Accordance Blog
May 28, 2018 Timothy Jenney

Hebrew Text Criticism: A Case Study (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #165)



Hebrew text criticism requires working with texts in multiple languages. Fortunately, Accordance Bible Software and its extensive original language resources makes that task easier. Join Dr. J in this episode as he tackles the age-old problem of Deut 32:34-45. Does it prophesy a Day of Judgment, as the Samaritans argue? Or is it a more general promise that God will avenge his people, as found in the Massoretic text? The textual variants in these verses make all the difference.

Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!


Apr 10, 2009 Rick Bennett

Maximizing your Hebrew Potential, II

In my last post, I discussed the Hebrew workspace I use in my Hebrew Syntax class, and how you can use Accordance to enhance your Hebrew experience. In this post we'll continue working through the tabs in that workspace.

Hebrew Workspace

The second tab (from the left) is used to display the results of word searches. Since I'm addicted to right-clicking (old habits die hard), I use that method to do word searches within the text I'm working on. You can also use the drop down menu, or resource palette to accomplish the same task.

BHS Word Search

By clicking on the details of the search, I can quickly view the distribution of hits across the Bible. In my prefs (cmd ,), I've set it to display the Table everytime I access the details of a search. In the Table you can see that this word occurs primarily in the Psalms. In the Hits Graph, I can triple-click on the part of the graph representing the hits in the Psalms and my search results will drop down down to those hits.

Search Window Prefs

Table of Hits

The next tab, labeled 'TC', is setup to display some text-critical resources available in Accordance.

Text-Critical Resources

One thing I've done to save from having to re-enter the verse reference I'm working in is Tied the contents of this tab to my main BHS tab.

Tie Tab

One could probably write an entire article on what is going on in this verse, but I'll restrict my discussion here to a brief description of the resources displayed, and in the following post I will describe how to interpret some of the data that can be mined from this workspace.

At the SBL Annual Meeting in 2007 we unveiled the Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical Manuscripts modules (see announcement here, and article on the importance of these texts here). This represents the first (and still only available) morphologically-tagged edition of the Biblical finds from Qumran. In addition, we also have the English translation, and Notes (DSSB-E).

In this tab I have the DSSB-C (a collated module of all the fragments in canonical order) displayed in parallel with the BHS text, and the LXX. Below that I have the Notes for the DSS English translation, the BHS apparatus (see the previous post for a description), and the Revised CATSS MT-LXX Parallel Database. Just like I've done with the BHS Apparatus, I have set the DSSB-E Notes module to display all Scripture refs in the DSSB-E text. By hovering over any link in the Notes, it will display the verse in the Instant Details box.

Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

In this workspace tab you can clearly see the wealth of information that is readily accessible in Accordance. In the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical manuscripts, and the Revised MT-LXX Parallel Database, these resources are not available anywhere else. In my next post I will explain in more detail the textual features and variants of this passage using the compare text feature, and the other resources.


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).