A Comparison of Accordance 6.2 Against the Baseline in H. Van Dyke Parunak's Review

Rub�n G�mez

July 24, 2004

An article written by Rub�n G�mez, Bible software translator and beta tester. Copyright � 2004-2009 by the author. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce any part of this document without obtaining permission from the author.

I. INTRODUCTION

In his excellent review, Parunak bemoans the fact that he has not been able to review either Accordance for the Macintosh or the new 32-bit version of Gramcord (p. 465), and adds that "when the new Gramcord is available, I will be eager to compare it against the baseline in this review" (p. 466).

In this article, I intend to compare the latest version of Accordance against the baseline in H. Van Dyke Parunak's assessment of various Bible software packages for Windows. To this end, and since it is meant to be read alongside the aforementioned review, I am deliberately following the same headings and codes used in the original.

II. THE PACKAGE

Accordance Bible Software, version 6.2 is a commercial package. The Scholar's Collection Core Bundle sells for $199 (plus $288 for HALOT 4 and BDAG 3).

Forgetting for a moment about the huge conceptual differences between Windows and Mac OS X, Accordance's interface would be closer to the "desktop" layout ― where windows can be dragged around anywhere on the screen ―, with the addition of different floating palettes.

III. TEXTS

Text

Availability

Observations

KJV

X

Includes the Apocrypha as a separate module. The KJV with Strong's numbers is available as part of the Library 6 CD-ROM (starting at $49)

ASV

X


NIV

X * (see note below)

NIV with Goodrick/Kohlenberger numbers and footnotes is included in the NIV Study Bible Complete Library CD-ROM (a $129 value)

NASB

NASB 1995 Update with Strong's numbers is available as part of the NAS Group unlock ($59) or the Library 6 CD-ROM

BHS

KVAM

Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology

LXX

AM

Downloadable module not included in CD-ROM

NA27

AM

Tagged and edited by William D. Mounce and Rex A. Koivisto.

Friberg


WH


MT (Robinson-Pierpont)

Available as part of the Bible Reference CD-ROM ($10). It does not include any grammatical tagging information, accents or punctuation

MT (Scrivener)

A tagged version of Stephanus' 1550 edition of the Textus Receptus can be unlocked for an additional $50

* Note ― Scholar's Collection CD-ROM comes with a Bible Unlock CD-ROM, which includes a $30 Bible unlock chosen by the user. This means you can have the NIV with footnotes at no additional cost.

Accordance does support linked windows, so that different translations of the same passage, in any of the available languages, can be linked and scrolled together.

IV. SEARCH

Type

Availability

Observations

String of characters

R


Single Word

X


Phrase

X


Boolean

X


Proximity

X


Strong's

X

Also Goodrick/Kohlenberger's numbers if the NIV-G/K is available

Morphology

X


Agreement

MSLK

"K" stands for Key Numbers (Strong's or GK's)

Alignment

Available when the MT/LXX (Hebrew Masoretic Text and Septuagint Parallel Database) is unlocked ($100), although cross-searching Hebrew and Greek texts is possible without it



Interface

Availability

Observations

Cursor

X

Instant Details Box and Resource Palette for amplifying

Dialog Box

MC

Tag Details dialog box. C is only partially implemented. Most options are either implemented through a Command Line or a Graphical Structure

Graph Structure

X

Construct Window

Command Line

D

Search Entry Box. Not only dialog boxes, but also pop-up menus are available for inserting commands, symbols and grammatical tags

Refinements

X

Not sure what the original letters mean, but Accordance does refine searches by different fields

Accordance includes a very thorough and flexible Concordance feature.

Search Results

Availability

Observations

List of Hits

X

Biblical text can be turned off, so that only references are listed

Verse List

DE

Verses can be saved, sorted, copied, deleted, added and so on. Reference Lists can also be combined in different ways

Graphic Display

X


Interestingly enough, a very large proportion of this section deals with statistical plots and timing. As a scientist, H. Van Dyke Parunak has already shown a very special interest in plotting results (cf. his article "Computers and Biblical Studies", ABD, vol. 1, pp. 1112-1124). As for timing, he asserts in his review: "one of the most important characteristics of a Bible software package for me personally is searching speed" (p. 482).

Accordance's Graph, Analysis and Table features adequately meet the needs of gathering statistical information and seeing it displayed graphically. As for searching speed, the different architecture of Macs and PCs make it absolutely impossible to establish any sort of significant comparison, in my opinion. Besides, I am not at all convinced that speed is such an important factor. Obviously, the faster the better, but the way users perceive speed is highly subjective.

Having said that, my use of Accordance on a number of Macintosh systems has led me to believe that it is generally slightly slower than BibleWorks (the fastest, by far, of all Windows-based programs), but overall it is very fast. For most searches, speed differences are hardly noticeable.

V. COLLATERAL RESOURCES

Accordance offers a wide range of resources. Among them one can find original language texts ― both biblical and extra-biblical (Samaritan Pentateuch, Hebrew Inscriptions, Qumran, Mishnah, Targum, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Apostolic Fathers), some of the most authoritative Greek and Hebrew lexicons (BDAG, NIDNTT, Liddell-Scott, Louw-Nida, TDNT [Abridged in one volume], Newman, Spicq, LEH, Thayer, HALOT, NIDOTTE, TWOT, Jenni-Westermann, BDB) Greek grammars (Wallace, Stevens), Bible dictionaries (ABD, ISBE [1915 edition], Eerdmans, IVP's Dictionaries) Bible commentaries (EBC, NIBC, IVP's Commentaries, Calvin), periodical publications (Theological Journal Library) and two special-purpose tools: a superb Bible Atlas and a Bible Timeline. These last two are fully customizable.

Many of these resources need to be unlocked separately, and one can certainly build quite a large electronic library with them. However, in the technical sense of the word, Accordance is not a digital library (a la Libronix), although as Parunak himself admits, "to some extent every package reviewed here is a 'library' that helps the user interact with multiple electronic 'books' (including biblical texts and reference works)" (p. 466), but rather should be viewed as a highly sophisticated Bible study program.

VI. USER-ORIGINATED MATERIAL

Type

Availability

Observations

Notes on a passage

TR


Notes on a topic


Synopsis of several passages

X


New translation

Only as a User Tool, not as a Bible and, therefore, with limited capabilities

Arbitrary book

TR


Under this category it should be pointed out that Accordance can import a variety of texts (plain text, HTML and most TLG files) and turn them into User Tools. Notice that in order to import files from the Thesaurus Linguae Graece CD-ROM, one needs to have a current license agreement and pay an additional unlock fee of $49.

VII. GETTING HELP

Accordance offers a detailed on-screen Help system and Tutorial, plus a Mini-Manual and a full User Guide in PDF. There are also a couple of video demos at the website. Further on-line articles are also available, and users can take advantage of the Accordance User Forum and the tips section, as well as the recent Accordance Blog.

VIII. CONCLUSION

I cannot but subscribe to Parunak's concluding remarks: "Bible study software has reached the stage of maturity where every student of the Bible should become acquainted with it" (p. 495).

With such a wide choice of excellent applications you cannot go wrong. There is bound to be something for everyone (which does not mean that everything will be equally useful to everyone). I hope this article will help to see where Accordance fits into the general picture drawn by H. Van Dyke Parunak, particularly now that with emulation software it has become another option for Windows users as well as for die-hard Mac fans.


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