Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bibleworks 10 Stuttgart Original Languages Module and Alternatives

Image courtesy of Bibleworks
Technical post alert: One of the biggest reasons to upgrade to Bibleworks 10 is that it is the only version of Bibleworks that supports the new Stuttgart Original Languages Module (SOLM), which provides you with both the most recent and yet-to-be-released texts, and also the critical apparatuses of the Hebrew Bible, Greek New Testament, Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, and Gospel of Thomas published by the German Bible Society. These are the standard original-language scholarly editions of these biblical (and extra-biblical) texts, so if you are a Bibleworks user and are looking for an electronic edition of the most up-to-date German Bible Society texts* with a critical apparatus, you may want to purchase SOLM. Unfortunately, the add-on will put you out an additional $200 (thank you, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), but when it is compared with what other major Bible software companies offer, it is still an exceptional deal:

Olivetree offers the NA28, the Rahlfs-Hanhart LXX, and BHS with morphological-tagging, dictionaries (Newman, LEH, and BDB), and critical apparatuses, for a combined total of $279.97, but they periodically offer says at up to 50% off for their original languages texts--so wait for the sale. The advantage of Olivetree is that their texts display beautifully on Android, iOS and even Blackberry devices as well as Mac and Windows. The disadvantage is their very limited to non-existent original language search capabilities.

Several years ago Logos came out with the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible. That appears to have been more-or-less superseded or replaced by the German Bible Society Bundle, which was last updated in 2009. I am told that Logos does not currently have permission from the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft to package the NA28 with other bundles, so to get a close equivalent to the Bibleworks SOLM you would need to purchase the German Bible Society Student Edition (for $217.95) as well as the NA28 with critical apparatus for another $99.99, for a total of $317.90. That will get you the BHS, Rahlfs-Hanhart LXX and NA28 all with morphological tagging and critical apparatus, as well as the UBS4, NA27 (with the same), the Vulgate with text and apparatus, a version of the texts of BHQ that were published by 1995 (apparently just Minor Prophets and Proverbs), and a German equivalent to Newman's Greek-English dictionary, and a Hebrew/Aramaic-German dictionary.

Accordance offers a critical morphologically-tagged text and apparatus of BHS, Rahlfs-Hanhart and NA28 in their Academic Bundle Blue - Level 1 for $400. The bundle includes a lot of other useful stuff, but no Vulgate or Gospel of Thomas. There may be a closer equivalent to the Stuttgart package.

What sets the Bibleworks Stuttgart Original Language Module apart (aside from its price) is not only what it offers now, but what it promises for the future: In addition to morphologically-tagged texts and critical apparatuses of BHS, NA28 and Rahlfs-Hanhart, and the text and apparatus of the Vulgate, customers will receive a tagged text and critical apparatus of UBS5, the Gospel of Thomas (in English, German and Coptic) when they are available, as well as BHQ when it is available (ca. 2020)! (Although the Bibleworks website doesn't explicitly say that BHQ will also include the all-important BHQ apparatus, Mike Bushell confirms that it "should.")

*Bibleworks 10 comes standard with a morphologically-tagged version of NA28 and BHS (without apparatus), so there should be no difference in search results between these two versions and the SOLM editions. There are a few very minor differences between the text of the LXX in Bibleworks 10 and the SOLM Rahlfs-Hanhart edition, which may affect search results in a few cases. The yet-to-be released BHQ will also, presumably, differ from the text of BHS.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Russian Schism and Protestant Individualism

Practicing levitation in the Ochocos

"Containing within it a germ of Protestantism, the Russian Schism cultivated it to its limits. Even among the Old Believers, the true preserver of the ancient heritage and tradition is the individual person. This person does not live in the past, but in the present; the adopted tradition, here shorn of an advantage over the individual in terms of living wholeness or catholicity (as in the Universal Church) and being in itself no more than a dead formality, is revitalized and reanimated merely by the faith and devoutness of its true preserver - the individual person. No sooner, however, does a position of this kind start to be aware that the centre of gravity is shifting from the dead past to the living present, than the conventional objects of tradition lose all value, and all significance is transferred to the independent, individual bearer of that tradition; from this there proceeds the direct transition to those free sects which notoriously claim personal inspiration and personal righteousness as the basis of religion" - V. S. Solovyov as quoted in David McDuff's introduction to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment (translated by David McDuff; London: Penguin Classics, 1996) pp. 26-27.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bibleworks 10: Is an upgrade worth it?

Technical post alert: I switched from Gramcord to Bibleworks in 2004, when I was given an unused copy of Bibleworks 4. I upgraded immediately to version 6, and have remained current ever since. Although I am not an uncritical user, I still think Bibleworks is unparalleled for nitty-gritty, day-to-day work in the original languages, where you need easy access to concordances, lexica, and grammars; Bibleworks is also cheaper than the major alternatives (see my overview here).

Version 10 has just been released. Is yet another upgrade worth it?

To make it worthwhile, an upgrade needs to provide new features and resources that I will use a lot, not simply a library of reference books that I may consult from time to time. Before I get to what's new in Bibleworks 10, here are some features that made previous upgrades worthwhile, from my perspective:

Bibleworks 9

An array of New Testament textual criticism resources, including high resolution photos of major NT manuscripts, was the primary draw for Bibleworks 9, but the "fourth column" + "use" tab is probably the single biggest reason (aside from cost) why I haven't jumped ship for another program: Simply place your mouse over a word, and the fourth column performs an instantaneous search that gives you an immediate sense for word frequency and usage. Check out the video for more detail:

I use this feature all the time. To my knowledge, no other Bible software program has anything comparable.

Bibleworks 8 added two high-quality Hebrew Grammars (Waltke-O'Connor, Joüon & Muraoka), as well as Wallace's Greek Syntax, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in Greek, and Schaff's edition of the church fathers, among many other new features and resources. (Bibleworks maintains its own complete list here.)

Bibleworks 7 shipped with tagged versions of the Apostolic Fathers and Philo, as well as A.T. Robertson's big Greek grammar, and a version of Tov's parallel aligned Hebrew Bible/LXX. Need I say more? (There was indeed much more.)

Bibleworks 6: The reason I switched to Bibleworks in the first place was the morphological-tagged version of the works of Josephus in Greek that came with version 6. At the time, Bibleworks was, I believe, the only Bible program that offered Josephus.

Bibleworks 10: If you purchase Bibleworks new, it comes with all of the above. But what's in it for up-graders?

To be honest, my first reaction was to be a little underwhelmed: I don't need greater mac compatibility or care that much about new colour options; ditto for the epub reader; screen scaling will come in handy from time to time, but I mostly display Bibleworks on an external monitor; hi-res images of codex Leningradiensis are great, but arguably not as important for work in the MT as the images of codices א, A, B, D (in version 9) are for work in the NT. I am also disappointed that the critical apparatuses in the Stuttgart Original Language Package are an extra add-on. (Update: more detail here.)

On the positive side, I am very interested in the New English Translation of the Septuagint, Danker's Concise Greek-English Lexicon, and the tagged version of the Hebrew text of Ben Sira; and the new screen layout options + forms tab is potentially a game-changer like the "use" tab was in version 9:

(Click here for a full list of the many new features and resources in version 10. I only mentioned those that caught my eye.)

Count me in. 

Update: More detail in this follow-up post: