# Thursday, November 01, 2012

As you probably know, I’m an ‘information architect’ at Logos Bible Software. We recently (today!) released Logos Bible Software 5. There are lots of bug fixes and new features and stuff, but the big deal with Logos 5 are the new data sets that allow for examination of the scripture like we’ve never done before. I think it is a huge step forward, though admittedly I might be biased.

This is data we’ve been working on for a long time (some of it before we even released Logos 4 in 2009, believe it or not). The data sets I’m most excited about include:

  • Biblical Referents: So, you’ve always been able to search for “Jesus” and “said” and find where Jesus says something. But that’s only where the word “Jesus” is explicitly used. What about when it is “he said”? Biblical Referents solve that problem. We’ve analyzed the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament and resolved these sorts of things. Because the data is annotated on the original languages, that means it bubbles up all over the place through our linking of the original languages to modern translations.
  • Bible Sense Lexicon: This is just the start of a massive project that will allow for incredible things. If you’re familiar with WordNet, then this is like WordNet for the Bible. We are analyzing every word (nouns, adjectives, verbs, , determining sense used, and annotating them. Further, we have a cross-linguistic approach that allows us to map from Hebrew to Greek, which means that we can find when a sense occurs in the Bible, not just in the NT or the OT. Right now we have an initial annotation of nouns in both Hebrew and Greek, and are starting work on verbs. It is very cool.
  • Clause Search: Clause search allows one to search for clauses and clause components. It integrates several data sets: Biblical People, Places and Things, Referents, Syntax data, morphological data, and makes it all searchable bounded to a clause. Search for “subject:Jesus verb-lemma:θεραπεύω” (the verb for “to heal”) and find everything. Even stuff like “he healed them” (Mt 4.24, ESV).
  • Reported Speech: Sometimes it is handy to know who or what is speaking. We have annotated “reported speech” through the whole of the Bible. One way this is viewable is through a visual filter for “Speaker Labels” in Bibles with reverse interlinears.
  • Roots in Greek NT and Hebrew Bible. Roots (both Greek and Hebrew) are integrated with original language texts and reverse interlinears. This has been a much-requested feature over the years, and we’re glad to finally make it available to users!

Here's a video from YouTube that describes many of these features.

On top of this, we have new resources. There are a few I am personally very happy to have see the light of day in that I either produced it myself or was the lead editor. Here they are.

LELXXThe Lexham English Septuagint. The Lexham English Septuagint (LES) is a new translation of the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek version of the Old Testament) based on Henry Barclay Swete's edition of the Septuagint, The Old Testament in Greek According to the Septuagint. Based on the work of the popular The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, the LES provides a literal, readable and transparent English edition of the Greek Old Testament, which was the edition of the Old Testament writings most popularly used during New Testament times and in the early church.

There was a small but stellar group that did the primary editing of the translation, including myself, Ken M. Penner, Israel Loken, Michael Aubrey and Isaiah Hoogendyk.

One of the things I really like about the LES is the approach to proper nouns. Septuagint Lexicons typically do not handle proper nouns. Septuagint translations typically transliterate all but the most important (e.g. David, Jerusalem, Moses). What this means is that the names most English readers are familiar with (from translations of the Hebrew Bible) are not used in LXX translations. So it is hard to track who does what. Read something like First Chronicles, and you’re completely lost because the majority of the names are not familiar at all.

In the LES, we were able to use, where possible, names familiar to those who have only worked with English translations of the Hebrew Bible and the apocryphal books. So Reuben is Reuben, Manasseh is Manasseh. Cities use names you’re probably expecting (e.g. Gibeah, not Gabaa). However, because the differences in spelling/representation are sometimes insightful, we’ve footnoted the transliterated form of proper nouns — where the transliteration is different from the familiar representation — so the information is not lost.

TheApostolicFathersThe Apostolic Fathers in English (with reverse interlinear). This is a new translation of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers in English. It is a follow-up to my Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

This translation is not meant to replace either Holmes' or Ehrman's editions in print. Instead, my goal in creating a new English translation was to create a tighter and more transparent relationship with the underlying Greek text. As this translation has its genesis with my Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear, it began with a direct relationship with every word and phrase of the underlying Greek. From here, the English translation was reviewed and edited to become more readable yet still retain its relationship with the Greek text. Finally, using tools provided by Logos Bible Software, the English text was completely re-aligned with the Greek text, word by word, phrase by phrase. When the English text is read with the reverse interlinearized Greek text displayed in Logos Bible Software, the result is an English translation that shows exactly where each word and phrase has its origin.

This level of alignment becomes more useful in reading and particularly when studing how words and structures found in the New Testament are used in contemporary literature. And this, to my mind, can help the writings of the Apostolic Fathers play a larger role in one's study of the New Testament and Septuagint, which is my larger goal.

I’m super-excited about this one too. It has been hard to not talk about as it has been complete for almost a year!

Anyway, to sum it up, I’m excited about Logos 5!

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 01, 2012 6:21:28 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, November 02, 2009

Logos4 logoYou may think “Huh?! Finally?!! I just heard about Logos4!” but Logos4 has been my life for at least the past 18 months. But now I can talk about it to whomever I please. Logos4 is public. Released. Not a beta. You can buy it now. You can cross-grade, upgrade, or flat-out buy it today. Download the whole thing if you want. That’s pretty awesome.

If you haven’t heard, please check out the Logos4 web site. Oh, and don’t forget about the iPhone app, either. Yes, there is a Logos iPhone app. I’m not making this up.

Logos4 is a complete change. It is new from the bottom up. It does things differently. I’ve fallen in love with the windowing system, rule-driven collections mean my collections can finally keep up with my library, floating windows are a dream on multi-monitor setups, and there are a ton of new resources too.

Instead of all that stuff (which others will cover, I’m sure), I just wanted to point to a few things dear to my heart in Logos4.

  • The Apostolic Fathers Reverse Interlinear
  • Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament
  • Templates for Syntax Searching
  • Grammatical Relationships in Bible Word Study
  • Facilitate Serendipitous Discovery

1: The Apostolic Fathers Reverse Interlinear. Logos4 has a great selection of reverse interlinears (OT and NT for ESV, NRSV, NKJV, KJV, NASB95; an alignment of the LXX and BHS; and the in-progress Lexham English Bible (LEB) is also reverse-interlinearized for the available content [Rom-Rev]). But reverse interlinears aren’t just for Bible text anymore, they can be implemented on non-Bible text as well. Really all that is needed is a text and its underlying source. So a few years back I pitched the idea of having a reverse interlinear of the Apostolic Fathers text (English with underlying Greek; sorry, no Latin). Our first editor was unable to take on the project due to personal circumstances. I wanted this one so much I ended up doing the reverse interlinear alignment myself as a side project! It was fun, and now you can use a reverse interlinear with Greek text outside of the NT.


This brings up another feature that works with all texts that share a common alignment text (or are the alignment text): Something called “Sympathetic Highlighting”. For you Logos old-timers, this is “Navigate to Associated Word” on steroids. Basically, you highlight something in one text, and the other text highlights it too. You can see this above; I’ve highlighted text in the English, the underlying Greek gets highlighted too. This works in the OT and NT. Highlight something in the ESV and see how the NASB95 treats it. Even better: Highlight something in the LXX and see it highlight in the BHS (!)

2: Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament. If you’ve followed Logos at all over the past five years, you know that we’ve been very innovative in applying syntactic analyses (analysis above the word level) to the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament. Logos4 continues this innovation with the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament. These are based on work done by the Asia Bible Society in their Greek Syntactic Treebank Project. They use simple, approachable terms (like “Subject”, “Indirect Object”, “Clause”, “nominal phrase”, “prepositional phrase”, etc.) for their structures.


The Syntax Search dialog has been completely revamped as well. For example, below is a query for the Cascadia Syntax Graphs that locates where a prepositional phrase has φοβος as its object:


In comparison with LDLS3 (and OpenText.org), Cascadia needs fewer properties, uses more approachable terminology, and is conceptually easier in structure.

3: Templates for Syntax Searching. As much as I love syntax searching, I’m enough of a realist to know that it is a great feature with a very limited audience. Most folks just want to know when something is the subject, or the object, or where it occurs as the main verb. Or even perhaps what sorts of adjectives modify the word. Templates provide this. From the syntax search, hit the query drop-down. Templates are on the left. Select one, and go. Let’s say I want to find where the verb φοβεω is negated (so, “do not fear” instead of “fear”):




Click “Go” when the word is there (select from the list or hit enter), and you’re doing a syntax search.

Alternately, you could open the desired template for the desired database from the syntax search editor. This would open the actual structure to search. From here, just fill in as necessary.

4: Grammatical Relationships in Bible Word Study. The primary difference between v3 and v4 in Grammatical Relationships is speed. In Logos4, it’s faster. Much faster. Like, real fast. But there’s this new section that shows up (where applicable) called Preposition Use. This is where the study word is the object of the preposition. There’s this cool graphic used to help show how the preposition is used. Here is an example with φοβος (fear) as the study word:


Fret not, there’s a Preposition Use chart for Hebrew too.

5: Facilitate Serendipitous Discovery. Go to the command bar. Start to type in “Facilitate”. You should see:


What does it do? Try it. Let me know what you find. Need some background? Try this three-and-a-half year old blog post.

What am I not mentioning?

There’s all sorts of stuff I’m not mentioning, including:

  • Scads of new resources available in the new “LE” collections.
  • Maps. Awesome maps. Zoomable maps. Linked to dictionaries maps. Linked to the text maps. Linked to Google maps maps.
  • Infographics. Images of all sorts. Images in Dictionaries are integrated. Stereoscopic images.
  • Customizable Guides. Ever wanted to create your own Passage Guide from a template of options? Now you can. Same for Exegetical Guide and Bible Word Study Guide.
  • Passage Analysis. This is cool. OK, I’ll give you a picture of this one:


There is so much other stuff, I’ve just gotta stop now. There is not enough time to mention it all in a blog post. Check it out for yourself.

Post Author: rico
Monday, November 02, 2009 5:09:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, October 31, 2008

[Disclaimer: I work for Logos Bible Software and love every minute of it. The links to Logos below are just that, links. I get no commission or brownie points from click-thrus or any sales.]

Logos will be at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (in Providence, RI, Nov 19-21, 2008) and also at the national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (in Boston, MA, Nov 21-25, 2008).

The specials mentioned below are only available at these conferences. And I'm not even listing all of them, just the ones that I find interesting and which I think you (my humble reader) may be interested in. There are 12 specials designed for the conferences, I'm only listing three of them below. If you'll be at the conferences, please stop by the booth for more info on all of the conference collections, or to purchase them.

These are awesome collections of top-notch texts useful for Biblical Studies. Listed first is perhaps the best deal you'll ever find on the combination of ICC NT vols and several (33!) very useful JSNTS monographs.

New Testament Studies Bundle (64 Vols.)

Show Only Price  $1,199.95
Show Savings (off Retail): $4,541.45

Advanced Greek Supplement (6 Vols.)

Show Only Price $299.95
Show Savings (off Retail) $111.91

ANE Studies Bundle (30 Vols.)

Show Only Price $639.95
Show Savings (off Retail): $806.94

As I said, that is only three of the twelve bundles. If you're at the show, be sure to ask about the "Scholar's Reference Bundle" which includes all of ICC, all of WBC, and a few other commentary sets. These are specials on the big stuff that you won't want to miss.

Post Author: rico
Friday, October 31, 2008 8:00:41 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'd like to see John Hobbins (Ancient Hebrew Poetry), Tyler Williams (Codex), and Chris Heard (Higgaion) blog about what "Selah" means in the Psalms and how it should affect our reading of the Psalms.

But please, nothing over-long or in multiple parts.

Where does this come from? Sometime over the summer I'll be speaking on Psalm 20 at an evening church service, and I'm just curious about how Selah is used there. Sure, I'll read up on it, but I'd be interested to read what these gents might have to say.

Update (2007-06-27): Chris Heard obliges and posts on "Oh! Oh, Selah!". You're awesome, Chris. Thanks. Also note Bob MacDonald in the comments who mentions that selah is sometimes thought to be equivalent to a pause. Bob also points us to his own diagramming of Psalm 20.

Update II (2007-06-27): Though somewhat unrelated, note that Kevin P. Edgecomb (biblicalia) has begun a series to provide 'formal' and 'informal' translations of the Psalms. He's got Psalm 1 & 2 up.

Update III (2007-07-07): John Hobbins obliges as well and posts on "Selah in the Psalms". Thanks, John. Is it just me, or is it refreshing to others when scholars can survey evidence and say, "we really don't know" like John and Chris have. We have clues, certainly (some sort of musical interlude?) but nothing hard-and-fast. And don't worry, John, I'm nowhere near done with the Ella pictures.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 5:16:11 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, March 29, 2007

I just received a reminder about the SBL / Logos Technology Paper Awards. I'm anxious to see what folks are working on!

The dealine for papers is May 1, 2007 with winners announced at International SBL in Vienna. Here's a blurb for the uninformed:

Logos Bible Software and the Society of Biblical Literature announce two sets of awards for papers that creatively use technology in exploring questions of grammar and syntax in biblical studies: one focusing on the Hebrew Bible, the other on the Greek New Testament. The contests are open to all those engaged in the study of those disciplines, and prizes will be awarded in both areas for student and faculty/professional categories. A total of twelve awards will be given.

There's some decent winnings ($1000 cash, $1000 Logos software credit, and $200 SBL book credit for first place entries (4 available) for winning papers, and lots of chance to win with both student and professional entries for the areas of Hebrew Bible and also Greek New Testament. I'd enter, but Logos employees are not eligible.

Get thee to thine syntax annotations!

Update (2007-03-31): ricoblog reader Tom notes that syntax searching can be difficult to get a grasp on. I agree; the multi-dimensionality of the data alone is a new sort of concept to master in thinking about the Greek New Testament. For me, I've found a deductive method to work. If you are somewhat familiar with NT Greek, begin with a passage you know cold. Compare the syntax graph to what you know of and see mentally when  you examine the text itself. See how the syntax maps the structures you're thinking of. Then, using the graph as a guide, try to reproduce some structures. Start small and general, like a clause component that has the same wordgroup->head term->word (insert the proper lemma) as what you're looking at. Search and tweak until you get your template passage as a hit. Then add new components and tweak to get an idea of how to map the basic structure you already know. "Lather, rinse, repeat" is how I end up describing it. Also, beginning with a passage you know, you could do a Bible Word Study on a word and examine the sorts of things the Grammatical Relationships section returns. Under the hood, that's doing a lot of template-based syntax searching. So that's another way to start to play with syntax data without having to master the search dialog.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, March 29, 2007 12:47:50 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, September 18, 2006

Since the ETS program book is out, and the SBL program book has been out for awhile, I thought I should note when I'm presenting at both of these conferences.

ETS 2006: Thursday Morning, Nov. 16; the New Testament session in the 'Slate' room, from 11:00-11:40.

Subjects and Predicates and Complements, Oh My! Searching the New Testament with Sensitivity to Syntax

Logos Bible Software have implemented an edition of the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament. One facet of OpenText.org's work isolates clause boundaries. Within each clause, subjects, predicators, complements and adjuncts are identified. This enables searching of the Greek New Testament with sensitivity to clause-level criteria. This advance raises certain questions: How should syntactic annotation be used? What sorts of things can be searched for?

This paper examines different sorts of searches that can be pursued from the starting point of a word. Questions like "When is [word] used as a subject?" or "What verbs are used when [word] is a subject?" will be examined and discussed.

SBL 2006: Sunday Afternoon, Nov. 19; Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics session in room 204C-CC, from 4:00-6:30. My paper is the second paper and starts around 4:10. The format of the session is four 10-minute papers followed by 30 minutes of informal discussion. So drop by and see me, and do ask me questions.

Word Groups, Head Terms and Modifiers in the Pastoral Epistles: Insight for Questions of Style?

The OpenText.org group have completed a preliminary syntactic analysis of the Greek New Testament. One level of their analysis is the Word Group level. A word group is a group of words that consists of, at minimum, a head term. It also contains any terms that modify the head term and additionally specifies the type of modification as that of definer, qualifier, relator or specifier.

Heretofore, stylistic analysis has been largely bound to tracking criteria such as word usage and morphology along with perhaps sentence length. The OpenText.org Word Group analysis allows for stylistic analysis of the corpus at a different level. Does modifier usage offer any insight for comparative studies of the Pastoral Epistles and the generally accepted Paulines? This paper will examine modifier usage data for both the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul and will offer preliminary comparisons between the results where results may offer insight for questions of style.

More SBL 2006: There are two additional meetings that I will be involved with.

Saturday, Nov. 18; 4:00-6:30 PM. AM18-107 (p. 246 in SBL program book). Logos Bible Software Syntactically Tagged Databases of the Hebrew Bible: Overview and Training Seminar. See program book for more details.

Monday, Nov. 20; 4:00-6:30 PM. AM20-101 (p. 256 in SBL program book). Logos Bible Software Syntactically-Tagged Databases of the Greek New Testament: Overview and Training Seminar. See program book for more details.

I will of course be much more involved with the Greek session on Monday than the Hebrew session on Saturday. But come to either/both; we'd love to see you there and talk about syntax!

Update (2006-09-18): In the comments, Paul asks if I'll make the papers available to the general public. Thanks for asking, Paul. The answer is "Yes!". This will likely be before the conference. Also note that for the SBL session, anyway, the paper will be much longer than 10 minutes will allow so my presentation there will actually be a summary. The ETS paper will be less of a summary, but since I can't bring myself to simply read pages, the paper there will reflect the content but be more appropriately presented (using a projector, powerpoint and perhaps even screen-captured video where necessary).

Post Author: rico
Monday, September 18, 2006 10:33:50 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Over on PaleoJudaica, Jim Davila notes that there will be a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Seattle, over at the Pacific Science Center.

I'm really looking forward to it. Actually, one Saturday while the scrolls are in town (not sure which one, though), my employer (Logos Bible Software) is taking the whole company to see the show! So after I've seen what's there I'll be sure to report back.

Here's the exhibit web site, if you're interested: Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls. They have some background on featured scrolls. They sound mostly fragmentary, though some interesting passages are represented. There are also some lectures associated with the scroll exhibit, though I don't know that I'll be getting down to Seattle for those.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, September 06, 2006 9:02:19 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm back. The holiday was a great time away.

I have a question. I've been aggregating the DailyHebrew blog via Bloglines for awhile. Cool stuff, though I ashamedly don't know Hebrew.

Is there any place out there doing for NT Greek what DailyHebrew is doing for Hebrew?

If so, please leave a comment and email me.

If not ... is anyone out there interested in starting it up? Or even trying a group-blog effort (say, five folks with one person each taking one day of the week?) Email or leave comments (preferably leave comments so others know what's up) if you're interested.

Better: Just go to blogspot and start one and then announce it -- I'll post notice here (and, if you do it today [Feb 28], I'll mention it in BSC:III!)

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:09:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, December 01, 2005

I happened acorss the Posner Memorial Library collection at Carnegie Mellon University. They've digitised (photographed) a bunch of stuff.

One of the items is Quinque libri legis Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium with a date of 1539-1544. My Latin ... well, I don't really have any Latin, but I seem to be able to make out something about five books of the law (the book names gave it away, I know).

The text is in Hebrew. Here's the title page, where you can see the standard "Ex officina Roberti Stephani, typographi Regii." ("from the office of Robertus Stephanus, typographer to the king"?) which is the same line that appears on the title page of the 1550 edition of the so-called "Textus Receptus".

Here's the first page of Genesis. Now my Hebrew is only marginally better than my Latin (which isn't saying much) but one interesting item to note is that the first word of the book is printed as the title, the balance of the book takes off from there. From what I understand, this is standard for Hebrew editions (to use the first word as the title).

Typographically, the text is cool because you can see use of wide letters to justify the left margin.

So, my questions (if anyone happens to know):

1. The Posner Library only has the Torah. Did Bobby-Steve publish the whole Hebrew Bible?

2. Anyone know the basis of this edition? Surely it isn't L. Is it the same basis as the Ben Chayyim 1524-25 edition?

3. Does this edition contain anything textually significant?

4. What is the relation of this edition to the King James Version Old Testament?

Post Author: rico
Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:17:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, November 23, 2005

While I enjoyed my time at both the ETS and SBL conferences and was able to see a few sessions of personal interest, the fact remains that my employer paid for my trip (thanks, Logos!) because they wanted me there to talk about issues of Greek syntax at both conferences.

You may have seen this signage on the back of the Logos booth:

That bit about Greek syntax on the left? That's one of the (seemingly many) major projects I've been working on for the past year. We've made a whole lot of progress implementing syntax databases inside of Logos Bible Software. One of our primary guidelines in working on this stuff has been, simply, "you've got to see it to understand it". So we've been concerned both with visualization of syntax information and searchability of syntax information.

A colleague and I have been blogging about syntax and Logos' implementation over on the Logos Bible Software blog. Check out the syntax category for a review of what we've been working on and how it functions in the system. We'll be blogging more about syntax in the coming weeks as well as this stuff gets closer to public release.

This same colleague and I presented papers at the ETS conference on the issues of Hebrew and Greek Syntax within Logos Bible Software. Those papers will be available on the Logos web site (and the blog) hopefully early next week; I'll post a notice here as well to keep y'all up to date.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 1:37:06 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, October 13, 2005

Some things readers of ricoblog may be interested in:

First, I'll be starting a random series of posts over on the Logos Bible Software blog about Greek Syntactic databases and Logos Bible Software. The first post (an introduction) is available today. I hope to do a post or two each week; I plan to start sometime next week.

Second, if you'll be at the meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) that precedes the SBL annual meeting, you should know that I'm scheduled to present:

Open Session: Biblical Languages
Radisson Mt. Laurel
Theme: Bible Software
Thursday, Nov. 17; 3:00 - 3:40 pm
Rick Brannan, Logos Bible Software
New Developments in Computer Tools for Teaching and Research in Hebrew and Greek Syntax

A colleague and I will be demonstrating different aspects of the work Logos has been doing in the areas of both Hebrew and Greek syntactic databases. Should be a hoot!

There are other presentations in the same session that are worth attending as well; I'd recommend the whole session. It runs from 2:10 through 4:30 on Thursday afternoon.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, October 13, 2005 10:23:44 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, June 06, 2005

The ever-helpful Review of Biblical Literature has published a "review" by James Sanders (of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center) of Biblia Hebraica Quinta Fascicle 18: General Introduction and Megilloth.

I place review in quotes because it seems to be less of a review and more of a short history of the development of modern editions (handbook editions or handausgabe, not critical editions) of the Hebrew Bible. As such, the eleven-page review is well worth reading. If you've ever wondered about the differences between the BHK editions and BHS, and what the differences will be in BHQ, then you should read this.

One of the footnotes in this review contained a reference to another review (by Sanders) of the Hebrew University Bible Ezekiel volume. This as well has a historical overview that may be helpful to read.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, June 06, 2005 5:55:38 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Some typophiles may know of Ari Davidow's Hebrew Typography Blog. Anyway, he had a flurry of posts over the weekend after about six weeks of silence. I'd recommend posts on:



Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:19:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 14, 2005

[NOTE: When this post was written in April 2005, several PDF facsimiles of editions of the Greek New Testament were available from bibles.org.uk. They no longer appear to be available. The downloads are sizeable and I am not able to provide them for download or FTP or delivery on DVD. Apologies, RWB]

I've mentioned this before, but I'm a bibliophile when it comes to stuff dealing with the Greek New Testament. If it has to do with the Greek NT and it was published in the mid to late 1800s or early 1900s, chances are I want it. I enjoy the content, the conclusions, the scholarship and the typesetting.

I'm even more excited about early editions of the Greek New Testament, but I know that I'll never own any of these editions. But I have found a few as PDF files. Today I grabbed a PDF facsimile of the Complutensian Polyglot (PDF is approx. 500 megs, available via bibles.org.uk). And it is so very cool.

The Complutensian Polyglot is notable for a number of reasons. First, it is a polyglot, meaning that it presents the text in more than one language (poly + glot ==> "many tongues", roughly).

It was printed between 1514-1517 and as such is the earliest printed (type-set) representation of the Greek New Testament. But it wasn't available until 1522, which means the Erasmian edition of 1516 was the first available printed Greek New Testament; even though the Complutensian is the better Greek text and despite the fact that it was technically complete before Erasmus completed his text. The NT has Greek and Latin in parallel. Check it out (click any graphic for a larger version):

This is 1Ti 2.3-7. If you look closely, you'll see that each word in the Greek and Latin is preceded by a small superscript character. This is a form of alignment. That's right, the text, while typeset in parallel columns, is aligned at the word level through the superscript number device. I've said it before to others, but these early typesetter dudes were studs. Check it out:


Little known to anyone who hasn't read John Lee's fantastic book A History of New Testament Lexicography, the Complutensian Polyglot also has the earliest example of a printed Greek lexicon. The last volume contains a glossary of Greek words with their Latin equivalents.

But that's not all. The Complutensian Polyglot is an edition of the whole Bible. That is, the Greek New Testament is only 1/3 of the book. There are volumes of Hebrew Bible content. Here's a sample from Genesis 1:

That's right. The left column is the LXX ... with interlinear Latin glosses! The middle column is Jerome's Latin. The right column is the Hebrew. If you look closely ... you'll see superscript letters in the Latin column and in the Hebrew column; so there is (I'd guess) a word-for-word alignment going on here too. How cool is that? I don't know Hebrew, so I have no idea what information the right-most margin contains. In addition, if Targum Onkelos has content to represent, the Aramaic is made available as well.

This is scholarship and typesetting that was going on in the early 1500s. I am continually amazed at what was accomplished just in this edition (let alone other typesetting and scholarship from the era), and that in just a few years (1514-1517? By hand? Whoa!). Here we are today, with our computers and our desktop publishing systems ... and we couldn't set something like the above without a whole lot of complaining, grudging and whining, once we got past the Hebrew font issue and figured out a hack around the interlinear portion. Speaking of which, check out the detail on that interlinear portion:

Look at that beautiful work. The Latin gloss is above the main line of the Greek text. You can barely make out the Greek once you account for the minuscule-esque script. Cross-references in the margin. I'll say it again — these guys were studs.

Not only that, but guess what? The supplementary volume (you remember, the one with the Greek-Latin glossary?) also has a Hebrew-Latin lexicon. Yep. You're reading that correctly. Check it out:


Here's some more detail showing a couple of articles in their entirety:

Now, remember — no computers. Nothing but dudes, type (which they probably cut themselves) and a press, along with desire and a bunch of elbow-grease. Not only that, but they sure knew how to end the NT. Why don't we see typographic devices like this in our modern Bibles? Would it cost too much to have the graphic design department whip something out? Would the extra page and ink really sink the budget and cause us to lose money? This is the right way to end the NT, giving all glory to God. If you know Latin and can translate more than the first line, feel free to send me your translation. I'll post it at the end of this article and link back to your blog/website/whatever.

Update: As I work my way through the Latin (I don't know Latin, so it's mostly what I can intuit based on my knowledge of Spanish and Greek) I see that the first few lines do mention the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but the rest of it seems to list the balance of folks involved in the production -- a few cardinals and some other folk. Then it ends with the date (Jan. 10, 1514?). As I said, I may very well be mistaken as I don't know Latin. But that's what seems to be going on in the final typographical device.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 14, 2005 4:38:42 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Here's a cool page about Hebraica & Judaica Incunabula.

And here's a decent definition of the term Incunabula: The printing art was at the time of its inception as revolutionary an achievement in human history as computer technology in our own day: it is referred to in Hebrew sources as a "heavenly craft." Books published in the earliest period of printing, from the time Gutenberg introduced printing to Europe (ca. 1455) until the year 1500, are known as incunabula, or cradle-books. (taken from a page at the above exhibit)

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:06:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, December 10, 2004

I was poking around the referrer logs for ricoblog, and I stumbled across the Hebrew Typography Blog by Ari Davidow. It doesn't look like it gets updated often, but there is some cool stuff on there.

One of the very cool items (to me, anyway) was a link to a Hebrew Type Database. Typophiles, beware, particularly if you're into Hebrew. I know the Hebrew alphabet and that's about it, but the Hebrew Type Database has sucked me in.

The primary presentation (available in German, English, Russian, and Hebrew, it appears) involves sample type from a number of different sources. These appear to have been scanned in. Based on the date range in the “selection criterion” box, I'd guess that one can select typefaces by date range and place of printing.

From each source, one can go to the “detail” page. For instance, here's the detail page for a sephardic font, Zierletter. From here, you can click on any character for a huge detail shot of the glyph. The tav (taw) is pretty cool. If you click on the book title (if it is active) you can get more information on the book the font occurs in. I clicked on  מסכת חולין (the 1579 title) and can see page images and all sorts of info about the book. Whether all books are documented this well, I don't know — but I could spend hours just surfing around looking at the books and images.

Warning: If you're more bibliophile than typophile (that's me) don't even click on the Bibliographie-synopsis link. Don't do it. Really. I warned you — you'll be lost for hours!

Post Author: Rico
Friday, December 10, 2004 6:02:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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