One of the things I’m really excited about with Logos 10 is some increased support for learning more about Christian writings related to the New Testament, specifically writings grouped as “Christian Apocrypha” or “New Testament Apocrypha.”
One organization that has been at the forefront of researching and publishing this material is the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL, on the Twitter as @NASSCALtw).
NASSCAL, under the editorship of Tony Burke, have created a phenomenal resource they call e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. It contains summaries, manuscript witnesses, and multilingual bibliographies of scads of writings classified as Christian Apocrypha. It is a hugely valuable resource. And they licensed the material (which is frequently added to, revised, and updated) with an open license.
So after talking with folks at NASSCAL about Logos republishing the e-Clavis material for Logos Bible Software, I worked for a bit to retrieve all of their material and faithfully reproduce it so that Logos users could access it within Logos and even go to the e-Clavis itself if they wanted to. The version in Logos Bible Software is called “The NASSCAL Handbook of Christian Apocryphal Literature” and looks like this (on the right):
We hope to update the Logos version perhaps quarterly. In addition to the e-Clavis material, for articles where writings are also available in Logos Bible Software (in one resource or another) we have added a list of Related Articles with links to the writings in the library.
As I said earlier, I’m really excited about this particular resource. It allows careful, accurate, well-researched material on these valuable writings to be accessed within the context of Logos when you run into questions or mentions and need more information.
Thanks to NASSCAL, to Tony Burke, and to the numerous editors and contributors to the e-Clavis for their work.
(Disclaimer: I’m a member of NASSCAL, have contributed to the e-Clavis, and am currently on the board of NASSCAL as the independent scholars representative.)
Today, October 10 (aka 10/10 !) is the day the Logos 10 arrives. We’ve been at work on it for awhile, and that means it’s time for me to write a post about some of the areas I contributed to (as is my custom; see posts on Logos 9 and Logos 8).
As with Logos 9, Logos 10 (and Verbum 10) will be released with complete packages and localizations in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Korean, and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional). New editions of the iOS and Android versions of Logos as well as a new edition of the web version of Logos are also part of this release. In other words: We’re updating everything. Lots of work, but totally worth it.
Factbook, Factbook, Factbook
As with Logos 9, an emphasis for Logos 10 is the Factbook. For Logos 10, we spent a lot of time laying the groundwork to make linking into Factbook directly from resources a whole lot easier. “Factbook Tags” are places in resources that are tagged directly to Factbook. If the visual filter for Factbook Tags is turned on, a light blue underline appears below text. This indicates a point of contact with material in Factbook. Hover, and a hover card displays. If plain text, click, and you’ll open Factbook. If the text is an existing hyperlink (popup, article jump) right-click and you can navigate to Factbook using the context menu.
For the Logos 10 launch, we have evaluated most of the library for unambiguous names and theological terms (we’re working on making this more comprehensive). Hover and get information on them. Click and read the Factbook article (likely from one of your higher rated sources).
One area I worked on for launch was supporting Factbook tags for Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, so if you’re reading a commentary (or journal, or systematic or Biblical theology) in any language and there’s Greek or Hebrew in there, you can hover to see the lemma and then link to Factbook for a lexicon article.
Now, this is where it gets REALLY COOL if you remember some of the work I did for Logos 9. That work involved supporting NT, LXX, and Hebrew Bible manuscripts in Factbook.
So for Logos 10, a chunk of my work involved adding Factbook Tags to critical apparatuses to provide access to more manuscript information where manuscripts are cited. At launch we have Factbook Tags in the NA27, NA28, UBS5, and Tyndale House GNT apparatuses; at some time after launch we will have tags in a whole lot more (for NT: Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Metzger’s TCGNT, Comfort’s NTTTC, Hodges & Farstad, NET Bible v1 Notes, maybe NOBTS’s apparatuses; for LXX: Rahlf’s LXX, Swete’s LXX, volumes of the Göttingen LXX).
It looks like the below (using the UBS5 apparatus). Hover the “33” for the card to show. For more information, right-click the 33, select the manuscript item in the left section of the context menu, and then navigate there with “Factbook” in the right column.
From the Factbook page (on left) you can get more information on the manuscript, and for several even navigate to page images. Note that many page images require an account at the NTVMR, but an email query to the address specified in the resource should result in an account for you, though it may take a few days for a response (this is managed by the NTVMR folks, not Faithlife, so please be patient with them).
I’m not sure if you realize how important this type of linkage is to people interested in the text of the New Testament. It means that, for most things cited in modern apparatuses, images for the reading in the cited manuscript are just a few clicks away.
Creeds, OT Pseudepigrapha, and Christian Apocrypha, Oh My!
These are Factbook-related as well. But we’ve assembled resources to help users navigate and learn more about these particular areas. I’ll break these into two groups. The first group involves:
The NASSCAL Handbook of Christian Apocryphal Literature
The NASSCAL Handbook of Christian Apocryphal Literature is an edition of the e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha which is produced by the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL). It contains summaries of several Christian Apocryphal writings as well as extensive manuscript listings and bibliographies. The Logos edition also includes supplemental links to editions of Christian Apocryphal writings in resources for Logos Bible Software. It is an absolute treasure of a resource and we all need to thank the folks at NASSCAL for creating this work and for making it publicly available.
The second group involves:
Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms: A Guide
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: A Guide
These resources provide information about creeds and OT Pseudepigrapha as well as provide an index to locations in Logos resources that present editions or discuss them. They are designed to point you to more information in Factbook or potentially elsewhere in your library regarding the writings you’re interested in.
The Creeds resource has been translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Chinese (both Simplified and Traditional) for launch. We hope to translate the OT Pseudepigrapha guide into several languages over the next few months.
A Play on Words? That’s Wordplay
I worked very closely with my colleague James (Jimmy) Parks on Wordplay in the Bible. I wrote code to look for instances of wordplay discussed in commentaries; Jimmy analyzed all of that data to isolate and describe the instances. We then added links to areas where commentaries discussed the wordplay in the verse. The result is a resource, ordered like a commentary, that gives insight to wordplay going on in the original languages that may be helpful when studying the verse.
Wordplay in the Bible has been translated into French, Portuguese, and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) for release. Translations to German, Spanish, and Korean are forthcoming.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! It is my hope that you’ll find Logos (whatever version you’re running) useful for the context you use it in.
[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.]
It’s true, Logos 9 is here! It’s been around two years since Logos 8 released, so it must be time for Logos 9. As with Logos 8, this release is multi-OS (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android), multi-platform (desktop, phone, tablet, web), and multilinguial (English, Spanish, German, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese (Traditional), and Chinese (Simplified), with French on the way sometime next year). Lots and lots and lots of work.
For Logos 9, the team I’m part of worked on the improved Factbook. One of my responsibilities was to create resources that would allow the Factbook to access lexical information and manuscript information. So I examined all the data presently available in these areas and came up with some new stuff that will make its debut in Logos 9 (some shown below).
To responsibly exegete the text of Second Timothy, one must become familiar with the vocabulary. But examination of word meanings involves more than simply looking up words in a lexicon and choosing a gloss that seems appropriate.
Rick Brannan evaluates the vocabulary of the Second Timothy in light of the New Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), the Apostolic Fathers, the works of Philo, the works of Josephus, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and other material. Many commentaries and other works of exegesis mention material from these sources to provide background information or examples of word usage, duly noting references to such works in footnotes or endnotes. Brannan’s work, however, provides full quotations (in translation) of the relevant references. Instead of relegating these citations to footnotes that are seldom if ever looked up, the cited text itself is reproduced for the reader to evaluate.
Please note: All proceeds from sale of books published by Appian Way Press, in print or Logos format, go directly to offset costs incurred in the adoption of our third child, Josiah. He’s now 2, and doing well! But domestic infant adoption is expensive, and we’ll be paying bills for a long time, so help us out with some book purchases!
Well, it’s been here for a whole day. Yesterday (October 29, 2018), we released Logos 8 to the world. And “releasing to the world” is more true of this release than any before. We didn’t just release Logos 8 in English, but it has Spanish, German, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional) versions as well. And we didn’t just release on desktop (Windows, Mac), we also released our massively updated web app as well as iOS and Android versions. And web sites to support all of those languages. It was a massive, massive job.
This time around (I’ve been through a few launches) my responsibilities involved working on one of the flagship features, Workflows. Think: What if instead of just telling you how to do something, your Bible software had a process it let you walk through, gathering the appropriate data for you at the appropriate time, and asked you questions (and let you answer!) about the current study step you were on? Well, that’s what workflows do. 18 months ago, I started working through all sorts of different Bible study methodologies, identifying tasks, understanding processes, and isolating strengths and weaknesses. And thinking about how Logos Bible Software could integrate at every single point. From there, it was a bunch of work from designers, programmers, editors and (remember, six different languages!) translators to put bones and brains into the loose sketches I’d put together.
I’m really super excited about workflows, and can’t wait to see how folks use them. There are workflows for working through a passage, topic, Biblical person or place, for building a sermon, for prayer time and devotional time. And we have more we plan to do.
Oh, there’s also a Workflow Editor that allows users to make (and share!) their own workflows. This is going to be huge.
While working on workflows, one item that was repeatedly included in study methodologies but which Logos didn’t have great data for was something like “Identify words important to your passage.”
After thinking about this for awhile, we realized that commentaries actually do this. Commentary authors pick and choose from the language in the passage they are commenting on. What they actually write indicates a choice. If we could only identify the words in the passage they discuss, we would be well on our way to deriving passage based word importance.
Fortunately, during the Logos 7 cycle, I’d done work on isolating all the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words discussed (in Greek or Hebrew script, or in transliteration) in commentaries — and lemmatizing them — for the Logos 7 Lemma in Passage feature. That work has continued to grow, we now track nearly 7,000 commentaries and the original language words they use. This was the perfect data to extend and analyze to determine important words in a passage. The data allowed us to tie original language words to passages, and then aggregate that data across all commentaries. A colleague did some really great work analyzing the data to derive per-passage ranking, and from there the feature basically wrote itself.
The Important Passages feature was much the same. Study methodologies advocate locating similar passages and cross-references. While we’ve had cross-references data for a long time in Logos Bible Software, what has never (really) been done before — and what is really needed — is to provide a boatload of related passages but to also indicate the reason the passages are related.
The Logos 8 Important Passages feature does this. Each passage that is related to the study passage also indicates at least one reason why the passage is related and thus worth examining further. If you’re looking for similar vocabulary, or shared cultural concepts, or intertextuality, or similar command, or whatever, you can see the reason for the relation before you go and look up the passage. It’s pretty awesome.
We aggregated the data for these references in much the same way that we aggregated the data for Important Words: we used commentaries. In each commentary article, there is what we would call a milestone (the passage being commented on) and references (Bible reference citations within the comment on the passage). If you can aggregate these by passage across nearly 7,000 commentaries, then you’re getting somewhere. But we also analyzed all of the Bibles in Logos for where they indicated cross-references, we examined the old Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and other similar resources for where they indicated cross-references. The data included over 27 million milestone-reference pairs. And we did a separate analysis of lexicons to build data that indicated which verses were commonly cited in the discussion of particular lexical items. It was a huge amount of data wrangling. I was in heaven.
From here, a colleague did the tough work integrating reasons for references and of ranking and scoring things. The output of it all is that we can tell you what references tend to be cited as important or relevant or helpful for any passage of Scripture. And we can suggest all sorts of reasons as to why the passage is relevant to examine for the current study passage (milestone).
I did other stuff along the way, but the above are the major pieces. Basically these have consumed me for the past 18 months, and it’s exciting to see these features and datasets released. Hopefully they enhance your study.