About a month ago Logos Bible Software announced the release of the Perseus collection, a massive library of Greek and Latin resources for classical studies along with English translations, lexicons and other secondary resources. The Perseus collection itself has been around the internet for years, but Logos has taken the individual books are converted the text to their book format. This means that the text is indexed and searchable in the Logos Library system. More importantly, they have tagged much of the Greek text so that lexical and syntactical information appears in the same way it does for the Greek New Testament or LXX.
Logos graciously allowed me to download four of the collections early so I could “kick the tires” (they really said that) and provide some basic review and comment on the usefulness of the Perseus Collection. While I have just scratch the surface of this massive collection, I can say with confidence that it is well worth your time and effort to download the books and learn to use these resources as a part of the Logos library. Since the books are free, there is no financial reason not to get the Collection! I plan several more installments to this review, including some comments on the usefulness of the Collections for biblical research and the usability of the Collections on an iPad. I will review the Duke Papyri collection in a separate installment since it merits special attention.
To test the Perseus collection, I created a workspace with lexicons in a left panel and texts in the right panels. I have the Greek text on top and the English on the bottom. I have the texts linked so as a move the Greek, the English syncs up automatically. I recommend you create a workspace for classics study that you like and save it for easy recall. I chose Herodotus as a test case, with the English translation by A. D. Goodley and Commentary by W. W. How. I navigated to book seven, section one, Darius’ response to his defeat at Marathon.
The Greek text functions exactly like the Greek New Testament normally does in Logos. First, hover over a word and the form is identified in a box at the bottom of the Greek window. These identifications will be as accurate as anything else in Logos, I rarely quibble with the parsing provided. I did notice that the perfect passive participle of χαράσσω which appears in the first line was identified correctly, but the box contained all three possibilities for the case ending (masc acc, neut nom or acc). As a result, the identification runs across the entire screen!
Double click on a word and a lexicon will launch. I have BDAG set up as the first in my list of lexicons, so if the form appears in BDAG, Logos will go right to that entry. If the word is not in BDAG, Logos will proceed to the next lexicon in your preferred lexicon list. This caught me off-guard at first because χαράσσω is not in BDAG, but it is in LEH, the Septuagint lexicon. Logos did not look in Liddell and Scott since that is third in my list. Usually when I work in the New Testament I am more likely to check LXX usage. For classical work, I recommend changing the order of resources so that BDAG and Liddell and Scott are the top two resources.
Select a word, right click and then select Bible Word Study. I chose ἀγγελία for this example, the third word in book 7. The word only appears twice in the New Testament, both in 1 John. The Bible Word Study tool only gives details for New Testament usage, but it will provide links to all lexicons in your library (Liddell and Scott, Louw and Nida, but also TDNT, or EDNT). At the bottom of the page there is a list of uses of the word in other Greek resources you might own: LXX, the Apostolic Fathers, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, and now, Classics. In the case of ἀγγελία, there are 177 other uses of the word in resources labeled Classics. I click on Classics to open the list, and Logos will build a concordance-style list showing the word in context. These entries are all click-able so I can go to the greater context.
This is impressive, but several observations come to mind. I would love to have the English and Greek books paired so that they automatically launch together. Most people who use this library will not read Greek well enough not to need the English to make sense of the context. It is easy enough to open the library and launch the English translation, but automatic is better. The opening the list took a bit longer than I would have liked, but that may have had to do with the number of resources I had open at the time. Third, I am not sure this category includes all the texts in the new Perseus collection. My example search found 177 examples in 68 resources (in 1.51 seconds). I know that there are more Latin than Greek resources, but it is possible there are a few which are not included in the collection, or that all the resources have yet to be tagged. I know the Papyri are not tagged. Still, I have 177 examples of ἀγγελία in classical sources to comb through.
I have barely scratched the surface of this collection, suffice to say that these classical Greek texts work as well as any Greek text in Logos. If you have not already pre-ordered the Perseus collection, now is the time.
Edit: Here is Jim West’s review of the Perseus Collection, with quite a few additional screen shots.