Accordance Blog
Jul 15, 2016 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at the Orthodox Study Bible

Orthodox Study Bible cover w/drop shadow This past Spring, we released the Orthodox Study Bible for the Accordance Library [see original announcement here]. I have known Theron Mathis, one of the contributors, for nearly two decades. In the interview below, I asked him about his involvement in the project and what he considers significant about the Orthodox Study Bible for all readers of Scripture.

Theron, tell us a bit of your background and how you got involved with the Orthodox Study Bible project.

I have two Religion degrees: a BA from Liberty University, where I also minored in Greek, and an MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I got involved in the Orthodox Study Bible as a Baptist when I was exploring the Orthodox Church. After my wife and I had become catechumens in the church, I reached out to the organizers of the project and asked if I could participate. After checking credentials, I was assigned to translate 1 & 2 Samuel (1 & 2 Kingdoms) and write the study notes on the project.

Much like many modern translations, this is not a pure, from-the-ground-up translation. It is technically a revision of previous translation. Thomas Nelson was helping with the project, so we used the New King James Version as the base translation and corrected the text wherever it deviated from the LXX.

What are the more significant places where 1 & 2 Samuel/1 & 2 Kingdoms in the LXX differs from the Hebrew text?

We tried to make the Christological allusions more apparent where they occurred. An example of this is the use of "the Anointed." Rather than translate it as Anointed or perhaps Messiah, we used the word Christ, which is really a transliteration of the Greek word for anointed [χριστός].

When reading Hannah's prayer, there are some similarities in the Greek with Mary's prayer in Luke 2. Because of this, we used the same English words the translators did in Luke 2, so the connection would be obvious.

There is much more detail and conversation in the challenge between David and Goliath. The Davidic covenant differences really stand out to me. This is found in 2 Samuel 7. The first major difference was in 7:13. The Hebrew uses the word establish [כּוּן] for the action God will take toward the Davidic line. The Greek that is used [ἀνορθόω] suggests that God is doing something again. Restore is the closest English we could find for this. Restore suggests a future action by God because of something that has happened to the Davidic line. This makes the prophetic nature of the passage much more clear.

In 7:14 the SAAS says, "And if he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men..." This shows God's protection of David's lineage, and that he will not allow it to be fully corrupted, but will continue to make in line with righteousness through the chastening of other men if necessary. As the monarchy became more corrupt, the fulfillment of this by outside threats, including the Exile, are obvious. The Greek could have been translated differently to give future implications. An acceptable translation could have been "Whenever his injustice arrives, I will chasten with the rod of men and the blows of the sons of men." This translation only makes sense in the light of Christ, who although righteous, suffered injustice at the hands of humanity.

How great of a challenge was it to prepare the study notes for these books? Did you discover that Orthodox understanding of these passages differed greatly from your previous Baptist background? What would you say stands out theologically or interpretively about 1 & 2 Samuel/1 & 2 Kingdoms from an Orthodox perspective?

I didn't have the electronic tools we have today in doing research and had to spend many hours combing indexes of books to find instances where the Church Fathers may have commented on a passage. The searchable tools we have today would have made the research portion much easier.

When reading the Fathers on the Old Testament, they are constantly reading with an eye to Christ and the renewal that He brought to mankind. If Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, then He can be found there; and it feels that they are on this quest as they read the Old Testament. This doesn't mean they denied the literal or moral aspects of the text, but seeing Christ was first.

Alongside Christ, they see many NT realities that we might miss--from the person of Mary to the Church. For example, they often see the Ark of the Covenant as an image of Mary, who brought the presence of God into the world through bearing the person of Christ. So, connection is often made between David dancing before the Ark as well as the unborn John the Baptist "dancing" in the womb of Elizabeth when she meets the expectant Mary.

The continuity of liturgical worship from the Old Testament into the new was something I would not have seen before. Often words such as λειτουργία are translated as “ministry” or “service,” which might be acceptable; but you miss a sense of worship in those words. The same words used in Samuel's ministry in the temple are the same words we often find in Paul's letters when he is discussing worship.

Also, it was refreshing to find that the Fathers were not afraid of difficult passages. That strange story of the Witch of Endor was addressed by at least 14 different early theologians, to try to explain what was really going on with Samuel appearing at her command.

From your perspective as a contributor to the Orthodox Study Bible, what makes it unique besides the obvious Eastern Orthodox point of view?

  1. It provides a very accessible entry into the Septuagint. Prior to the Orthodox Study Bible, there was only one English version of the LXX, which was originally published in 1844. It reads like the 1611 KJV, so the language can be a stumbling block for many people. Reading the LXX provides a glimpse into many of the New Testament writers’ use of language, and often explains a New Testament quotation that doesn't quite fit right with the Hebrew Text. It is usually because it is being pulled out of the LXX.
  2. Many of the study notes are direct quotations and commentary from the Church Fathers. In my experience most modern Christians are unaware of the thoughts and ideas of Christians prior to the 15th and 16th century. The Orthodox Study Bible can open up a whole new wonder of reading and understanding the Scripture.
  3. There are more books of the Bible to read [the Apocrypha/Deuterocanon].

Do you believe Non-Orthodox readers would benefit from the Orthodox Study Bible? If so, how?

Yes. Translators do their best to be faithful to the original text, but ultimately translations are interpretations. Knowing this is why Christians will often read multiple versions of the Bible to help understand a passage. Reading the Orthodox Study Bible brings a different perspective that most Western Christians have rarely seen.

Theron Mathis You’ve written a book, The Rest of the Bible: A Guide to the Old Testament of the Early Church, which surveys what many Protestants often refer to as the Apocrypha. Even Luther said that these books were “useful and good to read.” Luther placed these books in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments; but of course, in the Orthodox Study Bible they are back in their original positions as they appear in the LXX. What would you say is the advantage of reading “the rest of the Bible” in its original order?

In a few words, these books provide a lot of moral instruction for Christians. Sirach itself feels like Proverbs on steroids. The early Church loved the Maccabean books because of their encouragement in the face of potential martyrdom. They also show a deeper understanding of God by Israel that leads smoothly into the person of Christ. I think this is often missed when we drop off 300 years of God's actions among his people by stopping with Malachi.

Is there anything else about the Orthodox Study Bible that you would want to mention to Accordance users who might be discovering it for the first time?

Use this edition of the Bible as another tool to see a perspective on Scripture that may be slightly different than the standard Western approach. Even if you disagree with the Orthodox understanding, hopefully you will be challenged, and your faith will deepen as a result.

 

 


 

Dec 28, 2015 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Emanuel Tov's Books on Textual Criticism

If textual studies are your area of interest, your Accordance Library will not be complete without Emanuel Tov’s Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible and The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research. Together, these volumes leave no stone unturned in looking at manuscript evidence and development of the Hebrew Bible and its first translation, the Septuagint.

What is Textual Criticism? Tov defines it this way:

Textual criticism deals with the nature and origin of all the witnesses of a composition or text, in our case the biblical books. This analysis often involves an attempt to discover the original form of details in a composition, or even of large stretches of text, although what exactly constitutes (an) “original text(s)” is subject to much debate. In the course of this inquiry, attempts are made to describe how the texts were written, changed, and transmitted from one generation to the next [Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, p. 1].

Tov


In the image at the left, Tim Jenney ("Dr. J") demonstrates for Emanuel Tov how his books on textual criticism integrate with the Accordance Library.

In the third revised and expanded edition of Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the significance of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the impact this had on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. And if anyone wants to dismiss textual criticism as a practical exercise, Tov gives significant attention to the impact upon biblical exegesis as well as literary criticism.

Tov's Textual Criticism Hebrew Bible screenshot

Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

As the history of the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint are so historically and textually intertwined, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (also in its third revised and expanded edition) is invaluable for understanding the development of these two corollary texts. As with his volume on the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the importance of textual criticism upon exposition and literary analysis. However, for the individual who has not yet discovered how to integrate the Septuagint into biblical research, this volume serves as an excellent introduction for determining how the Hebrew and Greek biblical texts work together.

Tov's Text-Criticial LXX

Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research

The Accordance Team has analyzed both of Tov’s works on textual criticism with meticulous precision. All content has been tagged according to the following fields for Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible: English Content, Hebrew/Aramaic Content, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Scripture, Bibliography, Table Titles, Captions, Image Credits, and Page Numbers. The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research receives the same kind of careful attention with content assigned these fields: English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Bibliography and Page Numbers. Such careful tagging of Tov’s works allows the Accordance user to find the exact content needed quickly and efficiently.

Tov-TCHB_120

Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd Edition) (Tov)

Regular Price $89.90

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Tov-TCULXX_120

The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (3rd Edition) (Tov)

Regular Price $42.90

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Aug 10, 2015 Richard Mansfield

New & Updated Titles for Biblical Language Study!

Qumran MSS When I took a masters-level textual criticism class under Dr. John Polhill in the early nineties, everything we studied was in books about the subject. We read about various textual traditions, but we weren't really able to look at them side-by-side. We learned about important manuscripts and codexes, but there was simply no easy way for us to examine these documents for ourselves. We were at the mercy of trusting those who had written about them.

The advent of Bible software has taken personal textual criticism to an entirely new level. For instance, Accordance allows me to place a modern eclectic Greek New Testament text and a Greek text from the Byzantine tradition side by side to discover the differences myself. I can go even further by examining high-resolution images of the original manuscripts and codexes and draw my own conclusions. Perhaps it's not quite the same as having direct access to an important textual source, but with the ability to zoom in on a page and examine these early handwritten documents myself, I am able to draw my own text-critical conclusions instead of having to merely depend upon the evaluations of others.

Accordance has had a long tradition of bringing important manuscript traditions and image collections for the use of the individual deeply interested in textual issues. And today, we both update a few of our previous offerings as well as deliver some entirely new titles to our users.

Orthodox Greek New Testament Set

We are pleased to announce two new morphologically tagged Greek New Testaments from the Byzantine family of manuscripts.

The first is the GNT-Family 35, a new scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament from the Center for the Study and Preservation of the Majority Text (CSPMT). Also known as the Byzantine Greek New Testament (not to be confused with the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform 2005), this text, compiled from a consensus of readings from the Byzantine Kr or Family 35 textform, is the most current Greek text of its kind. The CSPMT plans for an eventual critical apparatus to accompany this Greek text.

Orthodox NT
Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

In addition, this set comes with the more well-known GNT-Ecumenical Patriarchal Text, also known as the Antoniades Text. This is the official Greek text published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1904, incorporating corrections in the printed edition of 1912.

The Patriarchal Text was developed by a team led by Basil Antoniades, consulting numerous manuscripts of the Byzantine tradition and following the writings of John Chyrsostom whenever variants among the manuscripts existed.

Buy Now 2 Orthodox Greek New Testament Set
$69.90


Leningrad Codex Images

The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript (1008 CE) of the Hebrew Bible and the primary basis of modern editions such as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Biblia Hebraica Quinta. Working with the West Semitic Research Project, we have now incorporated nearly 1,000 images from the Leningrad Codex to be examined in parallel with any biblical text from within an Accordance workspace.

Leningrad Codex

Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

Few readers of the Hebrew Bible would be able to journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, to examine the pages of the Leningrad Codex for themselves. However, having access to the codex images in Accordance allows the user to examine the pages in high resolution. Moreover, the images are fully exportable from Accordance. In a sample export, the image of one leaf from the codex measured 3673 x 4090 pixels.

Buy Now 2 Leningrad Codex Images
Regular Price $129; Sale Price $129


Greek MSS Images

Accordance users who are seriously involved in Greek studies and textual criticism have long valued our New Testament MSS Images bundle. Now, in partnership with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, we're greatly expanding this set with the introduction of additional texts and a new name: Greek MSS Images. This collection of images includes all previous titles and will now add the Septuagint from Codex Sinaiticus, as well as 1-2 Clement from Codex Alexandrinus. The Septuagint from Codex Alexandrinus will be added later at no additional cost. Several titles in the previous NT MSS Images have also been updated with links to high-resolution online images.

LXX-SI
Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

A discounted upgrade price is available for Accordance users who previously purchased NT MSS Images.

Buy Now 2 Greek MSS Images from CSNTM
$149

 

Buy Now 2 Upgrade from NT MSS Images
$29.90


Dead Sea Scrolls Index Update with Image Links

Our DSS Index has been updated to include hyperlinks to images housed at the Israel Museum as well as the Accordance Dead Sea Scrolls Images. The Index also includes the latest content updates from Dr. Martin Abegg. This is a free update to the DSS Index; a paid upgrade from the older Qumran Index. No actual images are stored or loaded in this module; links are provided for reference only.

DSS Index

 

Buy Now 2 Index of Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts
$49.90

 

Buy Now 2 DSS Index upgrade from Qumran Index
Buy Now for $20.00

 


 

Jul 22, 2013 David Lang

Using the MT-LXX Parallel, Part 2

In a previous post, I introduced you to the MT-LXX Parallel, a specialized Reference tool which offers a word-by-word comparison of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint. In that post, I showed how to use the MERGE command to piggyback off a search of the tagged Hebrew Bible and tagged Greek Septuagint. This allowed us to search the Hebrew Bible for every occurrence of the lexical form tselem ("image")—no matter what its inflected form—and to see those results displayed in the MT-LXX parallel. We then searched the tagged Septuagint for every occurrence of the Greek lexical form eikon, and used the MERGE command with the MT-LXX parallel to find every place the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. The result of that search looked like this:

MTLXXHowTo7

Now, to explore each of these results in context, I can click the Mark arrows at the bottom of the MT-LXX to jump from one hit to the next. But wouldn't it be quicker if we could just scan the relevant lines of the MT-LXX without having to wade past all the other words? Of course it would! Fortunately, this can easily be done by going to the Gear menu at the top left of the pane containing the MT-LXX and choosing Add Titles from the Show Text As… submenu.

MTLXXHowTo8

The result looks like this:

MTLXXHowTo9

Now, to understand what just happened, let's review what the Show Text As… submenu does. When you do a search in a Tool module, Accordance defaults to showing your search results in the context of the entire tool. This is the All Text setting in the Show Text As… submenu. You can, however, choose to show only those Articles or Paragraphs which contain a hit. In the MT-LXX, each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, so choosing Articles would show each hit verse in its entirety, while choosing Paragraphs would show only the lines containing each hit word. Because showing only the hit paragraphs in a tool is often too concise, you also have the option to Add Titles. This shows the hit paragraphs as well as the titles of the articles in which they appear. In the MT-LXX, choosing Add Titles shows the hit paragraphs together with the verse references.

This more concise view makes it easy to see that there are a couple cases where tselem in the Hebrew column does not have a corresponding eikon in the Septuagint column (or vice versa). In Genesis 1:27, the first instance of tselem is left untranslated, and in Daniel 2:31, eikon is part of a phrase used to translate an entirely different Hebrew word. Why those two "false" hits?

MTLXXHowTo10

The reason we got those two cases where both words are not found on the same line is that Accordance defaults to looking for words within the same article rather than the same paragraph. For example, if you were to search the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary for Moses <AND> Aaron, you might find a long article where Moses is in the first paragraph and Aaron is in the fifth paragraph. In a tool like MT-LXX where each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, Accordance's default behavior will find any verse that has tselem in the Hebrew and eikon in the Greek, even if they are on different lines and so do not exactly correspond.

To make this search more accurate, we can refine it by specifying that all words must be found within the same paragraph rather than the same article. To do that, click on the magnifying glass on the left side of the search field. At the bottom of the menu that appears, choose Paragraph.

MTLXXHowTo11

Then hit Enter to re-run the search.

MTLXXHowTo12

Here you can see that the false hits have been removed, and we now have only 49 hits rather than 52.

In this post, we've gone a little further in our use of the MT-LXX Parallel to see how you can tweak the display of the search results and how you can specify that the Hebrew and Greek words must appear on the same line. In my next post of this series, we'll go even further.


 

Jul 9, 2013 David Lang

Using the MT-LXX Parallel

When you display the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint in parallel panes of a Search tab, the parallel verses are displayed side-by-side, but it is not immediately apparent which Hebrew word a particular Greek word is translating. For example, in Genesis 1:1, the Greek word ouranon corresponds to the Hebrew word Shamaim. I can see that by dragging my cursor over each word in the Hebrew and Greek to find out which words mean “heaven,” but other than that, there is no easy way to see the relationships between these two texts.

MTLXXHowTo1

That’s where a specialized Reference Tool called the MT-LXX Parallel comes in. This tool, developed by renowned Hebrew and Septuagint scholars, places each word or phrase of the Masoretic Hebrew text in parallel with the corresponding Greek words from the Septuagint.

One obvious use of the MT-LXX Parallel is to place it in parallel with the text of the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint. As a reference tool, the MT-LXX Parallel will automatically scroll along with the biblical text, enabling you to see word-by-word connections for each verse.

MTLXXHowTo2

For example, if we scroll to Genesis 1:26, we can see that the Hebrew word for "image" (tselem) is translated by the Greek eikon (from which we get the word "icon").

To search the MT-LXX Parallel, we need to view it in a separate Tool tab. As with other Tools, the MT-LXX Parallel is divided into different fields of content. To search for all occurrences of the Hebrew word tselem, our natural impulse would be to set the search field to Hebrew and enter that lexical form.

MTLXXHowTo3

Since the Hebrew text of the MT-LXX is not grammatically tagged, our search only finds the 27 instances when tselem appears in that exact form. When we search for tselem in a tagged Hebrew Bible, we get 34 hits because every inflection of tselem is found.

MTLXXHowTo4

Fortunately, we can overcome this limitation of the MT-LXX Parallel by piggy-backing on the tagging of the Hebrew Bible. We do this through the use of an advanced search command called the MERGE command. By merging the MT-LXX Parallel with the tab containing the BHS-W4, the results of my lexical search of the Hebrew Bible are reflected in the MT/LXX. Notice that now the MT/LXX displays 36 occurrences of tselem. (The extra two occurrences are notes or reconstructions in the MT-LXX database.)

MTLXXHowTo5

Using the MERGE command in this way makes for some very powerful searches. For example, suppose I want to find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. To do this, I’ll open a new Search tab containing the Septuagint, and I’ll do a search for eikon. This search finds 40 hits.

MTLXXHowTo6

To see which of these occurrences of eikon correspond to the Hebrew word tselem, I’ll go back to my MT-LXX Parallel, add an AND command, and then add a second MERGE command. This time, I’ll Merge with the tab containing the LXX.

MTLXXHowTo7

This search turns up 52 hits, and I can see that both the Hebrew word tselem and the Greek word eikon are highlighted. Divide the number of hits by two, and we end up with around 26 places where tselem is translated as eikon.

I hope you can see from this brief example how powerful the MT-LXX Parallel database is. In my next post, I'll examine these results in more detail and offer a few more tips for using this powerful resource.


 

May 3, 2010 Helen Brown

Watching the News

It's been a busy weekend at Accordance, but unless you watch our news announcements carefully, you might have missed these items:

Pick A Product Coupon: 25% off any one item. The PICKAP coupon code lets our sales staff know that you want to take 25% off the highest priced item in the order. The coupon is good throughout May and can be used twice. This is your best opportunity to get that commentary set or other major item on your wish list. (Temporary sale prices and other discounts cannot be combined with this offer.)

Chafer-cover Chafer-Theology:  the entire original 8 volume set by Louis Sperry Chafer was just released for download for only $139.

Dr. Lewis S. Chafer (1871-1952) was the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary and its first professor of Systematic Theology. When he completed his massive eight volume Systematic Theology after more than ten years of labor, he produced the first Calvinist, dispensational, pre-millennial and pre-tribulational theology. Chafer’s warm spirituality, his love of the Bible and his devotion to a simple Christian life permeate its pages. The strength of the work lies not in its interaction with scholarly sources, but in its many citations of Scripture and its organization of it into classic theological categories.

Gott-Gen Göttingen Septuagint: It's taken a little longer than we hoped, but the first volume of the series is now available for download. This is the definitive critical edition of the LXX. We plan to release further volumes until we catch up with the ongoing publication of the print edition.

Our modules of the Göttingen LXX include the fully tagged Greek text together with the complete apparatus, available nowhere else in convenient electronic form, a must for every Old Testament scholar.

Genesis is available for $100, or you can order the Pentateuch set for $400.

Please see the Latest News page for full announcements of these items and any others you may have missed.

 


 

Jul 28, 2009 Helen Brown

Importing Bibles Challenge

Kevin P. Edgecomb has a new post on his Biblicalia Blog about his experiences trying to import the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint) into BibleWorks. He ends with this challenge:

So, Accordance users, do you have problems like these? Do these problems exist in Accordance? Can Accordance do the following?:

1.) Present a version in its own proper order within the normal context of searching and display
2.) Include subverses as full verses for searching, etc
3.) Accurately align all verses and subverses without mysterious glitches
4.) Utilize any system of book names one wishes

At this point, I’m seriously considering a complete switch. I could go Mac, and then have Accordance. I’ve heard it’s a zillion times better, anyway. My recent experience has pretty well pushed me over the edge. If anyone has any experience with importing and mapping Bible versions in Accordance, I’d love to hear from you.

Of course the NETS is available in Accordance and it does correctly line up with any other Bible version. It does appear in its own order of books and verses, and, if you uncheck English Book Names in Set Text display, it uses its native book names. Subverses should appear correctly within a verse, but we are not set up to specifically align them.

 

NETS Parallels

 

Now, we agree with Kevin that the alignment of the Hebrew Bible with the Septuagint and any of its translations is always very difficult. All this takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work by the programmers and the developers who prepare the text. These features are not available for User Bible imports, which basically have to conform to the KJV verses and are intended for simple texts. So, it would not be any easier for a user to import NETS into Accordance, but there is no need to do so.

Kevin invites our users to go over and comment on his blog, so, please, step up to the mark.

And, by the way, Kevin, you can run Accordance on your PC, it just isn't as pretty as running it on a Mac.