Testing Logos 8: Library Organization and Commentaries #Logos8

Logos 8 has made library organization so much better than previous versions. If my foremost frustration with Logos 7 was the busy homepage, my next frustration was a library that felt cluttered. No longer!

If I want to find all my commentaries on the Gospel of Luke it’s as simple as opening my library…

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As you can see, it’s already divided up nicely, so I’ll go straight to Bible Commentary > Subject (Bible N.T.) > Luke (of which I have 11 commentaries):

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Also, Logos 8 added commentaries from The New American Commentary series, the Pillar series, and The IVP series. That’s always a nice bundle for far less than I’d pay if I bought the hard copies.

Testing Logos 8: Workflow #Logos8

The second neat, new feature for Logos 8 is the Workflow. In Workflow you can choose from a variety of options including a basic Bible study, a character study, a passage study, etc. The example I’ll share is from a Character Study on St. Peter. Here’s the flow:

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As you can see, I begin with my tools that allow me to research St. Peter, which include key events in this character’s narrative-life:

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Or, I can jump to key passages where Peter is mentioned, look up Peter’s name(s) in Greek, and access the dictionaries in my library:

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Along the way I can take notes that will save for later and store within my workflow. When I want to resume my study, I return to this particular workflow and it’s all there for me. If I wanted to share my findings on social media, I can do that as well.

This feature is quite helpful for those like me who teach. I imagine pastors, youth pastors, etc., can benefit from it as well as it helps create concise lessons on characters, passages, etc.

Testing Logos 8: The New Dashboard

I was offered a chance to test-drive the new Logos 8, so I’ll be saying a few things about it here on this blog over the next few days. Let me begin with the easiest observation I can make: the dashboard is much improved. Honestly, I was a bit frustrated with how busy the dashboard had become on Logos, but now I have complete control, and as you can see, I’m a minimalist:

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I’ve created easy access to a couple of lectionaries, the Faithlife Study Bible, and then Hebrew, Greek, and Passage Study. If I want to add more I can click that little plus sign within a circle above the Study Bible tab and do so. Some options include adding a Course, a reading plan, a daily devotional, or even a prayer list. Being able to move around smoothly and simply is a major upgrade.

The Future of Employment in the Age of Automation

I'm fascinated by the discussion taking place re: the automation of the workforce and the related topic of a "basic income". A few weeks ago I shared an interview conducted by Recode's Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan with future Governor of California Gavin Newsom (embedded below: see 19-24min). Newsom comments that many politicians don't want to proclaim "the robots are coming, the robots are coming," although, in fact, the robots are coming. Our politicians keep promising jobs to people in fields of work that will be best done through automation. We've seen this happening, but it's likely to increase speed.

A couple days ago Bill Gates discussed the need to begin taxing machines that replace jobs (see: "The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates"). This is an intriguing concept. Taxing robots would provide some economic resources for the many people whose jobs will no longer exist in the coming world. This could allow governments the opportunity to provide a basic or starter income for all citizens. This wouldn't be a deterrent for innovation—wouldn't future generations prefer to own the robots rather than be replaced by them?—but it could prevent the dystopian future where the automated workforce leads to a disenfranchised, impoverished populace with nothing but time and dissatisfaction to offer.

Most intriguing for educations: Mark Cuban stated in an interview a couple of days ago that the future workforce will be best served by.....ready for this....a liberal arts education (see: "Don't go to school for finance—liberal arts is the future"): "Cuban highlighted English, philosophy, and foreign language majors as just some of the majors that will do well in the future job market."

But Newsom is correct: politicians don't want to run on the platform of "sorry, you're jobs aren't coming back here, but we will prepare you for a future when the nature of work has drastically changed!" That's unfortunate, because the future is coming whether or not we're ready.

A Few More Words (or, Pictures) about the Greek Grammatical Constructs Tool (@Logos)

Thanks to somebody names "James Parks" (hey Jimmy!) there is "Dataset Documentation" to help slower thinking people like myself function with fast moving technology: 




The video that I shared uses "emphatic negation" as the example. But there's quite a bit more. In Park's guide he shows you how to look up Granville Sharp's First Rule, Colwell's Rule, First Class Conditional Sentences, and more. Let's take the First Class Conditional Sentences as an example. In the Bible Search bar I enter the following: {Section <GramCon 1>} and Logos Now does the rest of the work for me:

This is just the beginning of Mark. This is why I said in my previous post that this could be a great tool for people who teach Greek. Imagine trying to explain Granville Sharp's First Rule and all you have to do in order to find all the NT examples is this:

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Suddenly, it's all available to you in seconds. Easy to move from example to example to show students!  

Review of @Logos Now

I've been "test-driving" Logos' new service Logos Now for the past couple of weeks. If you haven't heard of Logos Now it is a subscription service available for $8.99 a month or $89 for a year (basically two months free). For those who own Logos 6 this service allows you to access their new products without waiting for Logos 7 to arrive. Currently, Logos is giving $100 worth of product (a set selection, but still worth $100) for those who sign up, so if you think these books would be worth purchasing, then the service is basically free.

Now, for reader, I must note that this year's service is free for me. Logos has given me a subscription in exchange for a review. But, so that you know this isn't just a commercial for their product, all Logos asked from me was "an honest written review on your blog", which I will give you! So let me begin with the first question on your mind: would I have spent the money to purchase the subscription knowing what I know now? My answer? I think so. 

I think the $89 annual subscription is a better deal than the monthly, obviously, since it's twelve months for the price of ten. The $100 in freebies are so-so. I like the Discourse Analysis and Other Topics in Biblical Greek edited by Porter and Carson. I don't have much use for the other two, though readers of this blog might. That being said, the first book is worth $29.95 alone, and it's a nice book to have in your library. So, in a sense, the subscription as it is offered now is at least twelve months for the $60.00 if you think you would have ever purchased the volume edited by Porter and Carson. That's basically $5 a month, i.e., the cost of a latte. 

Now, I don't know that I would have bought that book, so I will presume I would have paid $89 for the annual subscription. That is still only a little over $7 a month for the price of a latte and a pastry. (Ok, as I write this I'm beginning to talk myself into it!)

But what is most important is the product. Are these tools you will use? As I said in my first blog post about the product, there are some tools I won't use, e.g., the Systematic Theology Tool. That being said, I know that there are those out there who may find this tool to be the most useful. It's subjective! In another post I listed all the new tools provided by Logos Now. If you take a look I think you'll agree: there are things you'd use and things you won't use. But it should be noted that this is just the beginning, or so I presume. If they've got this much available this early, and it appeals to a fairly wide demographic, it makes sense that we'll continue to see new services available with some frequency.

There are three tools that I've been using so far. First is the Multiview Resource. This has made searches much easier. I use the parallel viewing all the time now. Second is the Manuscript Explorers. This is a great tool. It connects you to online mss. if they're available. It's great for sorting by all kinds of criteria. There is one for the NT and one for the LXX right now. I presume we'll see one for the Hebrew Bible/OT. Maybe one the Apostolic Father and other early Christian literature? I like the direction they're taking with this tool. Third is the Greek Grammatical Constructions tool. Another major time saver. It allows you to view how a given construct appears across the NT. Also, it comes with a handy "Greek Grammatical Constructions Documentation" written by James Parks (hey, I know him!) that will show you how to make the most of this tool. 

I can foresee the usefulness of the Data Sets, as I've explained already. I think the Interactive Media will continue to include some great tools. Overall, Logos Now is promising. 

If I could dream for a moment, one thing I'd love, love, love to see added was some sort of library feature. Sometimes good scholarly books aren't easily accessible, especially from academic publishers like say Brill. While I have no idea whether or not this idea is feasible, I wonder if publishers like Brill would allow Logos to digitize some of their monographs and add them to Logos Now as something you can access as part of the subscription. Probably not, but that would be wonderful! Like a Netflix or Apple Music for biblical studies. 

But this is a review of what Logos Now is now and it's good. It has a ton of potential. If Logos Now continues to add Data Sets, if they broaden their selection of Interactive Media, and keep thinking about how their Features can simplify research, then this service will be well worth $7-8, even $9, a month. But if your the type who waits to buy a new smartphone or computer until you've seen that it remains useful after the initial hype, then I wouldn't blame you for waiting. That said, at $89 with freebies, it may be worth jumping on the bandwagon now, especially since I predict we'll be seeing a steady stream of helpful tools coming our way through Logos Now.

I know blog readers have a sort attention span, so I'll end my review here. Overall, on a scale of 1-10, I'll go with 8.5 since I've been attracted to only a handful of the new tools. But that could change to 9 or 10 asap as we continue to see what comes forth. If you have any questions about the service that I didn't answer, feel free to ask me in the comments!


Test-Driving Logos Now (5): Greek Grammatical Constructions

Ok, as of yesterday I hadn't given much attention to the "Greek Grammatical Constructions" tool, but I think this has the potential to be one of the better features of Logos Now. Here's the video:

This will be very useful for those who teach Greek. I could see it being helpful in the classroom. Also, for those who are doing the types of studies such as Douglas Estes' The Questions of John in Jesus or Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament (which, by the way, Logos would do well to add to their available products) this tool could save a lot of time.