatuses.

We have some ideas about how to integrate these manuscript resources even further with existing apparatuses (particularly of the GNT and LXX). No promises, but hopefully we’ll be able to make manuscript data even more accessible from the apparatuses themselves. Cross your fingers.

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