Finding Numerals in the Old Testament

Somebody who knows where i work wrote to ask if there was a way to get a list of all the numerals used in the Old Testament (two, twice, etc.). The answer’s yes, and it’s not hard: but since my first response was overly complicated, i wanted to try again and put the results out for others.

The background: i’m using Logos 4, Syntax Search, with the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis (henceforth AF). If this is new territory for you, you’ll want to start by getting some background from Mike Heiser’s tutorial videos here: the syntax videos are currently down near the bottom.

So here are the steps:

  • Open the Search panel, and select Syntax
  • Set the search to All Passages in Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis
  • Click on Query to create a New Syntax Search
  • In the new panel, click on Add Search Terms here and select Segment. You’ll also want to check Show Details at the top of the panel.
  • On the right side of the Panel, open up the Parts of Speech section, and in the Morph Specification type “@N?[NO]” (or select  the corresponding items from the pop-up: part of speech = Noun, Noun Family = numeral and ordinal). You can then click on Search to run this (i got 7128 results), and click through the results
  • You might want to refine this search in several ways:
    • Limiting the scope to a particular book
    • If you have a deeper understanding of syntax, you may want to elaborate the search specification to only include particular contexts
    • Adding Semantics=Quantity removes two results, which was a little surprising, but i didn’t take the time to figure out which ones

Greek Skills Test for Bible Software

I’ve been reading an enormous amount of user feedback lately on the Logos Forums about Logos 4. A lot of it is immensely helpful, as our passionate users tell us what they like, what they hate, what they miss from Libronix 3, etc. It can also be immensely frustrating, as it’s often full of misunderstanding, misinformation, second-guessing about our motivations and actions, hubris, bluster … just the things that characterize many other human communications (along with many refreshingly positive interchanges where people speak kindly, counsel understanding, and plead for cooperativeness).

One result of all this is a new appreciation for concreteness in such forums: reading for the 100th time “Logos 4 is so slow” just doesn’t help as much as a careful description of what the circumstances are (including the hardware environment), what operation is slow, what “slow” means (a few seconds? a few minutes? it just “feels” slow?), etc.

So, in the spirit of concreteness and positive contributions rather than complaining, and following up on some blog-chatter about the recent “shootout” at SBL, i’d like to tackle a nice “pop quiz” i recently found here about keeping your Bible software skills sharp. The original context was performing these tasks with BibleWorks. But i thought it might be useful to identify how to perform these same tasks in Logos 4, both for honing my own skills (i’m not just an employee, i’m a user), and for other users. Please note that i’m not trying to start (or fuel) any “my software can beat your software”-type competitions, or take pot shots at other products (i assume BibleWorks can do all these tasks just fine). I just liked the practical, objective orientation of this list as a learning exercise.

So without further ado, here’s the test (reproduced verbatim except as noted), the process i used to tackle each item, and the results i got.

  1. paulinesearchFind all ESV occurrences in Paul of words beginning in, but not the word in.
    Process
    I opened the Search pane, selected Bible Search, and set the search scope to a custom range “Rom-Phil” that i called Paulines. I selected ESV as the Bible, and used the wildcard search expression in* ANDNOT in.
    Result
    This returned 94 results in 84 verses, in about a minute (wildcard searches tend to be slower).
  2. formsearch How many Greek OT verses are there with the forms g:kurios AND g:theos? [note: i haven’t figured out how to render Greek in my WordPress-backed blog, so i’ve represented these the way somebody without a Greek keyboard would enter them into Logos. Just to be clear, this is an issue with WordPress, not Logos.]
    Process
    I opened the Search pane, selected Bible Search, and set the search scope to Old Testament (Gen-Mal). I selected Septuagint (with Logos Morphology) as the Bible, and used the search expression g:kurios AND g:theos.
    Result
    This returned 1367 results in 592 verses, in less than a second.
  3. lemmasearchHow many Greek OT verses are there with the lemmas g:kurios AND g:theos?
    Process
    Same steps as above, but using Morph Search this time. As above, i used g:kurios AND g:theos in entry, which the search dialog then converted to the proper Greek forms as before. Then i edited them to have lemma: (not greek:) as the prefix, and @N as the morphological class. There’s a minor gotcha here: you might think you could use search syntax like lemma:kurios in Bible Search rather than Morph Search, but you’d be wrong (or at least you wouldn’t get the results you expect).
    Result
    This returned 3319 results in 1335 verses, taking about 3 seconds.You can see some inflected forms in the last verse included in the screen shot.
  4. What’s the difference between these two searches? BGM .?????? and BGT .??????[again, i can’t reproduce the Greek, but i’d enter it in Logos as g:iesous]
    Result
    Not being a BibleWorks user, i don’t actually know what this means. Maybe it’s searching two different texts? If somebody can translate this for me, i’ll see if i can determine an equivalent.
  5. searchfrominterlinearHow many times does the word translated “creation” in Genesis 1:1 appear in the Pentateuch?
    Process
    I assumed “word” here meant lemma. I opened the NRSV, clicked the Interlinear button to display the interlinear text, and selected “created” (not “creation”, but i assume this was the intent) in the English text, which highlighted the corresponding Hebrew term. Then i right-clicked on that term, selected the Lemma tab in the right-click menu,  and selected Search This Resource. That searched the whole Bible (2 seconds), but the question said only the Pentateuch. So then i just changed the scope from All Passages to Pentateuch (i may have created this custom range before, i don’t recall).
    Result
    14 results in 11 verses.
  6. frequency of g:agape relative to book sizeg:agape is most common in what book of the Bible, when judged with regard to the book’s size?
    Process
    Here i used the Bible Word Study: the Lemma section provides a small sparkline-style graph with relative frequencies. Clicking on this opens up a larger pie chart that’s much easier to understand, but the counts here are absolute, not relative. However, the bar and column chart options let you select various display options, one of which is number of hits/number of verses in book (which i think is the intent of the question).
    Result
    Since i had a nice option to export the graph to PowerPoint, that made it easy to reproduce the results here. The winner is 2 John (i had assumed it was 1 John!).
  7. How many times does g:agapao appear in the LXX vs. the GNT?
    Process
    Again, Morph Search using lemma:agapao (which magically turns into Greek), over two ranges: LXX, vs NA27, all passages in both cases.
    Result
    LXX returned 272 results in 256 verses. NA27 returned 143 results in 110 verses.
  8. louwnidag:agape is in how many Louw and Nida semantic domains?
    Process
    Since i know Volume 2 of Louw-Nida has a Greek-English index that lists the domains for each term, the direct way is to just navigate there (using the table of contents) and count. That felt a little like cheating, but i don’t know of another approach that’s closer to the spirit of the exercise.You can of course search the resource for the term, but that produces lots of additional hits. There may be some deeper search magic that could be applied here.
    Result
    Two domains: 25.43 and 23.28.
  9. How many ESV occurrences are there of words beginning inter or enter?
    Process
    This is pretty much like task #1, but with the range as All Passages, and the search expression inter* OR enter*.
    Result
    This was a slow search (76 seconds), which returned 450 results in 413 verses (assuming “enter” was to be included in the set).
  10. prefix searchHow many GNT verses are there with g:uper alone vs. g:uper as a prefix?
    Process
    Like the search above, once you appreciate that wildcards word in Greek too. So these are both Morph Search operations, one with (the result of) lemma:uper, and one with greek:uper*.
    Result
    As a lemma, 150 results in 135 verses (2 seconds). As a prefix, 209 results in 184 verses. The screen shot is of the latter.

Some closing reflections on this exercise: overall, though it took a little time, i feel like i have a much better understanding now of how to perform tasks like these in Logos 4. The g: prefix syntax for entering Greek terms proved very handy (both for using the software and for blogging about it!), and performed just the way i’d want it to. There are some subtleties about Bible vs Morph Search on original language texts, but they make sense to me in retrospect. These counting tasks aren’t really the heart-and-soul of Biblical studies, but of course all the counts reflect a concordance that gives direct access to the verses in their context. So i’m encouraged that Logos 4 was able to address all these tasks quite easily, quite quickly, and with what i will assume are accurate results (until somebody lets me know evidence to the contrary 🙂 )

Update (12/3): please see the comments below for discussion of a few things i got wrong.

  • for #1, the range expression should be Romans-Phile (Philemon, not Philippians)
  • there are some subtleties about selection order in Logos that matter to getting the Greek text right for #2 and #3, as Mark Hoffman explains in his comment

Also, credit where due to Charlie Gibson, BibleWorks trainer, as the source for some elements of the quiz (thanks for pointing that out, Mark Ward).

Technology in Scripture

John Dyer points to a effort by Matthew Clarke to catalog references to technology in the Bible at WikiChristian. I really like the idea of looking at the Bible through technology glasses.

If you have Logos 4, you can easily play along using the Biblical Things feature (brief tutorial video), which provides a comprehensive list of references for all the physical, depictable artifacts of technology (though not more abstract things like metal refining techniques).

This kind of broad study across the whole of Scripture can provide new perspectives on things that, in their immediate context, often go right by us.

Logos 4 Videos

If you’re interested in the capabilities i discussed in my earlier post about the Logos 4 launch, there are a bunch of videos on our site explaining different features of the software. In addition to showing new users how their software works, these also give you a good feel for what Logos 4 is actually like, in case you’re thinking about taking the plunge. And, well … these particular videos were done by me 🙂

Logos 4 Launches Today

I’m thrilled to announce that we’re releasing Logos Bible Software 4 today. This is a complete rewrite from the ground up of the best Bible study software on the planet, so that makes this an exciting day in my book.

Logos 4 sports an entirely new interface to make it easier than ever to find what you’re looking for and keep your study space organized and effective. There’s a wealth of new, visually oriented resources, and better controls for working through the enormous space of resources Logos makes available. There’s even an iPhone app for no extra charge!

That’s the marketing view (and i stand behind it). But this means much more to me on a very personal level. It’s been almost 3 years since i came at Logos, and this will be the first time most of my work has seen the light of day. Specifically, Logos 4 contains the work of my colleagues and me in several new areas:

  • Biblical People, which organizes information about the 3300 individuals, groups of people, and deities named in the Biblical text. It includes a comprehensive list of references, their family relationships, links to dictionary articles, and links to related items. It also includes family tree and story-based diagrams. And everything is hyperlinked.
  • Biblical Places includes all the same kinds of information for 1200 named places from the Bible: cities, regions, even geographic features like rivers and mountains. Along with the data, there are 60 new high-resolution maps commissioned by Logos and covering the major Biblical events, as well as a mega-map that shows all the places together.
  • Biblical Things describes the physical objects of the Bible: animals, plants, body parts, clothing, food and drink, and much more, as well as specific items like Noah’s ark and Goliath’s sword and weights and measures. There are more than 1000 objects here, which also bring together thousands of images from across the library.
  • There’s also a new collection of high-resolution infographics illustrating different aspects of the Biblical world (and i’m extra proud that the bulk of this work was managed by my wife Donna)
  • In additional to regular word search (which is much faster than ever), under the hood is the Libronix Controlled Vocabulary (LCV), working to organize 11,000 different subjects in the Biblical studies literature and coordinating information across the library.

So if you’ve been following my posts on the Bible Knowledgebase … well, now it’s here. I can’t overstate how important i think this is: this is quite literally the first time in the centuries-old history of Biblical studies that this information has been made available in this way. The LCV isn’t quite as visible (yet), but it’s also an important organizing feature that will continue to grow in power going forward.

I hope you’re catching my sense of excitement about these new resources (and this says nothing about all the hard work of my dozens of colleagues in other areas). I hoped i’ve piqued your interest to learn more about Logos 4. It really is a watershed event in Bible software.

Obligatory disclaimer: i work for Logos and highly value what i do there. So i’m not the least bit objective about this. (more detailed disclosures)

Good Enough Bible Software

Without really intending to, i wound up taking the summer off from blogging. But Wired‘s got me thinking with their article entitled “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple is Just Fine.” Their basic point, illustrated with examples like inexpensive video cameras, the MP3 format, and the military’s Predator unmanned aircraft, is that Good Enough Tech often triumphs in the marketplace against clearly superior technology, because it capitalizes on the predominant value of several kinds of accessibility:

  • ease of use
  • continuous (ubiquitous) availability
  • low price

For those of us working on what i’d claim is the Cadillac of Bible software (dating myself with that standard of reference!), namely Logos, this raises the obvious question: what’s “good enough” when it comes to Bible software?

One answer, of course, is how many people are currently voting with their wallets and (even more importantly) with their attention: that is, no software at all. Many Christians simply don’t read their Bibles, and of those that do, many use the old dead trees format, perhaps the shining example of “cheap and simple”.

But clearly technology has gone well beyond paper in offering accessibility to Bible readers: so where’s the sweet spot? Let’s organize the discussion around several levels of capability, with increasing sophistication:

  • Free Bible texts available on the web (Bible Gateway, bible.logos.com, and many many others)
  • Free software, typically including multiple Bible versions, search, perhaps some additional titles: e-Sword, the Sword project,
  • “Entry level” packages for a modest fee: iLumina, PC Study Bible, QuickVerse, along with mobile software from vendors like Olive Tree and Laridian.
  • Software for professional-grade study of original languages, commentaries, theology, etc.: here i’m thinking of Bible Works and Accordance.
  • The library approach to Bible Study taken by Logos (my employer, so i’m not neutral on this point) offers packages at a range of levels and prices, so it both covers the spectrum above. But (to my mind) it’s in a class by itself because of the breadth and depth of its offerings.

(Just so you know, i took most of these from this survey of Bible software programs, rather than my own experience: i haven’t used all these packages.)

How do these systems stack up against Wired’s criteria for accessibility? Well, clearly free-on-the-web is the winner, as long as all you require is reading a Bible text. The cost is zero, it’s easy to find a passage (if you know the reference) with a search box, and it’s as available as the Internet. If you need genuine ubiquity (like on your smartphone) you can still get free software to meet that need, though with the added “cost” of installing and maintaining them. The entry level packages offer more functionality (other books, parallel translations, perhaps additional study helps), though they don’t really change the basic criteria. So you might wonder whether they’ll eventually get eclipsed by their “good enough” free counterparts.

The professional-grade software packages offer much more sophistication and many more resources than the free/modest cost packages, but those capabilities come with a significant price tag. Users with professional requirements really can’t get the same capabilities with a Good Enough alternative today, but such users represent only a portion of the larger market. The longer-term question is how the market for professional grade software will develop over time, given the continual pressure from free alternatives, and other general resources like Google Books and Amazon’s Kindle.

Social Communication in the Enterprise

These days all the cool kids are tweeting, twittering and telecasting their every thought and activity using services like Twitter and Facebook. While i’m usually willing to give new technologies a try, i’ve been hesitant to take the plunge into Twitter. It’s not like i need additional sources of distraction: i’m perfectly capable of losing my focus all by myself.

In some respects, Twitter seems like another replay of several earlier IT pyramid schemes: first bulletin boards, then websites, then blogs. The earlier adopters get the lion’s share of attention, and the people who follow them get the initial benefit of more information and (maybe) more access. But as the pyramid grows over time, the volume of communication becomes unmanageable. Then we evolve new schemes for managing the flood: bookmarks, feeds and feed readers, tags spaces (hash tags for Twitter), and other meta-schemes. At some point we ought to stop and ask whether the new communications services and the additional complexity and overhead they impose provide enough benefit to justify their cost.

I’m humble enough to acknowledge that many smart and productive people say they get a lot of benefit from Twitter, so maybe i really am missing something by remaining doggedly tweet-free. But the latest issue of eWeek (you may need to download their reader to access it) has a nice review of several enterprise-oriented social communication services (SocialCast, Socialtext, and Huddle) that’s making me rethink my position. These have several distinct differences from Twitter and Facebook that make them more interesting to me:

  • Narrower scope of communication: While broad services like Facebook and Twitter provide access to a universe of information, that can become overwhelming, particularly when the universe is talking back at you. Limiting the conversation to what’s happening in our company has a lot of appeal.
  • Better business information: getting the right mix between quantity and focus about what’s going on in your company has always been a difficult challenge in my business career. The people who have the most to say are also very busy, and of course they already know what they know: so there’s asymmetry, with a cost to them in producing information while most of the near-term benefits accrue to their listeners.At the same time, there’s no easy way to predict what information might be useful to whom, so generating lots of it makes sense provided there are effective ways to filter it.
  • Distributed leadership: personnel at all levels have useful things to offer your company, if you can just break them out of the stovepipes of departmental structure and management hierarchy.

Here’s how i might see this playing out at Logos. Our business structure is largely typical for a software company of our size: there’s a sales and marketing division with some people who travel a lot and who (along with inside sales) provide a lot of our revenue, a customer service group that deals with users and their problems, the programmers who make the application work, a smaller group (where i work) that’s developing new features and data sets, a variety of support and infrastructure people who keep IT, finance, etc. running smoothly, and of course a management team that’s steering the corporate ship. All of these groups have front-line access to information that might help the rest of us do a better, given the right kinds of access.

One of the challenges is to keep the information we all broadcast a little more targeted. While some amount of personal interest makes all the hours we spend at work more fun, too much information about somebody’s disappointment that their favorite team lost, or how much they hate paperwork, the lousy sandwich they had for lunch, etc. would start to make this just like Facebook (and i don’t think having employees reading Facebook during work time is a good strategy for productivity). But i’d love to hear:

  • from front-line sales people: a conference sales pitch that really hit home with people; the reason somebody just gave for purchasing our software (or not purchasing it); a complaint from a loyal customer
  • from customer support: the common problems that get raised over and over, and that would make make for a much happier user experience if we fixed them upstream
  • from support staff: the challenges that we can all help with
  • from programmers and from R&D: exciting new discoveries, tips and tricks
  • from management: new things we’re learning and thinking, big picture business issues, where we see our business heading

Many of these things get communicated now, just more formally, and therefore less frequently, and to a more selective audience within the enterprise. Moving toward Twitter-style microcontent, just a little more focussed, might provide the right mix to get me tweeting.

Quick Bible Searches in Firefox

I must not have paying attention, since i don’t remember hearing about this before. But if you use Firefox and look up Bible references, you should pay attention.

Step #1: You can download here a search plugin for Firefox that goes to Bible.Logos.com. Once you’ve installed it, you’ll see something like this in the upper-right corner of your Firefox window.

Bible.Logos.com search plugin for Firefox

Type in a Bible reference (or a word or phrase to search for) and hit return to do the search.

Step #2: What i like even better (which is how i found this in the first place): once you’ve installed the plugin, it adds an item to Firefox’s context (“right-click”) menu. That means if you’re on some random web page, and the author wasn’t thoughtful enough to install RefTagger, you can simply select the text of a reference, right-click, and so a search like this, with no typing required:

Bible.Logos.com plugin: context menu

Just another simple way to reduce the friction in your daily information-seeking …


Update (4/17): i didn’t get the story about #2 above quite right. Turns out that there’s some general feature of Firefox itself that adds the item to the context menu to search the selected text. And this only happens for the one plugin that happens to currently be selected and showing in the upper right! That means it’s not really as helpful as i thought, since you have to always leave the plugin selected to get this behavior.

Of course, other plugins can choose to extend the context menu (as LibX helpfully does, shown clearly in the snapshot above). I thought the Logos plugin did too: apparently not, but i’ll remain hopeful for the future.

New Bible.Logos.com Search Bar

You’ll see Blogos is now sporting a nice Bible search box on the right, thanks to recent work by Logos Bible Software.

Installing it for WordPress really was as easy as claimed: just find where in your theme you want to place it, and drop in the provided HTML code.

There’s also a more expansive version that looks like this:

Bible Search


Verse:
John 3:16; Jn 3:16; John 3

Keyword:
Salvation, Jesus, Gospel

With Operators:
AND, OR, NOT, “ ”

(yes, i work for Logos, but i don’t get pay-per-click bonuses.)

Smart Keyword Search for Bible.Logos.com

When i posted recently about “smart keywords” in Firefox 3, i was a little disappointed to find they didn’t work on bible.logos.com. But our developers are on the ball, and now it does (1+ work days later: thanks Dave!).

Here’s how to make it work for you (assuming you already have Firefox 3 installed and running, which you should!):

  • go to Bible.Logos.com
  • find the search box in the upper left corner
  • right-click in that box and select “Add a keyword for this search …”
  • in the pop-up, give it some useful name (like Bible.Logos.com) and a keyword you’ll use to invoke it (like “bible”), then click Add
  • now that you’ve defined the smart keyword, you use it by
    • going to the address bar (you can do this with Alt+D)
    • typing in the keyword plus something to search for: “bible Mark 4.3” to search for this passage, “bible easy” to search for this word, etc.

It gets even better: the smart keyword remembers the Bible version that was selected when you defined it, so you can set up multiple keywords to search particular versions. So i first selected NIV, then defined a smart keyword named “Bible.Logos.com NIV” with keyword “niv”, then did the same with the ESV to make another smart keyword for “esv”. Now i can easily do version-specific searching.

Smart keywords do exactly the same thing as going to the site, clicking in the search box, and typing what you want to search for: so what’s the big deal? Well, learning keyboard shortcuts is one the best ways to streamline your computer interactions, but even more importantly, to protect your hands. Too much mouse clicking is a major contributor to the repetitive strain injuries that many heavy computer users suffer from. Investing a little effort in learning the shortcuts will help you save your clicking for when you really need it.