This review was originally published at my blog on 12/12/11.
Recently, I received a review copy of the Catholic Scholar”s version of Logos Bible Software. After doing a little dance and screaming like a 5 year old, I committed to writing this review. For this review, I want to consider four different people who may benefit from the Logos software and talk about it in relationship to their needs. I will do this looking through the eyes of four distinct individuals who would directly benefit from it: lay person, priest, student/professor and catechist.
Review 1: Lay person
“But what is the answer to these charges? “I am not,” you will say, “one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.” This is what has ruined everything, your thinking that the reading of scripture is for monks only, when you need it more than they do. Those who are placed in the world, and who receive wounds every day have the most need of medicine. So, far worse even than not reading the scriptures is the idea that they are superfluous. Such things were invented by the devil.”
-St. John Chysostom”s Second Homily on Matthew
We all should want to study Scripture.
As a lay Catholic, the task can seem daunting for a number of reasons. For starters, we always want to read the Bible in and with the Church, or we could end up like this guy
. But how do you read “in and with” a 2,000 year old Church without literally filling your house with books? Have you not started studying Scripture because of fear of suffocation via
I”ve got good news for you. The Logos
software fits right inside your computer! Thousands upon thousands of official Church documents, writings of the Fathers, and Doctors of the Church all searchable in relationship to the passage of Scripture you are reading. No more heretic Mondays or schismatic Tuesdays!
Just kidding, well, sort of. The point is that as a lay Catholic, the Logos software is a short-cut to mining the inestimable riches of the Holy Spirit working in and through His Church to lead Her into “all truth”. Without the software, you are stuck going between 20 or so websites with 10 or 20 browser windows open (not to mention a dozen books strewn all over your desk). In the next 10 years, you will probably buy the equivalent worth of book. In other words, you are going to spend the money. An investment in Logos software means having something that you will actually be able to use with relative ease. No more standing in front of a book shelf with a blank stare, only to go back to Jeopardy.
Then again, “I”ll take Bible Answers for $500, Alex.”
Logos = win at Jeapordy (side benefit)
Review 2: Priest
I am not a priest and I do not play one on TV. However, I can preach and have preached. In preparing for a sermon, a lot goes into it. Well, it should.
This Sunday, the responsorial Psalm read:
“Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
The theme of seeing the “face” of God is littered throughout the Old Testament. This would be a beautiful opportunity to weave this response into the homily. How do you do it? Without the Logos software, I imagine hours of tedious study. I then imagine being interrupted by a sick visit to a hospital, 3 calls from distraught parishioners, an extra-Mass after the retired priest got sick, and not to mention your father is ill and needs you to visit him in a town an hour away.
Did I mention fitting in the liturgy of the hours in all of this?
I just typed in “face of God” in the Logos search engine. 55K results. I added a “ranking” function, switched over to my “Magisterial Documents” collection, and in moments I”ve got the relevant Vatican II document. In seconds of searching within the St. Thomas Collection, I have found 8 passages talking about the “face of God”. Imagine a homily that ties together St. Thomas, Vatican II and the responsorial Psalm. You have practically in one homiletical moment brought the entire Church back together again.
Review 3: Theology Student or Professor
This hits close to home. Having been a student (undergraduate and graduate) and guest lecturer in Philosophy of Religion for a semester, I understand the challenges of meeting deadlines as an academic. Unless you are working as the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Paris, you probably have limited resources: time, money, and attention. You are being asked to read books that you may not want to read, while simultaneously wanting to read a panoply of books that only distract you from the various projects you have at hand. However, in reality you would much rather be working on projects relative to your personal interests. But, again, you are not employed by the Sorbonne.
What do you do?
If you are a theology student, you buy this software. If you are a philosophy student and your emphasis is philosophy of religion, you buy this software. Period. It makes no sense to live your life without it. Half the time you are given assignments with far less time than you need to produce top-tier work given the less than top-tier library (sans Sorbonne). Now you have no excuses. Considering the exegetical and hermeneutical tools at your disposal, the software could help you become the academic ninja you always wanted to be.
|Interlinear Scripture Study: Wowzer
The software will not do the thinking for you, but it will come pretty darn close (not to mention it will make a citation for you). Without going into more detail than I am able to discuss at this time so as to appear more erudite than I am and defy all the rules of academia, the reverse inter-linear mining function is incredible. Imagine you are reading a text in English with the Greek or Latin right underneath it. Then, when you want to search a word and see how it is used in other works of that time, you don”t search the English word, you search the word in its original language.
Context. Precision. Genius.
= Logos (discounts available to students)
Review 4: Catechist
I think the three other reviews pretty much tell you why you may want this software. If they don”t, I recommend a nice cantor position or maybe serving punch in the fellowship hall. In all seriousness, the catechist has an incredibly important job. They do what cannot be done in the Mass but must be done. The first catechist, of course, is the parent. They are required by God to raise their children in the faith. No CCD can do what they must do–no catechist can stand in loco parentis . I will stand before God and give an account as to how I raised my children in the faith. I cannot say, “Well the catechist at St. Benedictus was lazy and had them do coloring pages.”
Connect the real dots between your vocational responsibility and your time and talents. Logos does that for you. With Logos, you have the answer at the click of a mouse and one less excuse for leading men and women (and children) into all confusion.
[Disclaimer: Logos Bible Software is a very powerful and advanced software that takes time to learn. It also takes a couple of hours to download all of your content. There are so many online resources to help you get started: wikis, how-to-guides, and videos. Like a jet ski, at first you might fall off, but after a day or two you will be having the time of your life.]
Usury Free Option
The cost. I know, it can be prohibitive. Here”s the deal. You have two options.
Option one: fork up all the dough up front. It is an investment, not a purchase. You are buying resources that will give you spiritual purchase for the rest of your life. You will not regret it if you use it.
Option two: the payment plan. There is a $5 fee per payment. When you consider the fees associated with using a credit card, the time it takes to process a fee and the cost of an employee processing it (paying them a just wage), and the exceedingly depreciating value of capital, this is truly a “usury free option” (sorry, no charts or graphs). As a Catholic, I can stand behind this option. So, if you have not finished your Christmas buying list, or if you just want to start the new year with a powerful tool to change your Scripture study life, consider Logos.
That”s my 4 cents.
[author] [author_image timthumb=”on”]http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Brent-A.-Stubbs-e1313148902233.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brent A. Stubbs is a father of four ( 1 in heaven and 1 in the oven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic.[/author_info] [/author]