Accordance 13 Triple Learner Collection / Logos 8 Academic EssentialsWritten by Reviewed By Peter C. W. Ho
My goal for this review is to understand the package that will best suit a seminary student’s needs and beyond. Primarily, I am thinking of first-year masters students who study at least one biblical language. While this review is not targeted at specialists or scholars, those who are currently using BibleWorks and considering transitioning to either one of these packages may find this helpful.
Logos 8 has twelve different base packages organized by “traditions.” This means that Logos first differentiates by the kinds of resources (books) that packages include. Within each tradition, packages are further differentiated by four to eight different categories (e.g., Silver, Gold, Platinum) based on the amount of resources. Finally, Logos differentiates by features, which are the types of tools and functions available in the software program. These features may be purchased as separate add-ons or bundled together with more expensive packages. Packages can be categorized along three lines: kinds of resources, amount of resources, and the number of features. Accordance’s organization is similar. At least thirteen “collections” are divided along three kinds of language tracks (English, Greek, and Hebrew) with seven levels of complexity/competency across them (Starter, Learner, Discoverer, etc.). In this way, Accordance organizes the kind of resources by languages (as opposed to traditions), and the amount of resources by the user’s competency. Accordance allows a combination of language tracks at the Learner and Discoverer collections, suggesting that these levels are targeted at students learning both Greek and Hebrew. Accordance also includes add-ons where graphical features (e.g., images and photos) can be upgraded. If the above is not confusing enough, both systems also offer customizable bundles and add-ons.
To compare between the two systems and select one package, one must first choose a package with the required features and resources then match a similar package in the other system. It is helpful to begin with students in mind. They will need to read, search, and compare biblical texts. They will learn grammars and dictionaries of Greek and Hebrew to help them translate the original texts. Students will undertake exegesis, interpretation, and sermon preparation. Features and tools in the packages should aid and enhance these tasks.
For Logos, I have shortlisted three packages of the Academic tradition (Essentials [$499.99], Standard [$749.99], Premium [$999.99]) as the most relevant packages. I have excluded the Academic Professional package for this review. For Accordance, I will review the Triple Learner ($399) and Discoverer ($899) Combinations, and the Accordance XII BW10 Crossover with add-on packages ($448; hereafter Crossover+).
Bibles and Texts. The Logos Academic Essentials package includes the Greek and Hebrew critical editions most commonly used by students: Nestle-Aland 28th edition (Greek NT with apparatus and tagged morphology), Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Hebrew OT with apparatus and tagged morphology), and the Septuagint (tagged morphology). Essentials also includes thirteen major English translations (e.g., ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV). The Academic Standard package includes everything in the Essentials along with more Greek texts of the NT (e.g., Scrivener, Wescott and Hort) and more English Bibles (e.g., ASV, YLT). This package also includes the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. The Academic Premium package includes a few more English versions, as well as a number of texts from the earliest Greek manuscripts. If a student is not required to study the Pseudepigrapha, Apocryphal, or the earliest Greek texts of the NT, Logos 8 Academic Essentials is sufficient.
Accordance 13’s Triple Learner package includes the Nestle-Aland 28th edition (with tagged morphology) and the Textus Receptus Greek NT. The Crossover+ package also includes the Greek UBS5 Greek NT and several major Greek codices (e.g., Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus). Only Crossover+ includes the Greek apparatus (for NA28). All three Accordance packages include the Biblia Hebraica text with tagged morphology, but none of these packages includes any apparatus. For English Bibles, the packages include at least 15 (Learner), 26 (Crossover+), and 32 (Discoverer) versions. The Learner package does not include many common versions, such as NIV, NASB, NLT, and RSV. Notably, the Accordance packages contain a number of international modern Bibles (e.g., German, French, and Chinese).
Greek and Hebrew Helps. Where lexicons and grammars are concerned, Logos Essentials carries resources such as Liddell and Scott, Louw and Nida, Thayer, and the abridged Theological Dictionary of New Testament for Greek. Hebrew helps include the BDB, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, Wonneberger’s Understanding BHS, and Lexham’s Learning Biblical Hebrew by Kutz and Josberger. Logos Academic Standard offers similar helps to the Premium, including grammars and lexicons by Waltke and O’Connor, Joüon and Muraoka, and Futato. Impressively, it also includes D. J. Clines’s 8-volume Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. For Accordance, the Learner package includes Mounce’s Greek Dictionary, Thayer’s Lexicon and Robertson’s Greek grammar. For Hebrew, the Learner package includes the Concise Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary (Kohlenberger-Mounce) and the abridged BDB lexicon. Accordance Discoverer includes the abridged Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, and notably, the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Jenni-Westermann). While the Crossover+ lacks these in the Discoverer, it includes others such as Wallace’s Greek grammar, Joüon-Muraoka Hebrew Grammar and Waltke-O’Connor.
Other Resources. Maps, atlases, and timelines are included in all three Logos Academic packages. An English audio Bible (Lexham) is also included in these packages, but only the Premium includes audio Greek NT. Finally, where subject-specific references are concerned, books related to hermeneutics, interpretation, Bible introductions, theology, and missions are minimal in all three basic packages, though several good helps are available with paid add-ons. All three packages in Accordance include maps and timelines. Only the Crossover+ package includes audio for Greek (NT) and Hebrew (OT and NT). Compared to Logos Academic base packages, the Accordance Learner and Discover carry more resources on commentaries, preaching, theology, history, and devotional readings. As a whole, the Crossover+ contains more Bibles than the Learner and Discoverer but a narrower spread of commentaries than the Discoverer package.
The search function is perhaps the most important feature in Bible software packages. In general, both systems have excellent and powerful search functions. Both have the ability to do complex (combination of multiple criteria) and morphological searches (e.g., masculine singular nominal forms or the Hebrew wayyiqtol verbal forms). Both systems search with incredible speed and can display results in beautiful graphical formats. Both allow the user to enter text commands directly into the search bar or aided through search templates and drop-down selection lists.
Logos’s search capabilities are organized under one tab with several kinds of searches (e.g., clauses, morphology and syntax; Bible and/or commentaries/books). Logos distinguishes itself with helpful templates, which are pre-set search functions in layman terms (e.g., “search for two people mentioned together”). Accordance’s search function requires a steeper learning curve. Instead of templates, Accordance offers lists of commands, functions, and symbols to use in a search. Without doubt, both Logos and Accordance have all the search features needed by a seminary student.
With greater emphasis on intertextuality studies in biblical studies, I have found Accordance’s INFER function (ability to compare two different texts of the same language and find common words) significant. This exact function is lacking in Logos but it has a template function that allows a user to find not only citations, but also allusions and echoes of the Old Testament texts in the New. Logos also has the ability to search for a Bible person, say, “Adam” in the Hebrew Bible that will even return verses consisting of pronouns and verbal forms referring to “Adam.” This feature is unique to Logos. Unfortunately, the actual criteria set for this search may not be clear to the Logos user.
Besides the search function, a notable feature in Logos is the Workflow feature. This tool is a step-by-step guide for the entire sermon process, from preparing one’s heart to studying the text to consulting commentaries to writing the sermon. With each step, all needed functions and resources are consolidated for the user. In other words, Logos has incorporated the tasks of research and ministry with the system’s functionality. Sometimes it takes quite a while for Logos to load or return results on my system (perhaps due to background indexing of files), but Accordance is consistently fast. The distinctiveness of Accordance may be contrasted with Logos’s polished organization. While Logos provides well-organized search templates and helps you to search what you want to search, Accordance helps you to define how you want to search, and it gives the user a host of basic commands to manipulate (yet there are still functions such as FUZZY in Accordance with criteria that may also not be clear to the user). Logos’s pre-set templates may be easier for the beginner, but it is harder to understand what sort of criteria lies behind the function—this could be a problem for specialists who need to know the specifics.
Given the breadth and depth of both systems, this comparative review can only be impressionistic. I think both have come a long way and have shaped each other. Where they now stand, they are very comparable in terms of features, speed, and resources. Either is sufficient for seminary students. On the compared packages, Logos has an edge for masters-level students, especially those aiming to enter ministry work. Resource-wise, Logos 8 Academic Standard package has the best mix of resources relative to price. These resources are more recent and useful than the spread offered by Accordance’s Learner or Crossover+ packages. In the longer term, Logos’s connection to Lexham publishing and Faithlife is really hard to overlook. This means that Logos is generating new research and resources (beyond books) in-house that can be easily incorporated into their Bible software system. I was disappointed that none of the Accordance packages above include the Hebrew Bible apparatus. Feature-wise, I think that Logos’s organized pre-set search functions and their Workflow feature will appeal to many users. However, Accordance will appeal to biblical scholars and PhD students, who want to manipulate searches at fundamental levels, knowing exactly what knobs are turned, and what buttons are pressed. There are certain search functions in Accordance that are superior but are harder to learn; yet, users will learn to trust the tool more. For this reason, I would recommend Accordance for those who plan to specialize in biblical languages and research beyond the seminary. Accordance is also easier on the coffer—a crucial deciding factor for poor seminarians. Finally, a grouse I have with the above packages is that there is little to no help on the subjects of hermeneutics, preaching, theology, history, and missions. Perhaps both systems can consider including one textbook resource in these areas in these packages. Audio Hebrew and Greek Bibles should also be made available.
Peter C. W. Ho
Peter C. W. Ho
Singapore Bible College
Republic of Singapore
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