Order Toll Free 1-877-339-5855
  News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, June 30, 2006  

Is It Useful, and Is It Easy?

Throughout the past couple of weeks, I've been talking about just one of the new graphs in Accordance 7: the Analysis Graph. Next week, I'll move on to the others. But before I do, I want to pull back the curtain a bit on the decision-making process behind all of these new graphs.

When we decided to enhance the graphing capabilities of Accordance, we considered a number of different ways to represent the results of a search visually, but we eventually settled on good old bar, line, and area graphs. Why? Because anyone with a cursory grasp of eighth-grade math understands them. They're simple, accessible, and easy to read. We took a good hard look at some newer kinds of graphs, but found they took longer to figure out and that they did not clearly quantify the information they were supposed to represent.

All the new Graphs in Accordance certainly add a lot of flash, but we're not interested in flash for its own sake. If a graph idea wasn't useful and easy to understand, if it didn't add anything significant, then we simply discarded it.

We went through a similar process with the Compare Texts feature (which I hope to detail soon). We wanted to make it incredibly simple, dynamic, and easy to understand. So we added a Compare Texts checkbox to the More Options section of the Search window.

When checked, the first two panes containing texts of the same language will be compared with each other. Places where the text differs are highlighted with a cyan strikethrough. Places where one text contains words which the other text lacks are marked with a blue underline. The corresponding place in the other text (where words are "missing") is marked with a red vertical bar. It's easy to turn on and off, it's easy to grasp, and it's easy to switch one of the panes to a different Bible text. Best of all, you can quickly display the differences for every verse of the Bible; rather than having to choose a small section of text and build some comparison chart which is separate from your main Bible window.

I know at times it can be overwhelming to think about all of the things Accordance can do, but our goal in implementing every one of these features was to make them eminently useful, and incredibly easy to use. We're not interested in feature bloat, and we're certainly not interested in creating demo-ware. If a potential feature isn't of practical benefit to you, it simply doesn't make the cut.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006  

Didn't Know You Had It? Introductions to the Bible

In this series of posts, we're exploring various modules that you likely already have in your Accordance library, but with which you may not be familiar. Today, I want to look at several Introductions to the Bible.

Introductions to the Bible are typically works which give information about the authorship, historical circumstances, literary characteristics, and central themes of each biblical book. There are several of these works currently available in Accordance, and depending on the packages you've bought, you may even have a few of them.

Let's start with the Introductory Level of the Library CD-ROM. One of the modules included with this low-cost package is the Bible Study Guide by J.W. McGarvey. This is a little book which gives a brief synopsis of each book of the Bible, along with review questions and appendices containing chronological outlines of Israel's history, the life of Christ, Paul's journeys, etc. This book looks to be written at about an adult Sunday School level, and it certainly doesn't dig very deep. But it does give a good, basic roadmap for understanding each book of the Bible. If you're reading a passage in, say, Habakkuk, and you want some idea of what exactly is going on it that book, the Bible Study Guide is a great place to turn.

A much more thorough introduction, though limited in scope to the books of the New Testament, is included in the Standard Level of the Library CD-ROM. It was written by the respected Dutch scholar Louis Berkhof, and so the name of the module is Berkhof-NT Intro. Depth is certainly not an issue with this NT Introduction. For each book you'll find an overview of its contents along with discussions of its authorship, the occasion of its writing, its distinctive features, its intended recipients, and its canonical significance. There are also broader discussions of the "synoptic problem," the "epistolary form," the number of the gospels recognized by the early church, etc. If you own the Standard Level, be sure to check out this excellent resource.

In addition to the Library CD-ROM, there are also some excellent introductions included in the various Zondervan CD-ROMs. The Zondervan Personal Growth Bible Study Suite , a $49 add-on package which contains a number of helpful study aids, includes A General Introduction to the Bible by David Ewert. As its name implies, this book gives introductory information about the Bible as a whole, rather than about each individual book it contains. Bible Introduction, as the module is called, explores the formation of the canon, the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, ancient versions, textual issues, the history of the Bible's translation into other languages, etc.

Also included in the Zondervan Personal Growth Suite is Understanding the Bible by John Stott. This is more of a practical introduction to the Bible. It explores the Bible's purpose, its central message, its authority, how it should be interpreted, and how it should be used.

Though not yet released, an upcoming Zondervan CD-ROM will include the Introduction to the Old Testament by Dillard and Longman, and the Introduction to the New Testament by Carson and Moo. Like Berkhof's NT Intro, these works examine each book of the Bible in detail. And unlike Berkhof, these newer works benefit from more recent scholarship and deal with more current issues.

All of these modules will be found in the General Tools menu of the Resource palette. In my own setup, I've created a folder labeled "Introduction" which contains all of these resources. If you own one of the packages mentioned in this post, be sure to take advantage of these modules.

Monday, June 26, 2006  

Analysis Graph: Not Just for Greek Geeks

In the past several posts, we've been using the Analysis Graph to explore the use of imperative verbs in Ephesians. We've been doing tagged searches in Greek and then breaking down the results of those searches by various grammatical categories. If you're into Greek, you've likely been like a kid in a candy store. If you're not into Greek, you've probably concluded that the Analysis Graph is not for you. But the Analysis Graph isn't just for Greek, and it certainly isn't just for analyzing verbs. Today we'll do a search in English and use the Analysis Graph to give us some insight into Hebrew. (You Greek guys will just have to bear with us!)

As I'm sure most of you are aware, the Hebrew Bible uses several different names to refer to God. In most cases, these names are translated into English by some form of the words "God" and "Lord" (either in lowercase or all caps, small caps, etc.). We can chart these various Hebrew words by doing a search for the English words in a Bible which has been tagged with Key Numbers. For this post, I'll use the King James Version with Strong's Numbers (KJVS), which is included with the Introductory Level of the Library CD-ROM.

If you're following along, open a Search window with the KJVS as your search text. Be sure to select the Search for Words radio button, then hit the Tab key to select the entire contents of the argument entry box. (Selecting everything in the argument entry box means that anything we enter will immediately replace whatever was there before.) Now select Enter Words... from the Search menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-J, or control-click the argument entry box and choose Word... from the Enter submenu of the contextual menu).

In the dialog box that opens, make sure the Use exact word checkbox is checked, then type "god" into the Go to: box. This will scroll the list to all the various forms of the word "God," enabling you to click the forms you want. Click the words "GOD," "God," and "God's." As you click, each form will be added to the list of words to enter. Next, enter the word "Lord" into the Go to: box to scroll the list of words there. Now click the words "Lord," "LORD," "Lord's," and "LORD's." As you click, these words will also be added to the list of words to enter. When you're done, click OK to close the dialog box.

The argument entry box should now contain a search argument that looks something like this: (=GOD, =God, =God's, =Lord, =LORD, =LORD's, =Lord's). The parentheses enclosing a list of words separated by commas is essentially another way of performing an OR search. We're looking for GOD or God or God's or Lord, etc. The equals sign tells Accordance not to ignore things like case or the apostrophe. We want to find the exact forms listed.

While it's always good to understand the search syntax (which is why I'm taking the trouble to explain it), simply selecting the forms we want from the Word list and checking Use exact word makes it easy to search for a group of words without having to remember where the parentheses or equal signs are supposed to go.

Before we click OK to perform this search, there's one more thing we need to do: specify a range. Why do we need to specify a range rather than searching the entire Bible? Well, it's certainly not to mask poor performance. On my two-year-old G4 PowerBook, it only takes about a second to search for all these words in the entire Bible, and pulling up the Analysis Graph is instantaneous. By the way, the reason the Analysis Graph is instantaneous is that Accordance is gathering all the statistical information while the search is being performed. This actually reduces the speed of the search slightly. Yet in spite of the fact that Accordance is doing more behind the scenes than just trying to return a list of hit words, it's only the most complex searches that take more than a second or two.

Okay, so if I'm not trying to limit the scope of this search to mask poor performance, why do I need to select a range? First, because I'm only interested in the Hebrew words which are translated "God" or "Lord." If I do this search on the entire King James Bible, my Analysis Graph will include Greek words such as theos and kurios. Beyond that, even if I restrict my search to just the Hebrew Bible, I'm likely to end up with an Analysis Graph that is hard to digest. So let's just start with the book of Genesis. If you already have a range defined for Genesis, control-click the More Options section of the Search window and select it from the Set Range To submenu of the contextual menu. If you don't have a range for Genesis defined yet, select Define Range... from that same submenu and create the new range in the Define Ranges dialog box.

At this point, this post is already somewhat long, and I haven't even had you perform the search yet! But hey, we've covered a lot of ground. I've shown you how to use the Enter Words... dialog box, explained the search syntax, bragged about the speed of Accordance, and explained why a search as broad as this is best performed on a specific range. Now, without further ado, let's click that OK button and perform the search.

The Search window will now display every occurrence of the word "God" or "Lord" in the book of Genesis. Note that when we selected the words in the word list, we focused on the cases where "God" or "Lord" are capitalized and singular (we're not interested in lowercase "gods" or human "lords"). Now let's click the Details button and select Analysis Graph from the Graph drop-down menu. Here's what we end up with:

If your Analysis Graph looks a little different than mine, don't worry. I've customized mine to be an Area graph rather than the default Bar graph, to have the graphs Overlaid on top of each other, and to display a grid. You can set all these options and more by using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: Command-T.

Okay, let's make a couple of observations about this graph. First, note how elohim (usually translated "God") appears exclusively in chapter one, while the tetragrammaton YHWH (usually translated "LORD") begins to appear in chapter 2. This phenomenon is well known, but less well known is the fact that the use of YHWH declines sharply once Jacob escapes from Laban in chapter 31. It reappears during the stories of Judah and Tamar in chapter 38 and of Joseph's ascendency in chapter 39, and then drops out of use completely, except for one mention in Genesis 49:18. Throughout Genesis, the name YHWH seems to be used most in cases where covenants are being made or where the line of Abraham is being carried on.

Then there's the use of other names, such as Adonay. Note the concentration of that name in Abraham's conversation with his three visitors in chapter 18. There the name YHWH is used by the narrator, but Abraham exclusively uses Adonay. These patterns are made even more interesting when we consider them in the light of Exodus 6:3, where the LORD tells Moses that he was not known to the patriarchs by the name YHWH.

While we're pondering all that, let's look at a different range. Rather than Genesis, let's switch the range to Psalms and perform this search again. When we do an Analysis Graph of this search, we get something like this:

Here again we see some interesting patterns. First, we see that books 1 (consisting of psalms 1-41), 4 (consisting of psalms 90-106), and 5 (consisting of psalms 107-150) all strongly favor the use of the name YHWH over elohim. Yet books 2 (consisting of psalms 42-72) and 3 (consisting of psalms 73-89) strongly favor the use of the name elohim over YHWH. Why is that? I'm not sure, but it's interesting to note that books 1, 4, and 5 consist primarily of Davidic and Solomonic psalms, while books 2 and 3 consist primarily of psalms by other authors. (By the way, I've relied heavily on the Outlines module mentioned last week to help me see what's going on at different points on the Graph).

Another interesting pattern to note in Psalms is the frequency of the name Yah in the so-called Hallelujah psalms (111-113, 115-117, and 146-150). Well, at least that's one pattern that's not hard to figure out!

Once again, the Analysis Graph has revealed patterns in the text which are just begging for further investigation; but this time, we've based our Analysis Graph on a search for English words rather than Greek grammatical forms. Thus, the Analysis Graph isn't just of use to those who happen to be immersed in the original languages. Analyzing the use of English words and their associated Key Numbers can open up whole new realms of study—even for "the rest of us."

Friday, June 23, 2006  

Analysis Graph: Digging Deeper

On Tuesday, we used the new Analysis Graph to analyze the verbal moods used in the book of Ephesians. We tested the idea that verbs in Ephesians 1-3 are primarily indicative, while in Ephesians 4-6 they are mostly imperative. The resulting Graph (pictured again below), made it clear that while that is generally the case, things are not quite that simple.

Today, I want to dig a little deeper, by exploring what kinds of commands Paul is issuing in this book. We can do this because the Analysis Graph breaks down the results of any search we happen to do. Thus, the more specific our search, the more detailed the Analysis Graph becomes.

You'll recall that in the previous two posts on the Analysis Graph, we did a very broad search for every [VERB] in Ephesians. If we want to zero in on imperative verbs, all we need to do is modify that search to look for [VERB imperative]. As with any grammatical tag, you can type it yourself, or you can use the Enter Grammatical Tag submenu of the Search menu.

Note: I'm picking up where I left off on Tuesday, but for those who want to follow along, you'll need to open a search window with the GNT-T as your search text, click the Search for Words radio button, and set the range to Ephesians.

The Analysis Graphs I show have been customized as follows: Using command-T, I changed the Words per Hit field from 1000 to 100, set the Display to Areas, chose to Superimpose as Overlay, and checked Show sum of hits, Show grid, and Use black background. Like this:

Once we've entered our search and clicked OK, Accordance finds every imperative verb in Ephesians. When we click the Details button and select Analysis Graph from the Graph drop-down menu, we can choose different grammatical categories to explore the various ways that imperatives are used.

Let's start by seeing whether the imperatives in Ephesians are primarily in the present or aorist tense. Though this is something of an oversimplication, present imperatives tend to imply ongoing or continuous action, while aorist imperatives tend to describe punctiliar, or one time action. So, for example, if I wanted to tell someone to "Go to the store," I would probably use an aorist imperative, because I simply have one trip to the store in mind. But if I tell someone, "Be nice to people," I would use a present imperative, because I want that individual to be nice to people all the time.

When I choose to analyze my search for imperative verbs by tense, I get the following graph (using the custom settings described above):

Note how the vast majority of imperatives in Ephesians are present, which is what we would expect for commands regarding how we should live in general.

By double-clicking the places on the graph where aorist imperatives appear, our search window automatically scrolls to the corresponding place in the text, making it easy to see for example, that an aorist imperative is used in Ephesians 4:31: "All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you." Can we take this to imply that these vices should be removed once and for all, rather than over and over again?

The Analysis Graph also shows a high concentration of aorist imperatives in the section of Ephesians 6 which speaks of putting on the armor of God. A common application of this passage is that Christians should put on the armor of God every day, but Paul's use of aorist imperatives here may weigh against that interpretation. Perhaps Paul is saying that the armor should be put on and never taken off. Or perhaps he is simply emphasizing the act of donning the armor, without reference to how long it should be worn or how often to repeat the process.

To understand why the author chooses aorists over presents in these instances, we would need to consider the passage in context, maybe consult some commentaries or grammars, etc. The Analysis Graph doesn't tell us why a given form is used, but it does alert us to certain patterns which invite us to ask further questions of the text—questions we might otherwise never have thought to ask.

Okay, let's consider another characteristic of imperative verbs in Ephesians. Rather than looking at tense, let's switch to voice, to see whether Paul's commands are active, middle, or passive:

Here we see a little more variation. Active commands are most common, but there appear to be a fair number of imperatives in the middle voice. Are these "deponent" verbs which are middle in form but active in force? Or are these true middles which focus on controlling oneself in some way? Then there's that one passive imperative. Double-click it, and we find that it is that same command in Ephesians 4:31 we looked at above: "should be removed." If this command is passive, does that imply that we are not the ones who remove bitterness, anger, etc. from ourselves? If so, who does the removing?

Next, let's take a look at Person. Are these second person imperatives: direct commands such as "Go!"? Or are these third person imperatives: more subtle, indirect commands such as "Let him go"?

From this graph we see that second person imperatives tend to dominate, but there are a couple of sections where Paul uses third person imperatives. Once again, we can double-click those sections of the Graph to explore the corresponding passages in Ephesians.

At this point, we've still only seen the tip of the iceberg. What if I decided I wanted to see whether third person imperatives typically appear in the aorist or the present tense? I would simply search for [VERB third imperative] and then do an Analysis Graph of Tense. What about seeing whether aorist third person imperatives are typically singular or plural in number? Just search for [VERB aorist third imperative] and do an Analysis Graph of Number.

Because the Analysis Graph interacts with whatever search you do, you can be as general or specific as you like. And because it's so flexible, it's easy to move from exploring one category of information to another. The end result is an incredibly powerful tool which is disarmingly easy to use.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006  

Didn't Know You Had It? Outlines

This year, we've been fairly killing ourselves developing more new Accordance modules than ever before. We've already released some of them (Thompson Chain Reference, Gesenius Hebrew grammar, etc.), but you can expect to see a flood of cool new modules appearing in the coming months. Yet before we try to sell you on all the new stuff, I want to "sell" you on the value of the modules you probably already have, but may not be using.

The first module I want to talk about in this "Didn't Know You Had It?" series is Outlines. If you own any level of the Accordance Library CD-ROM, you already have this module. You can find it in the Reference tool pop-up menu of the Resource palette.

As its name implies, this module contains outlines of the literary structure of every book in the Old and New Testaments, and we made it a reference tool so that it could be displayed in parallel with the text of the Bible.

The Outlines modules is useful in a number of ways:

  1. Displayed in parallel with the Bible text, it immediately gives you a feel for the larger context of the verse you're looking at. This is especially useful when scrolling through the results of a search.
  2. Viewed in a tool window, you can search the Outlines by verse reference or by heading. Want to find all the passages which deal with Elijah? Try searching the Headings field of the Outlines module. You can then click the hypertextable Scripture links to view those passages.
  3. Of course, the most obvious use is simply to examine the outlines in order to get a feel for each book's literary structure or flow of thought.

I've talked a lot lately about statistical and graphing tools which can give you a bird's eye view of the passages you're studying. While not quite as flashy as the Analysis Graph, the Outlines module is another excellent way to step back and appreciate the forest before diving in there and examining the bark on every tree. If you have this module and are not using it, I'd encourage you to dust it off and take advantage of it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006  

Analysis Graph: Feeling Moody

On Friday, I opened a pretty sizable can of worms by beginning to discuss the new graphing capabilities of Accordance 7. There are so many different directions I could run with this that I feel a bit like Robert Frost in a yellow wood!

Yet since every journey must begin with one step following after another, let's begin by looking at one of the Analysis Graphs we did on Friday:

Remember, we got this graph by searching for [VERB] in Ephesians, clicking the Details button, selecting Analysis Graph from the Graph drop-down menu, and then selecting Mood from the pop-up menu at the bottom right corner of the window. Last Friday, we just looked at this graph in passing. Today, let's give it a little more attention.

Now, some of you may be wondering why you would even want to analyze every verb in Ephesians by its "mood." Well, let me tell ya. When I was in college, a Bible study leader explained that in the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul primarily uses verbs in the indicative mood: that is, verbs which describe actual events. But in the last three chapters of Ephesians, Paul makes a dramatic shift to verbs in the imperative mood: that is, verbs which give a command. The Bible study leader's point was that before Paul tells the Ephesian Christians how they should live, he spends a great deal of time explaining to them who they are in Christ and what Christ has accomplished for them. In other words, he begins with doctrine before moving on to practice.

That's an interesting observation, but at the time, I had no way to verify whether or not this was actually true (yes, I have trust issues!). Looking at the Analysis Graph of Mood in Ephesians, we can see that imperatives do, in fact, increase sharply in chapters 4-6. Yet surprisingly, there is no chapter in Ephesians in which imperatives actually outnumber indicatives or participles. Does that mean that imperatives don't outnumber indicatives at any point in Ephesians? To find that out, we'll need to modify the display of this Analysis Graph a bit. And how do we modify the display of just about everything in Accordance? By using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: Command-T.

In the dialog box which opens, you'll see a field labeled "Words per hit." The number in this field specifies the size of the sample used for each point on the graph. The default for all graphs is hits per 1000 words, which is a good ratio if you're looking at the entire Bible or a range of several large books. However, it's a bit of a broad brush when looking at a single small book like Ephesians. Reducing this number to 100 will result in a Graph which gives much finer detail:

Unfortunately, the Analysis Graph I have now is a little noisy, since there are five moods all overlaid on top of each other. At this point, I can do a couple of things. I could use command-T again and choose to Stack the moods rather than having them overlaid on top of each other. But I like the overlay view, so I'll stick with it and simply remove the moods I'm not currently interested in. I can do this simply by clicking on the labels of the moods I want to remove. By clicking the labels for participle, subjunctive, and infinitive, I get a graph which lets me focus on just the indicative and imperative:

Here I can see that there are a few places in Ephesians where imperatives outnumber indicatives, such as the ethical instructions at the end of Chapter 4, but in most cases, indicatives roughly keep pace with imperatives. Then there is the surprising case of Paul's instruction to husbands at the end of chapter 5. Note how the frequency of imperatives plunges while indicatives appear more frequently than anywhere else in Ephesians!

Why might Paul have decided to buck the trend here? This is purely speculation of course, but if the men at Ephesus were anywhere near as stubborn and hard-headed as I am, they might have resisted simply being told what to do. So Paul tells them once, "Love your wives as Christ loved the church," and then launches into a sophisticated theological argument in which he explores the comparison. My wife learned a long time ago that I'm much more likely to go along with something if I think it was my idea in the first place. :-) Could Paul have understood the same psychology?

Whatever the reasons for any particular spike in the graph, graphs such as these enable you to recognize patterns in the text which may lead to further study and discovery. By doing an Analysis Graph of Mood in Ephesians, I've been able to verify the general trend first described to me in a college Bible study. But I've also found that the line between doctrine and practice in Ephesians is not as clear-cut as I was originally led to believe. Yes, Paul waits until well into chapter 4 to start issuing commands, but he doesn't abandon indicatives once he starts using imperatives. On the contrary, he continues to teach, to explain, and to reason with his readers even as he instructs them how they should live.

Now, it's important to remember that the conclusions I'm drawing from what I see in the Analysis Graph are necessarily tentative. When I explore each section of text in context, I may find that many of the indicatives in chapters 4-6 are merely incidental; that they do not in fact have anything to do with "teaching, explaining, and reasoning." All of these cool computerized tools can help us to spot patterns we may not have seen before, but they are no replacement for sound exegesis of the text itself. The bird's eye view is incredibly helpful, and more exegetes should take advantage of these tools; but it's very important that we don't stop with the bird's eye view.

In the next post, we'll see how we can use the Analysis Graph to ask more detailed questions of the text. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 16, 2006  

New in 7: Graphs, Graphs, Everywhere a Graph!

Okay, I admit it! I've been putting off writing this particular post for some time now. One of the coolest things about Accordance 7 is all the new graphs and charts we've added, and on the one hand, I've been eager to talk about them. On the other hand, there's so much to talk about that I've been procrastinating a bit.

First, a little history. In the very first version of Accordance, we offered three different categories of what we now call Details: the Plot, the Analysis, and the Table. Eventually, we changed the name of the plot to "Graph," because we realized some people read the word "plot" and didn't think of "a plot of search hits." Rather, they were clicking the "Plot" button in hopes of getting a breakdown of a certain book's storyline—its "plot"!

Anyway, to my knowledge, Accordance was the first Bible program to even conceive of creating a visual graph of the results of a search. Since it was visually appealing and a relatively simple concept, we thought this was one of the first things other Bible software developers would copy, but we underestimated how much our Mac-only status would cause Windows developers to ignore what we were doing. So it's really only been in the last few years that other Bible programs have begun adding various kinds of graphs and charts.

Over the years, we've expanded the Graph/Plot to enable you to graph multiple searches (to compare, for example, agapao and phileo or YHWH and elohim), but we haven't really made any major changes or added any new kinds of graphs. Then a couple of years ago, we saw something that got us thinking about graphs again. A Windows developer (gasp!) came up with a way to graph the distribution of verbs according to various grammatical criteria. For example, you could select a verbal category like "Mood" and see a graph of the various moods used across a given search range.

Now, lest you think we had somehow fallen behind the Windows guys, it was already possible to create a comparative graph of grammatical categories across a search range with Accordance, though there were certainly limitations. Prior to version 7, you would have had to do a search for the imperative mood, open the Graph, then click the Keep button so that your next search would be plotted on top of the current Graph. Then you would return to your search window, and search for a second mood, such as participles, open the Graph, and click Keep again. Repeat the process for imperatives and infinitives, and you've got a comparative graph of four different verbal moods. Here's an example of a Hits Graph showing the distribution of those four verbal moods across the book of Ephesians:

Unfortunately, since Accordance only allowed four searches to be graphed simultaneously, you wouldn't be able to look at subjunctives and optatives. And of course, you would have had to do four separate searches to create one graph! What we needed was a way to do one search and then break down the results according to multiple criteria.

But you know what? We had already been doing that for more than a decade as well. Ever since Accordance 1.0, the Analysis window has let you break down your search results according to grammatical categories like part of speech, mood, gender, case, tense . . . you name it. We just hadn't been representing that information in a Graph. So rather than copy what another developer had done, we decided to combine the best features of the existing Graph and Analysis windows to create the Analysis Graph (renaming our existing Graph the Hits Graph). As a result, Accordance has once again leapt way out in front when it comes to visually representing the results of a search.

The way the Analysis Graph works is simple: you just do a search, open the Analysis Graph, and then choose the category of information you want to see. This is most useful in grammatically tagged Greek and Hebrew texts, but you can also use the Analysis Graph with English texts and texts with Key Numbers. More importantly, you're not limited to verbs. Any search can be represented by the Analysis Graph, and you can explore the results on the fly.

Let's look again at the distribution of the various verbal moods in Ephesians. Now rather than searching for and graphing each individual mood, you can simply do a search for [VERB], then open the Analysis Graph, and select Mood from the pop-up menu in the lower right corner. Voila!

Now, I've spiced up the display a bit by using some of the new display options, but this Analysis Graph is essentially the same as the Hits Graph displayed above, except that the subjunctive mood is also included (there are no optatives in Ephesians), and it was all done from a single search.

We can then analyze other aspects of this search simply by choosing a different grammatical category to graph, such as Tense:

We can even choose to show lexical forms, though the Analysis Graph is limited to 7 items, so it will only graph the 7 most frequently used verbs in Ephesians:

Here I've chosen yet another display option: namely, to have each element graphed separately and to have the graphs stacked one above the other. We'll look further into these various display options in a future post. We'll also explore how the Analysis Graph can be used with much more interesting searches than just a search for all verbs. And of course, we've also got to cover all the other new kinds of Charts.

Now do you see why I've been putting off talking about all this stuff?! :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006  

Accordance on Intel Macs

[Ed.: Today's guest blogger is Greg Ward, who was been with OakTree Software for more than a decade. Greg reports on his experience running Accordance on a new Intel MacBook.]

Last week I became the proud owner of a shiny new white MacBook, and one of the first things I wanted to do was a little informal benchmarking of Accordance to see how well the program really runs under Rosetta. The results were rather interesting and not exactly what I expected. I expected to find that one of the two computers was faster than the other. In reality it depended on what I was doing.

The Hardware:

So, let's begin by explaining what I did. I compared two computers. My old one, and my new one. By default they had similar software setups, because I used the Apple migration assistant to bring my old applications onto my new computer. Both computers were running OS 10.4.6, but obviously the Intel version differs from the PowerPC. Both computers were set to "Normal" in the power manager.

The Old Computer:

Powerbook G4 15.2 inch, 1.25 Ghz, 80 Gb HD, 1.25 Gb Ram, ATI Radeon 9600 mobility w/64 Mb dedicated vram.

The New Computer:

MacBook 13.3, Core Duo, 2 Ghz, 60 Gb HD, 512 Mb–2 Gb Ram, Intel GMA 950 w/ 64 Mb of shared memory.

Note: The Macbook shipped with the standard 512 Mb Ram, but I subsequently upgraded to 2 Gb Ram. Tests were run in both configurations to see if this made a difference.

The Tests:

First, let me make a few caveats. These tests were not "scientific," nor were they detailed or repetitious enough to be "statistically accurate" (whatever that means). In fact, as you will see, I didn't even do the same tests in all situations (gasp!). My objective here was some "real world" bench marking, and I think the results say enough to tell us a little bit about how Accordance functions on the new Intel systems. Obviously your mileage may vary, but I think these tests were conducted under "normal" circumstances. The timing mechanism was the incredibly precise use of the stopwatch on my cell phone operated by my thumbs. Don't you dare question the precision of my thumbs!

For the tests I used the following programs: Accordance 7.0.1, Microsoft Word X, Mail, Safari, and iCal. I tested both with all of these programs running (a rather normal collection of apps for most users) and with only Accordance running.

The tests themselves were probably not what you would do on an every day basis. I chose some rather long tests that would be easier for me to time.

I began each test with a search for every word in the BHS-W4, that's Hebrew to you and me. (This is performed by selecting a "word" search and entering an asterisk "*" in the search window.

Next I clicked the "Details" button on the search window. I had this configured in two different ways.

  1. The first way was to have every possible Detail report checked in the preferences, including the Concordance, which is particularly time consuming. (This first set was run with Accordance, Word, Mail, Safari, and iCal running.)
  2. The second way was to have just the "ordinary" Graph, Analysis, and Table set to run. Subsequently I ran the Concordance on it's own. (This second set was run only with just Accordance running.)

Finally, in an effort to see how graphics functioning worked, I did an Atlas test. I selected the entire area of the Atlas Map, and then generated a 3D rendering at 16 X. This test was not especially revealing though, because both machines responded very quickly. The G4 was a little quicker, probably around 1 second. The Core Duo was just over 1 second. Both machines were very responsive in manipulating the image, zooming in, flying around and so on. So, there was a slight subjective edge to the G4 here, but nothing I could measure quantitatively.

The Results

First, the MacBook with 512 Mb Ram (I wanted to play with it first!)

Accordance only(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W46.6, 5.0, 5.5
details (hits, analysis, table)13.8, 13.6, 13.5
concordance13.4, 10.8, 10.8

Accordance, Word X, Mail, Safari, iCal(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W48.5, 5.2, 5.7
details (everything)38.8, 34.2, 34.8

Second, the MacBook with 2 Gb Ram

Accordance only(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W44.8, 5.1, 4.9
details (hits, analysis, table)13.6, 13.7, 13.6
concordance11.0, 10.9, 11.0

Accordance, Word X, Mail, Safari, iCal(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W46.9, 5.0, 4.9
details (everything)37.0, 33.5, 33.3

Third, the PowerBook G4

Accordance only(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W415.6, 15.8, 15.1
details (hits, analysis, table)10.0, 9.6, 9.9
concordance13.8, 9.9, 9.8

Accordance, Word X, Mail, Safari, iCal(3 tests, time in seconds)
search all words BHS-W416.7, 15.7, 15.2
details (everything)28.8, 29.6, 30.2

Points to Ponder

So, what, if anything, did we learn from this? Well, the most striking thing to me in conducting these tests was the significant difference in the speed of the basic searches. Even though Accordance is running in Rosetta on the MacBook, the search was considerably faster on the MacBook than the G4. Wow, that is not what I expected! While the MacBook was typically in the 5 second range for this search the G4 was around 15+ seconds! The only subjective observation I can offer here is that the G4 started out fast and seemed to bog down as the search wore on. (Perhaps this has something to do with on-chip cache?)

When I first observed this phenomenon, I thought it was just a compliment to the power of the Core Duo, which in some ways it is, but the rest of the times for the "Details" tests either give an advantage to the G4, or are roughly comparable. So, it is not as if the Core Duo won every contest. So, my completely speculative hypothesis is that the Search algorithm in Accordance must hit a sweet spot in the Rosetta optimization.

On the details routines the G4 was typically a little faster. It was about 4 seconds faster on the "everything" test. On the "hits, analysis, & table test," it was about 3 seconds faster. The "Concordance" test was roughly a push.

Another observation is that the change in the amount of memory in the MacBook made only a small difference in the speed of Accordance under one condition: when several other programs were running. That said, the additional memory made the whole computer feel faster, particularly switching between applications. The MacBook felt kind of ordinary, and at times completely bogged down before the Ram upgrade. After the Ram upgrade, this thing screams. This difference was particularly noticeable in universal apps like Safari and Mail. If you are planning on buying one of these machines, definitely plan on upgrading the Ram. It may not make much difference in how one application runs, but it will make a huge difference in your general computing experience.


Overall, I'd say based on my testing that Accordance runs very admirably under Rosetta on my new MacBook, and was surprisingly quick in basic searching. I doubt you will notice much difference at all using Accordance on a daily basis with a new Core Duo machine, versus whatever you were using before. It should feel very much the same.

—Greg Ward

Monday, June 12, 2006  

Cognate Accusa-whats?

Last week, we built a Greek Construct to search for nouns and verbs which agree in root form. Today, we'll take that search a step further to look for cognate accusatives.

Now, before your eyes glaze over at my use of grammatical jargon, let me explain what a cognate accusative is. (If it makes you feel any better, I had to look it up before I could write about it!).

"Cognate" is basically just a fancy term for a related word—that is, a word which is derived from the same root as another word. The "accusative" case has many functions in Greek, but its most basic function is to indicate the direct object of a verb. So a "cognate accusative" is a construction in which a verb is followed by a cognate (related) noun in the accusative case.

We found some examples of cognate accusatives in the search we did last Monday. "Rejoiced a great joy" in Matthew 2:18 is a cognate accusative. Likewise, "Do not treasure up treasures" in Matthew 6:19 is a cognate accusative.

When we think of Biblical language, we often think of repetitive expressions like these. This is largely because the King James Bible tended to translate cognate accusatives literally. Most modern translations look for ways to translate these expressions into more natural English.

Ironically, cognate accusatives may not have been that natural in Greek, either. The use of a direct object derived from the same root as a verb is quite common in the Hebrew Bible; and when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, these constructions were rendered as cognate accusatives. Cognate accusatives do occur in classical Greek, but they appear to be most common in Greek texts which have some kind of connection to Hebrew.

We can test that hypothesis by searching for cognate accusatives and then examining where they occur most frequently. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open a Search window, select GNT-T (the tagged Greek New Testament) as your search text, and click the Search for Words radio button.
  2. Control-click the More Options section of the Search window and select "Clause" from the "Search Within Every" submenu of the contextual menu.
  3. Hit the tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box and select "Greek" from the New Construct submenu of the File menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-2).
  4. In the Construct window that opens, drag a VERB element into the first (leftmost) column. Click OK to dismiss the dialog that appears without setting any additional tag details.
  5. Drag a NOUN element into the second column. In the dialog that appears, select "accusative" from the Case pop-up menu, then click OK.
  6. Drag a WITHIN item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, enter "5" in the first field and click OK.
  7. Drag an AGREE item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, click the checkbox for Root, click the Ignore Prefixes radio button, then click OK.

Your Construct should now look like this:

Click OK to perform your search, and the results of your search will be displayed in the Search window.

Now, as I've mentioned before, the first thing I usually do after a search is to click the Details button. A special Details workspace will then present you with a variety of tools for getting a bird's-eye view of your search results.

The first thing you'll see is a graph of where your search results occur most frequently across the search range. Here's a graph of cognate accusatives in the New Testament:

Note: I've customized this graph to be an area graph (rather than the standard bar graph) and to use a black background with a grid. How did I do that? By using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn. Say it with me! Command-T.

If we look at this graph, we find that there's a thick concentration of cognate accusatives in Matthew and Revelation, and that there are several sharp spikes in Luke and Acts. The Hebraic background of Matthew is well-known, and the writer of Revelation is also recognized for his frequent use of hebraisms. You wouldn't think this would be the case (since Luke's Greek is among the most literary in the New Testament), but Luke is also known for his frequent use of hebraisms, most likely for literary effect. Another high spike occurs in Ephesians, where Paul happens to be quoting the Greek Septuagint. You can examine any of the areas of the graph simply by double-clicking on them. The search window to which this graph is linked will then jump to the corresponding place in the text. By double-clicking on the high spike in Ephesians, I was taken immediately to Ephesians 4:8, where I saw that both cognate accusatives occur in a section of italicized text, indicating a quotation from the Septuagint.

So far, our search of the New Testament has tended to confirm the hypothesis that cognate accusatives are most common in Greek which has some kind of Hebrew connection. We can test this hypothesis further by switching our search text to the Septuagint (LXX1) and performing the search again. The graph of that search looks like this:

Wow! We can see immediately that the spikes are higher and much more thickly concentrated in the Greek Septuagint than in the Greek New Testament. Interestingly, the books which have the lowest concentration of cognate accusatives—such as Nehemiah, Esther, and most of the apocryphal books—all come from the exilic and post-exilic period. Could this be because Hebrew was being supplanted by Aramaic and Greek during these periods?

Frankly, this is a subject about which I know just enough to be dangerous. I'm formulating hypotheses and analyzing data that I really don't have the expertise to evaluate intelligently, and it would come as no surprise to me if one of our scholarly users chimed in to say, "David, you really don't know what you're talking about!" That's the main reason it has taken me so long to finish this blog entry. I spent a fair amount of time last week looking up cognate accusatives and hebraisms in various lexicons and grammars (all in Accordance, of course), just to try to avoid making a complete fool of myself. Whether or not I've succeeded remains to be seen. :-)

My point in talking about this stuff is simply to show how the new ability to search by root can be used. Obviously, the average user is not going to be doing these kinds of searches, but for scholars who really want to be able to analyze and study the Biblical languages, root searching adds a whole new dimension of exploration. Yet it's so easy to use that guys like me can construct root searches and analyze the results!

Hmmm, on second thought, maybe that's not such a good thing! ;-)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006  

New in 7: User Note Enhancements

Yesterday, I went pretty heavy into root searching, using all kinds of cool original-language features like the Construct window and the Parsing window. We'll continue with that stuff later this week, but today, I want to cover some enhancements in version 7 which will be of use to just about everybody: namely, the enhancements to the user notes.

Perhaps the biggest change is that user notes files are now stored in each user's Documents folder, enabling multiple users in OS X to access the same Accordance modules, but different user notes files. You can also share user notes files among multiple users, but since I'm blissfully ignorant of how to do this, I'll refer you to the Accordance Help at this point. Just do a search for "user files" or "shared user notes" and you'll find the appropriate Help topics.

Another major under-the-hood kind of change is that you are no longer limited to ten different user notes files. Why anyone would need more than ten different sets of user notes is beyond me (keep in mind that each user notes file can contain pages of notes on each and every verse of the Bible!); but hey, if you need that many, the sky is now the limit.

Perhaps the most broadly useful improvements have to do with the way you edit your user notes. For those of you who may not have taken advantage of the user notes feature before now, let me explain how you would go about adding a note to a verse. Then I'll explain how version 7 makes it easier.

Before you can append a note to a verse, you have to create at least one User Notes file. This is no different than having to create a word processing document before you start writing something. As mentioned above, you only need to create one User Notes file for the entire Bible, unless you want multiple notes files for different purposes. To create a new Notes file, just select New Notes File... from the My Notes pop-up menu of the Resource palette. Then simply name your User Notes file and save it.

Once you've created a User Notes file, you're ready to start adding notes to it. Until version 7, you had to start with the Bible in order to add a note to a particular verse. Let's say you were looking at Genesis 1:1 and you wanted to append a note to that verse. You would need to click somewhere in that verse to select it, then choose Edit User Note from the Selection menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-U). If you have only one user notes file, Accordance will immediately open an Edit window for Genesis 1:1. If you have more than one user notes file, a dialog box will appear asking you which note file you want to use.

In the Edit window, you can just start typing your note, formatting the text however you like, adding hypertextable Scripture links, etc. Once you're done, click Update to save your changes. A red dot will appear beside the verse you selected, indicating that there is a user note on that verse. You can double-click on this red dot to open a User Notes window displaying your notes, or you can add your user notes as a parallel pane within a Search window.

Now, in previous versions of Accordance, if you wanted to add a verse to Genesis 1:2, you would have to close the Edit window for Genesis 1:1, go back to the text of the Bible, click anywhere within Genesis 1:2, and then choose Edit User Note from the Selection menu to open an Edit window for that verse. Obviously, if you wanted to add notes to a series of verses, this process could get kind of tedious.

If you look at the bottom left corner of the Edit window, there are up and down arrow buttons for quickly jumping to the next or previous note. Thus, if you were editing your note on Genesis 1:1, and you had previously created a note on Genesis 1:10, clicking the down arrow button would update the Edit window so that you could edit your note on 1:10. This enables you to quickly edit all your existing notes within the Edit window.

Some users, however, wanted these navigation arrows to behave a little differently. Rather than taking you to the next or previous note, they requested that the arrows in the Edit window take you to the next or previous verse. In other words, if you're editing Genesis 1:1, and you click the down arrow button, the Edit window should go to Genesis 1:2, even if you had not previously created a note for that verse. That way, you could quickly create new notes on a series of verses right within the Edit window.

The problem with this approach is that you might not want to create notes on all those verses. So we decided to give you the best of both worlds. If you simply click on the up or down arrow buttons in the Edit window, you'll go to the next or previous note. If, however, you option-click one of those buttons, you'll be taken to the next or previous verse, even if you hadn't previously appended a note to that verse. Remember that little trick, and you'll greatly speed up the process of adding notes to a series of consecutive verses.

One of my favorite things about the User Notes feature of Accordance is that if you are looking at your notes in a User Notes window, and you see something you want to change, you can just start typing right in the user notes window and Accordance will automatically open an Edit window for the note you're typing in. This feature has been around since we first added user notes in Accordance 2.0, but this only worked if you were looking at your notes in a separate user notes window. If you were viewing your notes in a parallel pane within a Search window, you couldn't just type directly in your notes to edit them. Instead, your typing would automatically appear in the argument entry box at the top of the Search window. So in version 7, we fixed this little inconsistency. You can now start typing within the Notes pane of a Search window and an Edit window will open displaying your changes.

That's it! As new features go, these aren't the earth-shattering kind I've been discussing the past couple of weeks, but they're little changes that can make a big difference to a lot of users.

Monday, June 05, 2006  

New in 7: Agreement by Root

Last Friday, we took a brief look at the new ability in version 7 to search by Greek or Hebrew root. Today, we'll build a Greek Construct to look for different words which agree in root.

For those of you who missed our previous discussions of the Construct window, you can read more about what it does and how it works in this post and the ones which immediately follow it. That way, we can avoid the long explanations in this post and get right to building our Construct:

  1. Open a Search window, select GNT-T (the tagged Greek New Testament) as your search text, and click the Search for Words radio button.
  2. Hit the tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box and select "Greek" from the New Construct submenu of the File menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-2).
  3. In the Construct window that opens, drag a VERB element into the first (leftmost) column. Click OK to dismiss the dialog that appears without setting any additional tag details.
  4. Drag a NOUN element into the second column. Click OK to dismiss the dialog that appears without setting any additional tag details.
  5. Drag a WITHIN item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, enter "5" in the first field and click OK.
  6. Drag an AGREE item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, click the checkbox for Root. For now, leave the radio buttons underneath the Root checkbox set to "Any." Click OK to close the dialog box.

Your Construct should now look like this:

Before we click OK to perform this search, let me point out another minor enhancement in Version 7: the addition of color to the Construct window. The Construct window has had the same basic look since version 1.0 of Accordance, when "System 7" was the current version of the Mac operating system. So we figured it was high time we gave it a more up-to-date look. We added the Aqua horizontal stripe background to the Construct palette, offset every other element column with a pale blue background, and added color to the WITHIN, INTER, and AGREE connecting items. We were purposefully conservative with our use of color, since too many colors can quickly become garish. We hope you like the new look.

Okay, enough about color schemes, let's click OK to perform this search.

Rather than showing you a screenshot of the results, let's look at something that will help us zero in on what was found: namely, the Parsing window:

How did I get this? It's easy:

  1. Click inside the text window pane displaying the Greek New Testament, then use the familiar Mac keyboard shortcut command-A to "Select All."
  2. Now click the Parsing button in the Language section of the Resource palette. You'll get an error message telling you that only the first 200 verses will be parsed. Fair enough. Click OK to dismiss this.

    A Parsing window will open listing every word in the first 200 verses, along with its lexical form, root, and full parsing information. But we can customize the display of the Parsing information to help us zero in on the actual words that were found by our search. What's the one keyboard shortcut that lets you customize the display of any window in Accordance—the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn? That's right, command-T!
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut command-T to open the Set Parsing Display dialog box. Select "Hit words only" from the Pop-up menu labeled "Parse", then click OK.

Your Parsing window should now look like the screenshot shown above.

Now, what did our Construct search actually find? Well, in Matthew 2:10, it found "rejoiced with great joy." There the verb chairo and the noun chara share the common root charis.

In Matthew 4:18, we find the phrase "casting a net." In that case, the word "net" comes from two roots, the prefix amphi, meaning "around," and ballo, meaning "to throw." Since our Construct specified that the Verb and Noun could agree in "any" root, this phrase was found because both the verb and noun share the common root ballo.

Now look at Matthew 7:13. Here you have two words (apagousa and apoleian) which both share the same prefix apo, but whose main roots are really quite different. It would appear that our specification of agreement by any root "cast the net" too broadly.

Let's go back to our Construct window and double-click on the AGREE item to look at our other options:

As you can see, we can eliminate hits like Matthew 7:13 by specifying that the Verb and Noun must agree in All roots instead of just Any root. Since apagousa and apoleian only agree in one out of two roots, this occurrence would be excluded.

Unfortunately, specifying agreement in All roots would also exclude the phrase "casting a net" in Matthew 4:18. Amphiblestron and ballo both agree in their main root, but only one has the prefix amphi, so this more legitimate occurrence would also be excluded.

That's why we added the option to exclude prefixes when specifying agreement by root. If we click that radio button, Accordance will find words that agree with respect to their main root, without finding words which happen to share the same prefix but which are otherwise unrelated.

If we re-run our search, select all verses, and click the Parsing button again, we'll now see that Matthew 4:18 is included, while Matthew 7:13 is excluded.

In this post, we've seen how to specify Agreement by root in a Construct search, how to use the Parsing window to examine the results, and how to specify whether words must agree in any root, all roots, or any root excluding prefixes. In the next post, we'll look at the practical importance of these kinds of searches.

Friday, June 02, 2006  

Discovering Our Roots

One of the most unique features of Accordance 7 is the addition of Greek and Hebrew roots. You'll first notice this when you mouse over a word in Greek or Hebrew:

In the screenshot above, the Instant Details box lists the inflected form we've moused over, followed by the lexical form agapao, followed by the root from which that word is derived in parentheses. In this case, the root of the verb agapao is the noun agapé.

That's an interesting bit of information, but what can you do with it?

Well, the first thing we can do is to search for all words derived from a particular root. We do that by entering the plus symbol (+) followed by the root we want to find. Like this:

When we click OK, Accordance will find every word derived from the root agapé. To find out what words were found, let's Click the Details button and look at the Analysis tab:

As you can see, our search for the root agapé found the verb agapao, the noun agapé, and the adjective agapétos.

Now, the cool way to search by root is not to type it in yourself, but to select a word in a Greek or Hebrew text and then hold down the shift and option keys while clicking on the Search button of the Resource palette. For example, the first verse returned by our root search for agapé is Matthew 3:17. If you select the word eudokesa at the end of that verse and shift-option click the Search button, Accordance will automatically search for all roots from which that selected word is derived.

We've just scratched the surface of what you can do with roots. Next week, we'll build a Construct to look for agreement by root. And later, we'll use a basic root search to show off some of the new graphing features of version 7.