Highlights from the 2017 ETS & SBL Meetings
November is always a busy month for us with new releases and our participation in the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Maybe you were able to attend one or both of these conferences and drop by our booth. But if you weren’t there this year, here are a few highlights!
Accordance Bible Software always has a tremendous presence at these events in which we create an open area for old and new customers to come sit down, learn, ask questions, and experience Accordance for themselves. This year was no exception as we set up our Accordance demo areas in Providence, Rhode Island for ETS (November 15-17) and Boston for SBL (November 18-21). We ran non-stop demos for all seven days of both conferences combined. We previewed the new features of Accordance that will be available any day in the free upgrade to version 12.2 as well as showing off a number of new titles for the Accordance Bible Software Library. We also demoed at a smaller booth at the meetings of The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) from November 15-18 in Boston.
Anyone who was willing to sit down for a demo of any kind was able to enter our drawings which were held at the end of the second conference. Matthew C. won an iPad Pro; Ben Shin won 10 of our special English, Greek or Hebrew Starter Collections for his students; and Todd Chipman won a $200 Accordance gift certificate!
At both conferences, the Accordance booth is a great place to rub shoulders with well-known biblical scholars who use Accordance. This year, Dan Wallace dropped by to record a video describing A Reader's Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers that we released earlier this year for Accordance. You can read Dr. Wallace’s blog post about the Reader’s Lexicon and watch the video on his website, and you might even catch a discount code if you act quickly!
We also enjoy meeting so many interesting Accordance users at these scholarly meetings. Longtime Accordance user and webinar instructor Abram Kielsmeier-Jones came to help out in the booth on Saturday of the SBL meetings. He commented, “I really enjoyed meeting so many folks at the conference from such a wide array of backgrounds: an Anglican pastor in Australia, a seminarian from Puerto Rico, a professor or religion with interest in DSS and Pseudepigrapha, a leading Hebraist who was being honored at SBL, and many more!”
These days Accordance Bible Software is mentioned pretty regularly--practically in casual terms in papers delivered--with comments such as “I used Accordance to determine x number of occurrences of _____ in the Dead Sea Scrolls” or something similar. However, Accordance was also a focal point in a couple of seminars as well. Tim Hegg gave a “Demonstration of the Dotan-Riech Masora Thesaurus Module in Accordance Bible Software.” Robert Holmstedt, Martin Abegg, John Cook, and Roy Brown held a session at SBL on “Syntactic Databases for Biblical & Early Jewish Texts.”
Regarding this syntax session, Dr. Holmstedt said, “I enjoyed the opportunity to walk through the strengths and features of the syntax database in real-time. Answering questions about how the database is constructed or about how to build effective searches is almost always more useful in a face-to-face context, and this is perhaps the greatest benefit of conferences.” Dr. Abegg shared this encounter: “In one of the searches I displayed, I intended to determine whether we should expect a definite direct object to have the particle את. One of the attendees talked with me later and pointed out that he had noticed that my results suggested that it made a difference whether the direct object was animate or inanimate. He had just written a chapter on definiteness for a Hebrew grammar so his observation is important.”
For attendees who could spend a bit more time with us, we also offered an all-day Accordance Training in Boston right before SBL began.
As already mentioned, we showed off exciting new features that will be forthcoming in Accordance v. 12.2, and we released a number of new titles at the conference that were geared toward scholarly interest. Included among these new releases was a Quran bundle of five texts, including the first morphologically-tagged Arabic version of the Quran available in Bible software, updates to the Biblia Hebraica Quinta, a more complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud in Hebrew, and more. Many attendees were also interested in seeing our Android version of Accordance in action and learning how to take part in our open beta.
These sessions are always a whirlwind of activity for us, but it’s so exciting to talk with users who engage ancient texts using Accordance in so many different and fascinating ways. Next year’s meetings are in Denver, Colorado. We hope to see you there!