Mar 13, 2009 Rick Bennett

Maximizing your Hebrew Potential, I

Over the last several months there has been a lot of discussion on our forum and here on the blog about workflow and customized workspaces (see here, here or here). Today I want to show a workspace setup that I've been using in my Hebrew Syntax class.

While there is no substitution for rolling up your sleeves and digging into the text the good 'ol fashioned way, having a wealth of resources and powerful interface at your fingertips makes it much easier (and more fun).

First, let's take a look at my main workspace, then go through some of the individual components in more detail.

Hebrew Workspace

This first tab represents my main workspace for reading and translating the text. On the left I have the BHS Apparatus, then on the right the BHS text itself. Below I have three English translations each for its specific approach to translation or capabilities within Accordance.

The BHS Apparatus is included in our Die Mac Studienbibel CD published in coordination with the GBS. This is the perfect companion for any Greek or Hebrew textual studies.

If you look at the Instant Details box you will notice that the text of 1Sam 1.22 is displayed, and upon closer inspection you will notice that it contains the critical sigla.

BHS Instant Details

The BHS-GBS text is included in the Studienbibel CD, but does not have morphological tagging. Displaying an additional Hebrew text would add clutter and take up valuable space, to get around this I set the BHS-GBS text as the default text for the BHS Apparatus (cmd-T). Doing this enables me to display it when hovering over the verse references.

Speaking of hovering, one other great features of the apparatus is that each abbreviation or MSS symbol is hyperlinked to its description in the introduction. By hovering over it, I can read its description in the instant details box. But, there is still a minor's all in Latin. While most of it is fairly discernible, I have never formally studied Latin so I often need a bit more help. That's where the BHS Latin Key comes in. This is included with the unlock of the BHS-W4 or in any of the Scholar's packages. With a swipe and a click I can amplify from the apparatus to the dictionary to get a better understanding of what is going on in this variant, as well as an example in another text. Another option is to check the BHS Guide (William Scott's, Simplified Guide to BHS) to see if it can help explain the apparatus or accentuation of the text.

BHS Latin Amplify

BHS Latin Key Example

The Hebrew text pane is pretty self-explanatory. The only real customization I've done is changed the background color, and increased the size and leading to make it easier to read (all through the cmd-T shortcut).

BHS Display Options (cmd-T)

Regarding my English texts I've chosen the ESVS because it is a more wooden translation, and has the capability to highlight the corresponding Hebrew word in the text (with our new key number highlighting feature). The TNIV is a more nuanced and contextual translation, while the JPS is written from a distinctively Jewish perspective. I have tried to keep the English texts as small as possible, and omitted the book and chapter reference so my attention is on the Hebrew text.

This is a good start at explaining my workspace and already you can see the power of our interface and some of key resources that can help you maximize your Hebrew potential.

In a future post I will continue to explain the rest of my workspace, including some of our exclusive resources which are displayed in my "TC" tab (text-criticism), and advanced search capabilities (like the INFER search).

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Archived Comments


March 18, 2009 5:09 PM

This is a fantastic set up; very useful thank you.  I've done the same thing with the Greek NT:


NA27 App  |      GNT-T


Metzger      |  Translation 


The GNT-T and NA27 Apparatus are the top panes, and in the bottom have Metzger Text Commentary and a translation.  The NA27 Apparatus then has the NA27-GBS text for its Hypertext. 


Rick Bennett

March 18, 2009 5:29 PM

That's a nice setup. I often do something very similar. Also, Helen blogged about a similar setup in November. You can check it out here.