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 That appears to have been more-or-less superseded or replaced by the German Bible Society Bundle, which was last updated in 2009.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.

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