One of the things I plan to cover here at God and the Machine is the way we use software and technology to study and evangelize the faith. Logos Bible Study software is one of the tools I use every day. Until last fall, it’s usefulness was limited for Catholics because it had a decidedly Protestant, and predominantly Evangelical, bent. The “scripture teaching” of someone like John MacArthur, for example, is less than useless: it’s pernicious.
Catholics, therefore, had to content themselves with Logos’ superb language analysis tools and overlook the dubious exegetical material. That’s all now changed now that Logos has taken a deep dive into the Catholic market with a series of starter bundles and add-ons. The base packages are the Catholic Scholar’s Library ($790), the Catholic Scripture Study Library ($490), and the Catholic Foundations Library ($250)
I wrote about the initial packages in this National Catholic Register story:
In order to explore this living tradition, Logos has assembled a package with a healthy selection of Church fathers and doctors, council documents, devotional works and theological works. At its heart are multiple English language translations, led by the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, the New American Bible and the Douay-Rheims, and supplemented by the King James Bible and other non-Catholic translations. The Biblia Sacra Vulga and Clementine Vulgate are included, as well as numerous English-Greek and English-Hebrew reverse interlinear versions, synopses, parallel Gospels and harmonies.
The first layer of critical material is a selection of commentaries by Father John MacEvilly, Father George Haydock, Father Raymond Brown and Bishop Frederick Justus Knecht, as well as the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Venerable Bede’s commentary on Revelation. The second layer of critical material is comprised of the complete Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene fathers, along with the Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae (Latin and English, with the option to switch instantly between each), most of the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, and a good selection of documents of Church councils.
There are also dozens of Catholic theological and historical works, including all four volumes of Father John Meier’s A Marginal Jew, along with works by Joseph Pohle, G.K. Chesterton, Ludwig Ott and others. Dozens of works by and about the saints are included: Sts. Augustine, Thérèse of Lisieux, John of the Cross, Bernard, Teresa of Avila, Francis, Ignatius and others. Almost all of the major devotional works, as well as the complete Butler’s Lives of the Saints, are here.
The Catholic Lectionary is included, as well as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and other, non-Catholic lectionaries. Reference works provide instant access to information, with numerous Bible dictionaries, concordances and historical background material. Not all of these reference works are specifically Catholic.
The biggest problem with the packages are their cost. This puts them out of the reach of many users, but it’s hard to argue with the pricing structure. This is not a document dump, but a powerful piece of software along the lines of Microsoft Office ($250), Photoshop ($700), or QuarkXPress ($800). I’ve used cheaper Bible software, and they just don’t compare. The original language tools alone are a staggering boon for people who want to dig into the Hebrew or Greek sources of the scripture texts.
The project is being managed by Andrew Jones, a Catholic professor of medieval history who has taught at St. Louis University and Lindenwood University. Andrew has staggering plans for Logos, which I plan to discuss as we go along. Check out Logos.com for more information.