The good folks at Logos Bible Software have sent me a review copy of their latest work, the Anglican Base Packages. I’m going to be writing a formal review for this software for The Living Church, but as a means to prepare for that, I’ll be putting it through its paces and posting informal reviews here as I work through various sections of it.
A little back story… I first used Logos Bible Software when the religion department at St. Olaf got a computer lab and installed it there 20 years ago (!). I liked it enough that I bought a copy for myself that I used through the latter half of college and my first few years in seminary. Looking through the old files on my hard drive, I found a review of it I wrote 10 years ago while assisting in the revision of the third edition of Biblical Exegesis. I liked it then too, but thought its search capabilities at that time came in second to the other big dog on the block, BibleWorks (then version 5). Since then, I haven’t done a lot with Bible software. I’m curious to see how far progress has come in the last ten years!
When I first got involved with Logos, it tended towards two main markets, Bible-studying evangelicals and academics. They were one of the first early systems to have good original language support, but a lot of their English-language library add-ons tended towards conservative evangelical devotional materials—mostly things that had gone out of print. In the days before Google Books, this was a good thing if you wanted such material. These days, post-Google Books, you have to step up your game significantly!
And they have…
In recent years, they have produced a product line specifically geared towards Roman Catholics called Verbum. In addition to biblical materials, they included good resources across the span of church history—from the Fathers through the medieval period up to the modern day.
Now—it’s our turn. Just looking at the number and span of resources in the Anglican Base Packages, I’m blown away. The people who put the list of resources together really knew what they were doing. It has many of the patristic and medieval resources that were in the Catholic set, and includes a wide array of Anglican authors through the centuries and across party divisions. Naturally, it has a strong prayer book section. The biblical material looks great too. I plan to look at all of these areas in detail in further posts, so I won’t dig into them here. Overall, my first impression of the package has been fantastic!
Here’s the official press release on it:
Bellingham, Wash., March 27, 2014 — Logos Bible Software has announced a new line of scholarly libraries tailored to Anglicans/Episcopalians. The new “base package” libraries offer all the features of Logos’ nondenominational base packages, with a resource lineup that meets the specific needs of Anglican scholars and pastors.
Conventionally, in-depth study requires access to a large physical library and large blocks of time for study and reflection. Logos’ Anglican base packages aim to overcome these barriers — they include hundreds of titles from the Anglican tradition, accessible on a computer or mobile device. All the resources are linked using Logos’ proprietary code, enabling users to jump between Scripture and Tradition with a click. This means Anglican scholars can spend less time on busywork and more time learning and reflecting.
“The Logos Anglican program is one of the best tools for personal spirituality and ministry that I have come across,” said Rev. C. K. Robertson, PhD, canon to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. “Actually, it is more of a toolbox than just a tool, as there are so many wonderful aspects of it that I am only beginning to discover! Not only are the biblical materials incredibly helpful, but the pieces devoted to the Book of Common Prayer and the other Episcopal resources make this absolutely invaluable. I heartily commend this work to all members of the Episcopal Church.”
Logos has been creating world-class Bible software for more than 20 years. It has almost 2 million users in more than 210 countries, and partners with more than 200 publishers to provide the best content from the scholarly world. Logos’ in-house biblical-language and theological scholars do original research and consult on software development.
Last year, Logos hired an Anglican expert, Ben Amundgaard, to design a product line that would meet the needs of Anglican and Episcopalians. Amundgaard consulted other Anglican scholars and emphasized the classic Anglican integration of Scripture, Reason and Tradition; the result is a biblical and theological library customized to the needs of Anglican scholarship.
“I have happily used Logos software for Bible reference and study since 1995,” said Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “Every day I open the software to pray Morning and Evening Prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer 1979, using the Logos resource for the Daily Lectionary. I also have at hand works by foundational writers in the Anglican tradition — theologians like Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes. I am thrilled to learn that Logos is releasing even more packages from this tradition that I love and call home.”