Arne Halbakken Talks NT Backgrounds

I also received an email from Arne Halbakken. Unfortunately, I don’t know Arne, but he was kind enough to respond anyway and allowed me to post his opinion. Thanks, Arne!

Here is what he said:

[Note: this first part is a quotation of my list from an earlier blog posting]

  1. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
  2. Dead Sea Scrolls
  3. Josephus
  4. Old Testament Apocrypha
  5. Philo (But not mentioned, though as we know there are significant difficulties in tracing stuff back to the first century sometimes...)
  6. Mishnah (What does Lexel, Bibleworks, Accordance, Logos, you, et al. need to be working on most for scholarship in this regard?)

[Now Arne gives his thoughts...]

1) Rex Kovisto has completed tagging the Greek portion of "the" Old Testament Pseudepigrapha for Accordance.

What is still needed would be the non-Greek materials.

Since "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha" was not an ancient canon, what it consists of is up for debate. The designation is modern.

Accordance has the old R. H. Charles version (1913) in English. I would also like to see the two volume J. H. Charlesworth edition (1983, 1987) as well as the version edited by H. F. C. Sparks (Oxford, 1984) offered for Accordance.

2) Accordance has done a good job with the Hebrew and Aramaic materials.

I would like to see it have the Greek materials from cave 7.

3) Accordance finally released a Greek version of Josephus. (The Perseus version had special permission from Loeb Books [Harvard University Press].)

The next step is for this to be tagged.

Accordance also offers the ubiquitous Whiston translation. There could be something offered that was more modern.

4) The biggest need right now is for a Hebrew version of Sirach.

5) Accordance offers an English version of Philo. There is a need for a Greek version.

6) Accordance offers a tagged and an untagged version of the Mishnah in Hebrew. They also offer the Neusner translation.

(I would also like to see early midrashic literature offered as well for Accordance.)


Tim 2004-12-10 09:39:00

This post – for me - raises sharply the issue of proprietary formats.

Some of the items listed as available in Accordance would be lovely to have on a PC, but I already have Libronix and Bibleworks, I cannot afford another program and a Mac emulator…

Now, if the data was in an open format and could be accessed by different programs….

Ah, now what a fine world that would be…

Arne 2004-12-10 09:35:00

Thanks to Ken Penner for his comprehensive response in the previous blog entry! (My response to Eric Sowell was limited to Accordance.)

I agree with the need for critical electronic editions and notes. However, it has taken until now for Logos to release the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible and for OakTree Software to release for Accordance the first installment of CNTTS (covering the textual readings in the Gospels).

How long will it take electronic textual apparati to come out for the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the Mishnah, Philo, etc. (to say nothing of "the" LXX) in the main Bible software programs (Accordance, Logos, BibleWorks, Gramcord, etc.)?

However, I am excited about the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.

Tim raises a couple excellent points on proprietary formats and on cost.

I certainly don’t foresee the commercial software companies coming together with a common format any more than I see automobile manufacturers using standard-sized oil filters!

None of the Bible software programs have everything. Each program has its unique contributions.

I use a number of Bible software programs but put them all into word processing. (If one uses a lot of Hebrew and Aramaic, a word processor that can handle right-to-left languages is helpful, such as Millel for Mac OS X.)

My main problems is with PC fonts on my Mac. (With Accordance, I can choose to use cross-platform fonts like SBL Hebrew and SBL Greek.) For instance, the proprietary BibleWorks fonts do not work on the Mac. I use other PC programs (in emulation) like Tanach Plus and Logos.

It will be nice when Unicode is fully implemented in the main Bible study programs. But that may take a while.

Tim mentions "I cannot afford another program and a Mac emulator."

I know that the software companies need to make a profit. It sure would be nice everything was less expensive. With a limited market, it has to be difficult to keep prices down.

E-texting is expensive to say nothing of purchasing copyrights, tagging, editing, formatting, proofreading, etc.

I hope that copyright owners do not grant *exclusive* rights to software companies for scholarly texts. That makes it more difficult for others to have access to texts.

It would also be nice if Bible software companies would charge a *reasonable* fee to other Bible software companies for permission to use their material. But I am not holding my breath!

Rubén Gómez had blogged on open-source scholarship at

I am excited to see things like the Open Scrolls Project of Peter Kirby. There is also a project digitizing the works of Josephus in Greek since other digital Greek texts are restricted by copyright protection.

For Tim, I am wondering if the Carey College library (or the University of Auckland library) would have funds to purchase Accordance with the modules you would like for work with the Hebrew Bible.

With reference to Tim’s comments about not being able to afford a Mac emulator for his PC, there is good news. There is a free open-source Mac emulator for a PC called Basilisk II. It will run only the old 68k software. Apple will allow free downloads of its old OS 7.5. Accordance runs well and quickly on this 9 year-old operating system and emulator!

If anyone is concerned about acquiring on the internet the Basilisk II Macintosh emulator and the old Macintosh operating system, Tim Hegg does offer it on a CD for Windows users for $9 (USD) plus $8 (USD) for shipping overseas [$3 for shipping in US and $4.25 (USD) to Canada].

There are two main problems that I see in running Accordance in emulation. First, the 3-D atlas will not run on this emulator. I don’t think that this is a major problem since the 2-D atlas is much more significant. Second, the clipboard on Windows sees clippings in one font.

There is new Mac emulator (called CherryOS) for PCs that can run the newest operating system OS X. However, this costs about $50 (USD).

(There is also an open-source Mac emulator for a PC that will run OS X but it is still in the alpha stage of development.)


Eric Sowell 2004-12-10 08:52:00

Yes, Tim, that would be great if a common format could be reached. The only thing that I think might actually make that happen would be the success of OSIS and if OSIS started covering more subject areas (which I think they are planning on doing).

But there is so much here in this arena that is not yet freely available. That will have to change. When the NET GEMS project is more mature, maybe I’ll try to do something about it :)

Eric Sowell 2004-12-10 08:53:00

Thanks for more comments, Arne.

Eric Sowell 2004-12-10 08:53:00

Thanks for more comments, Arne.