Accordance Blog
Aug 28, 2019 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Würthwein's The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to Biblia Hebraica (3rd ed.)

Wurthwein Text of the OT 3D cover Years ago, when I was still in seminary, I got in “trouble” for stating, “Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible isn’t nearly as interesting as textual criticism of the Greek New Testament.” I said this not so much out of bias as out of ignorance. If only I had read Ernst Würthwein’s The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica, I could have understood that the history of the Hebrew Bible’s transmission is just as fascinating as that of the Greek New Testament—if not perhaps even more!

Ernst Würthwein (1909 – 1996) was a German biblical scholar and theologian who taught for years at the University of Marsburg. Numerous editions of The Text of the Old Testament (Der Text des Alten Testaments) appeared in his lifetime and became a standard introductory text on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Although his name is attached to the current updated work we’ve released this week for Accordance, in reality everything in the title has been thorough updated and revised by Alexander A. Fischer, whose own work on the title is now in its third edition. This edition is translated into English by Erroll F. Rhodes, who also translated the pre-Fischer editions.

Fischer has strived to retain the general outline, formatting and even flavor of the original work by Würthwein, so the updated volume will still be recognizable by those who read and valued the original editions. However, this newest revision by Fischer brings the content up to date with the ongoing release of the Biblia Hebraica Quinta and also includes a new chapter on the Qumran texts.

Würthwein Text of the OT - macOS

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Fischer continues Würthwein’s same basic structure with three primary sections: A. The Hebrew Text of the Bible (covers Masoretic, Qumran, and Samaritan Texts), B. The Ancient Translations (the LXX gets a lot of coverage here, but attention is also given to Aramaic, Latin, and other ancient translations), and C. Textual Critism (serves as an introduction, guide and methodology to the subject). There is also the familiar section of “Plates” with 48 sections that include photos and descriptions of important ancient documents as well as a few helpful charts.

Accordance users might wonder how Würthwein’s The Text of the Old Testament compares to Emanual Tov’s Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. In my initial comparison, I would consider Tov’s work to be the more advanced and extensive, but that’s not to slight Würthwein. In fact, I would still recommend both works, but perhaps Würthwein is a better starting point for those new to the subject of Hebrew Bible textual criticism. And Würthwein will go into more detail on some subjects, such as the LXX. Neither are what I would call “popular” introductions to the subject, but Würthwein is the more accessible of the two. Both assume some familiarity with Hebrew, but Würthwein offers translation a bit more often (but not always) than Tov.

If you have the journal Bibliotheca Sacra in Accordance, there is an analysis of an older (pre-Fischer) edition of The Text of the Old Testament reviewed by Robert B. Chisholm Jr. in an issue from 1996.

The Text of the Old Testament

Regular Price $29.90

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Dec 26, 2018 Richard Mansfield

Three New Devotional Titles for 2019

The beginning of a new year brings about resolutions and resolve; and often for people of biblical faith, that means new commitments to read through the Bible or spend a certain amount of time daily or weekly in reflection on the Bible or one’s faith. For years, Accordance Bible Software has incorporated a Daily Reading feature into its software. In Accordance 12 for Windows and macOS, going to Preferences: Reading/Research allows you to choose a default devotional or Scripture reading plan for personal use. These same titles are also found in the Devotionals section of your personal Accordance Library. When using Accordance Mobile, you’ll find these works in your Devotionals folder.

Daily Reading If you’ve never used Accordance for reading plans or devotional readings, you may not even realize the titles you already have. In Accordance 12, clicking on the Daily Readings icon in the toolbar launches a new workspace with the Daily Reading title on the left and all mentioned Scripture passages on the right.

Of course, some of the titles that fall into the Devotional category are dated and some are not. The ones that are not dated do not work with the Daily Reading feature in Accordance, but you can work through them on your own pace.

If you’re wanting to start off 2019 with a new plan, you might want to choose one you already own, but you may also want to consider one of the new titles described below.

Devotions on the Hebrew Bible

Devotions on the Hebrew Bible-nb In 2014, we released Devotions on the Greek New Testament. As part of the same series, we are pleased to present Devotions on the Hebrew Bible: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct. Similar in layout to the previously-released volume on the Greek New Testament, Devotions on the Hebrew Bible begins with a verse or phrase from a verse of the Old Testament in both Hebrew as well as a popular translation.

The series is designed for both those proficient in Hebrew as well as those who have already learned the language or are wanting to recover it. Every book in the Hebrew Bible is represented in reflections written by Evangelical authors from diverse backgrounds. As described by the publisher,

Miles Van Pelt, for example, shows that a careful analysis of a grammatical particle in Judges 3:9 elucidates the agent of Israel’s deliverance. Indeed, it is Yahweh who saves! Tremper Longman III explains the role of poetical parallelism in Psalm 1 and highlights how clearly the psalmist invites the reader to introspection, compelling the reader to follow the path of righteousness. And Bo Lim reminds the reader of the biblical precedent for expressing lament. He highlights the poetic artistry of the book of Lamentations, noting its beautiful acrostic, and confirms that both grief and hope provide the rhythm of faith and worship.

Devotions on the Hebrew Bible - macOS

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Devotions on the Hebrew Bible is not a dated devotional, but it is designed with the idea of one reading per week. However, you can feel free to go at a slower or faster pace of your choosing.

Devotions on the Hebrew Bible
Regular Price $16.90

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Devotions on the Greek New Testament, Volume 2

Devotions on the Greek NT v.2-nb Accordance users have benefitted from the previous volume on the Greek New Testament in this series. Devotions on the Greek New Testament, Volume Two: 52 Reflections to Inspire & Instruct builds on its predecessor, delivering 52 devotions on every book of the New Testament by over 25 Evangelical scholars from international and diverse backgrounds.

If you have previously worked your way through volume one, this new installment will be an easy choice for 2019. As stated in the preface,

The main point of each devotion in Devotions on the Greek New Testament, Volume Two comes from a careful reading of the passage in the Greek New Testament, not from an English translation. The authors use a variety of exegetical approaches in their devotions—including grammatical, lexical, rhetorical, sociohistorical, and linguistic—and each devotion closes with a practical application or spiritual reflection.

Like its predecessor, as well as the companion volume on the Hebrew Bible, Devotions on the Greek New Testament, vol. 2 is undated, though it is generally designed to be a weekly reflection. Regardless, you can work through it at your own pace as you are able.

Devotions on the Greek NT - macOS

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In addition to the 52 reflections, this title also includes as subject and Scripture index as well as a “Greek Word, Phrase, and Idiom Index.”

Devotions on the Greek New Testament (Volume 2)
Regular Price $18.90

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Orthodox Study Bible Two-Year Reading Plan

Orthodox Study Bible Plans to read through the Bible in one year abound, both in print and electronically. However, many begin these plans without finishing them because the entire Bible, even divided into 365 sections, proves to be too much. Recently, we released an addition of a two-year plan included with (and designed for) the Orthodox Study Bible that divides the Bible into smaller portions and will hopefully result in a greater success rate for completion than similar one-year plans. [This reading plan was recently added free to the Orthodox Study Bible product. Check Easy Install if you already own the Orthodox Study Bible.]

Two years is also a better idea for the Orthodox Study Bible because the Orthodox canon has more Old Testament books than Protestant or even Catholic Bibles. Regardless of your view of canon, if you’ve never read a Bible with an “expanded” Old Testament (sometimes referred to as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanon) or one translated from the Septuagint instead of the Hebrew Bible, you may be interested in this plan.

OSB Reading Plan

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The two-year reading plan for the Orthodox Study Bible alternates Old Testament Readings on one day and a selection from Psalms, Proverbs, and the New Testament on other days. Reading the passages alone will take less than 20 minutes on average; however, if you choose to read the accompanying commentary in the Orthodox Study Bible, you may need to set aside a bit more time.

OSB Text Settings The Orthodox Study Bible comes with its own Bible translation that uses the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint for the Old Testament and the New King James Version for the New Testament. You will want to make certain that the Scripture hyperlinks in the Orthodox Study Bible reading guide default to this translation, titled “English Orthodox Bible (SAAS + NKJV)” in Accordance. To select this version as the default in Accordance 12, open the reading plan and access the Action menu (that little gear icon, ⚙️, at the top of the reading plan pane); and under the Hypertext section, choose the English Orthodox Bible as your primary hypertext. Make certain to click the Save as Default button when you close the dialog box. In Accordance Mobile for iOS, open the reading plan, and from the text settings icon (AA), click on “All Display Settings,” and select the English Orthodox Bible as your primary hypertext.

The two-year plan for the Orthodox Study Bible is a dated plan that comes in two modules (one for each year). A few weeks ago, the plan was released as a free update to the Orthodox Study Bible for those who had purchased it previously.

Orthodox Study Bible Notes (with Free Two-Year Reading Plan)
Regular Price $34.90

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Sep 8, 2018 Timothy Jenney

Bracketed Words (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #172)

 

 

Editors use a variety of brackets in Bibles and Texts to indicate material that is missing, reconstructed, or whose authenticity is in doubt. This podcast surveys the different uses of brackets in Accordance’s most commonly-used texts—and how to adjust for them in searches and statistical analyses.

Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!

 

Aug 8, 2018 Timothy Jenney

MT-LXX Resources (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #170)

The MT-LXX database displays every word of the Hebrew Masoretic text in parallel with its Greek LXX equivalent. Accordance offers two versions of this resource: the interlinear and the parallel. This podcast distinguishes between them and shows how to use both.

Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!

 

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!

 

Oct 18, 2017 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Eichrodt's Theology of the Old Testament (OTL)

Walther Eichrodt Walther Eichrodt (1890-1978) taught at University of Basel (Switzerland) from 1921-1966 where Karl Barth also taught. Previously, he had received his education at Griefswald, Heidelberg and Erlangen where, like Gerhard von Rad, he studied under Otto Procksch. He was a close colleague to Adolf Schlatter with whom he often led Bible conferences.

In 1933, Eichrodt broke with many of his recent teachers and peers by publishing Theology of the Old Testament (now in its 5th edition, 1960), affirming that the Hebrew Scriptures were not a substandard religious document, an idea that was in conflict with the prevailing German cultural mindset of the time. Throughout his life, although he remained a proponent of his contemporary understanding of an evolutionary origin to the Pentateuch as presented in the Documentary Hypothesis, nevertheless, he retained a very reverent view of the biblical text.

For Eichrodt, covenant (Hebrew: בְּרִית/bᵉriyṯ; German: bund) is the central theme of the OT. He defined covenant as God’s self-revelation in choosing people and how they should live (see ch. 2, "The Covenant Relationship" in vol. 1 for much greater detail than my summary here). Eichrodt suggests that covenant involves personal obligation of two parties, but the peculiar thing about biblical covenants was that God obligated himself. God’s covenant was mediated to Israel through charismatic leaders of their religious system. Covenant was so central to later events, that Eichrodt believed Moses and the events at Sinai to be historical, unlike some of his contemporaries at the time. According to him, Israel existed for the covenant, not the reverse. However, Eichrodt never quite reveals his view of exactly what happened at Sinai.

Eichrodt Theology of the OT

In choosing covenant as a central theme, Gerald Bray has suggested that Eichrodt was able “to uphold the doctrine of divine revelation, and to explain how God had been at work in the history of Israel” (Biblical Interpretation Past & Present, 1996, p. 386).  Elaborating on the meaning of covenant, Eichrodt's first explanation focuses on how the covenant delivered through Moses “emphasizes one basic element in the whole Israelite experience of God, namely the factual nature of divine revelation.” Eichrodt explains that “God’s disclosure of himself…[is understood]…as he breaks in on the life of his people in his dealings with them and molds them according to his will that he grants them knowledge of his being.”

For Eichrodt, textual development began with oral tradition. Behind these oral traditions were specific historical events. Then there was a pre-textual reflection on the events which led to the production of the written sources of the Documentary Hypothesis: JEPD. Eichrodt points out that words held more power in ancient times than in contemporary times. He writes of “the cosmic power of God.” For him, the word of God is linked to the Spirit of God.

As stated earlier, Eichrodt held to the central theme of covenant in his theology. Rather than using a book-by-book approach, Eichrodt uses systematic categories to discuss the theology of the OT. Having a central theme gives him a number of benefits. First, it offers an organizing structure to Theology of the Old Testament since everything in the OT must therefore—somehow—be related to covenant. This also allows him to relate very divergent texts to each other because they had the single common element of the covenant connecting them. Second, it stresses the unity of the OT, which could be seen as a work containing multiple sources focused upon the same theme rather than a work of divergent literature that only had nationality as a common element.

Of course, one could ask how to fit the ever-present issue of Wisdom literature to the central-theme approach. How does the Song of Solomon relate specifically to covenant? If Eichrodt focuses on one major theme, how well can he treat divergent themes in Scripture? To be fair, E. A. Martens writes that “Eichrodt did not ignore the diversity others saw in the Old Testament. However, he started with the notion of theological unity. Other scholars since Eichrodt’s time have been more enamored with theological diversity in the Old Testament.”

Regardless of the one's opinion of a one-theme approach for the Old Testament, Eichrodt brought fresh understanding and insight into OT scholarship that arguably can still be wrestled with today. His two volumes on OT theology display not only his ability to communicate well, sometimes even poetically, but also they display his sincere devotion to God.

[Note: this blog post has been adapted from a review of Eichrodt's Old Testament Theology that I wrote a few years ago.]


 

Jul 12, 2017 Accordance Bible Software

Endorsement: Roy E. Gane

Dr. Roy E. Gane is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages in the Old Testament Department and Director of the Ph.D./Th.D. and M.Th. Programs at the Theological Seminary of Andrews University. Hear Dr. Gane describe his use of Accordance Bible Software for both classroom and personal use. He calls Accordance "the most indispensable tool for everything I do." Regarding other Bible software platforms, Dr. Gane says, "There is no comparison for how intuitive Accordance Bible Software is." Also, don't miss Dr. Gane's praise of the new ETCBC Syntax for the Hebrew Bible in Accordance. You can't miss Dr. Gane's excitement about Accordance. He says that he would never consider doing any serious Bible study without it, and he says that "Every serious student of the Bible--and even the non-serious ones--should get Accordance!"


 

Jun 7, 2017 Accordance Bible Software

Endorsement: Daniel Kim

Dr. Daniel Kim is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Kim describes his own use of Accordance for personal study and research as well as his use in the classroom. Hear how he stuns students with Accordance's speed, ease of use, and power for studying and learning Hebrew. This video was filmed in November, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas, at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

 

Apr 17, 2017 Richard Mansfield

ETCBC Hebrew Syntax

Have you discovered the ETCBC Hebrew Syntax in Accordance? The ETCBC Advanced database of the Hebrew Bible (formerly known as WIVU database), contains the scholarly text of the Hebrew Bible with linguistic markup developed by the Werkgroep Informatica at the Free University (WIVU) of Amsterdam and edited by Eep Talstra of the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC).

Check out this short video for an overview (we recommend viewing at full screen in HD).

 

Sep 2, 2016 Timothy Jenney

Basic Hebrew Searches (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #147)

If you’ve invested the time to learn Hebrew, Accordance is the Bible Software for you! We have a host of Hebrew texts and resources -- and an amazing set of search tools. In this podcast Dr. J covers the five basic kinds of Hebrew searches, modifying those searches with search commands and symbols, and how to type in Hebrew.