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BibleWorks 9 - The Manuscripts Project IV

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

[See more here.]

Someone posted a question on one of the previous posts. He said,

Obviously, a huge amount of effort has gone into making the new transcriptions. So are they going to be heavily restricted by copyright? Any chance you might post the copyright information for the new transcriptions?

I personally cannot give an answer to this question, which is essentially, will BibleWorks share their transcriptions with others. Based on past practices and their general philosophy, I don’t know why they wouldn’t (for instance, they shared their work on Josephus with Accordance). Beyond that I cannot say anything without any knowledge of the situation. **UPDATE** Michael Bushell, the owner of BibleWorks, left a comment in response. He said,

With regard to the copyright of the BibleWorks transcriptions: they are BibleWorks copyrighted material and will remain so for now, primarily so that a pedigree can be maintained and corrections applied in an orderly way. Our desire is to eventually make them freely available to anyone for any use that is consistent with maintaining the integrity of the transcriptions and preventing them them from becoming sources of monetary gain. But we still have to give some thought to how best to do this. We’ve been too busy of late to think much about it. In the mean time there are no constraints on personal, private use.

Perhaps the following helps gives a better idea of the scope of the project…

Because of the enormity of the task of the manuscripts project, BibleWorks has enlisted a number of scholars in the field. Based on BibleWorks’ information, the Academic Lead for the project is Kent Clarke. Daniel McClellan posted Kent Clarke’s description of the project from his website:

BibleWorks Biblical Manuscript Transcription and Collation Project; General Editor and Academic Project Leader (Fall 2007-Present) of the BibleWorks Manuscript Transcription Project, which seeks to provide over the next four years scholarly-produced transcriptions of approximately two hundred New Testament papyri, uncial, and minuscule manuscripts. These new transcriptions, which will be based upon high quality digital images of the actual manuscripts or their facsimiles, will serve as the foundation for the development of a New Testament Textual Criticism software application. This project will

  1. develop a module that incorporates new technology and processes that more accurately and effectively allow for manuscript transcription and collation;
  2. provide extremely accurate representations of the manuscripts being transcribed;
  3. make the raw transcription data available without charge for personal or academic use;
  4. effectively enable program users to immediately compare, contrast, and fully collate any desired selection—either partial or full text—of these manuscripts;
  5. allow for a broad range of detailed statistical queries relating but not limited to such issues as textual affiliation and congruity of the New Testament manuscript tradition;
  6. link directly to the manuscript transcriptions their corresponding high resolution digital images where publication permissions have been granted;
  7. be “open-ended” in that ongoing transcription and imaging work, as well as the recording of relevant extra-textual features such as sociological and codicological details, can be seamlessly incorporated into the software; and
  8. serve as the groundwork for published volumes containing full transcriptions of each manuscript, as well as complete collations for each book of the New Testament.

One thing that may be particularly interesting to the more advanced user is that not only has BibleWorks provided transcriptions and images, they’ve also provided the tools their people are using to make the transcriptions. In other words, if you can find other images of manuscripts, you could make your own transcriptions that work alongside the ones provided in BibleWorks! Wow!

BibleWorks 9 - Manuscripts Project II

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

[See more here.]

Michael Bushell, the owner of BibleWorks, dropped in on the BibleWorks forums to add his two cents about the why of the BibleWorks Manuscripts Project. If you read his words you’ll understand where the heart of this company lies and why I’m such a big fan.

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I see these old manuscripts. All of them were at one time treasured possessions of churches and groups of churches, way before the printing press was even envisioned. It was the God-driven love that former believers had for these precious texts that has preserved them for us. They are worth preserving and appreciating in their own right, quite apart from text-critical issues. We had to move in this direction because it was clear that we would probably never be able to offer the “standard” apparatus to our users, and there was a genuine need to fill, but the deeper hope was that having them would deepen appreciation of our users for what a precious treasure the Word of God is.

Mike is right that this is just the beginning. You can pray for us. The cost of developing these texts is astronomical, especially for a small company, and especially given the fact that we don’f feel right about charging extra for them. If we charged what they are worth only a small handful of people could afford to buy them (we should be charging $200 for each manuscript), and then the purpose of the project would have been lost. Pray also for the CNTTS project. This is a wonderful work that complements what we are trying to do. It was kind of them to agree to keep royalties low enough that we could put the CNTTS material in the base package. If you ever have the opportunity to thank them, please do so. Pray for the CSNTM project as well. There is a lot going on in this area. It remains to be seen how well our work will be received. The textual criticism community is a tough lot! But we have tried to be careful and always remember that we are handling the Word of God!

God bless,
Mike Bushell

BibleWorks 9 - The Manuscripts Project

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

[See more here.]

As best as I am able, I will try to highlight some of the new features of BibleWorks 9, but realize I am only one man. Therefore, I’m already going to point you to two sources which will likely be even better places to learn more. 1) BibleWorks’ own website (remember this blog is an unofficial one, we’re not employees of BibleWorks, just big fans of the program) and 2) the BibleWorks forums. Right now for instance you can see on the BibleWorks website what’s new in BW9, see videos of it in action and place your orders so that you can be among the first to get it when the product ships.

With that said, I want to introduce BW9 by talking about the Manuscripts Project, which is one huge addition to the program.

The BibleWorks Manuscripts Project has long been in the works and it is an understatement to say that this is a massive undertaking. BibleWorks has invested countless resources in a task that would boggle the mind of textual critics of the by-gone eras. Essentially the BibleWorks Manuscripts Project is a project whose goal is to provide new transcriptions of the most frequently cited Greek New Testament manuscripts and to accompany them with manuscript images which have verse locations tagged.

What does that mean? That means rather than looking at the textual critical apparatus to see what text says what, you will actually be able to have Codex Sinaiticus in your browse window just like Nestle-Aland, Westcott-Hort, etc. It will be a morphologically tagged text. But beyond that, BibleWorks is also providing you with images of the manuscripts themselves so that you can see what it was that the transcriber was seeing. As you will soon tell with textual criticism, it is more an art than a science. When one sees a nu, another might see a mu. In order for the text to be useable textual critics need to make decisions, but BibleWorks doesn’t just make the decision and hide the evidence. It’s there for you to see with your own eyes. If you’re worried about not being able to see the manuscripts well, BibleWorks has also provided ample imaging tools to make that task even easier. The amount of help you have at your finger tips is far beyond what Tischendorf, Tregelles and so many others had available to them.

In order to make it even easier to find where the text is in the manuscript, BibleWorks provides verse labels that are placed on the image (you can remove them if they get in the way), so that you can see exactly where in the manuscript Matt 1:4 begins for instance. In other words, they go the extra mile to help make these manuscripts accessible to you.

The Manuscripts Project is a looooooong term project. When you see what they have done so far you will begin to understand how difficult of a project it is. As of right now, they have completed full transcriptions of the following manuscripts: Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Bezae, Boernerianus, Washingtonensis, and GA1141. Of those so far, only Sinaiticus is morphologically tagged, but the rest will be made available as updates when they are ready. And beyond that more manuscripts will also be added as they are available. But as you can see, they didn’t start off with the easy ones. They went right to the big guys.

The biggest reason why I think BW9 is worth the update is because you will be supporting this project.   Whereas other publishers fight over who can control the textual apparatus materials from some of these ancient texts, BibleWorks is attempting to make them available to more people than ever before in ways that will only increase the amount of work that can be done with them. Don’t think the project of textual criticism is over. In some ways, it’s only just beginning.

Just a couple of pictures.


In the above, you can see an active collation of Greek versions. In the middle portion you can see the image of the manuscript with verse tags. You can pop out the image in its own window if you wish to do that as well.

In the above, you can see an active collation of Greek versions. In the middle portion you can see the image of the manuscript with verse tags. You can pop out the image in its own window if you wish to do that as well.


This is just a small sampling of what the image viewer options look like. This is the same manuscript image as above, only with imaging options applied.

This is just a small sampling of what the image viewer options look like. This is the same manuscript image as above, only with imaging options applied.

Again, this isn’t the only thing new in BibleWorks 9, but it is one of the features that excites me the most. There may be others you prefer, but for my money, this alone pays for the upgrade. Of the making of critical editions, there will be no end, but when people do that, they will always be returning to these, the ancient manuscripts themselves.

Lexham English Bible - NT (2nd ed.)

Friday, November 5th, 2010

With the release of the SBLGNT & apparatus for BW, it seemed appropriate to release the Lexham English Bible (LEB) for use in BibleWorks. The LEB was edited by W. Hall Harris III. In the preface to the second edition it states that the LEB is based on the SBLGNT. Provided below is the preface to the second edition (as found in the text version provided on the website)*:


With approximately one hundred different English translations of the Bible already published,1 the reader may well wonder why yet another English version has been produced. Those actually engaged in the work of translating the Bible might answer that the quest for increased accuracy, the incorporation of new scholarly discoveries in the fields of semantics, lexicography, linguistics, new archaeological discoveries, and the continuing evolution of the English language all contribute to the need for producing new translations. But in the case of the Lexham English Bible (LEB), the answer to this question is much simpler; in fact, it is merely twofold.

First, the LEB achieves an unparalleled level of transparency with the original language text because the LEB had as its starting point the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. It was produced with the specific purpose of being used alongside the original language text of the Bible. Existing translations, however excellent they may be in terms of English style and idiom, are frequently so far removed from the original language texts of scripture that straightforward comparison is difficult for the average user. Of course distance between the original language text and the English translation is not a criticism of any modern English translation. To a large extent this distance is the result of the philosophy of translation chosen for a particular English version, and it is almost always the result of an attempt to convey the meaning of the original in a clearer and more easily understandable way to the contemporary reader. However, there are many readers, particularly those who have studied some biblical Greek, who desire a translation that facilitates straightforward and easy comparisons between the translation and the original language text. The ability to make such comparisons easily in software formats like Logos Bible Software makes the need for an English translation specifically designed for such comparison even more acute.

Second, the LEB is designed from the beginning to make extensive use of the most up-to-date lexical reference works available. For the New Testament this is primarily the third edition of Walter Bauer’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG). Users can be assured that the LEB as a translation is based on the best scholarly research available. The Greek text on which the LEB New Testament is based is that of The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (SBLGNT), a new edition produced by Michael W. Holmes in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software. In its evaluation of textual variation, the SBLGNT uses modern text-critical methodology along with guidance from the most recently available articles, monographs and technical commentaries to establish the text of the Greek New Testament.

Naturally, when these two factors are taken into consideration, it should not be surprising that the character of the LEB as a translation is fairly literal. This is a necessary by-product of the desire to have the English translation correspond transparently to the original language text. Nevertheless, a serious attempt has been made within these constraints to produce a clear and readable English translation instead of a woodenly literal one.2

There are three areas in particular that need to be addressed to make a translation like the LEB more accessible to readers today, while at the same time maintaining easy comparison with the original language text. First, differences in word order have to be addressed. In this regard, the LEB follows standard English word order, not the word order of Koiné Greek.3 Anyone who needs to see the word order of the original Greek can readily consult the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, which contains a sequence line which gives this information. Second, some expressions in biblical Greek are idiomatic, so that a literal translation would be meaningless or would miscommunicate the true meaning. The LEB uses lower corner brackets to indicate such expressions, with a literal rendering given in a note. Third, words which have no equivalent in the original language text must sometimes be supplied in the English translation. Because the LEB is designed to be used alongside the original language texts of scripture, these supplied words are indicated with italics. In some cases the need for such supplied words is obvious, but in other cases where it is less clear a note has been included.

Finally, the reader should remember that any Bible translation, to be useful to the person using it, must actually be read. I would encourage every user of the LEB, whether reading it alongside the original languages text or not, to remember that once we understand the meaning of a biblical text we are responsible to apply it first in our own lives, and then to share it with those around us.

W. Hall Harris III
General Editor
Lexham English Bible

(Con)Version notes:

  • Due to issues involved with converting this version for use in BibleWorks, all brackets “{ }” that were found in the original text file have been replaced with guillemets “« »”. In other versions of the LEB, these brackets are rendered with right/left floor symbols “⌊ ⌋”. These markers indicate idiomatic translations that “are phrases that don’t convey the meaning when translated literally.”*
  • Text rendered in italics are “supplied words”. “These are words in English implied by English style or structure, or they are grammaticalized from the original language. They may not be found in the original language, but are needed for a sentence to make sense in English.”* Any notes given for these ’supplied words’ are indicated in the Analysis Window with an asterisk after the superscript note number.
  • In other formats, footnotes for the LEB are rendered with sequential lower case letters (a,b,c) the continue throughout a given chapter. The text file from which the BibleWorks version was derived did not have these sequential letters as notes. Notes in the BibleWorks version are indicated in the text with superscripted numbers 1, 2, 3, . . . To toggle the appearance of these note references in the Browse Window, place your cursor somewhere in the Browse Window and press the “N” key on your keyboard.
  • Links to Old Testament references in the notes currently only work if your search version contains both the Old and the New Testament books. So, if your search version is set to the LEB, the Old Testament references will not display as pop-ups. For the reference pop-ups to work in the notes, you should display the LEB, but set a different version for your search version. In the Command Line, you might want to type NIV <enter> d c NIV LEB <enter> to view the LEB in line with the NIV, but still have the capability to display pop-up Scripture references in the Analysis Window. Hopefully this will be addressed in an update of some sort.

DOWNLOAD! To install, unzip the contents of the compressed file and copy all files into your \databases\ folder.

SBLGNT Apparatus Module Update

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I’ve posted a new version of the SBLGNT Apparatus Module.

This update fixes a problem in Matthew 16, where headings were incorrectly labeled and indexed.

DOWNLOAD! To install, unzip and copy to your \databases\ folder (overwrite all old files).

Tregelles Version (Updated)

Monday, November 1st, 2010

‘Tis the season for textual criticism. Since the release of SBLGNT, I’ve had a chance to use BibleWorks’ Text Comparison feature (under Tools->Viewing the Text->Text Comparison Settings) and by doing so I caught a few mistakes in the Tregelles versions that were previously uploaded. Although these mistakes were pretty minor, I still felt a need to correct them and upload the latest versions, so here you go.

If you need a refresher on the Tregelles Project, see its homepage.

DOWNLOAD TNT1 and TNT2! - Unzip to \databases\ subfolder of BibleWorks, copy over any old files and restart BibleWorks. The two versions are TNT1 (uncorrected Tregelles) and TNT2 (corrected Tregelles)

SBL GNT version update notes

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

All the latest files will always be linked via this page. However I wanted to start a separate page for version release notes.

The latest version of the SBLGNT Apparatus module is new as of 10pm Eastern time on 11/1.

Notes on module updated 11/1:

Fixed incorrect chapter headings/indexing in Matthew 16.

Notes on module updated 10/30:

A global search feature was added to the CHM file. Now the user can search on different terms. For instance, one can search on “Holmes” to find all of the places where there is “a reading preferred by the editor [Michael Holmes] that is not found in any of the four primary editions.” Download files from the main page (linked above), unzip and replace the files in your \databases\ directory.

The latest versions of the SBL and SBL2 are new as of 8:30pm Eastern time on 10/31.

Notes on Version Updated on 10/31:

This is a minor upgrade, but it fixes the problems that were happening with parentheses in both SBL and SBL2 versions. These texts are both optimized for BW8’s capabilities, so parentheses likely will not show up well in lower versions of BibleWorks. To install, simply re-download, copy over old files and restart BibleWorks. (SBL w diacritics / SBL2 w/o diacritics).

Notes on Version Updated on 10/30:

Be sure to upgrade your BibleWorks 8 executable first. (In BW8, go to Help–>BibleWorks on the Internet–>Check for Updates and select the latest Recommended Update for BibleWorks Executable.)

(1) These upgrades should make it possible to copy text from the browse window to any other source (i.e. exporting the text) and all the diacritics will copy correctly. But make sure you are using SBL Greek font since there are not very many other Unicode fonts that have all the diacritical characters in them. (If you want SBL Greek to be your default export font you can change it on the menu at Tools–>Options. Under General click on “Fonts.” In the middle of that go to the pulldown for Unicode Greek and change it “SBL Greek” and click OK. SBL Greek is not a personal favorite font of mine so I kept mine with Palatino. This just means if I ever export from SBL version and want the diacritics, I will need to changed the font of my exported text manually to SBL Greek.)

(2) These upgrades will also make it possible to do word and phrase searches without the diacritics getting in the way. At the present there is no way to search for diacritics themselves (that I know of), but in the first version I uploaded words with diacritics were treated as separate words so if you searched for λόγος and there was an instance of ⸂λόγος, you would not be able to find both of those words in a single search. This is now fixed.

A single installation package has been updated to include the SBLGNT apparatus and the main SBLGNT version file only (the version files without the diacritical marks are NOT included from now on, but are available as a separate download).

SBL GNT Apparatus Module

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Michael Hanel was quick to get the new SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT) compiled into a new BibleWorks version that can display in the Browse Window along with any other version. This new version shows the diacritical marks used by Michael Holmes to indicate the presence of variants.

Now, in addition to the base text, the critical apparatus is available as a BibleWorks CHM module!

This module works best if you have also installed the SBL Greek font.

DOWNLOAD! — CHM module of the SBLGNT critical apparatus. To install: unzip the files and copy to your \databases\ folder and restart BibleWorks. The SBLGNT Apparatus will be linked in the Resources|Text Criticism menu, and it will also show up in your Analysis Window under the Resources Summary Tab (if there is an entry for the particular verse you are browsing). REMINDER: When you unzip the .CHM file you may have to unblock it for it to work properly. Right click on the CHM file (it’ll look like all other HTML help icons), go to Properties and make sure the box for Block is unchecked.

See also Michael’s previous post for information about the SBLGNT text available as a BibleWorks version (with/without diacritics).

The main SBLGNT version (with diacritical marks) and the critical apparatus are available in a single ZIP file (unzip all to your /databases/ folder and restart BibleWorks to install).

Note: If you happen to share links with friends to these BibleWorks files, please use either a direct link to the BibleWorks blog (here or here), or to the BW forum thread. Do not link directly to the files (unless you use the goo.gl links provided above).

SBL GNT Available (Updated 10/31)

Friday, October 29th, 2010

UPDATES BELOW. — I’ve put release notes for newer version on a separate page.

Last night there was an announcement about the SBL GNT on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, today the version was released, and tonight you can view it in BibleWorks! That’s the speed of the Internet**.

As of Sunday, 10/31, this is considered a final version. However, please let me know here if there are any problems. The text should be identical to that of the SBL GNT found on any other source.

The textual apparatus is now available as a CHM file–fully integrated into BibleWorks using the Resource Manager.

Note, these files probably will only work in BibleWorks 8 because of the diacritical characters included in them. Sorry. Just one more reason to upgrade! :) (Make sure you are using the latest BW .exe file before using these versions).

DOWNLOAD! — simply unzip to \databases\ folder of BibleWorks and restart. The version ID is SBL. [UPDATE: SBL updated as of 8:30pm Eastern time on 10/31. Redownload and copy over your old files and restart BibleWorks]

DOWNLOAD! — Version without diacritics (should work in older versions of BW as well as BW8). Simply unzip to \databases\ folder of BibleWorks and restart. The version ID is SBL2. [UPDATE: SBL2 updated as of 8:30pm Eastern time on 10/31. Redownload and copy over your old files and restart BibleWorks]

DOWNLOAD! — CHM module of the SBLGNT critical apparatus. Unzip the files and copy to your \databases\ folder.

** Ok so the internet isn’t quite that efficient. It really consisted of me giving up my evening to work on the conversion.

Note: If you happen to share links with friends to these BibleWorks files, please use either a direct link to the BibleWorks blog (here or here), or to the BW forum thread. Do not link directly to the files (unless you use the goo.gl links provided above).

Brief Updates

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

You don’t see a lot of posts here because neither Jim nor I is paid enough to be constantly at work on this material, but lucky for you Jim still continues to pay for the web hosting. Lucky for you that also means even if we’re not always adding new material, the old stuff is still here and quite functional. But that brings me to two questions that are constantly being asked.

1. People have said when they try to open zip files they are corrupted. I have no logical explanation for why this is. The files are not corrupted, they are quite functional. There are only two solutions I have to this problem. Either try re-downloading the files or else use a different program to unzip them. Windows has a built in zipping function now, but sometimes that doesn’t work. You can try downloading 7-zip or Winzip and see if you can work it out that way. Beyond that there’s not much I can do to help. The files work fine for us, so we can’t troubleshoot a problem we don’t have.

2. People have problems using the modules because when they open they appear as though they do not work. These files need to be unblocked usually in order to use them. Instructions for doing this are clearly stated at the top of the modules page.

I’ve added links to two New Testament textual criticism modules that have previously been available on LaParola’s website. They are entitled New Testament Manuscript Variant Readings and an alt. version with variants sorted by text type and they are both compiled by  Pasquale Amicarelli.

Finally, I also added a link to a timeline of the publication of English Bibles made by Mark Hoffman. This file can be saved in the BibleWorks 8\timeline\ folder and must be opened in BibleWorks Timeline. You can read more about it here.