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  News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, September 29, 2006  

More Tool Browser Tricks

On Wednesday, I mentioned that you can option-click a disclosure triangle in the Tool window Browser to automatically expand the entire subarticle hierarchy for the article you happen to be viewing. Here are a few more Tool Browser "tricks."

Can't see the triangle? No Problem: Let's say you've opened one of the disclosure triangles in the browser and begun to scroll down through the listed articles so that you can no longer see the triangle. When you're done looking at this part of the browser and want to close it, what do you do? In any other program (including list view in the Finder), you would have to scroll back up until you see the disclosure triangle so that you can click it again. But one of the interface principles of Accordance is "Economy of Effort," which is basically a fancy way of saying that we're too lazy to work any harder than we have to. :-) So we've given you an easy way to close any level of the browser without having to find that little triangle.

If you drag your mouse to the far left edge of the browser pane, you'll notice that the cursor changes to an X to indicate that if you click, the current level of the browser will be closed. So when you want to close a level of the browser, drag to the left until you see the X, then click!

This little shortcut is so handy that I found myself expecting the List View in the Classic Mac OS Finder to work that way, and it drove me crazy that I had to scroll up to find the triangle. Now that I primarily use the OS X Finder's column view, I don't feel that frustration like I used to. Still, it's amazing how quickly you get used to an easier way of doing things and start to expect other programs to behave the same way.

Using the Browser to set a "Range": While it's easy to define a range of books, chapters, and/or verses of the Bible to search, how do you search a portion of a tool? After all, tools don't have a standard system of versification; each one is organized and arranged in a unique way. Rather than trying to come up with some monolithic system of defining ranges for tools, we decided to give you an easy way to select any portion of any tool to search—no matter how it happens to be organized!

You do that using the browser, which neatly lays out each tool's unique system of organization. Let's use the Early Church Fathers as an example. The Church Fathers and Church History CD-ROM contains Philip Schaff's 38-volume edition of the Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers in English, along with his eight-volume History of the Christian Church. That's a ton of material to sift through, and there may be times you want to narrow in on a specific father or historical period.

Let's say I want to search the writings of Ignatius for every occurrence of the word "love." I open the Church Fathers-Ante-Nicene (CF-AN) module and then open up the browser. I click the disclosure triangle for Volume I: Apostolic Fathers and I see the section containing the works of Ignatius. To narrow my search to just that portion of the tool, I need only hold down the option key and click on the name "Ignatius." Notice how the cursor changes to a red arrow when you hold the option key down and drag over the name. After you click, a vertical red bar will appear at the far left edge of the browser pane next to the section of the tool you clicked.

As long as this portion of the browser is highlighted, any subsequent searches I do will be limited to that portion of the tool. Thus, if I search for the word "love," I only get two hits, as opposed to the 46 I would get if I searched the entire tool.

When you're ready to remove the selection, just hold down the option key and drag over that vertical bar at the far left edge of the browser. You'll see the cursor change to a red X. Just click to remove the red highlighting.

Narrowing your search in this way is useful whenever you're dealing with large compilations of material, such as the Church Fathers, a large multi-volume commentary, a systematic theology, the Biblical Archaeology Review archive or the Theological Journals, etc.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006  

Writer's Block

Last week, I had a good excuse for not blogging: I was traveling and teaching all-day training seminars. This week, I'm afraid I've just got writer's block. Actually, I've got several ideas for upcoming posts, including an excellent one submitted by a user, but I just haven't had the time to develop them like I want to. Since I can't bring myself to post things which are totally irrelevant in the interest of filling up dead air, I guess I'll stall for time by highlighting a few tips which the recent seminar attendees found helpful. :-)

Resizing text in all panes: It's obvious that you can resize the text in an individual window pane by clicking the text-size buttons above the pane (the little and big "A" icons), but did you know that if you option-click those buttons, the text in all the panes of that window will be resized?

Using the Go To Box in a Tool window: In a previous blog entry, I emphasized the use of the Go To box in the Search window to quickly navigate to the verses you want. Did you know you can do the same thing in the Tool window? Simply type a word or phrase into the Go To Box (or a Scripture reference if you're in a reference tool), then hit return, and you'll be taken to the article which is the closest match to what you typed.

Knowing Where You are in a Tool window: When you do a search in a Tool window, some of the hits you find may be in subarticles which are deeply nested within an article. How do you know where you are in the body of the tool? Well, you can look at the Go To Box, which will give you the current subarticle preceded by the main article to which it belongs.

For example, if I search for the word "dove" in Anchor Bible Dictionary, the Go To Box shows "ART AND ARCHITECTURE: 8. The Dove." In this way, I can tell right away that the article I'm looking at is in the article on Art and Architecture.

But I still don't know where the current subarticle falls in the structure of the entire article. To see that, I can open the browser pane. There I'll see the top level of the article hierarchy, which in this case is all the letters of the English alphabet. The letter A is highlighted to show that the current article falls within that section of the tool. I could then click the disclosure triangle to reveal the next level of the hierarchy, scroll down until I see which article is highlighted, click that article's disclosure triangle, and so on until I drill down to the current article.

But who has time for that? If I just option-click on the disclosure triangle beside the letter A at the top level of the browser, Accordance will automatically expand every level of the browser containing the current article. It's a quick way to see how the current article fits into the structure of the entire tool.

Okay, I better stop there. Hope these are helpful to some of you.

Friday, September 22, 2006  

Lots and Lots of Ranges

My first exposure to studying the Bible on my own was at a high school youth retreat when I was fifteen years old. We were given a slip of paper with passages to be read and questions to be answered, all in the span of about 20 minutes. At that time, I didn't know one end of the Bible from the other, so I struggled to even find the assigned passages in the time allotted. But by the end of the week, I had come up with a basic system for helping me to know approximately where each book of the New Testament was located.

To me, the New Testament could be neatly divided into three basic sections: the "Names," the "Shuns," and the "Numbered Names." The "Names" were those books at the beginning which I have since learned to refer to as the "Gospels": Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The "Shuns" were the "Epistles," which all had names like Gala-shuns, Ephe-shuns, and Colo-shuns. Finally, the "Numbered Names" were all those "Pastoral" and "General Epistles" toward the back like 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1-3 John. It wasn't a perfect system. I'm not sure what I did with "James" and "Jude" which were "names" in the "numbered names" section, but hey, it was the best I could do at the time!

What's that got to do with Accordance? Not much, except that Accordance has always let you define your own ranges of books, chapters, and verses so that you can narrow a search to appropriate sections of the Bible. If you want to use my system of "Names," "Shuns," and "Numbered Names," you can do that. Of course, it's more likely that you'll want to use more well known and logical categories. Thankfully, you can do that too!

Of course, it can be time-consuming to create a large number of ranges, so it would be nice to be able to use someone else's predefined set of ranges. Prior to version 7, however, that was impossible. Because ranges were one of the first custom options in Accordance, they have always been stored in the main Accordance settings file, which included lots of other kinds of settings. In version 7, we reorganized the way we store preferences to make Accordance more OS X compatible, and while we were at it, we moved the search ranges into their own settings file so that they could be shared.

For those of you who have never bothered to create many search ranges, I'm making my own ranges available for download in .zip (for Mac OS X) and .sit (for classic Mac OS) compression formats. Don't worry, you won't find any "Shuns," but you will find a few more traditional groupings of books, followed by ranges for each individual book of the Bible. To install these ranges, just download and uncompress them, then drag the "Search Ranges" file into the Accordance Preferences folder inside your Accordance folder. (In OS X, drag it into your User folder-->Library-->Preferences-->Accordance Preferences.) Be warned, doing so will replace any ranges you've already defined. And of course, this can only be done with Accordance 7. Once installed, you should see all of those ranges in the range pop-up menu inside the More Options section of the Search window.

I hope this is helpful to some of you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006  

New Quick Reference Guide

It's Thursday, and this is my first blog post of the week. That's because I've been in Atlanta since Friday to do two free Accordance training seminars. The seminars went well, and we had people who came all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; and Birmingham, Alabama. We also had several representatives of Walk Through the Bible, and one of the attendees happened to be an old friend I haven't seen since he moved from Florida more than a decade ago. All in all, it was a very productive and enjoyable trip.

Of course, all that activity has meant a dearth of tips for you, the readers of this blog. So let me make up for it by pointing you to a helpful resource which was developed for use in the training seminars.

During the last round of seminars, several attendees offered the helpful suggestion that we provide some kind of handout that would help them follow along and refresh their memories about what had been covered in the seminar. A handout also has the advantage of giving them something to do (other than zone out) while I'm answering some obscure question about Greek or Hebrew that may not be of interest to them.

So for this round of seminars we developed a new Quick Reference Guide, which we hope will be of use not only to seminar attendees, but to all Accordance users. This Quick Reference Guide covers the overall interface concepts around which Accordance is built, the organization and use of the Resource palette, tips for working with Workspaces, the layout of the Search window, the use of Search commands and symbols, and more. We've made it available on our web-site as a PDF, and hope you'll find it helpful.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006  

Cool New Stuff from Zondervan!

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your checkbook, Zondervan has released (and we are now selling) the third in its new series of Accordance-compatible CD-ROMs: The Zondervan Scholarly Bible Study Suite for Macintosh.

Like the Zondervan Essential Bible Study Suite and the Zondervan Personal Growth Bible Study Suite, this new CD-ROM is published by Zondervan in partnership with OakTree Software. What that means is that we developed these modules with the same care we put into developing all Accordance modules, but that Zondervan packages, publishes, and distributes these CD-ROMs themselves. And, of course, we act as a reseller so that we can offer the complete array of Accordance-compatible CD-ROMs ourselves.

Okay, blah, blah, blah. Now that you know how our partnership with Zondervan works, let's get to the good stuff: what's new in this latest CD-ROM? While all three of Zondervan's CD-ROMs include first-rate material, I think this one is clearly the best of the bunch. Here's a brief rundown of the included modules:

Asbury Commentary: The Asbury Bible Commentary is a modern one-volume commentary on the whole Bible, written from a Wesleyan perspective.

Carson et al.-NT Intro: D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo's Introduction to the New Testament explores the authorship, date, purpose, and historical background to every book of the New Testament. The second edition has been updated with information on the history of interpretation, the "New Perspective on Paul," and other current issues in New Testament scholarship.

Dillard et al.-OT Intro: An Introduction to the Old Testament by Dillard and Longman explores the historical backgound, literary analysis, and theological message of each Old Testament book. Written from an evangelical perspective, it interacts with the historical-critical method in an irenic spirit.

Eadie Commentary: Nineteenth-century minister and New Testament scholar John Eadie's commentaries on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

Exhaustive Analysis GNT: This reference tool lists every word in the Greek New Testament, its part of speech, Goodrick-Kohlenberger number, its English meaning, and the number of times it appears.

Exhaustive Analysis HB: This reference tool lists every word in the Hebrew Bible, its part of speech, Goodrick-Kohlenberger number, its English meaning, and the number of times it appears.

GNT Key: The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament simplifies reading the text of the Greek New Testament by defining, parsing, and explaining key words in each verse of the Greek New Testament.

Godet Commentary: Nineteenth-century Swiss theologian and New Testament scholar Frederic Louis Godet's commentaries on Luke, John, Romans, and 1 Corinthians.

Hebrew Vocabulary: A listing of Hebrew vocabulary words and their definitions arranged by frequency of occurrence.

Hort Commentary: Nineteenth-century textual critic and New Testament scholar J. A. Hort's introductions to Romans and Ephesians, and commentaries on James 1:1-4:17, 1 Peter 1:1-2:17, and Revelation 1-3.

Lightfoot (Epistles): John Lightfoot was a noted English 17th century minister, scholar, and member of the Westminster Assembly. This module includes his commentaries on Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, along with his notes from unpublished commentaries on 1-2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians.

Meaning in Text: Is There a Meaning in This Text? by Kevin J. Vanhoozer analyzes current debates in the field of Biblical hermeneutics and proposes a method of interpretation which recognizes the importance of both the reader's situation and the literal sense.

Mounce Analytical: William Mounce's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament lists every inflected form in the Greek New Testament with links to its lexical form. Lexical forms are listed with their definitions, associated Goodrick-Kohlenberger number, and references to the associated section of Mounce's Morphology of Biblical Greek.

Mounce Greek: William Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek is an introductory Greek grammar which combines the best of the deductive and inductive approaches to language learning. It aims to equip the student to understand grammatical concepts and their importance for interpretation, and is designed both for classroom use and self-directed study.

Mounce Morphology: William Mounce's Morphology of Biblical Greek is a companion to his grammar which explains, in a way second-year Greek students can understand, how Greek words are formed. It contains the most complete set of paradigms available for New Testament Greek.

NIDBA: The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology surveys the findings, methods, and terminology of Biblical archaeology. Use this dictionary to get information about specific sites, ancient cultures, extrabiblical literature, historical figures, and archaeological terms.

NIDCC: The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church contains more than 5,000 articles on people, events, organizations, denominations, and systems of doctrine which have been important in the history of the church.

NT Morphemes: J. Harold Greenlee's New Testament Greek Norpheme Lexicon lists the prefixes, root words, suffixes, and terminations of every word in the Greek New Testament. It is designed to be an aid in memorization and in locating words which are derived from related morphemes.

Wallace Greek: Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics is designed for intermediate level Greek students and their teachers.

Westcott Commentary: Nineteenth-century textual critic and New Testament scholar B. F. Westcott's commentaries on John, Ephesians, Hebrews, and 1-3 John.

Westminster Confession: The Westminster Confession is one of the most enduring confessions of the Reformed theological tradition.

ZPEB: The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible is a five-volume reference featuring more than 7,500 articles ranging across the entire spectrum of theological and biblical topics. The illustrations in this electronic edition differ from those of the print edition in two respects: the subject matter illustrated is often different and the vast majority of illustrations are full-color rather than black-and-white.

Map of ancient Ephesus from the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible

The ZPEB and NIDCC are two resources I've personally been turning to a lot lately, and William Mounce's three Greek text books are also very helpful. Carson & Moo and Dillard & Longman are two works of Introduction which were standard texts when I was in seminary, so I'm excited to have them in Accordance.

There's a lot of excellent material here, and while I don't do a lot of talking about stuff that is exclusive to Accordance (since I think the Accordance program should be purchased on its own merits rather than just because of the resources available for it), I will point out that apart from Zondervan's own Pradis platform for the PC, this material is only available for Accordance. :-)

If you want to learn more about how the resources in this CD-ROM can be used, see this article by Rubén Gómez.

Monday, September 11, 2006  

More on Presenting the Atlas

On Friday, I gave some suggestions for how to use the Atlas in a presentation. Yesterday, in Sunday School, I was reminded of the need for it. For the first class of a New Testament survey course, our teacher wanted to give an overview of Biblical geography, so he hooked his Windows laptop up to a projector and presented a series of slides showing various maps of Israel and the Mediterranean. He did a great job, but it was just killing me that the same thing could have been done much more effectively with animated routes and 3-D fly-throughs. And of course, when questions were asked about the distance between two points, there was no easy way to find an answer; but if he'd had Accordance, he could have just option-dragged to measure the distances!

Ah well, that's what I get for trying not to give the folks at my church the hard sell about Accordance. (Darn this whole integrity thing!) I guess I'll have to content myself with preaching to the choir. ;-)

Okay, so today I want to talk about using the Atlas in slideshow mode. You'll recall that in version 7, you can set up a Workspace with multiple tabs, and then enter a Slideshow mode which hides most of the window controls and interface elements which can distract from the text and images you want to present. To enter Slideshow mode, you simply choose Slide Show from the Window menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-option-S).

In Slide Show mode, you can navigate your maps using the scroll bars, or you can command-drag to move the map to a different location. As far as zooming in and out, the In and Out buttons are not displayed, but you can zoom in using command-plus, and zoom out using command-minus. You can also zoom in to a specific point by holding the shift and command keys while clicking the point on the map you want to zoom in on.

Although these basic navigation tools are useful, I would suggest that if you want to show various views of the map, you set those up as separate slides ahead of time and then just switch between slides. For example, in my Sunday School class, the teacher could have set up the map to show the entire Mediterranean with the Roman Provinces region layer. Then he could have used command-D to create a duplicate tab in which he could zoom in on Palestine and overlay New Testament Palstine. Then he could duplicate that tab, zoom way in on Jerusalem, and overlay the Geography of Jerusalem layer.

If he wanted to show modern boundaries, he could duplicate the first tab and overlay the Modern Nations region layer. In a few minutes, he could have four distinct slides all set up and ready to be presented in Slide Show mode.

By the way, when setting up your Slide Show slides like this, remember that you can reorder the tabs in a workspace simply by dragging them to the left or right. So if you create these various map views in a different order than you intend to present them, simply drag them into the right order in the workspace. In Slide Show mode, the order of the slides you show will be identical to the order of the tabs in the Workspace.

I hope these last two posts have helped you to consider how the Atlas can be used to enhance your own teaching and presentations. Let this day be the beginning of the end for PowerPoint slide shows of static maps pasted on a cheesy background! May the twelve tribes never again be shown as a series of hard-to-read labels with no clear boundaries; give your people translucent color fills! Don't just show a missionary journey with static lines and arrows; let your people watch as Paul wends his way through Cilicia and Galatia! Show them photos from the PhotoGuide of the Taurus mountains, or the silted up harbors of Ephesus and Miletus! Don't just tell them the difference in elevation between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea; create a 3-D map and fly through it! Visual aids are great, and explaining the geographical background of the Biblical narratives is wonderful; but if you're going to do it, do it right!

Pant! Pant! Okay, sorry for getting carried away there. I'm through preaching to the choir! :-)

Thursday, September 07, 2006  

Using the Atlas in a Presentation

And now for something completely different . . .

Okay, I know if you're not anywhere near any of the upcoming training seminars, the last thing you want is for me to keep blogging about them, so let's switch gears and blog on something that may be useful to a broader audience. A user recently asked me about using the Atlas in a presentation, so here are a few tips on how to do it:

Prepare your maps in advance: Choose the map background, sites, regions, and routes you want displayed.

Keep in mind that if you use a dark map background such as Satellite, you'll want to adjust the color of the labels in your site, route, and region layers so that they appear in a light color like white or yellow. Otherwise, there won't be enough contrast and the labels will be hard to read. Lighter color schemes, such as Light Browns or Colors work fine with darker labels.

Make sure your maps aren't cluttered with lots of labels. For example, Major Biblical Sites is probably better for presentation purposes than All Biblical. Major Biblical Sites is set up to display only those sites which have been given a 4 or 5 rating on an "importance" scale of 1 to 5. To reduce the number of sites which appear even further, you could select "Define Site Layers..." from the Sites pop-up menu and modify this layer so that it only shows sites with an importance of 5.

Another option is to create a Custom Site layer, which only shows those sites which you pick from a list of all available sites. This is useful when you want to display something like first-century Judea and you want to include Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Emmaus. Bethlehem and Emmaus would be excluded from a site layer which only shows the most important sites, so a custom site layer lets you display only the sites you want and none of the ones you don't.

Use Animated Routes: To me, animated routes are the coolest thing about the Accordance Bible Atlas. Sure, doing a 3-D fly-through is very cool, but seeing a Biblical journey or battle unfold across the map really helps you to see what is being described in the text. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of animated routes:

Use "No Faded Route" Animation: The default way that animated routes are drawn across the map shows a faded preview of all the lines which will be drawn, and then those lines get filled in with a brighter, more vivid version of the line.

That's okay, and with Quartz rendering in OS X it looks a lot better now than I remember it looking in the past. But I want drama! So I prefer to remove this faded preview so that I can watch as the route unfolds. Like this:

To get this look, you need to use the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: command-T. In the Set Map Display dialog, you'll see a pop-up labeled "animation." Just change this from Normal to No Faded Route and click OK. (You may want to click Use as Default if you want to use this look all the time.) Now your animated routes will be reminiscent of those maps in Raiders of the Lost Ark which showed Indiana Jones traveling to Tibet, then Egypt, then across the Mediterranean. What other Bible software gives you that? ;-)

Learn to Use the Animate Checkbox: When presenting an animated route, don't be a passive spectator. Use the animate checkbox to start and stop the animation at appropriate points. In the animated route of the Battle of Gibeon pictured above, I would typically uncheck the Animate button right at the point where the five kings of the Canaanites have started their siege of Gibeon. I would talk about that briefly, explaining that the Gibeonites sent word to Joshua at Gilgal requesting help. I would then check the Animate box again and show the blue line representing Joshua coming over from Gilgal and defeating the Canaanites. I would uncheck the box at that point to talk about the sun standing still and all the details of the battle, before checking the box once more to show Joshua pursuing the fleeing Canaanites "along the road to Beth-Horon." Using the animate checkbox in this way lets you control the animation and focus your audience's attention on a particular sequence.

Another little trick with the animate checkbox is to option-click it whenever you don't want to wait for the animation to finish. If the animation starts and you want to give an overview first, simply hold down the option key while unchecking the box. The completed route will immediately be displayed and the animation stopped. If you check the box again, the animation will resume from the point it was at when you option-clicked to stop it. This little enhancement was added in version 6.6.

Boy, I've gone on for quite some time and I still haven't even started talking about using the Atlas in conjunction with Accordance 7's Slideshow feature! I'll have to talk about that in a future post. In the meantime, I hope this helps get you started thinking about how you can use the Atlas as a visual aid during a presentation.


What you can expect at the Training Seminars

Yesterday I told you about the upcoming training seminars. Today, I want to give you an idea of what you can expect to happen at an all-day seminar. Obviously, shorter seminars will not be able to cover as much ground, but the basic outline will be similar.

When I first taught an all-day seminar, I remember thinking to myself, "How am I going to talk for eight hours about Accordance?" At the end of the day, I realized that eight hours was far too short a time to cover everything Accordance can do. Now I've got all the new features in 7 to cover, and I'm not sure where I'm going to squeeze those in!

Eight hours may not be enough time to cover everything, but it's more than enough time for the brain to become saturated with information. I know there's no way you'll remember every tip and step-by-step procedure I cover, so I begin the seminars by giving the big picture concepts around which the interface is designed. If you're like me, it's much easier to remember (or figure out) how to do something if you understand the overall way a program works. So I try to explain the reasons we've designed the interface as we have. (You can also find a brief explanation of those interface concepts here.) I also try to point out the consistency of the interface, so that you'll be able to transfer concepts from one procedure to another.

Once you've got the big picture, we move on to the Search window, exploring how to construct a search, how to navigate your search results, how to use symbols, commands, Key numbers, and grammatical tags, etc. This generally takes us until the lunch break, and sometimes a little bit beyond, depending on how in depth we go into Greek and Hebrew.

The afternoon session is usually a whirlwind tour of tools; parallels; user notes and user tools; the Atlas, PhotoGuide, and Timeline; and depending on the audience, more in depth Greek and Hebrew.

By the end of the day, I start to see a few eyes glazing over, but nearly everyone who has attended has been glad they came. If you're in the vicinity of one of the upcoming seminars, I hope you'll make it a priority to attend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006  

The Accordance Road Show

OakTree Software is hitting the road again to do a series of training seminars at various locations throughout the South: in New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, and here in Orlando. The seminars are free to attend, and in the case of the all-day seminars, you're welcome to come and go as your schedule permits. In the spring we did a whirlwind tour of Chicago, Detroit, and Boston, and even those who drove many hours to attend seemed to think it was well worth the time and effort. For a report on those seminars and some attendee feedback, see this blog post.

Here's a rundown of the seminars which are coming your way:

New Orleans, Sept. 12 and 13, 1:30 to 3:30 pm: While not a full-blown training seminar, these in-depth demonstrations of Accordance at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will give you a good feel for what Accordance can do. Long-time Accordance employee Greg Ward will be giving these demos to NOBTS faculty and students as well as any outside folks who decide to attend.

Atlanta, Sept. 16 and 18, 9 am to 5 pm: I'll be teaching these all-day training seminars at the Atlanta Vineyard Church. Atlanta is criss-crossed by about a gazillion interstates, so if you can drive in for all or part of the day I'd encourage you to do so.

Orlando, Sept. 30, 9 am to 5 pm: We're back home for this all-day training seminar. If you're in the area, this is your chance to meet a large percentage of the OakTree staff. I'll be teaching at least some of this one.

Dallas, Oct. 7 and 9, 9 am to 5 pm: These all day training seminars will be hosted at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Austin, Oct. 4 or 11, 9 am to 5 pm: We're still working on a definitive date and location for this all-day seminar, but we've already had a tremendous response. If you're in the area, sign up now.

While these seminars are free, we do ask that you register to attend at least a week in advance, so we'll know how best to set up the facilities. Also, some of the dates may change depending on the response, so you can cast your vote for a particular day and time by registering early. For more information about the seminars, see the Shows page of our web-site.

By the way, I was just informed that we're also going to be doing a seminar at Princeton (yes, I know that's not the South) around the end of October. I'll let you know more details as I get them.

In a future post, I'll give more information about what you can expect to happen at these seminars. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 01, 2006  

Details of the Library 7 Premier Level

Yesterday I detailed the new modules in the new Library 7 Standard Level. Today, I want to look at the new modules in the Premier Level. As we do, keep in mind that these new modules are in addition to the new modules included in the Introductory and Standard levels. (Speaking of the Introductory Level, you can get more details about the new Bible Art module over on our Featured Module page.)

By far the most significant addition to the Premier level is the grammatically tagged Greek New Testament Textus Receptus (GNT-TR). Until now, we've always tried to maintain a clear demarkation between the Library CD-ROM, which contains resources for study of the Bible in English, and the Scholar's Collection CD-ROM, which contains resources for original language study. We still want to maintain that basic distinction, but we're blurring the lines just a little, mainly for those pastors and students who don't want to purchase both CD-ROMs but who occasionally need to dig deeper into the original languages. We also see it as a way to expose more people to the power of our grammatically tagged texts.

What about those who want the Nestle-Aland text rather than the textus receptus? Well, we've also tried to ease your pain by offering a substantial discount ($60) when you buy both the Library 7 Premier level and the Scholar's 7 Core Bundle. In short, our grammatically tagged Greek and Hebrew texts have never been more accessible or affordable.

The module I think I'm personally most excited about having is Philip Schaff's Creeds of Christendom (Schaff-Creeds). A tremendous work of scholarship, Schaff's Creeds consists of three volumes. Volume 1 explores the history of creeds from early baptismal formulas to the great ecumenical creeds and the later Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant confessions. Volume 2 contains the text of the Greek and Latin creeds in parallel columns of Greek or Latin and English. Volume 3 contains the evangelical Protestant creeds, in the languages in which they were written and in English translation. I've had this work on my shelves for years, and have had occasion to consult it many times. I'm excited to finally have it in Accordance.

The Premier Level also includes the original edition of ISBE, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia edited by James Orr. Four volumes in print, ISBE contains detailed articles about every significant word in the Bible, and important subjects receive extensive treatment.

The Premier Level also includes two more works by Alfred Edersheim. Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Life & Times) explores the historical background to the gospel accounts of Jesus' life. Bible History Old Testament (Bible History OT) provides a detailed overview of Old Testament redemptive history. These, together with the previously included Sketches of Jewish Social Life and The Temple, Its Ministies and Services make for an excellent collection of Edersheim's works.

Another important work which explores the historical background of the Bible is archaeologist William Ramsay's St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen (Paul the Traveler). As its title suggests, this work deals with the life and missionary journeys of the apostle Paul.

Another major addition is the Two-volume Works of Jonathan Edwards (Hickman Edition of 1834). Edwards includes such important works as Edwards' Resolutions, Freedom of Will, Nature of True Virtue, Faithful Narrative, Religious Affections, and more.

New works of theology include Eighteenth-century Revivalist and theologian Charles Grandison Finney's Lectures on Systematic Theology (Finney-Theology) and Heinrich Schmid's Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Schmid-Theology is a compilation of statements by 14 prominent Lutheran theologians on various systematic theological subjects. Combine these with the systematic theologies of Aquinas, Calvin, Hodge, Strong, and Gill, and the Premier level offers a wealth of theological resources.

Other modules include:

Baxter: Puritan divine Richard Baxter's Saints' Everlasting Rest, Reformed Pastor, Call to the Unconverted, and Causes and Dangers of Slighting Christ and His Gospel.

Catena Aurea: A commentary on the gospels of Matthew and Mark collected from the writings of the Church Fathers.

Proverbs (Spurgeon): Sermons on Proverbs by Charles Spurgeon.

Twelve Caesars: Roman Historian Suetonius' Biography of the first twelve Roman emperors. This work includes one of the earliest secular historical references to Christ.

In addition to all these new modules, St. Patrick has now been updated with a biography of St. Patrick excerpted from J. A. Wylie's History of the Scottish nation.

The new Premier level adds no less than 37 new modules for a total of 146! And since we often combine multiple works by the same author into one module, the number of individual "books" included is much higher. Not that we're really counting, mind you! ;-)