Review of: Logos Bible Software Series X and BDAG in: BMCR 2002.08.41
- Not directly a Neoplatonism issue but it might prove itself useful
Bryn Mawr Classical Review / BMCR 2002.08.41
Logos Bible Software Series X, Original Languages Library. Bellingham,
WA: Logos Research Systems, $399.95.
BDAG, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early
Christian Literature, Third Edition. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research
Reviewed by R. Dean Anderson, Valkenburg, The Netherlands
The Original Languages Library (henceforth OLL) is a collection of
e-books "focused on academic and language reference" integrated into a
powerful software package ("Libronix") for the purpose of aiding study
of the Bible. The Libronix system enables the user to add reference
works and other books to the database from a continually expanding
supply of material from a range of publishers. In the following
paragraphs comment will be made upon both the reference material
provided in the OLL as well as the capabilities of the software
provided for accessing and using the data.[] This software, in
conjunction with further reference material soon to be made available,
may well, despite appearances, be of interest to classicists.
The OLL package offers, in addition to a good variety of English
language Bible translations, a number of Greek editions of the New
Testament, including the 27th edition of Nestle/Aland, Rahlfs' edition
of the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and the Biblia Hebraica
Stuttgartensia (BHS). These Greek and Hebrew editions are all
morphologically tagged, enabling instant parsing in pop-up windows.
None of the texts includes a critical apparatus, although the
ketiv/qere readings of the Hebrew text appear in pop-up windows. The
lack of a critical apparatus is to be particularly regretted in the
case of BHS, which is not an edited text but the reproduction of a
particular codex (Leningradensis). Other related original language
texts are not provided, although I have been informed that the
Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) will be able to be integrated in the
future. Texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls are not provided either in
Hebrew or translation, although H. P. Scanlin's The Dead Sea Scrolls
and Modern Translations of the Old Testament (Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale
House, 1993) is included and contains an annotated catalogue of all
known Dead Sea manuscripts as well as an annotated catalogue of textual
variants used in recent English translations. An English translation
with notes of the Amarna letters is provided. Hebrew scholars would
greatly benefit if other contemporary Hebrew and Aramaic documents were
made available. We might also hope that Rahlfs' edition of the
Septuagint text (also that of TLG, E), incorrectly described in the
software as "the most modern critical edition of this text," might at
some point be replaced with the text from the Go+ttingen project.
Several lexica are included, such as the intermediate LSJ for Greek and
Brown/Driver/Briggs for Hebrew. In addition Louw/Nida's lexicon based
on semantic domains is offered as well as similar resource materials
for the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament. If the user is willing to pay
extra, the third edition of Bauer/Arndt/Gingrich's lexicon of the New
Testament and other Early Christian Literature (BDAG) can be added (on
which see below), as well as Koehler/Baumgartner's Hebrew and Aramaic
Lexicon (HAL). I have been informed that the full-size LSJ, complete
with 1996 supplement, is in the process of being made ready for
compatible e-book publication.
Among the reference works are the English translation of Kittel's (ed.)
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Harris/ Archer/ Waltke's
(ed.) Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press,
1980), the third edition of A. Negev's Archeological Encyclopedia of
the Holy Land (New York: Prentice Hall, 1996), and the third edition of
J. D. Douglas' (ed.) New Bible Dictionary (Leicester: IVP, 1996).
Several other, somewhat helpful but rather less than standard, works on
Hebrew and Greek grammar, word studies, global commentaries and
concordance aids are also included. A few other e-books also supplied
do not appear to be directly related to the focus of the package, such
as Henry Beveridge's outdated English translation of John Calvin's
Institutes and Charles Hodges' Systematic Theology!
The result is a me/lange of reference works more or less related to
study of the Bible in the original languages and probably selected
because of their availability in digital format. It would seem that
BDAG and HAL are excluded from this package in order to maintain an
acceptable price. Many of the reference aids are geared to users with
limited knowledge of the original languages; nevertheless the powerful
search capabilities and fully integrated and linked reference tools
make this software very useful to the biblical scholar.
My perusal of these works shows a high degree of reliability for the
proof-reading. In TDNT I found <greek>prasabbaton</greek> for
<greek>prosabbaton</greek> (vol. 7, p. 32). The links to the
intermediate LSJ from <greek>xitw/n</greek>, whereever they are found,
always take one to the diminutive <greek>xitwna/rion</greek> instead of
<greek>xitw/n</greek> itself. On the morphological tagging for the
Septuagint, however, see below.
A full account of the capabilities of the software may be gained by
exploring Logos' website (http://www.logos.com/) . What follows are
just some of the features that I found particularly useful. One can use
this software to search for information on both particular Bible texts
and general concepts. The search engine is very easy to use and
recognizes a great variety of standard abbreviations and syntax,
obviating the need to type references fully or worry about the need to
learn a particular set of abbreviations. Needless to say Boolean
searches are also available, even using normal English syntax. One may
generate various kinds of reference guides that provide hyperlinks to
reference works based on a given text or word. The user can define
which reference works he wishes the software to utilize. One feature I
missed was the ability to modify the key allocations for typing Greek
or Hebrew text. This means that one is forced to learn a new set of key
codes for using these languages instead of being able to adapt the key
assignments to a system the user is already familiar with. I found the
ability to open and display multiple windows which can be linked to
each other very helpful. Linked dictionary windows, for example,
automatically move together to new entries. Linked text windows move
together to any given text. One can, for example, open windows for the
Vulgate, LXX and BHS and, when moving around in BHS, the text of the
LXX and Vulgate will automatically follow, even when actual
versification varies. This works very well although there are
occasional passages where the verse mapping is incorrect (e.g. 1 Kings
7 and Dan. 4).[] One can simultaneously work with windows open to
Nestle/Aland and the majority NT text, linking these windows to each
other. By moving the cursor over footnotes, text references, or
abbreviations, pop-up windows supply the relevant information. Right
clicking on any word provides a full variety of search and reference
options. One feature that I found particularly useful is the ability to
incorporate notes in any of the available e-books or texts. This
enables one to treat the reference works as one would treat a printed
page, adding one's scribbles as one goes along. Such notes can be fully
formatted and also incorporate Greek or Hebrew text. They are marked in
the text and appear in pop-windows when the mouse cursor is placed over
The morphological tagging of the Greek and Hebrew texts makes searches
for all forms of certain verbs (including compounds) very simple. I
found no mistakes in the parsing of the New Testament, but spot checks
in the Septuagint text revealed that the morphological tagging can be
rather unreliable. A colophon to the electronic edition reveals that
the tagging has its origins in the CCAT text as modified by CDWord. The
tagging has been revised and corrected by Logos Research Systems, who
admit that there are still mistakes but promise to continue updating
and adding necessary corrections. In view of this, it seems pertinent
to supply a list of random errors I encountered, mostly related to the
<greek>e)pio/nta</greek> (from <greek>e)/peimi</greek>, to approach) is
parsed in Deut. 32:29 as if it were an Ionic form of
<greek>ei)sie/nai</greek> should be parsed as from
<greek>ei)/seimi</greek>, not <greek>ei)si/hmi</greek> in 3 Macc. 1:11
<greek>perih/|ein</greek>, from <greek>peri/eimi</greek>, is wrongly
parsed as from <greek>peri/hmi</greek> in Wisdom 8:18.
<greek>diech/|esan</greek>, from <greek>die/ceimi</greek>, is wrongly
parsed as from <greek>dieci/hmi</greek> in 4 Macc. 3:13.
<greek>prosio/ntes</greek> (from <greek>pro/seimi</greek>) is wrongly
parsed as from <greek>prosi/hmi</greek> in 4 Macc. 6:13, cf. similar
errors in 4 Macc. 14:16 and 19.
<greek>e)cei=nai</greek> from <greek>e)/cesti</greek> is wrongly parsed
as from <greek>e)ci/hmi</greek> in 3 Macc. 1:11.
<greek>h(/kw</greek> is wrongly parsed as a form of
<greek>i(/hmi</greek> in Ps. 39:8 and 2 Chron. 35:21.
The future indicative of <greek>ka/qhmai</greek> in the form
<greek>kaqh/somai</greek> is frequently wrongly parsed as if from
<greek>kaqi/hmi</greek>. See, for example, Num. 32:6; Judg. 6:10, 18; 1
Sam. 1:22; 5:7; possibly 12:2; 2 Sam. 16:18; 1 Kings 1:17, 20, 24, 27,
30, 35; 7:45; 2 Kings 10:30; Hos. 3:4; Zech. 8:4; Jer. 28:30; Ezek.
44:3; Eccl. 10:6; 1 Esdr. 4:42; Judith 11:23; Sirach 26:12.
The imperative <greek>ka/qou</greek> is wrongly parsed as from
<greek>i(/hmi</greek> instead of <greek>ka/qhmai</greek> in Ruth 3:18.
The Septuagint also uses <greek>kaqi/omai</greek> (as well as
<greek>kaqiou=mai</greek>) as a middle future of
<greek>kaqi/zomai</greek> which is wrongly parsed as if from
<greek>kaqi/hmi</greek> in Psa. 28:10 and Dan. 11:10, but correctly
parsed in Deut. 21:13; Isa. 16:5 and Zech. 6:13. In Judg. 6:18 it is
parsed as if a present middle indicative of <greek>kaqiw=</greek>.
<greek>e)gkaqh/sontai</greek> is wrongly parsed as if from
<greek>e)gkaqi/hmi</greek> instead of <greek>e)gka/qhmai</greek> in
<greek>a)fi/w</greek> is parsed in Eccl. 2:18 as a subjunctive of
<greek>a)fi/hmi</greek>, as if it were <greek>a)fiw=</greek>, but
<greek>a)fi/w</greek> is the present active indicative conjugated as an
omega verb (as more frequently with this compound in the literature of
<greek>h(=ke</greek> is frequently wrongly parsed as the aorist active
indicative of <greek>i(/hmi</greek> when in fact it is either the
present active imperative of <greek>h(/kw</greek> (see, for example, 2
Sam. 14:32; Jer. 43:14; 47:4; Tobit 9:2 (S)) or the imperfect active
indicative of <greek>h(/kw</greek> (see, for example, 2 Macc. 4:31;
<greek>h(/kate</greek> is wrongly parsed in Deut. 12:9 as if from
<greek>i(/hmi</greek>, but it is from <greek>h(/kw</greek>, conjugated
as a perfect as also in the papyri.
Typological errors were also encountered in the parsing information for
the Septuagint. Such errors, when found in the given lemma, block a
successful hyperlink. A sampling of such errors follows:
The lemma of <greek>sumprosplakh/setai</greek> (Dan. 11:10) is
misspelled as <greek>sumposplake/w</greek>.
The lemma of <greek>e)ko/layen</greek> (3 Macc. 2:28) is misspelled as
The lemma of <greek>e)pamu/nontai</greek> (4 Macc. 14:19) is misspelled
The verb <greek>au)tarke/w</greek> in Deut. 32:10 is correctly parsed
but its lemma is given as the adjective <greek>au)tarkhs</greek>.
Similarly in 4 Macc. 4:9 the verb <greek>u(peraspi/sai</greek> is
correctly parsed but the lemma is given as <greek>u(paspidios</greek>.
Less serious is the definition offered for <greek>nossia/</greek>,
"nest of youhg birds" (sic).
The Septuagint text itself seems to be fairly reliably reproduced. The
only errors I stumbled upon were the fact that the relative
<greek>h(=|</greek> never displays the iota subscript, and the
placement of a grave accent over a final sigma at the end of Job 7:18
instead of a question mark after the sigma. The text reproduces the
sigla of Rahlf's edition, though without explaining their meaning.
The results of searches are provided in a separate box with optional
context from the texts. Greek text in the search result box exhibits a
few minor errors in reproduction. A final sigma followed by a semicolon
or question mark is rendered as a regular sigma. Accent markings above
vowels accompanied by a breathing marker are not shown. I have been
informed that these two display issues have been corrected in version
1.1, which will soon be available for free download.
Also reviewed here in connection with the OLL is the digital version of
the third edition of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and
other Early Christian Literature (henceforth BDAG) edited by Frederick
William Danker (Chicago: University Press, 2000). This edition builds
upon the previous English editions of this lexicon as well as the sixth
German edition of 1988. The print edition of this lexicon has been
reviewed in BMCR 01.06.01
(http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2001/2001-06-01.html) and it is
therefore not necessary here to discuss its content; suffice it to
remind readers that the lexicon has become a standard reference work
for New Testament lexicography and that this third English edition is
in two respects superior to the sixth German edition, namely, in its
copious bibliography and in the structuring of the lemmata.
Some understanding of the latter is necessary in order to appreciate
the way in which the digital version can be used. With few exceptions
each lemma, or where appropriate each "meaning structure," numbered in
arabic numerals, for a given lemma, is first given an extended
definition in bold type followed by one or more formal equivalents in
English in bold italics. Greek phrases quoted are translated in normal
italic type. The digital version of this lexicon may correspondingly be
searched in any or all of the above mentioned fields, namely, lemmata,
extended definitions, formal equivalents, and translation equivalents.
This enables a much more precise search to find whatever one is looking
for. Needless to say searches may also involve Boolean parameters and
incorporate Greek or Hebrew text.
In addition pop-windows provide one with a key to all abbreviations and
editions used. References to the works of Philo and Josephus appear in
translation in pop-windows, as do text references to the Bible and
apocrypha. The internal hyperlinks to alternative lemmata are much more
thorough-going than those supplied for the intermediate LS. There is
also a colour-coded system for various kinds of data able to be
customized by the user, but this says little to a colour-blind
The ability to add notes to e-books was well demonstrated in that I was
able to add the various lexical comments made in the BMCR review of
this lexicon to the relevant entries in the digital version. Henceforth
in using this lexicon those comments will always be attached as a note.
The only typological errors I stumbled upon were, 1) under the entry
<greek>u(pe/rakmos</greek> 2. The words "In our pass." should read: "In
our lit. pass." 2) The entry "<greek>kaqi/sthmi</greek> and
"<greek>kaqi/sthmi</greek>/<greek>kaqista/nw</greek>". I am unaware if
these errors are also found in the print version.
In conclusion, the OLL as it stands is a powerful tool for study of the
Bible in the original languages. For the serious biblical scholar it
cannot replace standard reference works not yet available in digital
format, but it does provide the powerful and complex search
capabilities which today's scholar cannot do without, and provides this
in a very user-friendly environment. In particular the
cross-referencing and linking of the various e-books is a great
time-saving feature. When coupled with other products, such as BDAG
also reviewed here, it is well on its way to replacing many of the
reference works standing in a row on the corner of one's desk, always
in danger of sliding off onto the floor. Classicists with an interest
in the biblical materials will want to think seriously about this
product, particularly if, as promised, TLG will be able to be
1. I used a Pentium III 750, 128 MB RAM.
2. In 1 Kings 7 and Daniel 4 the verse mapping should be as follows:
BHS 1 Kings 7:1-12 = LXX 1 Kings 7:38-49; BHS 1 Kings 7:13-51 = LXX 1
Kings 7:1-37; BHS Dan. 3:31-33 = LXX Dan. 4:1-3; BHS Dan. 4:1-34 = LXX
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