Mar 20, 2014 David Lang

Throwback Thursday: Accordance and The PerfectWord

As readers of this blog well know, we're currently celebrating the twenty-year anniversary of the initial release of Accordance Bible Software. In fact, today only, you can purchase twenty popular Accordance add-ons for just twenty bucks each. For my part, I've been doing a fair amount of reminiscing about Accordance's early days in this series of Throwback Thursday posts.

The response to these posts has been fascinating. A number of users who go all the way back to Accordance 1.0 have shared their stories in the comments on this blog or on our Facebook page, and a couple have even claimed to go back further than twenty years! How can these people claim to have used Accordance longer than Accordance has been available? To answer that question, I need to go into a little Accordance pre-history.

Way back in 1988, our lead programmer developed one of the first Bible programs for the Macintosh. The name of that program, The PerfectWord, was a play on the name of a popular word processor at the time. This program was sold by a small startup by the name of Star Software, and it quickly developed an enthusiastic following. Eventually, Zondervan bought The PerfectWord and renamed it MacBible.

Now, The PerfectWord was before my time, but I managed to dig up a wonderfully detailed review dating to December of 1989. Here are a few excerpts from that review:

From a researcher's point of view [The PerfectWord's] speed offers an incredible gain in efficiency over printed concordances. The tedium and frustration of necessary drudge work over a concordance are reduced to nothingness. . . . TPW makes concordance work fun.

TPW shares the capability of doing complex searches with many of the new electronic Bible concordances; it outshines them in simplicity of implementation and in its facility for using them on the original language texts of the Bible.

From the biblicist's point of view, the primary attraction of TPW is its ability to search and display the biblical texts in their original languages and especially using the proper Greek and Hebrew fonts. . . .All text for the Hebrew Bible is displayed in proper right-to-left fashion and search terms are also typed into the entry window right-to-left.


Biblical scholars especially will have to wait quite some time before something better than this comes along.

I love that last quote. Remember that this was written in 1989, some six years before Accordance was released. The PerfectWord did not support tagged Greek or Hebrew texts, so the kinds of searches Accordance users take for granted were not yet possible. Still, this reviewer positively raved about how fluid and enjoyable the program was to use—especially compared to the MS-DOS program he had been using.

Some time after The PerfectWord had been sold to Zondervan to become MacBible, our lead programmer was approached by a Greek scholar about developing a new Mac Bible program that could search grammatically-tagged Greek and Hebrew texts. In my last Throwback Thursday post, I made the claim that I am Accordance's longest-running employee. While that is certainly true; it's also a bit misleading. That Greek scholar who first approached us has been consulting with Accordance since well before I came on the scene. In fact, he's responsible for most of the grammatically-tagged Greek texts that are unique to Accordance.

While Accordance is turning twenty years old—a rare feat in the software industry—its roots go back even further, to the days of The PerfectWord. I can claim to have been using Accordance since version 1.0, but some of our users can claim to have "started with Accordance before it was called Accordance."

They're a rare breed indeed!

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