Bible study on the cheap

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Difflugia
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Bible study on the cheap

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Post by Difflugia »

There was some discussion of learning Greek and Hebrew in the Seminary Students forum. As mentioned there, the premiere Bible study software to have is Logos, but most of the study materials come with a pretty steep price tag. It also only runs on Windows or Mac and I use Linux most of the time.

I've managed to cobble together what I think is a pretty good set of tools such that I rarely miss the Logos resources that I've paid for and no longer pine for the ones that I haven't.

I'm going to start posting links to and descriptions of packages that I use, but if anyone else has anything to say or questions to ask, I'd be quite pleased if this managed to turn into a discussion.

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Open Access ebooks from Brown University

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Post by Difflugia »

If anyone's interested, the Judaic Studies department at Brown University has put several dozen Open Access academic books online as PDF, EPUB, and Mobi (Kindle). The books are free to both download and redistribute under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.

Brown Judaic Studies Open Humanities Book Program
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Free Logos book on Revelation

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Post by Difflugia »

This month's free Logos book seems relevant to a few current conversations: John’s Use of the Old Testament in Revelation by Gregory K. Beale.

Image

There are also free monthly Logos books at Verbum and Faithlife.
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

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Post by Sherlock Holmes »

I used to work at Logos (since renamed to Faithlife) and worked on their flagship desktop Bible app (Mac and Windows) I'll take a look at UniqueBibleApp, looks rather impressive, don't know how it compares with Logos though.
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

Post #14

Post by otseng »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 2:59 pm I used to work at Logos (since renamed to Faithlife) and worked on their flagship desktop Bible app (Mac and Windows) I'll take a look at UniqueBibleApp, looks rather impressive, don't know how it compares with Logos though.
I don't think anything can really compare with Logos. But, for the price (free), UBA is a great bang for the buck! The main difficulty is installing it, but once that's done, it's got a ton of features, some that even Logos doesn't have.

What did you do when you worked on Logos?

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Re: Bible study on the cheap

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Post by Sherlock Holmes »

[Replying to otseng in post #14]

I worked in the desktop team for about a year, bug fixes and stuff to do with the next release - this was during 2014.

The app is sophisticated, WPF (which is a superb GUI framework, I guess MAUI is destined to replace WPF) and on Mac they have a large objective-C framework that mirrors (if I recall correctly) what WPF can do on Windows, the bulk of code is C# and uses MONO (or did, not sure now, like 8 years ago!).

I worked on a number of obscure bugs in a range of areas, they don't really have projects or project plans at Faithlife, a lot of what you see in a new release is stuff that was pushed or trialed by someone and got championed by senior managers, I expected to see more planning than I did. They have very good quality developers, some ex Microsoft people too, every developer I met or worked with was extremely competent, the interviews were tough too, several rounds of video calls followed by a site visit to Bellingham.

I can see now that it was Logos 6 I was working on at the time, I worked a lot on a feature named "Factbook" and "Timeline". The ability to render Greek, Hebrew and so on was something I'd never seen before, the way that all works is very impressive (but UniqueBibleApp seems to also do that).
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

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Post by otseng »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 5:12 pm I can see now that it was Logos 6 I was working on at the time, I worked a lot on a feature named "Factbook" and "Timeline". The ability to render Greek, Hebrew and so on was something I'd never seen before, the way that all works is very impressive (but UniqueBibleApp seems to also do that).
Very cool. UBA has a rudimentary feature like Factbook, but it's not too intuitive. UBA is more like some geeks who study the Bible and know programming and building a tool for how they would like to study the Bible. So, it's not really novice friendly. But, would love to hear your thoughts if you ever get it running.

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Re: Bible study on the cheap

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Post by Sherlock Holmes »

otseng wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 8:25 am
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 5:12 pm I can see now that it was Logos 6 I was working on at the time, I worked a lot on a feature named "Factbook" and "Timeline". The ability to render Greek, Hebrew and so on was something I'd never seen before, the way that all works is very impressive (but UniqueBibleApp seems to also do that).
Very cool. UBA has a rudimentary feature like Factbook, but it's not too intuitive. UBA is more like some geeks who study the Bible and know programming and building a tool for how they would like to study the Bible. So, it's not really novice friendly. But, would love to hear your thoughts if you ever get it running.
I'll certainly try to install and explore it, I run mostly on Windows here myself so I'll set it up on that.

I know zero about Python else I'd consider forking the repo.

I've always thought there was a call for a solid open source Bible app, I think Logos has a big advantage because of all the content it offers, I think a lot of effort has gone into growing the publications side of the business.

I'm a physical book person myself, yes v old fashioned but I love sitting with a bunch of old books open!

This was a purchase I made a few years ago, superb and I've barely scratched the surface:

Image

As I mentioned with the advent of MAUI it might be feasible now to build an open source Bible app that can target all the platforms Logos does without the complications that that app has to deal with (Objective C and Zamarin.Forms / WPF differences).

What Microsoft have achieved these past few years with .Net 6 (formerly .Net Core) is very impressive, totally cross platform and many new improvements in the CLR and C# too. It is a superb technology platform for such an undertaking.
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

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Post by Difflugia »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 11:36 amI've always thought there was a call for a solid open source Bible app, I think Logos has a big advantage because of all the content it offers, I think a lot of effort has gone into growing the publications side of the business.
As far as I'm concerned, this is the biggest advantage to Logos, but more and more of the resources are becoming available electronically in other formats. I've used Logos since the first time it was Logos (before Libronix), before digital books were otherwise much of a thing, but now I mostly just keep it around for the few resources that I can't otherwise get electronically and I have exported most of those to HTML, anyway. I do occasionally use the online interface at biblia.com, but even that's kind of a hassle. Logos tries very hard to be all things to all people and very largely succeeds, but I find the result unwieldy and it doesn't run on Linux. The former is just irritating, but the latter is pretty much a showstopper for me.

Most of my resources are now epub or PDF with Calibre as the interface to the collection. A bunch of discrete resources in such a loose file format makes searches more difficult, but that's not a huge deal to me. I have repurchased most of my in-copyright resources from Logos in other ebook formats and just about everything out of copyright is available from Google Books or Internet Archive.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 11:36 amI'm a physical book person myself, yes v old fashioned but I love sitting with a bunch of old books open!
I was until I got a Kindle about ten years ago and I flipped almost overnight. I thought I'd never give up paper, but now I hate it when I have to go back.
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

Post #19

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

[Replying to Difflugia in post #18]

I have a Kindle and I agree it is superb, can even be read in bright sunny daylight. My problem is I've not made an effort to embrace it, I love to read, truly love to and always had a stack of books lying around, my habit is the physical book and I need to make an effort to start using the Kindle, for reading in bed it is superb, no need for a table lamp or anything.

My knowledge of the Logos app is somewhat limited, I didn't have time to play with it much (every employee gets a discounted version) because the work itself was demanding so I have only a cursory idea of its overall capabilities.

The UI is very rich, WPF is very powerful and their team have an impressive understanding of it. MAUI promises to be just as powerful, I learned a lot of serious WPF working on Logos, hardly used it since mind but I did find out how some truly powerful features are implemented.

The fact is though that the Logos codebase is aging, of course there's a lot of valuable debugged code there but the deep foundational design decisions are likely hard to change at this stage so I wonder how they'd approach the design of a fresh new app, I wonder what they'd do differently. I got the impression (but it could be wrong or overly simplistic) that each release is a bunch of "bolt ons", stuff thrown into the app rather than a deep clear out of cobwebs, not sure if many deeply innovative features are ever added.

The error logging is slick, the app logs errors and so on dynamically as it runs to a dedicated logging server service (a 3rd party thing) so one can scan the logs for all kinds of interesting odd errors, warnings and so on, they get a lot of value out of that.

Open source is hugely powerful these days, I was skeptical many years ago but now I live in Github and can see how teams can really build serious software, an open source Bible App crafted with MAUI would run on Windows, MAC, Linux and mobile too (in principle).

I need to take a look at UniqueBibleApp, the images look very impressive.

I'm a big fan of functional programming languages and they offer certain advantages over imperative languages, it would be interesting to work with F# and MAUI on a Bible Research tool, functional programming is very well suited to data transformation work, much more succinct and elegant than C# (Which is of course OO). Much of the Bible App's typical work is data transformation, sifting, filtering, converting and so on, pipelines of data transformations.
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Re: Bible study on the cheap

Post #20

Post by otseng »

Since UBA is written in Python, it can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS. Lately, Eliran has even got it running in Docker desktop. In addition to running as a desktop app, it also can power a website or run as a telnet service. It's possible to even run on Android as a http server.

The foundation of UBA is remarkably flexible, esp given that Eliran is primarily a pastor, rather than a programmer. And because of this, it has allowed it to be able to run in a variety of ways and to be quite extensible.

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