Romans Pillar Commentary at the Kindle Store

Kruse, RomansAmazon’s Kindle Store has a great deal on Colin Kruse’s Pillar commentary on Romans.  The list price is $52.00, but the Kindle version is a mere $2.99.  I am not sure if this is a mistake or a short-term sale.  I did not see any other Pillar commentaries on sale in the Kindle store.

I reviewed this commentary when it came out, so go read my review and buy a copy of this fine resource.

Free Kindle Books

Several years ago I happened to visit one of my favorite local used book stores and they had a table set up in the front of the store for a special sale – “buy a foot of books for a dollar.”  Imagine what sort of books get sold by the foot!  There were old Pulpit Commentaries and McClaren’s commentaries with the covers half off, and a fair amount of old Christian fiction.  (I am not a fan of Christian fiction to start with, but Christian fiction form the 1950’s is particularly loathsome).  I looked over the pile of books and would not have wanted to buy any of the books, even at a dollar a foot.

As I was browsing for something else on Amazon this morning, I ran across Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, free for Kindle.  I do not have a physical copy of the book, only the Logos version.  So I downloaded the book to my iPad.  This version is public domain, and Amazon states that the “book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers,” indicating that these are mostly Project Gutenberg texts.  This is the text that has been floating around the internet for some time, converted nicely to Kindle and made available for free.  I looked at a few books, the formatting looks good, which is not always the case on converted books.

Amazon is always very good about suggesting more things for me to by, so across the bottom of the page is “other customers bought.”  This amounts to many pages of other books which are free to Kindle users.  Here are a few other highlights:

Luther, Galatians, Concerning Christian Liberty, and many others from Luther’s Works.

F. G. Smith, The Revelation Explained An Exposition

G. K. Chesterton, All Things Considered, and just about everything else from Chesterton is there! Time to read The Wisdom of Father Brown.

Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, and many other of Tolstoy’s spiritual writings.

Marcus Dods, The Expositor’s Bible: The Gospel of St John

H. G. C. Moule, Philippians

Alexander McClaren commentaries, many of which now include “real page numbers.”

Walter Rauschenbusch, The Social Principles of Jesus

James Stalker, Life of St. Paul

Poke around, see what else you can find.  It is better than a “foot of books for a buck!”

Loebolus – A Collection of (Free) Downloadable Loeb Classics

Josephus, Life

I realize that Loebolus sounds like a rather bad SyFy channel horror movie, maybe something about a zombie classics scholar terrorizing Harvard. Loebolus is actually a very cool project from Ryan Baumann which  collects all 277 of the downloadable Loeb Classics on a single page. You can download any individual volume or the whole set in a  single 3.2 GB file. In May 2022 Ryan updated the page a little, and I have updated this post (Originally published in 2012!)

Ed Donnelly has  most of this information on his dosnLOEBables site, along with links to ABE or Amazon to purchase the actual books. But Loebolus gets you directly to the PDF without entering captcha codes. I downloaded two files as a trial, both were scanned so that each page is a separate image, Greek and English alternate.  I sent Josephus’ Life to my Kindle App on my iPad for easy reading.

This is a goldmine of Classical texts in Greek and Latin, all now in the Public Domain. All of these books are available from a variety of sources, including Logos (See my comments on the Perseus Collection from Logos here) and I find Loebolus to be a very elegant, simple site to use that has exactly what I want.

For biblical studies, the works of Josephus are available.  While I realize that Josephus is commonly reprinted, these PDF files will also give you the Greek text and an abundance of information via footnotes. Strabo’s Geography, Herodotus, Xenophon,  Plutarch are all there. I am also fond of Thucydides, Peloponnesian War (all four volumes are available).

The Loeb Library is a collection of Greek and Latin classical sources. These small books have the Greek or Latin on the left side, and an English translation on the right. Some of the volumes have been replaced with newer translations. Marital, for example, was recently replaced with a modern, vulgar translation, which more accurately reflects Marital’s original shocking language.  (Marital was something of the Lenny Bruce of his day).  For many of these books the only English translation available is the Loeb version.  I am not sure we need a fresh translation of  Theophrastus’ Enquiry into Plants, but other important historical texts have been updated.

Whether you download the whole set or just pick a few of the best, Loebolus is worth checking out.

Articles on Acts at Biblical

Rob Bradshaw posted two articles of interest to students of the book of Acts at Biblical Steve Walton (London School of Theology) wrote two articles in The Evangelical Quarterly on Acts, both are reproduced by permission of the current copyright holder. You may download the PDF to your own computer for offline reading or send a copy to your Kindle or iPad with the Kindle App.  to save these links to your computer, right-click and select “save as.”

Steve Walton, “The Acts – of God? What is the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ all about?” The Evangelical Quarterly 80.4 (October 2008): 291-306.  Walton argues that the central theme of the book of Acts is not Paul or Mission as is often suggested, but rather God.  In order to make this point, he uses a statistical analysis of the book and shows that God (or Lord) is used as the subject of verbs more often than any other noun.  He draws a number of implications from this observation with respect to using Acts for doctrine and mission.

Steve Walton, “Primitive Communism in Acts? Does Acts Present the Community of Goods (2:44-45; 4:32-35) as Mistaken?” The Evangelical Quarterly 80.2 (April 2008): 99-111.   Some scholars have suggested that Luke has a negative view of the  the earliest believers in Jerusalem who “held all things in common.”  Since the practice is not mentioned later in the book, is it thought that the practice was given up for a variety of reasons.  Walton disagrees with several of the more “negative” views of this common ownership and also draws some distinctions between the practice in Acts and  Qumran.  In the end he thinks that the question, “does Luke have a negative view of the practice” is wrong-headed, the practice was not a sharing of all property in the first place, and the practice does not disappear later in Acts.  Sharing with those in need is in fact a Christian practice everywhere (2 Cor 8:13-15).

If you do not know about, you ought to at least bookmark their new additions page. Rob Bradshaw provides a vast array of scholarship on both theology and biblical studies.

Using the iPad for Scholarship

JHS Article in Kindle

I have been using my iPad for a little over a year now and it has become an indispensable tool for reading and research. About a year ago I wrote “Top Bible Apps for the iPad” on Reading Acts, and it remains a good starting place for people looking to use their iPad for Biblical Studies. The Bible Apps I review then have all been upgraded over the last year, but the functionality is about the same.

In the last year I find myself using my iPad to read not only books but also journal articles from databases as well as proofing things I have written. Although my experience is on the iPad, these tips will work for an Android device as well. Since much of what I say here concerns the Kindle App on the iPad it is all applicable toa real Kindle device.

The first tool you need to get is the Kindle app from the iTunes store. This is a free download, Amazon gives away the reader to tempt you into buying books. This strategy certainly worked on me since Amazon usually has a “deal of the day.”  I have picked up a remarkable number of good books free (or cheap) for reading with the Kindle App. When you register your Kindle app, Amazon will assign you a Kindle email address. You should make a note of this address and authorize your own personal email under the “Manage your Devices” tab in the Kindle store.

The second tool you need is the Send to Kindle app from Amazon (Windows and Mac versions are available). Once you install this app, you can right-click on a file and send it to your Kindle email address. You can send a number of different formats, including PDF and DOC. Assuming that you have authorized your own email, the file will appear on your Kindle, or iPad Kindle App, as a book which can be read as any other Kindle book. If you send a DOC file you can highlight and annotate, but PDF’s cannot be highlighted or annotated at this time.

Reading Acts in Kindle

Another handy tool for reading on a Kindle is a Chrome extension, Send to Kindle. This little extension works in the Chrome browser and will send a web page to your Kindle for reading later. I use this for longer web-pages or to archive a biblioblog that I think I may need later. These HTML pages are converted to a PDF format and can be highlighted or annotated with the Kindle.

I use my iPad for most often for reading journal articles. Using the ATLA database through our library, I find an article of interest and send the PDF to my email. I can either copy it to my DropBox or send it to my Kindle as described above. Prior to buying an iPad, I either read the article online, or printed it for future reference. Anyone who has written a dissertation knows that you end up with a small forest of printed papers when researching, by reading on my iPad I save some time and money by not printing out articles. I sometimes send several articles on a topic to my Kindle app and head off to a coffee shop. Naturally this method will work with any online database that allows students to save files for offline reading.

There are other readers available, including Google Books, CloudReader, Bluefire Reader, Stanza and (of course) iBooks, but my preference at this point is the Kindle reader. All of these readers are really front-ends for online book stores and they all have nearly the same functionality. If you want to transfer PDF files to one of these other readers, I recommend using DropBox. Copy the PDF to your DropBox folder, then select it on your device, and choose a program from the “open with” menu. Alternatively, you can copy the files using iTunes.

I should mention that the Bluefire Reader allows you to read DRM-protected Adobe Digital documents. This is necessary for reading galley proofs from publishers from services like NetGalley. If you have an Adobe ID, you can authorize Bluefire to read your secure books.

Kostenberger in Logos, with Notes

I use the Logos Bible App daily. It is the best app for reading books, although the books must be purchased through the Logos or Vyrso store. There is no import function for Kindle books or other e-reader formats at this time. While this seems like a negative, the Logos Library is rich in material for biblical studies. If a book is available in Logos and Kindle, I will always choose Logos version. This is primarily because Logos books have real page numbers (not “locations”) and the footnotes appear at the bottom of the page you are currently reading. Logos has an excellent note-taking system with a wide variety of highlighting features. Notes I make on my iPad are automatically saved online, and they are immediately available on my desktop version of Logos.  I have several notes files for various topics (Gospel of John, for example), and as I read I add highlights and annotations.  I can cut  and paste these notes into my word processor when I am reading to write.

These tools will get you reading on your iPad, in the next installment, I will comment on a few note-taking programs for the iPad.