View Full Version : more versions or more tools?

MEJ Buijs
03-31-2007, 06:52 AM
Reading the discussion about TNIV - and why it's too pricey to include in BW for now - made me wonder: is it above all more versions we as users are after, or would we prefer to have more tools, rather? Which would be the more pressing demand?

Here I can only answer for myself, of course. As I use BW exclusively for scholarly purposes, I have little use for the plethora of translations post-seventeenth century, unless they do something truly new and exciting, like Buber and Rosenzweig's radically concordant translation.

There are, of course, quite a few older versions I would still love to have - Wycliffe, Saadia, the Old Latin, the complete Peshitta - but I would have to admit they perhaps aren't quite essential. Also, these could well be made by users themselves, since copyright need not be an issue here.

On the other hand, there are a number of reference works I think would be a tremendous boost to BW's capabilities. Above all I'm thinking of all things Aramaic. Stevenson's little grammar of Palestinian Aramaic is already available as a module, of course, but Rosenthal's grammar of Biblical Aramaic, or Bauer/Leander's (sadly out of print) extensive work on the same subject would be very welcome additions - especially now that all the Targumim have been added.

In an ideal world, needless to say, we'd love simply to have everything; but if we have to choose, where do we put the emphasis? I'd be very interested to know what you all think.

Dale A. Brueggemann
04-02-2007, 09:27 AM
Well, both. I'd like the grammars, but I'd also like to see the biblical texts from Qumran, the Talmud, and Mishnah--and in both original language and English translation.

04-02-2007, 10:29 AM
I'm not interested in having BW try to become or match Logos' digital library focus, but I would like to see a decent, modern Bible dictionary (e.g., HarperCollins) and a good one-volume Bible commentary (e.g., HarperCollins) included.

04-02-2007, 07:34 PM
Everyone's needs are different but I would tend to focus more on dictionary and encyclopedia tools like Anchor Bible Dictionary, the revised ISBE, higher resolution NET Bible maps and the marginal notes for the NKJV (please).

I would second the suggestion for the talmud & mishnah though.


Greg Crawford
04-03-2007, 01:54 AM
Well, both. I'd like the grammars, but I'd also like to see the biblical texts from Qumran, the Talmud, and Mishnah--and in both original language and English translation.

I'd second what Dale has requested. BW7 has an incredible set of tools for Biblical studies, capable of taking a person deeper and deeper into the art. To what can we compare the dedication of the BibleWorks team in producing so many fine tools in one package? What other generation has had so much at their disposal for Biblical studies?

I would not want to see a "dumbing down" of the capabilities of BW, but continuing growth. Keep up the access to original languages, as well as translations. Let's also cheer on the individuals who provide us with so many useful user-created databases. As the rabbis used to say, "He who reads the Bible in translation, kisses his bride through a veil". :)

MEJ Buijs
04-03-2007, 05:24 PM
Dale - I agree a number of ancient texts (Qumran, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Samaritan targum, the OT Peshitta) are absolutely vital to making BibleWorks the scholarly juggernaut it should be; same thing goes for the BHS apparatus, which would work well as a module (though I understand the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft would want an extortionate amount for its inclusion, which might be a bit of a bump in the road here).

I'm not so sure when it comes to the Talmud, though. The sheer complexity of the talmudic page, with the mishnah, the gemara, Rashi, the tosafists, and some modern philological notes - layer upon layer - seems to me to make it particularly unsuited to be fit into the BibleWorks order of things. Just the Mishnah would be quite doable, but then (unless you're a halakhist) the good bits are rarely in the Mishnah, are they?

More easy to execute and more directly relevant to BW as it exists already would be to have modules of the great rabbinic commentaries you get in miqraot gedolot - Ibn Ezra, Rashi, those chaps. The Midrash Rabbah and Mekhilta could also work very well.

If it is post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic we want, however, it will become absolutely imperative to add the right tools for the job as well. A proper grammar of Babylonian Aramaic and Jastrow's dictionary would probably be where to begin.

And while we're at it, Herbert Weir Smyth's Greek Grammar would be more than welcome for the Hellenists among us, I think. As there are quite a few people here who have some Greek but little Hebrew, one might even consider attending to their needs first.