27 September 2011

Getting the most out of BibleWorks 9

Significant Advances in BibleWorks 9

BibleWorks 9 is out, though a lot of people are happy with older versions. Is it worth upgrading?

NT variants are fuller and easy to investigate and NT manuscripts are fully visible - and you can even manipulate the images like a pro!

The new cross references produced automatically from Greek vocabulary, and the automatic display of how the same word is used elsewhere, make intertextual studies much easier.

The new fourth column quickly becomes essential when you get used to the new features - and it makes the Notes facility much more practicle.

Unlike many other programs, BibleWorks does not get slower when it upgrades. It still works fine on older computers, and zips along on new ones.

If you work with the Greek New Testament, or look for the OT in the NT, the answer to the upgrade question is definitely YES


Setting up

New features

Picking displays


New Column

NT Variants

Auto XRefs

Word Use

Qumran texts

NT Manuscripts

Exploring MSS

Enhancing MSS



Some comments on installation.

The booklet (which I guess most people don't read) tells you to uninstall any previous versions first. I ignored this, mainly because I hate to lose things like previous versions of Bibles. Your former version of BW has the older 1984 NIV and 2002 ESV etc – versions which the publishers don't allow BW to distribute any more, but you are still entitled to own. Also, if you had a free copy of Metzger in BW7, you'll notice it wasn't in BW8 or 9 unless you paid extra for it. It is perfectly legal for you to keep it if you bought BW7 but it isn't legal for BW to give it to you on their new DVD. If you registered your copies, you can get free unlock codes from BW

I found the default Installation settings almost right for me 
* ie languages are unticked except English, Greek, & Hebrew
Personally I chose to add:
* Latin versions (don't know why they aren't ticked by default).
   Latin sections in resources like Josephus and Philo aren't listed, and aren't installed unless you install the other Latin resources. I suggest you just install them all - they don't take up much room.
* BW Maps. They aren't great, but they are editable and useful
   See here for quick tips on editing the BW maps.
* all the NT Transcriptions
  Only Sinaiticus is ticked by default, to give you a taste
  These take up 8Gb of space! - but we all have large hard drives now so you've probably got room. And you can always delete them and re-install them. So I suggest you tick them all. They are great!



Setting up all over again

BW now provides an option to import settings from a previous version when upgrading. You do this from inside the program at Tools>Importing/Exporting > Migrate Settings and Files.
You can select exactly what to import. You can still do this after uninstalling the previous version if you did that.

Don't try the DIY route of copying your old "BW800.ini" file - the new features mean that BW900.ini has a significantly different structure so you could easily mess up settings specific to the new version.

BTW, it is probably worth finding this "BW900.ini" file and making a copy, because when BW crashes it doesn't always manage to save this file properly, so when you start up again you are presented with a virgin layout. Find the file somewhere like C:\Program Files\BibleWorks 9\BW900.ini. 



New modules and versions

All the latest versions of Bibles are in there, as you'd expect, including the 2011 NIV (though the UK version wasn't ready in time - get it as a free upgrade by download).
Completely new resources include:
* Common English Bible
* Friberg-Robinson-Pierpont Greek NT & Morphology
* A bundle of Greek MSS with Morphology (see below)
* Revised Patriarchal Greek Text
* Trinitarian Bible Society Greek NT & Morphology
* Tregelles Greek NT (as printed, and a corrected copy)
* Paul Younan Peshitta
* Qumran Sectarian MSS & Morphology (a separate add-on)

(Please forgive me if I've missed some of the new ones - there are so many now) 



Picking the Display versions

My tips on ticking versions:
* tick the English versions which include tagging, such as KJV, & NAU. These provide links between the English & Greek/Hebrew.
* tick NET for the notes
* tick non-Biblical texts like Apostolic Fathers, Philo etc. These won't appear till you look them up or do an original-language search wider than the Bible.
* don't tick any "morphology" versions – these will automatically appear if you do a morphology search
* don't tick the MSS versions. They turn up automatically in the new "Verse" column (see below)
* the BGT is probably the only Gk Bible text you need – this is Rahlf's LXX + NA27 Gk NT – ie the best texts for OT+NT
* WTT is probably the only Hebrew OT you need – this is a corrected version of the BHS based on the Leningrad MS.
* tick the PEH Peshitta – it uses Hebrew characters instead of Syriac and this makes Syriac surprisingly readable
* do NOT tick Rodkin's Mishnah. This is a cut-down version with only 1/3 of the Mishnah tractates in a questionable translation. Use www.RabbinicTraditions.com instead



Setting up your Options:

(go to Tools: Options: General)

My tips on Options:
* untick Startup: Splash screen
 (this is the picture which obscures what you are working on while waiting for BW to load)
* tick Startup: Enable Configuration
 (this allows you to save and load different configurations of BW – eg different setups for study or for devotion)
* tick Browse Window: Keep word tips open.
  (this means the popup box stays in one place, where-ever you put it. I put it on the Menu bar. It is far easier to follow, and it is out of the way).
* tick Main Window Status: Chapter-Based User Notes On,
   & Notify.. Chapter note
(this adds a "C" in the bottom line of the screen to indicate that you have written a note about this chapter in the past, and "Chap Notes" next to it so you can bring that note into view immediately.)



Check out the Notes facility:

This has been here for ages, but like me you probably ignored it. Now that the fourth column is available, it becomes much more usable.
This enables you to make notes on each chapter (or each verse if you wish) which will automatically open when you go to that passage.

My tips on Notes:
* tick "chapter" because having a separate note for every verse is difficult to keep track of.
* use "Autoload" (ticked by default) because this automatically names and saves things you write. 
* if you are working on one chapter and don't want it to change when you do a word search, click on "Open Floating" (the 6th icon from the left)
(also, untick "Autoload" otherwise it will keep asking if you want to move)
* click on the first "All buttons" to reveal hidden buttons on the right with functions you wouldn't expect – like inserting hyperlinks and tables and Unicode Greek/Hebrew, a foreign character picker.
* you can change the order of these buttons by File>Toolbar
* in File>Options tick "Autosave" for your sanity's sake.
* try creating a multi-version table: in the version box next to the Ref box, add more than one version (eg NIV BGT KJV) and then click on the "Copy Refs to Table" button (4 buttons after the version box). this creates a useful table as in the screenshot.



New Feature:
Extra Right-hand column

This sounds minor but it is surprising the difference it makes.
Click on the arrow at top right to reveal the new column.
You could always make a new column or window in the past, but few ever bothered. Now it is simply there, and it is immediately useful because the analysis tabs are distributed among the two columns.
This is a very good use of screen space, especially now that computer screens are getting wider and often shorter.

The second column used to be called the "Browse Window" which is now easy to confuse with the Analysis tab called "Browse" - this usefully  follows the text in one version, keeping the key verse at the top. 



New feature:
"Verse" with NT Variants

"Verse" analysis tab shows verse-by-verse  data from NET+notes, or Tischendorf+ variant data, or CNTTS variants.


When you look at the variants in CNTTS, all the MS evidence is laid out as a simple list. But click on ">>" at the end of the list and a wonderful chronological chart appears with centuries top to bottom and Aland categories left to right
These categories are the text type (something which becomes more meaningful in later centuries)
I - Alexandrian
II - Egyptian
III - Eclectic
IV - Western
V - Byzantine



New Feature:
Computerised Cross References

Cross references aren't new of course, though they have improved greatly over the years. But the new computerised cross-references are exciting.

The normal cross references aren't limited to the version you are browsing, and you don't have to use just one set of cross-references at a time. You can see various usefully grouped sets of cross references, with duplicates removed. These now include the refs from the  NAB.

My tips on Cross Refs
Use the BW Master list which consolidates all the other lists.
* the top section lists refs which most versions include, and the bottom section lists those which only some versions include.
* right-click on the results (or click on "Options") and "Open new xref window". This window floats anywhere and updates itself.


The computerised cross-references are called the RVT list
* this refers to the Related Verses Tool (found in the menu Tools> Analyzing the Text) which was used to construct it.
* this analyses the verse and looks for other verses which share the same vocabulary, then classifies the list by how many words are shared
* this is a VERY good idea - it is the quickest way to find inter-textual links
* For Gen.1.12 (in the screen shots) an amalgamation of all the cross-references in different Bibles yielded only two verses. This technique has found 45 verses which share five or more words with this verse. There will include many false positives but also some key inter-textual links which may have been missed in the past.
Of course this only links the OT and NT in Greek. I hope they will produce a similar facility for intertextual links in the Hebrew Bible, though in the mean time you can do it yourself with their Related Verses Tool.



New Feature:
"Use" tab

This is on the far right of the last column.
* produces a very quick list of verses which use the same word in the same version
* click on "Book" to constrain the results to the same Bible book

This is a surprisingly useful tool because it can quickly remind you what else the author has said about a particular matter.
This very useful in English, because if you hover over "created" you only find other verses using the word "created" - you don't even find "create" or "creates".


But in Greek & Hebrew it very quickly shows all verses using the same vocabulary, irrespective of the exact form.

My Tips for Use (and Tabs)
* click on Options and tick "Show verse popups".
* hover over a Greek or Hebrew text to find related verses
* then hover over the verses and see the translation (NAS by default)

* remember to hold down Shift while you look at the list, otherwise your cursor might wander over another word and change the list
* if you find a useful list, right-click and "Export…" and they'll pop up in the Search column on the left
* BTW, if you want to preserve a list in the Search column, click on a tab at the top of the column where you can store up to 12 different lists
* these Tabs are worth exploring. You can set each with different search criteria etc, so you can use one to search only OT Greek and another to search all extra-biblical Greek sources at once, and you can save the Tabs - see http://www.bibleworks.com/classroom/1_5_tabs/index.html 



Add-on Resources:
Qumran texts

The Israeli museum has finally published their digital Dead Sea Scrolls but BW has long had a much easier way of studying them in a tagged version. This provides a huge set of searchable extrabiblical  Hebrew/Aramaic documents to help us understand Biblical terms.

This screen shot shows how easy it is to find all the references  to "works" in the Damascus Document - which is a key to New Perspective in Pauline research. When you read this alongside a translation in a separate resource window, the Dead Sea Scrolls become easy to explore. 

Many other add-ons are available.



New Feature:
Greek NT Manuscripts

The small "Mss" in the right-hand column opens a whole new world for NT scholars
* in the top section, the main manuscript evidence is summarised in lines similar to Swanson's wonderful volumes
* under that we can see one of several manuscripts (assuming you installed the 8Gb of images)
* these images are helpfully marked up with the start of verses, and you can move around each image
-under that are occasional notes about transcription






The Manuscript information isn't always visible. Here is the main list of manuscripts referred to:



Exploring Manuscript images

When you Right-click on a manuscript image or click on the "Image" dropdown you can:
* zoom out
* copy the image
* enhance the image (wow!)
When you click on the Tools dropdown you have:
* collation and viewing options
* help with adding morphological data
* help with adding transcription data



Enhancing manuscript images

Sometimes the text is faint or unclear, as seen in the above image from Sinaiaticus Matt.1. The professionals have all kinds of enhancement tools for bringing details out of these images - and now you can use them too:
* you don't need to understand the tools - just try things and see what happens.
* here is my attempt to bring extra detail out of this image
* it doesn't find any information which isn't already in the image, but it helps you see it
* when you have enhanced it, you can copy it into your work.

This won't replace multi-spectrum analysis, but these tools help to get the most out of these conventional pictures



Is it worth upgrading?

Yes, if you you are interested in Greek variants or intertextuality (and aren't we all?).

Most excitingly it shows that BibleWorks is growing not only in the number of resources but in creative ways to analyse the text. 




BibleWorks 9 said...

If you are going to install it on Linux, use the "Virtual Box". You can try WINE. WINE have made a great leap already. But in case it won't work, Virtual Box can probably do the trick.

Unknown said...


This was very helpful. Thanks for all your good work.

Chester Wood