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by W. Hall Harris, III on September 1, 2006 in News
Review of Logos Bible Software 3 (Libronix Digital Library System)

Logos Bible Software has now released version 3 of the Logos Bible Software platform. This upgrade features speedier program operation, an easier-to-use interface, new tools, and most significantly, new resources (some of which break new ground in the field of Bible software).

Logos 3 opens a streamlined home page as the default user interface. Operating like a web page (as Logos 3 utilizes the Internet Explorer display interface), the user enters a passage, word, or topic to launch a variety of tools that lead to more in-depth research. The new Bible Word Study Report is the launching point for word studies while the completely rewritten Exegetical Guide is the launching point for passage study in the original biblical languages (one of the major additions to the Exegetical Guide is that it now includes a section for grammars—though many of these have to be purchased separately, like Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Blass-Debrunner-Funk, and A. T. Robertson). The Biblical People Add-in traces biblical lineages and relationships. In addition, Logos now includes a Favorites feature that works much like the similar feature on web browsers.

The new resources, included with most of the different program configurations, include the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear Bible, co-published with Crossway Books, and featuring the Hebrew and Greek text arranged in English word order. This resource allows those with limited original language capability access to the more technical and specialized language resources available in Logos.

For the first time in any commercial Bible software package, Logos 3 features syntactically tagged Bibles. While morphology deals primarily with words (and their forms), syntactically tagged Bibles show the relationship of words within the broader structure of sentences and paragraphs. Using this feature, the clause and sentence structures are automatically revealed for the user. In effect, the user could use the syntactically tagged Bibles to trace the argument flow of a passage much like the old Greek or Hebrew sentence diagramming done by hand—but with the major difference being that Logos 3 generates this display automatically. The full benefits of this feature are yet to be explored as this tool is so new. Features such as syntax searching offer great promise. However, one caveat is that this feature does depend on the specific tagging schemas (such as Anderson-Forbes or OpenText), which are not standardized and sometimes vary greatly in their implementation. Nonetheless, this feature is a great development in Bible software, and only available in Logos 3. The reconfigured Logos 3 language collections now include three syntactically tagged texts—The Anderson-Forbes Analyzed Text of the Hebrew Bible, OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament, and Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament (the latter is being released in installments and currently only one portion of the NT is completed).

Logos 3 also includes the new and very useful Remote Library Search feature. This feature allows the user to remotely search the card catalogues of various libraries (using the standard Z39.50 protocol) for resources and bibliographical data—including whether or not the particular library owns the specific title. (Note that this is a catalogue feature that provides bibliographic data and merely shows if the title is available in the library being searched, but does not allow the user to actually access or search the title).
While the upgrade to the Logos 3 basic engine is freely available from www.logos.com, the enhancements to the existing resources as well as the inclusion of new resources such as those listed above should prompt all users to upgrade to one of the new collections. We suggest the Scholar’s Silver upgrade as the one that would fit the needs of most pastors and serious students of the Bible—as well as most biblical scholars, if a few additional add-on tools and resources are purchased separately.

W. Hall Harris, Ph.D.
Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary

Matt Blackmon, M.S., Th.M.
Ph.D. candidate in Theological Studies
Assistant Professor, Biblical Division
Lancaster Bible College

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