# Saturday, May 07, 2005

I don't want to bring politics into the ricoblog arena, but every now and then something just hits me. This is one of those times.

Despite your politics, despite whatever your stance on the situation in Iraq is, you need to go see a photo taken by Michael Yon in Mosul, and you need to read his description of the circumstances of the photo.

It made me cry, and I don't know that I'll get over it any time soon.

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, May 07, 2005 1:57:16 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]
# Friday, May 06, 2005

Yesterday a colleague of mine IM'd me this link detailing how to make coffee with a "press pot" (aka "French Press").

I use a french press when I make coffee at home, so I thought I might learn something from the link. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this is almost exactly how I make coffee with a press pot! Right down to using a chopstick to stir the brew prior to steeping!

I don't have a high-quality grinder, though. Maybe someday. I just can't see dropping $50 minimum on a high-quality burr grinder. So I use an el-cheapo blade grinder.

Anyway, if you're into coffee, and particularly if you've always been mystified as to how to make good coffee with a press pot/french press, you need to read this article.

And check out the rest of CoffeeGeek.com — it's an excellent site.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, May 06, 2005 4:39:48 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 05, 2005

In the past months, I've mentioned Diarmaid MacCulloch's book The Reformation: A History a few times.

Tonight, I finally finished it. Here's a list of posts where I mentioned the book in more than passing:

The book is around 700 pages of narrative prose. It took me about five months to get through, though it did sit untouched for weeks at a time while I focused on other things.

All in all, I'd recommend it. Some places were dry, other places were (I thought) unnecessary; but as a whole the book is worth reading. Particularly if you have an interest in history and especially if you have an interest in the Reformation.

Post Author: Rico
Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:41:58 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I've been asked from time to time about the workspace I use with Logos Bible Software (the Libronix DLS). My workspaces differ according to task. As my primary task these days involves working through the Pastoral Epistles, I'll detail that workspace here.

First, a note about my computer. It's a two-year-old Dell laptop (Inspiron 8200). 2 ghz Pentium 4, 512 megs RAM, 40 gigs drive space. 15 inch screen (I spent my money on the screen when I bought it). So yes, only one monitor for me at home. For the tasks I perform in my studies, this is adequate.

Second, here's a shot of the main screen. You'll note four regions. The contents of those regions will be detailed below.


Region 1: Greek NT Texts

  1. NA27 Greek NT Text, with apparatus indicators. This is available on the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible. This is reflective of the actual NA27 printed text. Yes, there are slight differences with the UBS4 text (primarily casing, punctuation, sub-paragraph breaks, OT quote distinction). I prefer to base my study on the NA27 since that is fairly much universally accepted as the "critical text" among scholars these days. This text has the GRAMCORD(TM) morphology.
  2. NA27 Interlinear. I don't consult this much, but sometimes it is handy to have available.
  3. Swanson's UBS4. Sometimes it is handy to have the UBS4 text available, and sometimes an alternate morphology is handy to consult.

Region 2: English Texts

  1. ESV. My primary English translation is the ESV, and that's in this window.
  2. NET Bible. The NET Bible is helpful to consult as the translation doesn't simply regurgitate and rephrase other modern translations, it has its own style and method. And the notes are helpful.
  3. NASB95. Need I say more?
  4. Tischendorf's Apparatus. Yes, this is not an English Bible text. But I do like to view Tischendorf's apparatus compared against the NA27 apparatus (and Metzger's Textual Commentary) so it's easiest to do in this window.

Region 3: Greek NT Apparatuses

  1. NA27 Apparatus Criticus. Part of the SESB product from Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. This is the one you've been waiting for: The NA27 bottom-of-the-page apparatus.
  2. Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament. Bruce Metzger's awesome work detailing the major variants as addressed within the UBS4 edition of the Greek New Testament. Once you have this, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it (assuming you're even the least bit interested in textual criticism and the Greek New Testament, of course).

Note that all texts in regions 1-3 are linked together so that they scroll synchronously. I use link set 'A' for this.

Region 4: Everything Else

  1. BDAG. This is the most awesome Greek-English NT lexicon available today. If you consider yourself a student of NT Greek, you have no excuse for not owning this work in some form (either print or electonic). But the electronic Logos Bible Software edition is so sweet, you know you want it.
  2. Liddell-Scott-Jones-McKenzie (LSJ). This as well is necessary if you're actively consulting Greek lexica. LSJ deals primarily with "classical" Greek, though many of its articles cover NT vocabulary and have import for NT studies.
  3. ESV. Yes, it's true that I have an ESV in Region 2 above. But I like to have a non-linked copy available to look up cross-references/cited verses. Note that I also keep this copy of the ESV resource as my "Resource Target" so that when I click on cited verses in BDAG (for example) this is the window the reference will display in. Since this is not linked with regions 1-3, those windows stay static when I'm clicking cross-references. It is, however, linked (link set 'C') to the AGNT in Region 4 (mentioned below).
  4. LXX. I like to keep a copy of the LXX handy.
  5. AGNT. I like to keep a copy of the Greek NT handy as well. This is linked (link set 'C') to the ESV in Region 4 mentioned above. This way, when I click on a reference in the NT, both the ESV reference target and this Greek NT move to the reference. If it is NT, I check it in English and/or Greek, if it is OT I check it in English or LXX.
  6. OT Pseudepigrapha. This is the main text of the OT Pseudepigrapha, in the Charles edition. Sometimes reference works (e.g. BDAG) cite pseudepigraphal documents. When this happens, one needs a place to look them up. This is the place. It's true, this is the English edition, but this (plus the in-development Online Critical Pseudepigrapha) can help out immensely in checking out how words were used.
  7. Works of Josephus. Reference works also frequently cite the Works of Josephus. Again, currently only available in English in the LDLS, this can still be helpful. You can often intuit the Greek behind the English and identify the portion being referenced by BDAG or LSJ in citations.

That's it, in a nutshell. Other texts float in and out of use in Region 4. Sometimes I have stuff like Louw-Nida, TDNT and Works of Philo open in there, but I'll usually close those after I'm through a section if I've used them.

I keep the save on exit/load on startup settings active so it always picks up where I left off. It is true, startup is marginally slowed down by doing this, but it's still faster than manually loading a workspace. In addition, I never have any notefiles active -- I use MSWord as I write, and that is typically open to receive content/etc. as I'm working through a verse or phrase.

At one time, I had my lexica (BDAG and LSJ) linked together with link set 'B', but I've since discontinued that practice. I find it easier to right-click on the headword in BDAG and do a keylink into LSJ if I desire to consult the LSJ article for the word under examination.

My method typically involves working word-by-word through the NA27 text in Region 1. I examine the word/phrase, looking at lexical evidence and writing notes/prose in MSWord as I work my way through a verse. I don't quite know how else to put it. An example of output from this workspace/method is available on PastoralEpistles.com.

So, that's it. Any questions? And, if you use Logos and blog ... how's about posting some notes on your primary workspace too? If you do, and if you notify me, I'll post a link here for others to use to check out your stuff.

Update: Wilson Hines blogs about his Logos Bible Software workspace (NB: link removed as it is now dead). Any others? C'mon, I know you're out there.

Update II (2006-09-22): Randy McRoberts also shares a workspace and details about how he uses it.

Update III (2007-05-22): Phil Gons blogs about his NT workspace. Check it out!

Update IV (2007-05-22): Mark Vitalis Hoffman blogs about his NT workspace too.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 03, 2005 8:32:33 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [3]
# Sunday, May 01, 2005

Check this out (hat tip: NRO's The Corner) from The Telegraph (UK).

Five men, ranging from an atheist in the pornography trade to a former Protestant paramilitary, have found their lives unexpectedly transformed in the latest incarnation of reality television - the monastery.

I'm not one for the "reality" TV schmaltz (or TV, for that matter) but I might be able to watch this. Too bad the story in the Telegraph spills the beans on the outcome. I won't divulge it all, but check this out:

Although participants were not required to vote each other out, they faced the challenge of living together in a community and following a disciplined regime of work and prayer. By the end, the atheist, Tony Burke, 29, became a believer and gave up his job producing trailers for a sex chat line after having what he described as a "religious experience".


At the end of one of these sessions, Mr Burke, his voicing breaking with emotion, confessed his feelings in a video-diary entry. "I didn't want this to happen," he said.

"But something touched me, something spoke to me very deeply. It was a religious experience.

"When I woke up this morning, I didn't believe in this but, as I speak to you now, I do. Whatever it is, I believe in it."

The participants, none of whom was a Roman Catholic, shared meals with the monks, worked in the grounds and joined in the daily office, from early morning Matins to Compline. They were also obliged to follow the monks' rules of silence, obedience and humility.

I can only hope that Mr Burke is plugged into a local church fellowship, and that he's able (and motivated) to put words and a framework around "it". He's got a tough row to hoe, I'd imagine. But if he is sincere and truly believes that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior, he is forgiven. And he's a brother. Say a prayer for Mr Burke this morning. 

Update (2005-05-04): I received an email message from Mr Burke. He'd like to send his thanks to those who have been praying for him.

Post Author: Rico
Sunday, May 01, 2005 9:25:08 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]

Caspar Olevianus, A Firm Foundation, Questions 141-142 (translated by Lyle D. Bierma [more info])

Q. Since there is nothing more difficult to believe than the forgiveness of sins, give me some reasons or grounds on which to base (or establish) our belief that believers are certainly forgiven of their sins.

A. The reason and ground for our certainty of forgiveness of sins through Christ is the promise and oath of God, confirmed in actual fact in the death of Christ, as explained in the preceding articles about Christ. There is no condition that we have to keep the commandments; it is a free gift appropriated through faith or trust in the merit of Christ, without any merit of works. Faith must look directly at this voluntary promise and oath of God in Jesus Christ made for the sake of His merit (for in Him all the promises of God have their "Yes" and "Amen" [2Co 1.20], as Heb 6.17-20 says.

Q. Are we to believe, however, that our sins are forgiven us in such a way that there is no more sin in us?

A. No. But even though there is sin in us now and until our death, I believe that it is not imputed to us but fully pardoned. That is why St. Paul and the prophets declared as saved not those who have no sin but those whose sin, while real, is covered (Rom 4.7; Ps 32.1).

[Questions & Answers Copyright 1995 Lyle D. Bierma]

It is indisputable that Jesus claimed the ability to forgive sin. Both Matthew and Luke record this (Mt 9.1-8 || Lu 5.17-25). Here's the account from Matthew. I've made a few parts bold to emphasize them.

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Mt 9.1-8, ESV)

Yet this made the religious authorities of the day (scribes & Pharisees) nervous, because they immediately understood what it was that Jesus was claiming in this action. Jesus wasn't forgiving sin as one man forgives another man who has wronged him. The paralytic had not wronged Jesus. Jesus here is forgiving sin, the underlying "wrong-being" within man. Only God can address this wrong-being. Jesus knew this. So did the scribes, which is why they reacted the way they did. In doing this, Jesus was asserting his claim to be God. Yet Jesus went further and made the claim explicit: " ... that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins".

Logically, the statements work like this:

Only God can forgive sin
Jesus forgives sin
Therefore Jesus must be God

At least, that's the math that the scribes did. And the logic is correct. Without forgiveness of sin, salvation is not possible. If the condition of sin within men is not addressed, man cannot approach God. Forgiveness of sin is essential. If Jesus really does forgive sin, then he really must be God. The apostles understood this in their early preaching. Peter understood it at Pentecost:

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Ac 2.37-41, ESV)

The forgiveness of sin is central to the apostolic preaching because it is what allows us to approach God through our mediator Jesus Christ. No longer do priests need to propitiate God with yearly animal sacrifices to temporarily cover the sin of the people; that practice is dead. The curtain is ripped and removed, the Holy of Holies is accessible to all (cf. Heb 10.1-18). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ provides complete, permanent forgiveness of sin. Through Him, because of this forgiveness, we are able to approach God. Again, here's an account of Peter from Acts:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Ac 5.27-32, ESV)

Peter was compelled to preach this forgiveness despite the circumstances because he knew it to be true. He had experienced it. He witnessed it first-hand. He had (most likely) seen the paralytic forgiven and healed.

Though we are forgiven if we claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, this does not mean that we are immediately made perfect and will cease from sinning as if by magic. Will our lives be changed? Yes, they will. We should seek to serve Christ our Savior and come ever more familiar with Him and his love for us. But this does not mean we will stop sinning; it means that our sin is pardoned and "covered". Consider Psalm 32:

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
(Ps 32.1-7, ESV)

Paul knew this as well. Paul knew that he had been forgiven and that he served a risen Lord. Yet in his day-to-day life, he found that he still struggled with sin. Though "covered", he still had to wage war against it in his body, in his daily life. He wasn't perfect, but he did his best to fight the sin he encountered in his walk. Here's what he writes in Romans:

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Ro 7.21-25, ESV)

Olevianus sums it up this way in Question 143:

Is this, then, a summary of the article on the forgiveness of sins: You believe that the church, the body of Christ, and all her members possess in this life a forgiveness that is not uncertain or temporary but certain, lasting and eternal; that it is a forgiveness not just sof some sins but of all the sins whith which they have to struggle daily; that there is in the church, therefore, no more condemnation, just as if there were no more sin and death; and that believers have peace with God and thus true salvation?


Post Author: Rico
Sunday, May 01, 2005 8:46:34 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]
# Friday, April 29, 2005

In poking around finding an URL for RelTech's facsimile editions, I noticed this link to the Institut fur neutestamentliche Textforschung's Bibel-musem.

I was mystified at first, but just use the drop-down boxes at the top-left of the page to navigate. MS 676 (a 13th century MS) has content for much of the NT.

I believe many of these MSS are also at the CSNTM web site.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, April 29, 2005 12:23:57 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]

In a recent post on the Logos Bible Software newsgroups (the news://news.logos.com/greek newsgroup), someone asked about using Tischendorf's apparatus.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention where you could purchase these tools. There are two primary tools discussed below. The first is the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible (SESB), available from my employer, Logos Bible Software, in the US. The second is the Novum Testamentum Graece Apparatum Criticum, also available from my employer. A third helpful tool (not discussed below) is Bruce Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

I also need to state that I'm not a text critic, simply an interested amateur. I may very well misinterpret (particularly if it requires translating Latin); if you have corrections for the below please drop a comment or an email to let me know what to fix.

The first thing one needs to realize when beginning to consult an apparatus to determine textual evidence is that these things have their own language, and until you take the time to learn that language, you'll wonder how anyone ever uses the things. The LDLS edition helps out because the wacky symbols are all self-defining via popup or context, and of course the MS sigla (and abbreviations) are defined via popup as well.

Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to look at one entry in both Tischendorf (hereafter simply 'T' unless context demands otherwise) and NA27 and see how they both say the same thing (yet, in this case, draw different conclusions). The verse in question is 1Ti 3.14. The verse is:

Ταῦτά σοι γράφω ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχει·

In T's text, the verse is:

Ταῦτά σοι γράφω ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχιον·

The NA27, of course, displays the text with apparatus sigla in red in the graphic below. Note that we're only discussing the variant for ἐν τάχει, not any of the other sigla.


You can see the replacement containment indicators around ἐν τάχει. If you hovered your mouse cursor over these in the LDLS edition, the variant content (see below) would show in a popup. And here's the text in T:


Tischendorf's text does not have any indicators around the variant. In order to know if there is a variant, you must scan the apparatus to see if there are any readings that T lists variant readings for. But before we get to T's apparatus, let's check out the NA27 apparatus. In the LDLS, the below green text would hover the MS information (content, century, location of MS).


There's so much going on here it isn't even funny. The degree to which the apparatus packs data is something that one just needs to get used to. First is the replacement indicator itself, reminding the user that this variant replaces the text under discussion. After that is a dagger, which indicates that the following variant was actually the primary reading in the NA25 edition. So we also know that for some reason the editors changed their minds on this one in the past 40 years or so.

So, "ταχιον" replaces "ἐν τάχει" for uncials Aleph, D (hand of the second corrector), F, G. Minuscules 1739 and 1881 also support the variant reading, as does the "Majority text".

NA27 lists the variants first, and at the end (the 'txt' reading) lists the MSS that support the reading that the NA27 editors agree with. In this case, they go with uncials A, C, D (original hand), P and Psi. Minuscules 33 and 81 as well as a "paucity" (small number) of other MSS support the NA27 preferred reading.

Where this gets interesting is to go back and track the dates of the MSS, to research their provenance, and to get familiar with their content and their reliability. There is no easy guide to this (wait ... check both Metzger The Text of the New Testament and Early Versions of the New Testament as well as Aland & Aland's Text of the New Testament), it just takes time and interest. But I'm guessing that the NA27 editors went with ἐν τάχει because they would rather rely on A C and D (original hand) instead of Aleph and D's second corrector.

Tischendorf surveys largely the same information but comes to a different conclusion (of course, he is somewhat partial to Sinaiticus (Aleph), and who could blame him?) Here's T's apparatus entry.


The first difference to note is that T lists his preferred reading (and support) first, and lists the variants after that. This actually makes T a little easier to use outside of his NT (that is, as a scrolling resource in the LDLS next to a non-Tischendorf Greek NT, like the NA/UBS text). For uncial support, he lists Aleph, D (corrected, no corrector number noted), F, G, K and L. So he's listed two uncials that NA27 didn't list. He also notes that uncials F, G and K have an orthographic variant (difference in spelling, not in meaning). They have ταχειον instead of ταχιον. Tischendorf also cites some supporting evidence from citations of the Church Fathers (Chrysostom, Euthalius, Theodoret and John Damascene (sorry, don't quite know that English translation).

For evidence against his reading, T lists the uncials A, C and D (original hand) just like NA27 does. He also adds P. Then a few miniscules. Note that 17 is equivalent with NA27's 33 (this information is available in the descriptive popup in the LDLS edition). 71 and 73 are other MSS that NA27 does not cite.

More interesting, T also cites other Greek editions. You can get this information in the print NA27 in the Editonem Differentiae appendix, but that's not in the electronic edition offered by the SESB. And it's a pain to look up in the print. But T informs us that both Greisbach and Lachmann use ἐν τάχει, the same reading that NA27 prefers. Of course, these two editions were pre-Sinaiticus so they didn't have that evidence to consider. My guess is that T went with ταχιον because he weighed the Sinaiticus (Aleph) readings as more reliable/important than successive editors (NA27) did; perhaps also the citations from the Fathers carried some weight in his mind. 

So, there you have it. Two different critical editions, two different apparatuses. They weigh much the same information (for this particular variant, anyway) and come to different conclusions. But, importantly, they've listed their evidence and allowed the reader to consider the same basic information that they had to hand. We don't have easy access to facsimiles of the actual MS to consult (though some are available and Comfort & Barrett's The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts is coming), but we can see at large what evidence the editor weighed and the decisions made.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, April 29, 2005 12:17:05 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]