I received BibleWorks 9 at lunch today, and I installed it on my work computer as soon as I returned to the office. Here are my 9 initial impressions:
- I really do like that “Use” tab. I think I will, uh, use it quite a bit. Searching for a given word in all of Scripture in any language without clicking or typing? Excellent!
- I don’t have a widescreen monitor at work, so the four panels just aren’t working for me. At home on my iMac they probably will. I went back to three, which is quite simple to do—one click. (I do wish I could close some tabs down completely, tabs I know I’ll never use such as the “Version” tab—I know how to get that info in the Analysis window.)
- The high-res images of Sinaiticus—tagged with little indications of where each verse starts—are very cool! I could have used this in NT Textual Criticism in seminary. I wonder how much use I’ll get in day-to-day exegesis… But as a teaching tool in a classroom this can’t be beat. I will, however, use the automatic collations generated in the Mss tab. A computer makes a compact apparatus with a million abbreviations unnecessary (at least when you’re on a computer!). I do think this feature could be designed a little better aesthetically, but it’s still quite useful.
- Automatic difference highlighting is pretty nice (the older text comparison tool is still available), though I doubt I’ll leave it on considering that some verses become a sea of pink except for the words and and the. Note that pressing “e” while the browse window is active toggles this feature..
- You can choose “Small Toolbar” under the “View” tab. Do so. Buy yourself a few more pixels of screen space for verses and searches.
- Barry Beitzel’s Moody Atlas of the Bible does look genuinely useful in a BibleWorks context. I’ve never used the map module much, but I think I very well may use this regularly.
- I like it that the Three Forms of Unity are a menu option. It reminds me that BibleWorks is unapologetically conservative theologically, that it is a tool created by lovers of the Word for their own kind.
- Make sure to spend some time checking out ERMIE, the External Resource Manager. You will find some sites you’ve never been to, guaranteed.
- There are some depths to this program that I’ll have to search out. Apparently I can do my own textual criticism and even morphological tagging. I guess that means tagging MSS no one has gotten to yet? I don’t yet get all the ins and outs of the text crit resources. These are initial impressions—remember?