Some years ago I bought a copy of the Logos Bible software for use in scripture study. Catholic Apologist Steve Ray has been a proponent of this software which was a main reason I got it. At the time they had version 2 and I was pretty happy with it and got a lot of use out of it. The ability to easily go deeper in scripture with commentaries and word studies along with tools such as maps is really quite a boon. When I switched to Mac though my use of it diminished even though I could have run it in a virtual machine. Back then they did not have a Mac version, though they were working on one.
Another of the reasons I went with Logos is that they are very Catholic friendly and some five or six years ago started developing packages specifically for Catholics. This trend has continued with Andrew Jones who is the Catholic Products Manager at Logos Bible Software. I was given the chance the review Logos 4 with the “Catholic Scholar’s Library” package.
The way Logos works is as a library system where you have access to the contents of any packages you bought along with any individual titles you may buy. It then wraps all of this content with linked and integrated search so that for example a scriptural passage you are reading can also show commentary from the Church Fathers or a wealth of other sources. There are some serious tools for those inclined to compare Bible versions with Hebrew and Greek texts along with easy access to comparison of verses using different scripture versions.
While I was very satisfied when I was using Logos 2, Logos 4 is certainly a large step forward in ease of use while having access to even more advanced features. It is sort of a personal internet containing scriptural and related resources since there is so much interlinking. Since Logos works with a variety of publishers including Ignatius Press to bring their works to their format their is an amazing wealth of what is available.
Though Logos does not come cheap and is rather pricey, but that is to be expected when you have so much source material licensed from various publishers. Currently there are three Catholic specific packages ranging from $395 to $669. One of the advantages of Logos is that if you go with one package you can still upgrade to another one at a later date.
A very important consideration for just how useful is this if you can only use it when sitting down in front of your computer? The answer is quite a lot. I’ve been using the iPad version of Logos which has access to all the same content from my account. This is my preferred mode for scripture reading and still having access to some of the advanced tools such as the multi-functional Passage Guide and text comparison. I do wish that there was an ability to tag something you are reading to be research later in the non-mobile version. For example favorites should really be synched. You can share a passage via the typical social networks. Logos apps are available for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and Android along with mobile web.
You can look through the various Catholic specific packages here. The amount of Catholic specific material is quite high and ranges from the Early Church Fathers, Sts. Augustine & Aquinas, Councils, Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, G.K. Chesterton, Blessed Cardinal Newman along with Catholic specific commentaries and versions of the bible including the RSV-CE and various versions the Vulgate. Granted you can find a good amount of this in the public domain. A Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI is coming at a later date. The amount of material makes my inner and outer bibliophile jump for joy. Also included are Protestant sources and I found in the past many of these are quite worthwhile as long as you don’t mind an occasional “papist” thrown in as a slur. Commentaries from certain periods run rather anti-Catholic, but if anything they often confirmed my faith as they went out of their way to deny common Catholic exegesis.
The install for my Mac couldn’t have been easier. I downloaded the main program and then it started to download close to 5 gigabytes of content. The mobile versions download content as you need them. Of course the software and various packages also comes on DVD. I’m very happy with the multiple OS support, though as usual Linux users are left out – but hey they are use to that.
Now if only I can find a place to connect a chain to this application. Us Catholics love to put chains on bibles don’t you know.
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