# Monday, October 27, 2014

My employer Faithlife announced Logos 6 this morning. You can learn more about features on the forums "What's New" page or on the Logos 6 features page.

I was able to contribute all over the place in L6, in both major an minor ways. This post will list a few of my favorites, the ones I'm most excited about.

Ancient Literature Guide Section

For years, Logos has had access to all sorts of text and resources that are contemporary or in special relationship with the text of the Bible. Church Fathers, Josephus, Philo, Apostolic Fathers, Ugaritic stuff, Amarna Letters, Dead Sea Scrolls Sectarian material, ANET, Context of Scripture, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Talmuds & Mishah, Nag Hammadi codices … the list goes on. What we haven't had was an easy way to see what all that stuff says about or interacts with a particular Bible reference. And we certainly haven't had that material classified using intertextual terminology or topical terminology. Now we do, and it is sweet. Ken Penner and I sifted thousands (and thousands) of references to many of these different corpora. For others I wrote a lot of code to sift and classify references. We ended up creating a dataset of over 182,000 references between the Bible and all sorts of ancient literature. Learn more about it on this forum post, and watch the below video.

Textual Variants Guide Section

In Logos 5 and previous, we provided text-critical information in the Apparatuses section of the Exegetical Guide. In Logos 6, we have a new section: Textual Variants. More info in this forum post. The section is broken up into a number of subsections:

  • Textual Commentaries: Most are familiar with Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. This is a great resource, but it is far too technical for most students who want to know about textual variation, but get lost with all the lingo, sigla, and ancient language. And it only covers the NT. So I wrote a bunch of code to identify variation units in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament that seemed to warrant comment of some sort. Then I got in touch with Israel Loken, and we wrote a new textual commentary: The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. Israel wrote the notes for the Hebrew Bible, and I wrote the notes for the Greek New Testament. You can see more on the forum, or on the Logos web site.
  • Apparatuses: This is much like the old L4/5 apparatuses section.
  • Editions: These are printed editions of the Hebrew Bible (OT) and Greek New Testament (NT). Whichever editions you have in your library, if they contain the verse(s) you're querying, will be listed here — with a helpful link to compare them all, if you'd like.
  • Transcriptions: Logos has published several transcriptions of manuscripts, including the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, Comfort & Barrett's edition of several NT Papyri, as well as Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Bezae. If any of the transcriptions in your library contain the verse(s) you're looking into, they will be listed here. Pretty cool.
  • Ancient Versions: Ancient (or Early) versions are early translations from the Hebrew or Greek into another language. The LXX is an ancient version of the Hebrew Bible. So is the Vulgate (for OT, in many places) and also for the Greek NT. Coptic versions, Syriac, and anything else you may have in this category will show up here.
  • Online Manuscripts: Even if you have Logos editions of NT manuscript transcriptions, there are nearly 6,000 of these guys. The folks at the INTF have been working on cataloguing, indexing, imaging, and transcribing these manuscripts in their New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR). And now you can peek over their shoulder. If the NTVMR has public information on any manuscript containing the verse range you've specified, you'll be given links to their material. Images. Transcriptions. It is very cool. And they are working on it all the time, so the data just grows and grows. These are the very images and transcriptions that future editions of the NA and UBS texts as well as the ECM will consult. And the links are served up for you to follow up on, as you see fit. This is awesome, and we're thankful that the INTF/NTVMR allow this sort of use of their material.

Clause Search of LXX Deuterocanon/Apocrypha

So, there is this whole class of books that Protestants like to call "intertestamental" or "apocryphal." But whole faith traditions (Catholic, Orthodox) consider it to be, in some degree, canonical and they use the term "deuterocanonical." Whatever you call it, this is fascinating material, in Greek, and is useful for linguistic and historical study. Add in a referent analysis, and you can do some cool stuff with clause search.

But it was out of reach for one person to do. I thought, "why not interns?" We put out the word, and Jimmy Parks, Charles Bauserman, and Matt Nerdahl answered the call. And they did phenomenal work this summer to push this dataset out. More detail and a screenshot on the Logos forums.

Lexham English Septuagint English-Greek Reverse Interlinear

With Logos 5, the Lexham English Septuagint was released. For Logos 6, to make clause search hit display in English work for the LXX deuterocanonical/apocryphal material, we needed a reverse interlinear. So Isaiah Hoogendyk did a lot of magic to make our antiquated tooling work, and he and a developer did even more magic to integrate that data into a new, spiffy, shiny tool. We presently have the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books aligned, along with portions of Esther and Daniel that also occur in the Hebrew Bible. We hope to have the rest done sometime this winter. Learn more on the Logos forums.

And All Sorts of Other Stuff

Only four features, and I'm winded. But you can see videos on other stuff I'm excited about. Here are the links:

There is so much more, I can't do it justice. Do check it out.

Post Author: rico
Monday, October 27, 2014 8:20:24 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]
# Sunday, March 28, 2010

BibleTech 2010 was a blast. I got to hang out with very smart, very fun people and spend all my brain cycles thinking and pondering about the intersection of Bible and technology.

Apart from simply hanging out with fun folks like James Tauber and Mike Aubrey (to name a few), the highlight for me had to be Neil Rees’ presentation on, essentially, bootstrapping a concordance as a model to create a new concordance. If you don’t care about stopwords and homographs, sure, you can just write a program. But most programs are that do such tasks aren’t too good and require a lot of human post-processing — particularly if you want a smaller, non-exhaustive concordance. Rees presented on using existing, well-edited concordances (in any language) as models of concepts to include in a new concordance of a new text. This is brilliant.

I know some presentations are making their way to Vimeo. There are three I can recommend. First, two from James Tauber:

Also check Weston Ruter’s presentation on the Open Scriptures API:

Note that A portion of James’ 2008 BibleTech presentation dealt with the graded reader, a video describing it is below. Very cool stuff.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, March 28, 2010 7:12:50 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's what I've submitted for BibleTech:2009. We'll see whether or not the paper is accepted.

Note that the deadline for submissions is Nov 3, 2008. Last year was a blast, so I'm pumped for this year's conference (on March 27-28, 2009 in Seattle, WA).

Stylometry and the Septuagint: Applying Anthony Kenny's Stylometric Study of the NT to the LXX

In 1986, Anthony Kenny wrote a book called "A Stylometric Study of the New Testament" which gives details for compiling and comparing book-by-book stylometric statistics for the Greek New Testament given a morphologically tagged corpus. This exploratory study proposes to apply Kenny's method to the LXX, using the Logos Bible Software LXX Morphology, to analyze style.

While Kenny's primary application of his method was in the area of authorship studies, this paper is more interested in the general style of the LXX, and not at all interested in authorship theories or assigning a 'hand' to different passages. For better or worse, this paper treats the LXX as a corpus, and has little interest in its relationship with the underlying Hebrew text.

Once the analysis has been detailed, some points of interest (known only when the analysis is complete as the nature of the study is exploratory) will be further explored. Areas in which the work could be further developed will also be reviewed.

I should stress again, the key word is exploratory, particularly since I'll be using a beta/in-development form of the Logos LXX Morphology. I don't have theories I'm trying to prove, I'm interested in seeing what sorts of information comes to light when applying a Kenny-esque technique to the analysis of the style of the LXX.

Will you be at BibleTech:2009? You really should, last year's was one of the best, most fun conferences I've ever been to. And, if your paper proposal is accepted, you don't have to pay the conference registration! How cool is that?

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 9:30:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [6]
# Sunday, January 27, 2008

BibleTech08 was two days chock-full-o' Bible-geeky goodness.

The highlight for me was time spent between sessions and at meals talking with folks. Prime among those was time spent with James Tauber. I've emailed with James back and forth for at least five years now; it was great to spend time with him in person, reflecting on sessions, talking about the doctroal work he's doing, and all sorts of other stuff. Here's the not-so-great picture I took with my cell phone to prove it:

Others have summarized sessions (Check the tag bibletech08 on Technorati for a listing) so I won't do that here. I will say that some of the stuff James Tauber talked about work with Ulrik Sandborg-Petersen at MorphGNT.org regarding lemma alignments was thought-provoking; Andi Wu's presentation on treebanks caused me to covet my neighbor's syntax data; Sean Boisen's Zoomable Bible presentation made me think about interface in ways I hadn't before; Kurt Fuqua's stuff made my head hurt (though not necessarily in a bad way), Zack Hubert's zhubert.com retrospective was awesome; and Bob MacDonald's talk on structures in Psalms was much appreciated both for the visualizations and also for the esteem in which he presented it -- unlike so many presentations at places like SBL, you could tell that for Bob, this was not simply an academic exercise, the text has profoundly influenced him.

My profuse thanks to everyone who came to Seattle for two days of Bible-geeky goodness. Hopefully we'll do it again next year!

Post Author: rico
Sunday, January 27, 2008 11:02:57 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]

I had an insanely great time at BibleTech:2008 and will blog about that in a bit; though I wanted to get links up to my paper.My paper on cross-references went well, I thought, though my presentation itself was somewhat scattered. Here are the goods:

I'll be posting these on my personal web site on Monday; I also believe the BibleTech website will hold copies of the paper, handout and powerpoint. And maybe even audio!

Note that my colleague Sean Boisen (who blogs at Blogos) has blogged on a number of the papers presented. Here's his primary post; hopefully he'll add some tags to link them together over the next few days.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, January 27, 2008 8:54:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 19, 2007

This morning the Logos Bible Software blog announced the BibleTech 2008 conference. It'll take place January 25-26 in Seattle, WA.

While Logos is the primary conference sponsor (disclaimer: I work for Logos), the conference is not about Logos Bible Software. It is designed for those who are interested in the intersection of the Bible and technology. So this could be professionals, hobbyists, publishers, bloggers, webmasters, educators or just about anyone else. If you're interested in the Bible and technology, no matter where you are, what you do, or who you work for, we'd love to see you in Seattle.

Several folks have already agreed to present. I'm most interested to hear from James Tauber (general XML/Python stud and co-creator of MorphGNT.org) and Zack Hubert (creator of zhubert.com).

The call for participation is open. Have an itch you'd like to scratch, or a cool side project you'd like to present? Then submit your ideas. I know I've got a few different ideas a-brewin'.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, July 19, 2007 7:43:26 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 05, 2007

My friend and colleague Sean Boisen, who blogs at the aptly-named Blogoshas called me out.

Sean is thinking about (and doing -- trust me!) all sorts of cool stuff, but one that he's working on that you can read about has to do with the way that Bible references are indexed on the web. The idea is to use a "microformat" to, in a semi-consistent manner, note where Bible references are cited so that web crawlers can parse the references in a somewhat standard way.

If this sounds groovy to you, then check out Sean's initial post. If you're really interested, you can see an overview and a more formal spec he's been working on as well.

My own initial response: Sure, mostly. My primary sticking point (which is now null and void, see 'update' below) is/will be with a canonical list of supported names. I'd recommend preferred names but include a list of aliases (alternates) for all abbreviations. I think this is necessary for ease of adoption. Instead of forcing the tagger/blogger/whatever to use the proper abbreviation, the app/crawler that is processing Bible refs in the citation standard should deal with that conversion.

To illustrate my point, let me show you how I make Bible refs hot (like this one, 1Ti 2.3-6) here at ricoblog.

The blog software I use (dasBlog) supports a concept of text macros that are essentially regular expressions. This allows me to change something like this: $esv[1Ti 2.3-6] (only I use parens instead of brackets) into something that jumps to the ref: 1Ti 2.3-6. The software itself expands the macro as it processes the page display (or the RSS feed, or whatever). Now, if I was on top of my game, I could write a component for dasBlog in C# that would isolate references in context, or that would 'canonicalize' tagged references in post text. But that's something I don't want to do. Why? Because it is hard, not easy, and I have other hard things I'd rather do.

Now, I jump to the ESV and I rely on the ESV web service to know that "1Ti" means First Timothy. The ESV web service (as well as the Bible Gateway) support a number of abbreviations for each book of the Bible. I think it is important to make the tagging of references on the web pages easy; there is a relatively small universe of known abbreviations for each language, let the processors that process the Bible refs build those tables and deal with the issue.

This has a few benefits. First, it makes tagging easy. I don't have to remember that "1Tim" means First Timothy; I can use my own preferred abbreviation (assuming it is logical, descriptive, and human-readable) and the processing app can take care of it -- or throw an error when it can't figure something out.

Second, it means that multiple languages can be supported. It means that if I'm Swedish, I can type "1Mo 1.1" for Genesis 1:1. I don't have to think, "yeah, 'Gen' is the abbreviation for what I call '1Mo'".

Third ... I hate to break it to y'all, but even the most conscientious taggers make mistakes. The data will not be pure. So I say embrace the messiness of alternate booknames and even alternate languages from the get-go, it'll make life easier down the road. And it'll make life easier for those who do use the bibleref proposal. Heck, I'll begin by altering my macro to insert the proper <cite> tags around the reference ... though I'll be using my own booknames.

Update (2007-07-06): Two things. First, I really need to read the whole paragraph of the proper section of Sean's spec; an appendix recommends that alternate booknames are to be supported by the processor:

Bibleref processors MUST recognize the book designators specified in Appendix C of the OSIS specification (the current version is 2.1.1: note this is a large PDF file).
Bibleref processors for English or other languages MAY recognize additional book identifiers, provided there is an unambiguous mapping to canonical book names.

So, as usual, Sean was ahead of me and most of my blathering up there is needless. Once again, Sean proves his awesome-ness.

Second, I've updated my ref macro to incorporate bibleref tagging. So now there are <cite class="bibleref" title="ref"> elements around all hot Bible references.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, July 05, 2007 9:46:25 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]
# Friday, March 23, 2007

From Tim Bulkeley (SansBlogue) comes news of a new blogging engine called Tumblr. Check out their blog. Tumblr (finally!) recognizes that there are different types of blog posts, and that those posts each have a common sort of form. They focus on some unique thing, but also have a lot of the same overhead. Tim quotes another source that describes Tumblr as:

The neatest thing about tumblelogs is that unlike regular blogging - which confronts you with a large, empty textarea to type your thoughts into - there are 6 distinct types of posts that have their own visual format: a "traditional" blog post, a photo, a quote, a single link, a conversational transcript, and a video.

In my 2005 SBL paper on biblioblogging, one of the things I stressed was that different "types" of posts should have different entry forms with different features that the form supported. So, one post type for 'normal' blog posts, another for bibliography entries, another for link entries ... and so forth. While I won't be using Tumblr because I just don't blog that way, it's great to see a blogging engine start to support different post types.

Post Author: rico
Friday, March 23, 2007 5:43:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This just came through the internal company mail, though it is also up on the Logos Jobs Page. It is for a Full-time Web Developer. Must relocate to Bellingham, no telecommute/remote employment options.

Logos Bible Software is looking for a skilled software developer to join our web applications team.

We are looking for experience in professional software development of data-bound websites using object-oriented designs, but will also consider new graduates. Our web team develops cutting edge applications using the latest technologies from Microsoft and others and we are constantly experimenting with new techniques and systems. Our work environment is casual but fast-paced and technology driven.

See the Logos jobs page for further requirements/etc.

(Don't forget that we're looking for a Chinese Marketing Manager as well!)

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:41:53 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Sunday, August 27, 2006

Last week, Ben C. Smith of TextExcavation emailed me to tell me he's using my Apostolic Fathers Lookup Tool as a reference to a parallel English/Greek display for his Apostolic Fathers resource pages -- like this one for the Didache.

While he set up his linking, Ben located a few bum links and notified me of them so I could fix them up. Thanks, Ben. Be sure to check out his work if you're unfamiliar with it.

Also, Ben blogs with the group over at Thoughts on Antiquity. And Ben just commenced a series on canon lists with a post on the Marcion canon. Do check it out!

Post Author: rico
Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:16:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Finally. It's here in my grubby little hands. Matthew Brook O'Donnell's Corpus Linguistics and the Greek of the New Testament. I've been waiting months for this book. I'm so stoked that it is in print.

When you do what I do for a living — munge Greek text — a title like this simply begs to be read. So now I get to read it. Here's the first paragraph of the blurb at Sheffield Phoenix Press:

The burgeoning field of corpus linguistics studies aspects of a language that are susceptible to computer processing once a sizable electronic corpus of the language has been assembled. In this groundbreaking work, O’Donnell takes the unusual step of applying the techniques of corpus linguistics to Hellenistic Greek and especially the Greek of the New Testament, and in three areas shows, with a multitude of worked examples, how it could sharpen our appreciation of the language.

I may or may not comment further on it on this blog. I'll say that if you're into linguistics generally, and into the Greek of the New Testament specifically, then you may want to consider the book even if you're not into analysis of linguistic corpora. True, there is some technical stuff in the book (how awesome to see a book in Biblical Studies with XML on the page!) but there is also good thinking about different approaches and data analysis that could come in handy even if one isn't into such things.

If you're generally interested in stuff like this, you should check out the OpenText.org project too. Matthew Brook O'Donnell is the project's Director of Research and Development. They are doing some seriously cool stuff. Also note that Logos Bible Software (my employer) will be publishing an edition of the OpenText.org Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament; this has been mentioned in some detail by yours truly in the Syntax section of the Logos Bible Software Blog.

I should also state that because of Logos' involvement with the OpenText.org material, I've had the pleasure of working with Matt and others from the OpenText.org project. The experience of working with them on implementing the OpenText.org material has been one of the highlights of my year. I've learned much as a result and look forward to learning more in working through Matt's book and continuing to work on the OpenText.org material.

Update (2005-12-13): Thanks, Wayne (Better Bibles Blog) for the encouragement and for posting a notice to the B-Greek list. B-Greekers, if you happen to come here and check it out, you may be interested in other posts I've written in the Greek category. There are a bunch of posts in that category, so it may take time for the page to generate.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:03:41 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]
# Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hi folks.

I've posted a copy of the paper I'll present on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the CARG session during the SBL meeting.

See PastoralEpistles.com for more information and the download link. Since the paper deals with that site specifically, it makes sense to post the information there.

My presentation will not be simply reading the paper; I'll instead use the paper as a rough outline and work through some screen captures illustrating major points of the paper, and have a short Q&A at the end. Unless I go long (Mark, please stop me if I do!)

Update (2005-11-12): Thanks to all who have emailed, linked to this post or otherwise mentioned the paper.* I've been a bit apprehensive as this is my first bit of (somewhat) formal writing for an academic audience. The welcome and encouragement I've received from y'all is, hopefully, reflective of the arena of Biblical Scholarship as a whole.

Update (2005-11-13): Ed Cook (Ralph the Sacred River), leaves an encouraging comment that also notes I should abridge the paper in order to fit my 20 minutes. True, true. I have already prepared a one-page handout for the session. That, plus the screen shots I took that I'll project via PowerPoint should be enough to guide me through my 20 alloted minutes. I plan on reviewing the slides one more time prior to the presentation to pull a few, just to be sure.

* Jim Davila (PaleoJudaica.com)Jim West (Biblical Theology), Rubén Gómez (Bible Software Review Weblog), Mark Goodacre (NT Gateway Weblog), Loren Rosson (in the comments below); at least that I've seen. Let me know if you've mentioned it and I'll add a link here.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 10, 2005 6:31:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [3]
# Thursday, November 03, 2005

About a month ago, I blogged about LibraryThing. Several other bibliobloggers have mentioned the service as well.

For the unaware, LibraryThing is this cool service you can use to catalog your books fairly easily. For example, here's my profile.

The service has grown by leaps and bounds, and the guy who runs (Timothy Spalding) it has added some nifty stuff in the past month. I'd highly recommend it.

One of my early hesitations with LibraryThing was that I couldn't add my own stuff en masse. See, I have wanted (and wanted) to write my own book database thingie that would catalog both print and electronic resources (i.e., books for Logos Bible Software / Libronix Digital Library System). I've bugged Bob Pritchett about it for around three years now.

Then LibraryThing went and did it. Tim added a "universal import" that simply takes a list of ISBN numbers and then does the rest.

"Whoa ... I can make that work!" was my first thought.

I've hacked together a small HTA ("Hyper-Text Application") that (slowly) accesses the LDLS via the LDLS Object Model, builds a list of books, and allows you to export a list of ISBN numbers. Then ... if you sign up for LibraryThing (first 200 books are free!) you can import the list and use LibraryThing to start to catalog your print and electronic resources.

Realize that not all LDLS resources have ISBN data, but several do. So this is one way to get a large chunk-o-resources from LDLS into LibraryThing.

Before I provide a link, a few warnings:

  1. It requires you to have IE on your machine (if you have Logos, you have IE).
  2. It runs locally on your own box.
  3. Your virus software will pitch a fit when it runs. It's OK. If you don't trust me, just disconnect from the internet when you run it.
  4. Oh, you may have to adjust your IE security settings. I dunno. It worked on my box, though.
  5. It is S-L-O-W.
  6. The interface is horrid. Interruptive dialogs with no ability to cancel out? Oh yeah! Now you know why I munge text & data, and why I don't write interface stuff for Logos.
  7. On reflection, "horrid" is being too kind. The interface absolutely stinks.
  8. Have I mentioned that it is slow?
  9. It works on my laptop at home. It may not work on any other machine in the known world at this time. As they say, your mileage may vary.
  10. I wrote the guts of this years ago when I was cutting my javascript teeth. I've learned much in the intervening years. It could be oh-so-much better. I mean, it's pretty bad. Keep a bucket handy if you happen to look at the code.
  11. I specifically disclaim any responsibility for anything that happens to your machine as a result of running this thingie. That means success or failure. If you run it, you're responsible.

Now, instructions.

  1. Download the zip archive.
  2. Unzip it all into its own folder.
  3. Double-click MetadataExplorer.hta.
  4. Chide me for stupid interruptive dialogs and bad interface design.
  5. Wait awhile. Hey, I said it was slow!
  6. Click the button that says Export ISBNs
  7. Chide me again for dumb interruptive dialogs.
  8. Find your ISBNs in LDLS-ISBNs.txt in the same folder as the HTA file.

Next, you probably want to de-dupe the list. Most text editors will have some sort of sort/de-dupe functionality. Yes, the script should do this. But it doesn't. Have I mentioned I'm a cheesebag and should be held in contempt for writing this little thing? If you don't de-dupe, LibraryThing may import multiple instances of a given book, and then you'll have to flip through your scads of books and remove dupes in LibraryThing. That's really not that bad since Timothy Spalding is a big-time stud and has made this pretty easy to do. But if you can do it before you submit ... well, you should.

Note that the HTA was actually written for a different purpose -- to browse the raw "dublin core" metadata in LDLS books. Click on a book in the list, hit the "Display Metadata" button. I added the ISBN export because it was easier to add it here than whip something new up.

What's that? You still want to run this blasted nausea-inducing thing on your box? Well ... you've been warned.

Here's the link to the zip file: MetadataExplorer.zip (4.05 KB)

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 03, 2005 10:48:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This looks pretty cool.


Info on how it is set up is available too. Looks like it indexes RSS/ATOM with Google's engine. Unsure what it does with categories or "tags". But this is interesting:

What search operators are supported?

All of the standard Google Search operators are supported in Blog Search. These include:

  • link:
  • site:
  • intitle:

Additionally, Blog Search supports the following new operators of its own:

  • inblogtitle:
  • inposttitle:
  • inpostauthor:
  • blogurl:

For example, a search such as [mandolin inpostauthor:Graham] will show you posts about mandolins written by people named Graham. Note that you can also use the Advanced Search option to achieve the same effect.

The operators to seach in post title or author could come in handy when trying to remember a post that has slipped from the aggregator (which happens often). Or for a post on a particular blog. Try [Paul inblogtitle:ricoblog inposttitle:corinthians] for some fun. Note that indexing goes back to June 2005.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 7:11:26 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 25, 2005

If you're a programmer (doing web stuff or application-level stuff) and have dreamed about working at Logos ... well, dream no more.

Logos has a few new jobs listed, notably one for a Web Developer (C#/SQL/ASP.NET) and another in our primary Software Development (C++) department.

Check out the Employment Opportunities page.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, August 25, 2005 4:06:56 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mark Goodacre (NT Gateway Weblog) responds to a question on deinde from Danny Zacharias regarding Scripture indexing of books.

Danny, if you're using Word (or some other word processor) to edit the sorted data exported from Excel, you can try your hand at MSWord's "wildcard" matching to turn "Ge{tab}1{tab}1-3" into "Ge 1.1-3". You can use metacharacters like '^t' to match invisible stuff like tabs, and replace everything at once instead of the tedious hand-hacking of the lines. I just played around with this and forgot how much I dislike Word's "Wildcard" or "Pattern Matching" capability. Anyway, if you search the help for "wildcard" you'll find some scant documentation, but assuming input like:


Where {tab} is an actual tab character. Assuming that, you can get text like:

Ge 1:1-3
Ge 2:3

With "wildcards" like this and the "Use Wildcards" box checked:

Find What: (<[a-zA-Z0-9 ]@>)^t([0-9]@)^t([0-9-]@)^13
Replace With: \1 \2:\3^p

This assumes that the second field only ever contains numbers, and the third field is only ever numbers and the '-' character. You may need to modify if your data has other requirements.

With all of that said time for the tangent/self-promotion:

Over on my single-topic blog PastoralEpistles.com, I just wrote some code that evaluates posts for cited references (hyperlink text to an online edition of the ESV at ESV.org) and generated a sorted reference index. Reference indexes are handy things, to be able to jump into blog posts (and other things like bibliography entries) based on a Scripture reference can, at times, be even handier.

On the post entry side of things, I've made it very easy to "tag" these sorts of references (i.e. {esv|1Ti 3.1-7} does this: 1Ti 3.1-7). The indexing code searches through posts, looks for particular sorts of tags that indicate a tagged reference of some sort, and compiles a list. There's more to it — one has to account for alternate forms of canonical book names in some manner. Once the list is generated, it is sorted according to a sort key (numeric string generated for sorting purposes based on the reference itself) and saved as an XML file on the server. When the index is displayed, the XML is converted into HTML and dumped to the screen in the site template. 

You can see it on the Bible Index page at PastoralEpistles.com. I see I have a small problem with the entry for 1Ti 3.1-7 duplicated; I'll have to look into that. Not quite sure what would cause that ...


Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 9:54:09 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hi folks.

Just a little cross-pollination between my projects I thought y'all might be interested in.

I've spent the afternoon thinking through the generation of reference indexes for PastoralEpistles.com. Since I started the site, some posts have been associated with particular Bible references. Those references have not been utilized to date; they've just been sitting within post metadata invisible to the user/reader. Additionally, several posts contain clickable Bible references. On top of that, I also cite Apostolic Fathers references (using a groovy tool I wrote last year ... which you're welcome to use too).

So I wrote code today to gather those sorts of things and generate a reference index. That way, when someone arrives at PastoralEpistles.com, they can check out indexes of Bible references or Apostolic Fathers references just by clicking a link on the sidebar. So if someone wants to know if the site has content regarding, say, 1Ti 3.15, by using the Bible Index, you end up at this post (and this post too) which you may not have found otherwise.

At least, that's the hope. Sometimes I think I'm weird and that not too many other folks actually use reference indexes or subject indexes, or that they don't miss them when they're not available. And maybe I am weird. But I like to think of it as a good sort of weird.

Anyway, this will probably be one of the last major features implemented on PastoralEpistles.com, at least for awhile. Hope y'all find it useful!

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, July 02, 2005 4:31:53 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Saturday, June 18, 2005

Once again, partaking in some shameless self-promotion, I thought I'd mention a rather significant (from my point of view) update I've made to PastoralEpistles.com.

(For the benefit of newer ricoblog readers, PastoralEpistles.com is a second blog that I run that focuses on the Pastoral Epistles)

I've added a new feature that lets one browse through archived posts based on:

  • Subjects/Topics/Key Words that I've assigned (including but not limited to post categories).
  • People mentioned in the post or somehow associated (e.g. authors of books or journal articles discussed).
  • Greek words or phrases that occur within posts.
  • Latin words or phrases that occur within posts.

You can read more about it in this article.

If you haven't been to PastoralEpistles.com for awhile, be sure to check out new bibliography view feature (showcased by the Site Map) as well!

Please let me know if you find this sort of thing helpful in your biblioblog-browsin'. Thanks!

Note for Geeks: The above-mentioned "indexes" over on PastoralEpistles.com are probably one of the few places where you'll see HTML's "descriptive list" elements used as (I'm guessing) intended. That's right, I'm using the DL, DT and DD tags to make those babies! I almost forgot they existed, but when the time came to convert to HTML, the light-bulb went off in my head. It's so cool to use the right tag for the right thing.

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, June 18, 2005 4:12:26 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It's true. Logos Bible Software (my employer) is looking for another programmer. Here's the job listing.

The basics (this is taken directly from the job posting):

The most important characteristic we are looking for in this position is a passion for writing great code. We would like to find someone with experience in professional software development, but we will also consider a new graduate. The key issue is your coding experience and skill — not education or certification.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • 3+ years experience with C++
  • Experience as part of a multi-person software development team
  • Experience with most of a bucket-load of important technologies, including: XML, JavaScript, web services, regular expressions, SQL, and DHTML

The really, really ideal candidate will have:

  • Familiarity with the Bible and biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew)
  • Experience in the field of information retrieval
  • Fluency in a second modern language
  • A fantastic recipe for chicken curry

This position is at our offices in the wonderful city of Bellingham, Washington.

Interested? Don't contact me, go directly to the job posting and follow the instructions there.

Yes, there are other jobs listed too. Check them all out. You know you'd love working at Logos ...

Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, June 01, 2005 2:19:19 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jim West at Biblical Theology has a post with information on the upcoming CARG session on Biblioblogging at the SBL annual meeting. Mark Goodacre of the NT Gateway Weblog has a follow-up post titled Bibliobloggers @ CARG.

Mark mentions that I'm scheduled to present a paper to the CARG on the subject. I'm pretty excited to be presenting. My history with the SBL is short — my first SBL meeting was the 2004 San Antonio meeting. Logos brought me along to help answer questions about projects we were (and are) working on, and encouraged me to go to as many sessions as I could squeeze in. It was a blast. Since then, others encouraged me to submit a few paper proposals. And here I am today.

As Mark notes, my paper will focus on PastoralEpistles.com, the blog/site where I keep information (some blog, some bibliographical, some other) on the Pastoral Epistles. While I know that PastoralEpistles.com doesn't do everything right (it's basically a prototype I slapped together over a few weekends; more work planned over the summer), I think it illustrates some interesting things that can be done via the blogging medium, particularly in the realm of compiling topic-specific annotated bibliographies.

Admittedly, my presentation will probably be a bit more technical (but not too technical) than "scholarly". But I'm very pleased to have had my presentation accepted, and I'm quite thrilled to see the list of folks on the panel presentation* and realize that I'm on the panel along with them. It should be a fun session.

Update (2005-05-18): Jim Davila of PaleoJudaica provides an abstract to his CARG paper on Biblioblogging. Mark Goodacre posted a copy of my submitted abstract (second indented paragraph) earlier today.

* Mark GoodacreJim Davila, A. K. M. Adam, Tim Bulkeley, Stephen Carlson, Ed Cook, Torrey Seland (hopeful rather than confirmed) and Jim West.

Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:59:10 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Since Bob posted a notice to Logos' newsgroups (at news://news.logos.com/general, if you're interested) I figured I'd pop a notice here too.

Logos Jobs Page

There are some cool job openings at Logos that some folks out there in biblioblogdom (bloggers, readers, whomever) may be interested in or may be able to point out to friends and colleagues. All jobs require relocation to Bellingham, WA (70 degrees and clear today, BTW ... it's so nice I rode the motorcycle in to the office). Familiarity with Logos Bible Software is, of course, a plus.

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 1:33:01 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 14, 2005

This morning, languishing about and not wanting to get out of bed, I caught a short interview on NPR with Donald Knuth.

Knuth is legendary in the realm of information science/computer programming. Knuth himself developed the typesetting language TeX, primarily to typeset his continually-in-progress The Art of Computer Programming. He is guru above all gurus. Here is the short description/bio of Knuth from the interview page:

Donald Knuth is legendary in the computer science world for writing a series of must-have reference books called The Art of Computer Programming. Part cookbook, part textbook, part encyclopedia, these books are also considered by many to be technical and personal works of art.

One interesting part of the interview (towards the end) was when the interviewer asks if Knuth believes in God. Knuth does, and says he devotes a fair amount of time to thinking about such things. Interestingly, Knuth laments the possibility of there being a proof of God. He says that if such a thing ever occurred, he'd end up memorizing the proof and then wouldn't have any cause to think about it again. Not that he doesn't want to consider such things, but if it was empirically certain it wouldn't require the depth of thought and consideration that we are to give it. Because there's a mystery, it demands attention and consideration.

I'd never considered that perspective, but it makes a lot of sense. Of course, we're talking about Donald Knuth here, so it has to make sense.

Update: Programmers/Techies who are believers may find Knuth's book Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About an interesting diversion from the normal Comp. Sci. reading list. Here's part of the book blurb:

[Knuth's] starting point is the 3:16 project, an application of mathematical "random sampling" to the books of the Bible. The first lectures tell the story of the project's conception and execution, exploring its many dimensions of language translation, aesthetics, and theological history. Along the way, Knuth explains the many insights he gained from such interdisciplinary work. These theological musings culminate in a surprising final lecture tackling the ideas of infinity, free will, and some of the other big questions that lie at the juncture of theology and computation.

I've not read the book, I just came across a reference when searching for more info on Knuth and Christianity.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, March 14, 2005 9:13:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Saturday, February 05, 2005

Over the past few weekends, I've been spending my time working on yet another little side project: PastoralEpistles.com.

The site is a bit of a mutt. It is part blog, part wiki, and part something else that I'm not sure how to describe. What it allows me to do is to post information about the Pastoral Epistles in a few different formats:

  • Blog-style: So, the posts I've been making here that touch on the Pastorals will probably move over to the Pastoral Epistles.com blog.
  • Bibliography-style: One thing I really want to do is develop an annotated bibliography for the Pastoral Epistles. And not just books, but journal articles and web sites too. This will probably be the primary type of content, at least in the short term, for the site.
  • Articles: I may write longer articles, or post sample PDF files of the stuff I'm writing as I work my way through the Pastorals.
  • Site Documents: There's a certain amount of site overhead and communication that needs to go on.

The setup is extensible so I can create new "post types" by popping a new XML file in the right spot on the server. Rather than typing in HTML, the syntax is based on some very simple wiki-style codes. I can add different codes and such fairly easily. (I do still need to support dumping in raw HTML and ignoring it, though ... )

I'm sure James Tauber is thinking right now, "Gee, sounds like Leonardo." It may be. But writing the code is the fun part, isn't it? And why should someone else have all the fun?

The site still has a decent amount of work left to be done. Consider the current incarnation a beta. I haven't written the component that generates an RSS file yet, and there are some management tools I've yet to write, plus a few other things. I hope to get to the RSS file bit next weekend. I also don't have any support for comments (I still haven't decided if I want to support comments). But the mechanics of posting and browsing are supported, so I figured I'd make it live and get some folks banging on it so I can see what I haven't anticipated and what I need to fix.

Please check it out. Poke around. Click on stuff. I'm interested to know what you think about it. I've viewed the site in FireFox, IE 6.0, and Opera (all on WinXP) and it looks fine, so it should fly just about anywhere, I'd think. It looks the worst in IE (the login and password boxes not lining up is the problem; they do in other browsers. I'll have to work on that).

The login, BTW, is for "authors" to post links. If you're interested in being an author for some reason, contact me at: articles | pastoralepistles | com. Point me to stuff you've written online and plead your case.

Also, if you know of sites that I should include in the URL Bibliography, please drop a line to me at: articles | pastoralepistles | com. I'm guessing you'll know how to munge that into an email address.

Update: James Tauber writes in the comments:

It's also made me wonder if you, me and Zach Hubert should put together some kind of hosted site where people get a blog and a bunch of collaborative tools suited specifically to serious biblical study.

As for me: It sounds interesting. I've already learned a few lessons in writing the code for PastoralEpistles.com, and I'm sure I'll learn many more before things in the weeks to come. I'll warn you all, though -- I'm more of a data hound than an actual, bona-fide programmer, but it could at least be fun to talk about. If Zach chimes in and thinks it's a good idea, perhaps James can drop us both an email with some more details of what he's thinking?

Tech Geeks: It's all server-side JScript that munges/writes XML for posts and views of posts. This is the thing that I wrote the Beta Code to Unicode converter for a few weeks back. It lets me key the Greek in according to Greek Beta Code in the wiki-syntax, but it munges it into normalized unicode for the display. For the record, I'm not interested in releasing the code to the public. It's a big byzantine ball o' spaghetti-fied crud that nobody but me should be penalized with having to grok.

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, February 05, 2005 9:20:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [3]
# Saturday, January 22, 2005

In the context of another project I'm working on (personal project, not for Logos; apart from that I'm not ready to announce anything) I wanted to be able to convert Greek Beta Code text into Greek unicode that utilizes the proper polytonic characters. You know, like this:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

So I decided to (finally) roll my own Beta Code to Unicode converter. When I got the component written, it was so cool I figured I had to write a seperate ASP page interface so other folks could use it if they wanted to. There are other converters out there, but they don't interpret Beta Code the way I like to. So this has a few quirks that are all my own, though my quirks tend to get closer to the spec instead of migrate away from it (apart from the 'J' as final sigma). Don't worry, these are all documented on the page.

You'll get three things returned to you:

  • UTF8 string in the specified font.
  • The text you supplied to the tool.
  • Hexadecimal character entities. These can be pasted straight into the source of HTML pages in non-UTF8 contexts (e.g., many third party plain-text editors like TextPad).

Anyway, it's online, fully documented, and ready to rock & roll. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Update: Zack Hubert, fellow Greek text munger of sorts and head dude of the world-famous zhubert.com graces ricoblog with his presence and asks a question 'bout the converter:

Zack: What is your converter written in?
Rico: Javascript running on IIS. It's nothing super complex or tolerant; as I said I wrote it primarily for my own purposes (which, if I'm able to keep on track, I'll blog about in a few weeks).

Zack mentions his approach. Mine is much less refined. Basically, I've got an XML file with mappings from beta code to UTF8 (just the hex numbers — that gives me some freedom on what I actually can spit back to the user). Rather than parse the string from the back and build it as I go, I simply search and replace the string based on the XML mappings. But there's a catch — I always match the longest possible beta code substring first, no matter where it occurs in the string. So, I match '*A(/' before I match 'A(/' or 'A'.  The letters in my mapped hex numbers are lower-case, so I don't have to worry about clobbering mappings I've already slapped in.

Hey, I said it was less refined. I would write it a little differently if I had different constraints (e.g., two-way conversion, multiple inbound fonts), but it works for me. Hey, quit laughin' out there!

Zack — you're in Seattle? If you're ever up north, you should drop me an email and stop by Bellingham on your way to/from wherever. Coffee or whatever is on me.

Update II: James Tauber joins the Greek-geek party with a comment, pointing us to his Python script that does Beta Code to Unicode conversion. His approach is more forgiving than mine, he allows you to do stuff like '*(/A' or '*A(/' and get the same UTF8 bits on the backside. I really ougtha learn me some Python some day (I can follow the code, but I couldn't write it) but I've been far too corrupted by the sheer lovin' messiness of Perl.

BTW, same offer to you James — if you're ever 'up north', let me know you're in the area. Though it's a bit more of a trip for you than it is for Zack.

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, January 22, 2005 5:12:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [6]
# Saturday, December 04, 2004

I've been playing around with Greek text this weekend. This is going to seem a bit geeky (a bit?) but I need to give some background.

I was talking with Bob Pritchett a few weeks back. For some reason, the subject of automatic language recognition came up. Apparently one of the methods used involves compiling all consecutive three-character combinations as they appear in a given text (so, “I drove.” would have the strings 'I d', ' dr', 'dro', 'rov', 'ove', 've.') and then examining the occurrences to known frequencies of three-letter combinations in known texts in the language in question. Apparently the success rate is fairly high for an automated procedure.

After thinking about it for awhile, I became curious about combinations of words and authorship or author style. For the Pastoral Epistles, many studies have been done examining word frequencies of the Pastoral Epistles and comparing them to so-called “genuine” Paulines, the Apostolic Fathers, and other things. P.N. Harrison did the definitive work in this area analyzing the Pastoral Epistles in 1922 or so (The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles, see my Bibliography).  Donald Guthrie responded to Harrison's work in a monograph published in 1956. But this all involved word frequencies. To my knowledge, nobody has really thought about phrase frequencies (NOTE: see Update III below). It would've been tough to do in the past, but with available electronic texts (see both James Tauber's site and Dr. Maurice Robinson's ByzTxt.com site (nb: byztxt.com no longer exists and now links to indecent and rude material)— I prefer Tauber's data as it has casing, breathing marks, accents and lexemes), high-power processors and some programming skill it seems like these sorts of things are coming into the realm of possibility.

So, I spent today writing some javascript (run via the Windows scripting host) to process James Tauber's MorphGNT data. Keeping track of all the possible combos takes a lot of memory and processing power, so for now I'm limiting myself to the Pastoral Epistles. I compared the three-word combinations on the basis of the lexeme (or “dictionary” form) not on the inflections. Each individual listing does have the actual inflected phrase provided seperately so that one can see exactly what the match is.

The outcome? Of 3269 possible three-word combinations of adjacent words in the Pastoral Epistles, there are 55 that occur more than once. Some of them are meaningful (e.g. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, “Faithful is the word”), others aren't. Who knows if this is significant; I'll need to get data from other books and devise a methodology to compare before I'm able to even think about conclusions.

After generating the data (I munged it into XML, of course) I whipped out a quick stylesheet to render the concordance as HTML so I could post it as it seems like the sort of thing that might be handy for some folks. So, without further adeiu:

A Concordance of Three-Word Phrases in the Pastoral Epistles

There are some problems/caveats mentioned in introductory note; please read it over. Also, for some reason I've not yet figured out, Firefox doesn't like my CSS stylesheet but IE does. So it'll look better in IE, at least for now.

If you have any ideas or feedback on the data, on the idea of examining phrase frequencies, suggestions for methodology once the data is compiled, or anything else to do with this I'm very interested to hear from you. Please feel free to drop a comment, post about it in your blog & trackback here, or just drop me an email.

Update: I noticed another small bug; it seems I didn't clear my phrase cache at the end of each book. So the phrase μεθ' ὑμῶν Παῦλος really doesn't occur; μεθ' ὑμῶν is at the end of one book, Παῦλος is at the start of another. Whoops.

Update II: Thanks for the clarification on the trigram stuff, Bob. (Now corrected above.) I remember that now that you say it. I think it's obvious that I was thinking about adjacent words since about the time you told me about the concept.

Update III: Stephen Carlson of Hypotyposeis fame links to me with a recent blog post. Apparently he did some similar work 9-10 years ago, and has had his results posted for awhile in the form of a short article (complete with ASCII art!): Authorial Style in the New Testament. I'll have to go over his stuff and see if I can grok it, but I greatly appreciate the pointer — thanks!

Update IV: More background on previous phrase studies. I checked my copy of Harrison's book (it's been awhile since I read it) and note his appendices from pp. 166-178 list phrases held in common between the Pastorals and other groups of books ('genuine' Paulines, Petrines, 1 Clement). He discusses them from pp. 87-93, though it is in his typical dismissive style. And the method isn't nearly as systematic as his examination of words.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, December 04, 2004 7:50:02 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]
# Friday, November 12, 2004

I read a post on the blog called Blogos about setting up a quicksearch in Firefox to do lookups in the ESV by keyword/verse from the address bar (e.g., type “esv 1Ti 1.4” in the address bar). So I thought I'd share how to look up Apostolic Fathers stuff via my Apostolic Fathers lookup tool as well (form interface available too). The below instructions are for Firefox. You can do the same thing in IE via the “Quicksearch” feature; I just don't remember how to set that up.

  • Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks
  • Click the “New Bookmark...” button (they really need a space after the ellipses in the buttons)
  • Name: Apostolic Fathers Lookup
  • Location: http://www.supakoo.com/rick/af.asp?af=%s&lang=both+
  • Keyword: af
  • Description: af [ref] to look up passage in Apostolic Fathers in parallel English and Greek
  • Example: af mpoly 12.1-2

I use stuff like this all the time. “g” for google (e.g. “g ricoblog”); “mw” to look up words in Merriam Webster's dictionary (m-w.com). You get the picture.

If you understand Web Linking and the LDLS, you can also set up stuff to open Bibles in the LDLS from the address bar.



Post Author: Rico
Friday, November 12, 2004 8:37:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Sunday, August 22, 2004

I spent Saturday night and Sunday afternoon hacking out a quick little tool to help in looking up references to the Apostolic Fathers, in Greek and English. It's all done on the server, so it should work in both IE and FireFox. At least, it seems to work fine on both platforms in my scant testing.

As I study the Pastoral Epistles, I plan on citing the Apostolic Fathers frequently and even building cross-reference indexes between the PE and the Apostolic Fathers. When that happens, I want some way to allow users to click on a reference and see the relevant text.

That, and I find the material interesting, as you can tell from previous quotations and interaction with them on this blog.

With that, here is some information on my little tool. I don't really have a name for it yet beyond Apostolic Fathers Lookup. Obviously I'm a programmer* and not a marketer.

Lookup Methods


I've got a lookup form up on my home page. It should be rather self explanatory. I'd imagine that this would be the least convienent way to use the tool, though.


The lookup currently supports two variables:

  • af: This is the reference you want to look up. It's just a string. It consists of the document name (several abbreviations are supported), chapter reference, a colon or full-stop to indicate the chapter/verse break, and the verse reference (or range). Verses are optional, you could feed it only the document name and chapter.
  • lang: This is the language of the target text. Currently only 'en' (English) and 'el' (Greek) are supported. If no language is specified, the default is English. In some sections Greek text is lacking (e.g. Polycarp 12). In these situations, Latin is supplied instead of Greek.

Essentially, you're using an URL to specify a reference and language to look up. The ASP page takes in this information and serves back the proper reference in the specified language.

So if one wanted to look up 2 Clement 3.1-2, he would do the following:

This would open a page with the desired text in English. If Greek is preferred, simply add the language:


Are you familiar with bookmarklets? These are easy ways to put short programs in your browser's Links menu. Drag the link hotspot and drop it on your Links toolbar. Then, to use it (well ... at least for the below Bookmarklets) simply highlight the reference on the web page you're reading then push the Bookmarklet button. The text will be looked up automatically. If nothing is highlighted, a text box will pop up where you can type in the reference.

You may drag the below links to your links toolbar if you'd like to experiment in looking up citations in this way.

I know these work on IE 6, I haven't tried FireFox. More information on Bookmarklets is available at Bookmarklets.com.

Other Methods

Many blogging engines allow the author to enter macros. The software I use (dasBlog) calls them content filters. They're ways to mark something in the text and then run a short transform on what you marked on the server, before it is served to the user. For instance, I have a content filter that allows me to enter $esv (1Ti 3:15-17). My content filter then changes this into a link that will hit the online ESV so readers of my blog can click on Bible references to read as I cite them.

Actually, this is a secondary reason I wrote this little lookup tool, but it's the primary reason I did it when I did it (it seemed like it would be fun to write). I figured the tool would make it easy to add links to blog posts so readers can easily look things up, or make it easy for me to look things up and then copy/paste them directly into the body of the blog post as I want to. YMMV.


The following documents are available through this lookup tool:

  • First Clement
  • Second Clement
  • Ignatius to the Ephesians
  • Ignatius to the Magnesians
  • Ignatius to the Trallians
  • Ignatius to the Romans
  • Ignatius to the Philadelphians
  • Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
  • Ignatius to Polycarp
  • Polycarp to the Philippians
  • Didache
  • Epistle of Barnabas
  • Martyrdom of Polycarp
  • Epistle to Diognetus

Shepherd of Hermas

The Shepherd of Hermas is not organized as nicely as the rest of the documents contained within the Apostolic Fathers corpus. Everything else is structured by the standard book/chapter/verse structure. However, Hermas is not. One would need either several ugly hacks or a hard-to-use naming system in order to use Hermas in the current structure. If/when I support it, I want to do it properly. So, Hermas is not included, and it may never be. The reasons are purely technical, don't read too much into what I think about Hermas due to its lack of inclusion in this tool.


Some books have short prologues of either a sentence or paragraph. These are now chapter 0 of the respective books. So, if you're looking for the prologue to 1 Clement, you want to look up 1Cl 0 or 1Cl 0.1.


Several abbreviations are supported. See the names XML file for a full list. Yeah, this is a bit geeky, but you should be able to make sense of it. If I'm missing any obvious ones, feel free to email me so I can add them. The email link is at the bottom of the right-hand column.


Underneath, everything is in XML and UTF-8. The Greek has been normalized according to form KC normalization. This simply means that where possible, the Greek assumes that fonts have combined characters. So, instead of an alpha, followed by a smooth breathing mark; there is one character — alpha with smooth breathing mark. My preferred Greek font is Gentium; so I've set that as primary. Alternates are Palatino Linotype, then Arial Unicode MS. English and Latin text both use Palatino Linotype, and Latin is italicised.

Out-Of-Range requests

Book names, chapters, and verses are validated. You won't crash anything if you send invalid data, and you'll get a message suggesting where you made your mistake. Note that if invalid verses are specified, one still gets data back, but each verse without data has a short message instead.

Text Editions

As is the case with so many useful older books these days, I found the texts served up by this lookup tool on the internet. I actually retrieved them last year (2003). They had their genesis amongst BibleWorks users who started with the CCAT edition of Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers.** (Please note that these files are not being used for commercial use, so I'm well within the CCAT guidelines and, as I recall, the preferences of the BibleWorks folks who apparently did some editing on the files.) The files contained references to James M. Darlack (English and Greek), Richard Allen Stauch (Greek), and Ricardo Román (Greek). They should be thanked for their work (thanks, guys!). The files are internally dated as having last been edited in June of 2003.

The English is that of Lightfoot/Harmer, but the Greek is a little confusing. I'd assumed the Greek was that of Lightfoot/Harmer as well, but it isn't. I've checked certain spots of the Greek against the Lightfoot/Harmer volume and noted differences that lead me to believe the text is more reflective of Kirsopp Lake's Greek. I suppose it could have started with the edition of Lake from the Oxford Text Archive and folks added accents and breathings (no small task). Note that CCEL also has an edition of Lake, but it appears to be from a completely different source. I guess I'm saying that I don't really know where the Greek text came from, but I'm guessing it reflects Lake's edition more than any other.

Usage / Citation

Please note that this particular implementation isn't intended for scholarly rigor. If you're citing the Apostolic Fathers in a paper or something, by all means, verify with a printed edition. Or, better, purchase a modern edition (both Holmes' edition and Ehrman's edition are excellent) or check them out from your library and use them. This lookup tool is rather intended to help one quickly look up citations to the Apostolic Fathers in Greek or English as they need them when browsing the web, blogs, newsgroups, etc.

File Availablility

The files are XML with UTF8 encoding. I have one file per chapter. If for some reason you're interested in them, please contact me.

* Well, not really a programmer, but that's the easiest way to describe what it is that I do for a living.

** This is kind of awkward as I am employed by Logos Bible Software. My personal use of these files should not be construed as commercial interest in them by my employer. My use is purely expedient — I wanted to do this, and these were the easiest public domain files with accents and breathing marks that I could transform into something I could use in this context.

Post Author: Rico
Sunday, August 22, 2004 5:28:47 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]