Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Initial Thoughts on Logos 5 (Verbum)

I have found it difficult in the past months to give a proper review of Logos 4.  Why? Well, the main reason is that it such a comprehensive and useful tool for Bible study, I really never knew where to begin.  However, just when I felt about ready to post some of my thoughts, Logos 5 (Verbum) was released this past month.  In short, Verbum, which is the Catholic version of Logos 5, is wonderful upgrade in almost every way and I look forward to using it extensively in the coming years.

Again, the question is, where to begin?  I equate the transition from relying on actual physical books, like commentaries, interlinears, and concordances, for most of my Bible study research up until recently to utilizing the tools in Verbum as something akin to learning how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time.  What do I mean by that?  The Liturgy of the Hours can be, for the newbie, a very confusing prayer book.  There is so much flipping around and at first one may not know which prayers to use at a particular time of the year.  And let's be honest, the introduction and rubric guide at the beginning of the Office is of no real help to someone who is just getting started.  So, I have found that if someone wants to pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly the best thing for them is to have a priest, religious, or lay person, who is already experienced with praying it, show him how to use it.  Fortunately, someone taught me a number of years back, and I have taught a number of others over the year as well.  Verbum is like that in some ways.  Why?  Well, primarily because it is such a powerful software program that it can be difficult to know where to start.  The video tutorials on the Logos website are certainly helpful, but it really does take some time to get use to vast amount of resources that Verbum has to offer.  (An example of this would be the new Clause Search feature, which you can read about here.)  But what I have found is that just as one becomes more comfortable with praying the Liturgy of the Hours over time, the same things is the case for using Verbum.  If you have never used Bible software, like myself until fairly recently, don't be scared away by it.  Once you become more comfortable with using this software, which I am getting more and more of every day, you will actually have trouble remembering how you did Bible study research in the past.

Let me just say quickly a comment about the amount of Biblical resources you can access on Verbum.  Now that Logos has introduced Verbum, which is specifically for Catholics and contains material not only focusing on Scripture, but also doctrine, liturgy, history, and apologetics, this program is built to be an everyday tool for not only study, but also devotional use.  You not only have various translations, exegetical tools, dictionaries, commentaries, and writings from the Church Fathers, Popes, and Church Councils, but also a fully integrated Catechism of the Catholic Church that is a pleasure to search through.  In the package I received, I also found some additional surprises, like the writings of G.K. Chesterton, Raymond Brown, and the works of noted Catholic Apologist, Dave Armstrong.  And there is so much more!

Including the free Verbum-specific App.  I just downloaded this yesterday, and so far it has been a very nice addition to my I-Phone.  This App syncs with the main platform on my laptop, but it can be downloaded by anyone, even if you don't own any Logos software program.  It comes with a nice selection of free resources, including: The Catholic Lectionary, The Roman Catechism, Pictorial Lives of the Saints, Sources of Catholic Dogma (Denzinger), Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, Newman’s An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, the Douay-Rheims, King James Version, Clementine Vulgate, Novum Testamentum Graece (Tischendorf), The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition, Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament, Lexham English Bible.

In the end, the only real question I have is whether I re-purchase commentaries and other books that I already own in order to utilize them on Verbum?  I am sure that there will be a few that I do, but there is enough already loaded on to Verbum, along with the promise of future releases, that will keep me occupied.  But if you are one who is thinking about making the investment to purchase Verbum, I heartily recommend it.  It will take a little bit of time playing with the many features to feel comfortable with using it, but it is certainly worth the effort and cost.  In the new year, I plan to post occasionally about my experiences using Verbum, so stay tuned.

Thank you, again, to the fine people at Logos for providing me a review copy.

19 comments:

CJA Mayo said...

How ironic, or deja-vu-ish(?)...

I have an interlinear and a TBS Scrivener's TR in front of me (the print in Green's Interlinear is too small to read and you can never be sure if a rough breathing or an accent mark is there or not - the one-volume version with the OT in Hebrew in it as well), and two commentaries, two English Bibles (one of which is the Haydock, containing one of the commentaries; the other is Hauerwas' Matthew along with a King James), "The Strongest" Strong's concordance, and Thayer's lexicon (don't ask) laid out on the bed behind me.

Maybe Bible software would be a good investment (har har), as my abode is small and heavily cramped, not to mention that I end up sleeping with a quarter-dozen books stacked next to me.

Theophrastus said...

In the end, the only real question I have is whether I re-purchase commentaries and other books that I already own in order to utilize them on Verbum? I am sure that there will be a few that I do, but there is enough already loaded on to Verbum, along with the promise of future releases, that will keep me occupied.

I find in my use of Logos that I use print and electronic materials entirely differently. I use print materials at the desk, carefully reading and working through them. In contrast, with electronic materials, I use search and cross references to quickly zoom through materials.

Because I use the materials in such different ways, I find it is most useful to buy materials in both electronic and printed form (albeit, an expensive solution). If I use materials rarely, then I just buy them in electronic form.

When one buys normal materials, they have an additive effect: buying two books gives me twice as much information as buying one books.

In contrast, in the Logos platform, buying additional resources has a multiplicative effect because of search and cross-references -- thus buying an additional book makes my existing books all that more useful.

This may seem odd to those who have not heavily used the Logos platform, but I can assure you it is a very real phenomenon.

Good luck with your continued studies.

Robert said...

Two ways to pay $100.62/mo or $1,147.46

Give me a break!!!!!!!.

Sorry I'll stick with eSword with the DRB, Breton OT, KJV/Deutercanonicals. Plus you can purchase the RSV/Deutercanonicals for eSword. You know how many Haydock Bibles and Knox Bibles, you can get for the price of one year.

Biblical Catholic said...

Wait....it's a monthly subscription? Why would you be paying monthly?

That pricing kind of confirms what I said earlier about how even though this is no doubt excellent software, unless you are seminarian, college professor in a seminary, or professional Biblical scholar.....this kind of software is probably not very practical.

Hans said...

The $1,000+ version is one of their most expensive packages. While still expensive, they have versions that cost $230, $417, and $759.

Tim - what version were you given in your review copy?

Timothy said...

Hans,

Verbum Scripture Study.

Biblical Catholic said...

Man....so tempting....if I was in seminary, or graduate school in Biblical studies or something I would buy it....but having a full time job in an unrelated field, and just doing scripture studies as a kind of hobby in free time.....it's really hard to justify a purchase....especially since I know I probably wouldn't actually use it all that much....just like when I spent all that money on a copy of Rybka 3 because I was going to do start devoting a lot of time to Chess....and then a few months later I stopped using it and haven't even turned on the program in more than a year....

Unknown said...

It's not a monthly subscription. They just offer you the option of paying off your purchase in monthly payments. I am paying my purchase off over 18 months. The fee is $5 a month. It was a great deal for me.

losabio said...

Verbum is excellent for tracking down scriptural references which might come up in a homily, in a class, in a book/tape, in a conversation, etc. I find myself jotting down phrases and scriptural references throughout the day if they come up, knowing that I'll be able to learn a little (or a lot) more about the topic later that evening, in Verbum.

Using the CCC in Verbum is a revelation. I'm participating the FaithLife/Logos Year Of Faith group's reading plan to read the CCC in a year, and while I have studied here and there in the CCC in the past, it's a whole different ball of wax to have the active cross references flesh out on a mouse over, and launch with a click.

It is possible to, and I previously have indeed, read electronic materials prayerfully and deliberately, although in Verbum I often find myself availing myself of the readily accessible searches/guides/tools instead. For thoughtful lectio divina type reflection/meditation, I still tend to use printed Bibles. For any sort of focused researching, Verbum is an outstanding tool to have available.

I'm not one to write/highlight in a book unless correcting an error, and I don't think I've ever written anything in a Bible. With Verbum's software-based highlights/tags/notes, it's easy to start experimenting with notes and highlights.

CJA Mayo said...

Not to mention that I type about 55WPM when actually thinking, and about 90-100 WPM when transcribing, compared to pen-writing at maybe (taking a guess) 15 WPM.

I also refuse to write in books and in Bibles. I once bought a cheap Bible to attempt to highlight or write in, and even bought the kit - Pigma Micron dry highlighters, etc. - and was never able to bring myself to make a mark. I also have an extremely hard time reading hand-annotated or highlighted materials, so it's something I have to look out for when buying used books (which are most of the hundred or more books I buy in a year).

Some people - notably Mark Bertrand - use a notebook to take notes and keep the Bible clean (at least I think he keeps his Bible clean). As in all other things Mark Bertrand, like the $600 wet shave with $250 boar-bristle lather brush, he found something called a "Filofax", a little, hand-sized 3x5" ring-binder type notepad, of course, bound in goatskin, etc. and, of course, for several hundreds of dollars.

Mike Roesch said...

Wow. I was maybe considering buying this at some point in the future in Logos 4. But now they've raised the prices considerably, and none of the packages even includes the NAB anymore (plus you have to go up to the $750 package just to get the Vulgate)!

If I recall correctly, the $750 package was more like $450-$500 in the prior version. The $416 package was closer to $250, and I think the most expensive Scholar's Library was only $750. And all included the NAB. It's possible I'm misremembering, but this seems a huge increase in price (though I'm happy to see Orchard added).

Timothy said...

You are on a roll today! ;)

Biblical Catholic said...

If you want an electronic copy of the Vulgate you can download the Olive Tree Bible Study App on your PC or mobile device, and you can get a copy of the Clementine Vulgate free.....they can only offer the Clementine Vulgate, and some very old Greek NT, Hebrew OT, because those are copyrighted....newer versions are still under copyright.

Anonymous said...

The $50 CCC Collection does include the Verbum software, I'm told:

http://www.logos.com/product/18543/catechism-of-the-catholic-church-collection

That's what I think I'll start with.
PAX!
citizen

losabio said...

The CCC is amazing in Verbum. Check out this tutorial video over on the Verbum blog for a neat (and usable) layout. http://scripturestudysoftware.com/2012/05/25/468/

Tim has linked the main Verbum blog in the sidebar --------->.

Jason Engel said...

Following from CJA Mayo's comment about not being able to make a mark in a book, I'm such a book freak that I can't even crack the spine, much less write in one. I've been getting over that though. I have a $20 compact Bible that fits in my pocket that is slowly becoming full of highlighter marks and heavily worn out because I always carry it with me and use it to capture stuff I want to go back and examine later. I think the only reason I can do that is I specifically bought it for exactly that purpose. My willingness to mark that up has probably caused me to be less concerned about writing in my books, because I often have to resist the urge to scribble notes, etc, into an Allan NRSV I have purely for reading.

I do like Mark Bertrand's idea of using a separate journal for note taking while reading the Bible, but would agree that spending nearly $100 for one small goatskin-bound journal that might last you less than a year if you really use it is a bit extravagant.

CJA Mayo said...

I solved the "cracking the spine" problem... I bought needles, bookbinder's thread, the gauze that goes on spines, and bookbinder's glue, and learned how to un-break and broken spine.

It was necessary with my paper copy of the English translation of the Summa Theologiae, which requires the spine to be broken constantly because 1/4 of the inside column of every page falls in to the gutter, and can not be read unless the spine is cracked, or at least severely stretched, which has the same effect of clumping signatures together.

The worst gutter problem I've ever seen in any book is in "Without Excuse" by Werner Gitt. It's quite impossible to read without either walking from side-to-side, or without cutting the spine off and using it like a loose-leaf.

Mc Lf said...

Go to clerus.org and download biblia clerus. It has catechism, bibles (NAB, RSV), all church documents and quite a few writings of the saints.

Catechism, church docs, and bibles all hyperlinked together. Very fast and easy to use. No need for anything else...i'll leave it to someone else to see what Logos/verbum whatever would charge for equivalent.

Jonny said...

I just got my first tablet recently, and got the free Verbum app. This is totally awesome! Between this and the Laudate app, I think the tablet has paid for itself in time and convenience!

Verbum has the lectionary, and highlights the readings which takes you to the Douay Rheims translation of them (which I previously did anyway in a hard copy), then, you can compare readings in the KJV, Vulgate, Lexham English Bible, RSV-CE, you can access the Haydock notes and other commentaries!

Not to mention all of the other free books, 31 in all, including the McGovern Catholic Encyclopedia, Illustrated lives of the Saints, Strongs Concordance, 3 Greek NT, Latin and Greek dictionaries.

Between this and Laudate, I can read LOTH, the saint of the day, the Mass readings, and have a Bible study, all in my recliner! If anyone has any suggestions how my tablet experience could get any better, I'm all ears (I mean, eyes.) By the way, I have a Google Android tablet. I already have a Kindle app and got Aquinas Summa free, too!