[Back to review index]

BibleWorks 9

Dr. Stephen G. Dempster review, November 7, 2012.

URL: [Retrieved on 2012-11-09]

What can I say about Bible Works? I do almost all of my research on the Hebrew Bible with this tool. I read the Bible frequently here and it is so easy to see how an ancient version or translation (LXX, Targum, Vulgate, Peshitta...) renders the Hebrew. With the touch of a key you have the answer! But secondly I have found that the word and phrase search tools are absolutely amazing. Again, in an instant you can find how often a term or expression occurs.

There is also a tool where you can graph the distribution of the expression throughout the Hebrew Bible or in one particular corpus or book of the Bible. I have found that this evidence itself generates theories and hypotheses as you see the phrase or word situated in the big picture of the Hebrew Bible at one glance.

The latest Bible works (9.0) provides an automatic concordance of the expression in Hebrew complete with each sentence listed so you can get a quick glance at the context and usage of a word before you start the process of studying each particular passage. For those who are still learning the languages the version is especially valuable as an incredible learning tool. By simply placing the cursor over a word you automatically see how the word functions grammatically, complete with an English gloss.

As for the use of other resources the sky is the limit. You can have complete access to Philo's works, Josephus's works, the complete Isaiah scroll from Qumran.... They are at your fingertips. I found the use of the Isaiah scroll extremely helpful in a recent paper I was working on regarding resurrection and I was able to see how the scroll adds the term "light" in 53:11 where it reads "from the travail of his soul he will see light." This suggests the idea of resurrection as the suffering servant sees the light of life despite having been cut off from the land of the living (53:8). My point is you can not only have access to the English translation, you can have access to the actual Hebrew original, and this can help you understand some of the interpretive dynamics present in late 2nd temple Judaism.

For me I would have to say that this has become an indispensable tool for doing research on the Hebrew Bible.

Stephen Dempster is a professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


[Back to review index]