New issue of Journal of Biblical Literature is up

Issue 131.3 of The Journal of Biblical Literature is out. You have to be a Society of Biblical Literature member to access the full contents, but you can see what’s in the new fall 2012 issue here.

From SBL, here is what’s inside the issue.

Judah Comes to Shiloh: Genesis 49:10ba, One More Time
Serge Frolov, 417–422

The Four Moses Death Accounts
Philip Y. Yoo, 423–441

Not Just Any King: Abimelech, the Northern Monarchy, and the Final Form of Judges
Brian P. Irwin, 443–454

The Heart of Yhwh’s Chosen One in 1 Samuel
Benjamin J. M. Johnson, 455–466

Secrets and Lies: Secrecy Notices (Esther 2:10, 20) and Diasporic Identity in the Book of Esther
Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, 467–485

Psalms Dwelling Together in Unity: The Placement of Psalms 133 and 134 in Two Different Psalms Collections
Ryan M. Armstrong, 487–506

Archer Imagery in Zechariah 9:11–17 in Light of Achaemenid Iconography
Ryan P. Bonfiglio, 507–527

Eyewitnesses as Guarantors of the Accuracy of the Gospel Traditions in the Light of Psychological Research
Robert K. McIver, 529–546

Voluntary Debt Remission and the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1–13)
John K. Goodrich 547–566

Paul’s Areopagus Speech of Acts 17:16–34 as Both Critique and Propaganda
Joshua W. Jipp, 567–588

“Be Ye Approved Money Changers!” Reexamining the Social Contexts of the Saying and Its Interpretation
Curtis Hutt, 589–609

Using the Exegetical Guide and Passage Guide in Logos 4

Logos 4 offers an “Exegetical Guide” and a “Passage Guide” for any verse(s) a user is studying. These features’ utility lies primarily in how Logos compiles and presents the various resources in the program. A couple times in the last year or two when I was trying out Logos on a seminary library computer, I had trouble seeing the use in the Exegetical Guide and the Passage Guide. Can’t I just find that stuff all myself, I thought?

Now I’ve had a chance to use both at greater length. Here’s what I think about them.

From the home page I begin to type in Deuteronomy 6, and a nice drop-down auto-complete feature comes up (a smart search engine!). Everything you see below in the home page can be changed and customized, as I noted here.

Selecting “The Greatest Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:1-9),” this screen then comes up (along with other tabs I already had open, not shown here). Click for larger if need be.

There are multiple collapsable and expandable sections from which I can choose. Most helpful are the “cross references” that pop up. Below that are “parallel passages,” which highlighted for me a resource I didn’t even realize Logos 4 had: Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament (you know I love that!).

There’s more, too–a quick gathering of and hyperlinks to pertinent people, places, and “biblical things”; “media resources,” such as this one shown at right; a compare versions tool… and more. There are some things I won’t necessarily use, like the Graceway Media graphics (which take you to an external site, where it looks like you have to pay to download). But that’s no biggie–there’s an “x” I can click on so that won’t show in future Passage Guides. It’s all highly customizable, a consistent strength of Logos.

The Passage Guide saves me time and highlights resources and references throughout Logos 4 that users may not even be aware exist. I’m a fan and can easily envision using this in preparing messages and Bible studies.

The Exegetical Guide has a really similar layout. The categories here, however, tend to be more focused at the word, clause, sentence, and verse level, such as: textual apparatuses (if you have any in your Logos), grammars, visualizations, and word-by-word analysis. This latter feature is cool–it shows you parsing for every word, as well as its definitions in multiple dictionaries/lexica at the same time. See here:

In the image below (another part of the Exegetical Guide), the top two arrows show you the colorful word distribution results throughout the various biblical books; the bottom arrow shows you how you can click on “more” for a given word (click for larger):

The Exegetical Guide and the Passage Guide are winners. They pull a lot together in one easy-to-get-to place, and they do it quickly. Nicely done.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I am giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. This has been part 4. See part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

A wife for Jesus?

Front of papyrus fragment, Karen L. King, 2012

Did Jesus have a wife? Does it matter?

In the last two days I’ve seen about 50 Facebook status updates from friends and groups I follow, each with their own take on the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” papyrus that Harvard Professor Karen L. King recently announced. (Nerdy grammatical excursus: King has titled the papyrus with Jesus’s, but I follow Strunk and White and prefer Jesus’.)

The Harvard Divinity School press release is here. It begins,

Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies today.

The papyrus has been dated to the 4th century and is written in Coptic, the alphabet of which has overlap with the Greek alphabet. King has postulated, in fact, that the Coptic in this little fragment may have translated a Greek original.

The key quote from the papyrus is translated, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife….'” It then gets cut off. Go here for a full translation, as well as helpful Q&A with Professor King.

It seems to me there are two primary questions on folks’ minds right now. First, is this thing real or a fake? Second, did Jesus have a wife, or could he have?

In pursuit of these questions, I spoke with two Professors of Biblical Studies at Gordon College, a top Christian liberal arts school, located just north of Boston. Was Jesus married?

“Is there anything in the Gospels that would give us a hint he was married? I don’t think so,” noted Professor Marvin R. Wilson. “If he was married, how come he says to his beloved disciple at the cross, ‘Take my mother,’ not ‘Take my wife’?”

The significant woman in Jesus’ life, for whom he is looking out in his final hours, is his mother Mary, not a wife.

All the same, Wilson said, “It’s a good question. One who had no marriage would certainly have been the exception. We have an exception in Jeremiah, but that was a divinely commanded celibacy.”

Wilson noted, however, that the assertion that Jesus had a wife is still an argument from silence. “Certainly he had a wonderful ministry with women. We know the 4th century was a time of theological clarification (Council of Nicea) as well as turbulence. This Coptic text may have represented a small sect of aberrant Christians that had broken away from the larger–yet still emerging–traditional community.”

Is there much at stake in the question of whether or not Jesus had a wife?

“Certainly I don’t think any key issues of the Christian faith are at stake here. If Jesus had a self-imposed celibacy because of the work he was called to accomplish, that would make him unusual, but not unique.”

Professor Steven Hunt noted, “There’s so much we don’t know about it yet. It’s apparently a very small fragment.”

Regarding the authenticity of the papyrus, he added, “I’m perfectly willing to go with [Professor King] and say that it’s an authentic fragment of some document that’s now lost, but it’s probably speaking more to the nature of debates in the 3rd and 4th century about sex and marriage… it’s almost certainly not giving us accurate information about the historical Jesus.”

More interesting than the fragment itself, Hunt noted, is the question, “Would Christians be troubled to find out Jesus was married? The fact that many would, may really be quite suggestive, especially if their reaction was rooted in a negative attitude toward bodily existence in general and sexuality in particular.

“So, while there’s no good historical evidence that he was [married], from my perspective,” Hunt said, “it’s not really theologically problematic to suggest that he could have been. Since the Bible affirms the essential goodness of marriage and sexuality, what would be the problem with that?”

The Original Languages Library in Logos 4

How is Logos 4 for study of biblical languages?

Typically when I think about Bible software and original languages, three important areas come to mind:

  • The Hebrew Old Testament
  • The Greek New Testament
  • The Greek Old Testament, or, the Septuagint

I’ve already written about the Septuagint in Logos here. What about the Hebrew OT and Greek NT?

For Hebrew study there is the BHS Hebrew Bible with (WIVU) morphological analysis. I mentioned in my last post that the Information tab can be brought up to give lexical and morphological analysis of any word. Also, the bottom gray border area of Logos updates with morphological analysis as you move over a word. So you can instantly parse and analyze the Hebrew as you go.

My go-to Hebrew lexicon is part of this base package: Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by Holladay (based on HALOT). And Landes’s ever-helpful Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary is included. There are some grammars like Futato and Gesenius. You can open all of these as stand-alone windows, or integrate them into what you’re doing in a given text. Here’s a Hebrew Bible layout I’m using at the moment (click for larger):

You can see in the top left area that I’ve got BHS open in the leftmost tab–what you’re seeing in the shot above is what happens when you seek to open a new tab. I like that it suggests resources that address the verse that’s already open. You can also mouse over a resource for a handy pop-up window with description. The above pop-up window is for the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text, which gives even more insight into the Hebrew text than just the BHS with WIVU morphological analysis.

One highlight of the Hebrew resources available in this package is the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. See here for a good description of the “seven layers of syntax information” included. (That’s better than a seven-layer burrito!) Here’s a screenshot:

And more here from Logos:

The Analyzed Text contains morphological and lexical analysis, similar to that found in the above editions of the Hebrew Bible, but also analyzes features such as genre and semantic domains. The Phrase Marker Analysis, however, goes beyond the word level and shows how phrases and clauses function together, in essence diagramming the entire Hebrew Bible with Syntax information. There is a database that allows the user to search the Hebrew bible based on these Syntax structures, and a glossary resource that defines all the terms used in the Analyzed Text and the Phrase Marker Analysis. This package represents a new trend in computerized biblical studies – the ability to work with syntax, not just morphology, when studying the Bible.

I was a little unclear as to why the English translation (on the far right in the shot above) was so wooden in this resource–and “thou wilt” struck me as out of place. Also odd (in this verse) is the English translation “gods” (circled above) when it is in apposition to Yahweh, and the idea is clearly of one God.

But that barely takes away from the impressiveness of the Phrase Marker Analysis. It’s unique to Logos, and packs quite a punch. Grammar nerds rejoice! (As I have.)

When it comes to the Greek New Testament, all the basic stuff is there–the NA27 and UBS4 with morphology (apparatus sold separately), Westcott and Hort, the Byzantine textform of the GNT, the Louw-Nida lexicon, a concise Greek-English dictionary, both a harmony and synopsis for the Gospels (not Aland’s in this package, and nothing in Greek, but decent nonetheless), a great vocabulary guide, and so on. UPDATE: You can, in fact, view the Gospel synopsis in Greek, just by opening the synopsis tool and changing the versions, as below (click image for larger):

But get this. The Original Languages Library comes with the digitized 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. I couldn’t believe this at first and thought surely it was the abridged version. Nope. It’s the full thing–“Big Kittel.” It’s fun to use as a digital resource, too. One saves time not having to look things up, and all the abbreviations are hyperlinked, so that if you just move your cursor over them, you see quickly what they stand for. Same thing with verse references:

This resource in print is $400 (retail is something like $700). Once I realized its inclusion, the $415.95 sticker price for the Original Languages Library made more sense. Comparable packages in other Bible software are cheaper, but none of them include TDNT. I’m amazed Logos can include it in this base package, but glad that they do.

As for English translations, the Original Languages Library includes these, among others:

  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • King James Version (KJV)
  • Lexham English Bible (NT)
  • The NET Bible (my personal favorite at the moment)
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

There is also a variety of (reverse) interlinear Bibles. I personally don’t use these much, but they could be helpful to others. The Tov/Polak Hebrew-Greek Parallel Aligned Bible, however–presented in interlinear format–is great. (More about that here.)

The Original Languages Library packs in quite a bit. With the exception of perhaps an English translation of the Septuagint, all you need for original language study is here. The Andersen-Forbes resources for the Hebrew OT, the TDNT for the Greek NT, and the Tov/Polak aligned Hebrew-Greek OT are all wonderful inclusions and fantastic resources.

How is Logos 4 for study of biblical languages? It’s great.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I am giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. This has been part 3. See part 1 here and part 2 here.

Enter in: One good reason to study how the New Testament uses the Old Testament

I’m reading the book shown at right for a seminary class I’m taking. The class is called “The Old Testament in the New.” Its syllabus is here (pdf).

I’ll offer a review of Beale’s Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament later, but for now, this:

The aim of this chapter [3], and indeed of this entire handbook, is to obtain a better understanding of the way the NT is related to the OT at just those points where the New refers to the Old. The ultimate purpose in this exercise is more clearly to hear and apprehend the living word of the living God (cf. Acts 7:38), so that we may encounter God increasingly and know him more deeply, and so think and do those things that honor God.

He notes that he realizes “that this purpose is not shared by all in the academic guild,” but I believe that if the biblical authors meant for their writings to be read in a “participatory mood,” we actually do some injustice to the text when we don’t read them that way.

New scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament

The Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (Greek New Testament) releases in its 28th edition soon. Here is a description from the NA28 Website:

The long-awaited 28th edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece has now been published. Once again the editors thoroughly examined the critical apparatus and they introduced more than 30 textual changes in the Catholic Letters, reflecting recent comprehensive collations. With the intent to make this book more user-friendly, the editors also revised the introductions and provided more explanations in English. This concise edition of the Greek New Testament, which has now grown to 1,000 pages, will continue to play a leading role in academic teaching and scholarly exegesis.

Prof. Dr. Holgar Strutwolf speaks more about it here:

And check out this page for the digital Web-based version of the text, with apparatus and full manuscript information (via Evangelical Textual Criticism).

Logos 4 Review: The Septuagint

I enjoy reading the Septuagint in Greek (as best I can), and I enjoy using Bible software programs to do it. In this post I offer part 2 of my Logos 4 review (part 1 is here), focusing on the Septuagint in Logos.

Here is what the Original Languages Library has by way of Septuagint resources:

  • Septuagint with Logos Morphology (Rahlfs-Hanhart)
  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust/Eynikel/Hauspie)
  • An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell/Scott)
  • The Parallel Aligned Hebrew–Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture (Logos product page here)
  • The BHS Hebrew Bible with WIVU morphological analysis (as well as other Hebrew-related resources)

As far as texts go, the standard base is there (Rahlfs). And there’s instant morphological analysis so you can hover over a word to see its parsing right away. The LEX Septuagint lexicon is my personal go-to, and adding the Liddell-Scott abridgement is an especially nice touch. Students can do decent lexical analysis of words in their Septuagint-specific context.

The best part is the inclusion of the Parallel Aligned Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture. Here’s what Logos says:

Prof. Tov’s Parallel shows how the Hebrew and Aramaic line up against the Greek text on a word-by-word basis, but it does far more. In places where the Greek text doesn’t follow the Masoretic reading, Dr. Tov has provided a reconstruction of what the Hebrew or Aramaic text that the Greek translators were looking at might have been. In addition to these theoretical reconstructions, this database includes copious notes on the translation techniques used by the Septuagint translators, making this work a rather specialized commentary on the text. Did the Greek translators change the word order for grammatical or stylistic reasons? Did they change the voice of a verb from passive to active? Did they use a genitive absolute to translate an infinitive absolute? These types of observations are exhaustively noted in the alignment.

Dig this:

It’s a really nice feature, and presented especially well in Logos.

With all of the above in use, here’s what my Septuagint layout looks like in Logos 4 (click to enlarge):

That’s six resources open at once, each of which is plenty visible! And moving around which tabs go where, re-sizing, opening “in a floating window,” and saving the layout is easy.

The little orange A next to each resource icon/image is a “Link Set.” By clicking on the icon/image of the resource, I can assign it a letter in a Link Set, which then means each of the tabs and resources updates as any one of them moves ahead. So if I move ahead through the Greek LXX, the Hebrew MT follows, as does the NET Bible, as does the MT/LXX Parallel. Nice.

It was easy enough to figure out how to make LEH my default lexicon (“prioritize” it, in Logos parlance). Now double clicking on any Greek word opens up the corresponding entry in that lexicon.

The Information tab at the right in the screen shot above gives lexical and morphological analysis of any word. And something that’s not present in the image above: the bottom gray portion of Logos (just under the bottom left tab) also updates with morphological analysis as you move over a word. That part of the screen updates faster than the Information tab, which has just a slight delay in displaying new information.

One thing that stands out as a possible oversight is that there is no English translation of the Septuagint bundled with the Original Languages Library. In other major Bible software programs for a comparable price and package level, there is at least one English translation of the Septuagint, so Logos is unique here. (Logos does have Brenton’s English translation available, though you have to purchase it in addition to this package to use it.)

The MT-LXX Parallel, the two solid LXX-related lexica, and the customizability of the layout are standouts when it comes to using the Septuagint in Logos 4. One other thing worth mentioning is the availability of the Göttingen Septuagint and apparatus in Logos. It’s an add-on module that’s not cheap, but its price for how much it offers is hard to beat anywhere, digitally or in print. There are other Septuagint resources that Logos has digitized, too, that would be good additions to a digital library.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I will be giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. The couple Amazon links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links.

Review: Accordance 10’s Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, by Beale and Carson (part 2 of 2: the content)

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, is available as an add-on module in Accordance 10. In the first part of my review of the module, I focused on Accordance’s presentation of the commentary. Here I review the content of the commentary itself, but still with a close eye on how I’ve experienced it in Accordance.

I mentioned in my last post that for reading this commentary straight through (e.g., if I want to spend some time absorbing the introduction to any given book), I can easily detach it from a given workspace where it has shown up as a “Reference Tool.” I also noted that navigating through the various headings and sub-headings of the commentary is very easy, as Accordance lays it out.

To quickly view hyperlinks you can do a “Popover” for Instant Details by holding a click on a hyperlink or by pressing option-click. Or, as I’ve begun doing since my last post, you can just have the Instant Details always open. This way I can quickly read the text of a verse that is merely referenced in the commentary, and not lose my place in the body of the commentary.

Highlighting is also mercifully easy, so that my commentary currently looks like this:

One thing to appreciate about the content of the commentary right off the bat is that it succeeds in its hope that

Readers will be helped to think through how a particular NT book or writer habitually uses the OT; they will be stimulated to see how certain OT passages and themes keep recurring in the various NT corpora.

Take D.A. Carson’s introduction to 1 Peter, for example:

The OT is cited or alluded to in 1 Peter in rich profusion. In a handful of instances quotations are introduced by formulae: dioti gegraptai, “wherefore it is written” (1:16, citing Lev. 19:2), dioti periechei en graphē, “wherefore it stands in Scripture” (2:6–8, citing Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14), or, more simply, by dioti, “wherefore” (1:24–25a, citing Isa. 40:6–8) or by gar, “for” (3:10–12, citing Ps. 34:13–17). About twenty quotations are sufficiently lengthy and specific that there is little doubt regarding their specific OT provenance. For a book of only five short chapters, there is a remarkable record of quotation. Yet the quotations tell only a small part of the story, for 1 Peter is also laced with allusions to the OT.

Andreas J. Köstenberger’s introduction to John is remarkably thorough in this regard, containing (among other things!) a table of introductory formulas John used for OT quotations, a comparison between how John uses a given OT text and how other NT writers use it, how John’s quotations relate to potentially underlying Hebrew and Greek texts, and so on.

As noted above, there are several ways I can easily use Instant Details to look up each of the verses mentioned in the commentary, without losing my place in the main body. Note that the commentary uses transliteration for Greek and Hebrew throughout. For those who are not huge fans of transliteration (myself included), this is offset by the ease with which I can look up any of those verses in Accordance in the original texts, right alongside the commentary.

In the below screen shot I have the GNT-T text at bottom left tied to the Beale-Carson Commentary. This is simple to set up with a right click on the tab, then going to “Tab Ties.” This means that as I advance through 1 Peter, for example, the GNT-T text follows me. In the instance below, I have the parallel NET open, so that a Greek-English diglot follows me through the commentary. In the “Context” zone at the right I have the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Old Greek (LXX) open with my favorite corresponding English translations (NET and NETS) below.

One thing I sort of stumbled on that is really neat. Besides clicking on a hyperlinked verse in the text (to show me that single verse in the Context zone), command-clikcing on a hyperlinked verse gives me all the verses in my commentary’s paragraph that are hyperlinked. Note the “Verse 1 of 12” below, and how Isaiah 8:14 is right below Leviticus 19:2 in my LXX. What a nice feature!

Okay. Back to the content of the commentary itself. The introductions to each NT book, then, do well to orient the reader to trends in how that particular writer interacts with the OT text. The list of contributors is impressive–see it here. The commentary seeks to analyze not only instances where the NT quotes the OT, but also “all probable allusions” as well.

Generally speaking, each citation or allusion in question is organized around these facets:

  • The New Testament context: “the topic of discussion, the flow of thought, and, where relevant, the literary structure, genre, and rhetoric of the passage”
  • The Old Testament context of the source of the quotation or allusion–already things get interesting here, because NT writers do seem to feel free to recontextualize or resituate OT passages…
  • How early Judaism literature understood the given OT text. Even when there is little evidence of citation in early Judaism, there is still explanation. Köstenberger, for example, on John 2:17 briefly discusses the Jewish valuing of zeal, drawing on Phinehas, the Maccabees, and the Qumran community.
  • Textual issues, e.g., changes in verb tense from the LXX to the NT, and explorations of what text (proto-MT, LXX, etc.) or texts might inform the NT author’s quotation, including good discussion of textual variants (in the MT, LXX, and GNT!)
  • “How the NT is using or appealing to the OT,” i.e., are they so steeped in the OT that its language comes out naturally and not as a deliberate quotation? Does the NT writer have fulfilled prophecy in view? Etc.
  • The “theological use” of the OT by the NT writer

This last category ties much of the other content together. For example, on the theological use of Mark 1:2-3, Rick E. Watts says, “As such, eschatologically, in Jesus Isaiah’s long-delayed new-exodus deliverance of Israel has begun in Malachi’s great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5).” Watts is dense here, but delightfully so, in my opinion. He develops these themes further–especially that of the new exodus–throughout his analysis on Mark.

I mentioned in my last post that you can search this module in a dozen different ways. The search bar is similar to Google, in that you can search English content by a single word, but also by a phrase in quotation marks, so that that exact phrase comes up in your search. Unfortunately the “Greek Content” and “Hebrew Content” searches (which search using Greek and Hebrew letters) are not available in this module, but that’s no fault of Accordance’s, since the commentary uses transliteration.

Fortunately, “Transliteration” is a search option, so you can easily look up how the commentary treats a given Greek or Hebrew word. Searching hilastērion, I see that all seven of its uses in the commentary are at Romans 3:25.

There were a few times when I wanted to go deeper into a passage than the commentary allowed. For example, Paul’s citation of Malachi in Romans 9:13 has, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” It’s hard to imagine anyone using a commentary who doesn’t want at least a little explanation of “hated” here. The commentary, to be fair, does have, “This choice of Jacob meant the rejection of Esau,” but doesn’t connect this rejection with the verb “hate.”

This just means that Beale and Carson’s commentary won’t be the only place I turn for in-depth study of a passage, but all my seminary professors say don’t use just one commentary anyway! Not a major loss here. The book is already huge (though not on a computer, thankfully), and attempts to be only “reasonably comprehensive” (which it very much is), not exhaustively so.

Besides that, it took me about three seconds to find in Accordance the NET Bible note on Malachi 1:3:

The context indicates this is technical covenant vocabulary in which “love” and “hate” are synonymous with “choose” and “reject” respectively (see Deut 7:8; Jer 31:3; Hos 3:1; 9:15; 11:1).

This commentary is what we book reviewers like to call a monumental achievement. It sits in the carrel of many a student in my seminary’s library. For good reason. And Accordance has done a magnificent job if seamlessly integrating a rich and multi-facted commentary into its software. This is a five star commentary with five star integration into Accordance 10.

Beale and Carson say in their introduction:

If this volume helps some scholars and preachers to think more coherently about the Bible and teach “the whole counsel of God” with greater understanding, depth, reverence, and edification for fellow believers, contributors and editors alike will happily conclude that the thousands of hours invested in this book were a very small price to pay.

After consulting the original biblical texts, this commentary will always be the first place I turn when I am looking to better understand (and share with others) how the New Testament uses the Old. I am grateful for those “thousands of hours invested in this book.”

Thank you to Accordance for providing me with a copy of the Beale/Carson commentary module for review. Scroll through for all six parts of my Accordance 10 review here.

Logos 4 Review: Install and Initial Impressions

I am a first-time user of Logos Bible software. I’ve used other Bible software programs before, on both a PC and a Mac, but here I will review Logos 4 in a series of posts. Today: the installation process and my initial impressions.

For those of you curious about specs, I’m running Logos 4 on Mac OSX (10.8.1) with a recent memory upgrade (4GB of 1067 MHz DDR3) and 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. It’s a three-plus-year-old machine, but in good condition and with decent speed.

Having downloaded Logos 4 to my machine, I signed in to read, “Preparing to download: This may take a while.” Fortunately that part didn’t take that long–under two minutes. “Downloading resources” then followed:

Five minutes later it was just at 6%. Six minutes after that, 14%. But it’s 3.53 GB. The Original Languages Library is big, and I had a few other freebies in my account already. Within 45 minutes all was downloaded. Good time, I thought. Then it went into “Preparing your library: This may take a while…”

But that only took 15 minutes. Just over an hour–start to finish–is pretty good for installing a program of this size and power. What I will want to keep an eye out for is how long it takes to start the program on a daily basis each time I want to use it.

Everything in the installation happens online. There are no DVDs to insert–just create a Logos account, sign in, and Logos knows what to download for you to get you up-to-date. The one log-in works across multiple computers. I’ve got Logos on my Mac right now, but I can just as easily put it on my PC, too. (!) As far as I’m aware, Logos 4 is the only major Bible software that works natively in both the PC and Mac platforms. (BibleWorks at one time had a Mac version under development but has since scrapped it; Mac’s Accordance is coming to Windows in 2013.)

After completing the installation process, the next morning I opened Logos 4. With just two (inactive) Web browsers open, it took about two minutes from the time I clicked the Logos icon to the time it was ready to go. This does seem a longish time (in computer time!) for a program to start. I came to this home screen:

I like being able to see what resources of mine were “updated,” and the “enter passage or topic” search bar is easy to spot right away. As much as I love John Owen, I wasn’t a huge fan of what looked and felt like ads greeting me as I opened this Bible software. This is the program default, but it’s easy to change:

Then, the second time I booted the program up, it was ready to go in less than 45 seconds. Much better.

This morning I received a notification that an update for Logos 4 was ready to be installed. This came automatically. Already I think I am noticing a real strength of this program–how automated everything is with regard to updates, library maintenance, etc.

As a someone whose church uses the lectionary, I especially appreciate being able to see the readings for this Sunday (and “Proper 18”) in the top right of the home screen.

Now for an initial search in that “enter passage or topic” box. Let’s go with Deuteronomy 6:4-9. And… wow. A wealth of information comes up (click for larger):

I can’t wait to use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis for the Hebrew Bible. It’s exclusive to Logos. (See Logos blog from some time ago on it here and links to tutorial videos here.)

On the left I’ve got a “Passage Guide,” with some of what it pulls up displayed above, and another tab called “Exegetical Guide,” which gives me more detailed information about grammar, visualizations, word-for-word analysis, etc. There are plenty of windows and tabs open, which are easy to move around and re-arrange as I desire.

Getting Logos 4 and the Original Languages library set up was an easy install process. I’m glad for everything taking place so easily over an Internet connection, and I’m hoping that the time it takes to start the program up each time is not much. Time will tell how long the “This may take a while…” screen will actually take each time I use Logos. But with all the tools available above, and many more besides, it looks like I’ll be able to do quite a bit with Logos 4.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I will be giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review.

The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, reviewed

Isaiah 53 is one of the clearest prophecies of Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. This chapter has changed the lives of thousands of people–both Jews and Gentiles–who have read the text and believed in the One who fulfilled these prophecies in glorious detail.

Thus begins Mitch Glaser’s Introduction in The Gospel According to Isaiah 53: Encountering the Suffering Servant in Jewish and Christian Theology (affiliate link). In three parts the book expounds how the prophecies of Isaiah 53 relate to and are ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus. (The full passage the book treats is Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 53.)

The first section, a sort of exegetical prelude, discusses “Christian interpretations” and “Jewish interpretations” of Isaiah 53. The second section is a biblical theology of Isaiah 53 (with particular attention to its use throughout Scripture). The third and concluding section speaks to “Isaiah 53 and Practical Theology,” with an emphasis on how to preach the passage, both from the pulpit and in conversation.

The book is “designed to enable pastors and lay leaders to deepen their understanding of Isaiah 53 and to better equip the saints for ministry among the Jewish people.”

The first thing I noticed about the book is that it’s just as much an apologetic for Jesus-as-suffering-servant as it is an academic study of Isaiah 53. It’s not that it lacks academic substance, though. This is a meaty book, and pleasingly so.

Regarding the book’s explicitly evangelistic intent–there may be some who are uncomfortable with the description of Chosen People Ministries’ “Isaiah 53 Campaign” (including 75,000 postcards to Jewish homes and 40,000 voice blasts=robo-calls?). I’ll admit that I question the potential efficacy of pre-recorded phone messages for reaching anyone with the Gospel (though God can use anything!). But see blogger Joel Watts for his helpful (refreshing!) take on the blending of the academic and evangelistic enterprises, especially in the context of this book.

You can find a full list of contributors in the table of contents here (pdf). A few names to highlight are Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock (one of the co-editors), Craig A. Evans, and Donald R. Sunukjian. I particularly appreciated the book’s treatment of the New Testament use of Isaiah 53. The chapter by Michael J. Wilkins lists the quotations of Isaiah 53 in the NT and additional allusions to it in the Gospels. (He makes a key point, that Jesus himself understood “his mission and death in the light of Isaiah 53.”) Darrell Bock goes in depth with a comparison of the Greek and Hebrew texts of Isaiah 53:7-8, highlighting its use in Acts 8 where Philip explains the passage to the Ethiopian eunuch.

Something to critique in this book is that there were a few generalizations of Jews that I found to be unfair, particularly in the chapter “Using Isaiah 53 in Jewish Evangelism.” Mitch Glaser writes:

I think I can safely say that, in the United States, most Jewish people would recognize Isaiah as the first name of a professional athlete sooner than they would recognize the prophet of biblical literature.

Granted, he is operating from the assumption that “most Jewish people are not Lubavitch, Hasidic, or Orthodox,” but still…. What was more surprising to me: “Most Jewish people do not understand or believe in biblical prophecy” and, “Most Jewish people do not believe in sin.” Glaser does (only later) qualify these with, “We must note that all of the above does not apply to those who hold to traditional Jewish theological positions,” but he would have been better off saying something like “many secular or ethnic but non-religious Jews…” or at least supporting his statements with statistics from surveys rather than anecdotal evidence. Glaser himself is a converted Jew who has a compelling conversion story, but I still found those characterizations to be frustrating. I wonder how helpful such statements could be in advancing an evangelistic cause in conversation with another Jew.

This next thing to highlight may seem a small point to some, but as someone seeking to keep my Hebrew and Greek going, I appreciated the actual Hebrew and Greek fonts throughout the book (i.e., not just transliteration), which are clear and easy to read. I did think, however, about an intended audience of “pastors and lay leaders” who may have desired transliteration, too. (All Hebrew and Greek is translated into English.)

Darrell Bock’s conclusion summarizes all the essays of the book, with key quotations. Having this there was a big help in piecing everything together again. The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 will not be far from my reach in coming months and years. I expect I will often reference this compendium of biblical scholarship on a vital text. My hesitations about the characterizations of Jews above notwithstanding, there is a good deal here that can be useful for Christian-Jewish conversations about the Suffering Servant.

I received a free copy of The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 with the only expectations of providing an (unbiased and honest) review on this blog. Its publisher’s product page is here. It’s on Amazon here (affiliate link).