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Calendar Curiosities

Calculating the liturgical calendar is a somewhat complex affair. The General Roman Calendar is basically made up of a calendar of Sundays and weekdays calculated relative to Christmas and Easter, an overlapping calendar of saints’ feasts that land on fixed dates, and a system for determining what to do when occasions coincide.

What is today? Well, that depends on the day of the week, how far we are from Easter, and how far we are from Christmas. Also, do we celebrate anyone’s feast day today? Is it a memorial, feast, or solemnity? Simple enough, but, oh, is Epiphany shifted to Sunday where you live? If so, did that Sunday land on January 7 or 8? . . .

The algorithm for forecasting the calendar can thus get rather complicated. We’ve just shipped an update to the lectionary (available in all base packages) to better account for a few of the more obscure wrinkles that you might not have known about.

Sliding Solemnities

The rules of precedence dictate that nothing outranks Holy Week, Easter Week, and the Sundays of Lent, Advent, and Easter. But the feast days that the Church ranks as Solemnities are important enough that rather than just skipping them when they get trumped, we move them to the closest available day.

The foremost example of this is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Most years, the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25, but sometimes, when Easter is on the early side, March 25 lands within Holy Week or Easter Week. When this happens, as it does this year, the Annunciation is shifted to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. (Note that it’s possible that this placement isn’t just a coincidence. It was a common belief that the Lord was conceived and died on the same day of the year. See The Spirit of the Liturgy, page 105ff.)

When Easter is very early, the Solemnity of St. Joseph can be bumped as well. This last occurred in 2008, when the Church decided that, unlike the Annunciation, St. Joseph would be shifted backward to the Saturday before Holy Week. This won’t happen again until 2035.

The feasts of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and (more rarely) the Birth of John the Baptist can also be affected thus. Assuming that the Church continues to handle these consistently and doesn’t change up the rules as she did in 2008, we can accurately predict them into the future.

St. Andrew the Biannual

The feast of St. Andrew can fall either before or after the First Sunday of Advent. Consequently, it has the curious property of being able to occur more than once in a single liturgical year. For instance, it occurred on the Wednesday after the First Sunday of Advent in 2011, and again on the Friday before the First Sunday of Advent of 2012. Unfortunately, last year we didn’t realize our algorithm hadn’t accounted for this possibility until it was too late. This is now corrected for 2012 and will be correct the next time this occurs in 2016–2017.

Caveat Lector

With these corrections, I believe that our lectionary resource accounts for all predictable occurrences in the general calendar, and for the adaptations found in the current US lectionary (though we’ll continue to proof it against the annual calendar issued by the USCCB). Where the US adaptation differs from the general calendar, both are given as options. There remain, of course, things like local variations and options that we can’t account for, so clergy and others preparing for the public celebration of the liturgy would always be wise to consult the ordo and official liturgical text for their territory, diocese, or religious order.

Other Lectionary Improvements

While we were improving our handling of the calendar, we corrected user-reported typos and added a couple of other minor enhancements to the linking within the lectionary as well. First, when there is more than one option for the day, we’ve added a link below the heading to make this more visible. Second, in the list of readings at the top, we’ve added links to the headings that take you down to the text of the reading below. This should make figuring out all the options for the day and navigating around the readings a bit easier.

These are all mostly minor improvements, but enhancing our liturgical resources and getting the data right is a top priority for the development of Verbum—a necessary foundation for deeper integration of the Church’s liturgical use of Scripture into the tools and features of the software.

Lenten feature: customize your daily reflection

The discipline of regular spiritual reading is a great way to enrich your Lenten observance. Between different methods of lectio divina, Lenten devotionals, and spiritual classics, there are a lot of options available. Logos can help you deepen your reading, and even keep you on track with a reading plan.

Let’s say you just want to follow along with the daily Mass readings this Lent. If you open up the Lectionary from the homepage sidebar, you get a simple layout with the Lectionary and the Bible.

You can just stick with this to focus on the text itself, or you can use a few tools to dig into your library for the spiritual insights of others.

One important but often overlooked tool is “Cited By”, located in the “Lookup” section in the lower right of the Tools menu. Cited By is the easiest way to search open resources, collections, and series for a reference. When you open it, you may find that, by default, all of your collections are listed, but if you want to focus your search, open the panel menu and, under “Show Collections,” uncheck everything you don’t want.

Here, I’ve limited the Cited By search to the Church Fathers collection and a collection I created containing the volumes in the Catholic Spirituality Collection. I’ve also set both the Bible and the Cited By tool to Link Set A in the panel menu of each. This means that the Cited By tool will follow along with the Bible, so that when I click the reference for the next reading, the Cited By tool will automatically be populated with citations from the Church Fathers and classics of Catholic spirituality.

 

Finally, a good commentary or set of notes can be very helpful for reading the Scriptures. I find that the Navarre Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) can be a particularly good choice for devotional reading, since it tends to not just comment on technical or theological issues in the text, but to draw out insights for one’s spiritual life, often quoting the Fathers and saints of the Church.

If you open a volume of the Navarre Bible and set it also to Link Set A, it will follow along (automatically jumping to the correct volume) with the Bible and Cited By. I’ve also dragged the tab down to the lower half of the middle panel so it displays below the Bible.

 

If you want to be able to go back this layout, open the Layouts menu in the upper right, click “Save as named layout,” and give it a name, such as “Lenten Mass Readings.” Then you can easily go back to it via the Layouts menu if you’ve been working on something else.

Of course, the challenge of this particular kind of task in Logos (as in so many other aspects of life today) is maintaining focus in the face of seemingly infinite information, but a simple layout like this that you can quickly open up can help—especially if you establish a routine and order of reading, starting with the Scriptures, then moving to the commentary, etc., that allows you to slow down without flitting from one thing to the next.

Today, at Mass, the Church prays Psalm 51, the Miserere. As the Navarre Bible points out, in the liturgy, Psalm 51 is “the penitential psalm par excellence,” so it’s not a surprise that we hear it several times at Mass in Lent and on Fridays at Lauds. Acknowledging our sins, let us make its prayer our own—offering to God our hearts, contrite and humbled.

A closer look at the Verbum libraries

Just a year after we released our first line of Catholic base packages, the release of Logos 5 gave us a chance to revisit them. We’ve had such success in the last year—both with those packages and with new Catholic books—that we were able to add to the individual libraries and expand the lineup to give you even better deals. Here’s an overview of what we’ve done and some of the great resources you can get.

First of all, the lineup has been shuffled a bit—the “Foundations” and “Scripture Study” labels have basically been bumped up a whole level. We’ve built Verbum Scripture Study into a thorough library for serious Catholic Bible Study—more substantial than even the old Logos 4 Catholic Scholar’s, with more resources for studying the original languages, like Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament, with its massive apparatus and important new Lexham resources.

Second, we’ve been able to incorporate a lot of the terrific Catholic content we produced over the last year. All the packages have been improved by this; most noticeably, this has allowed us to create two new packages, Verbum Master and Verbum Capstone, that let you build an extensive library at a steep discount.

With Verbum Master, in addition to everything in Verbum Scripture Study, you get even more important Catholic titles, and some great resources for understanding the Scriptures and their context. For instance:

Verbum Capstone includes all of this, plus such a massive library of theological, historical, and biblical works that it’s hard to pick out just a few highlights:

Again, these are just some of the highlights, and this doesn’t even cover the great new Logos 5 features and data sets that you get.

If you already own a Logos 4 Catholic library (or any part of these collections), our upgrade calculator will give you a custom discount based on what you already own. Combined with our limited-time promotional discounts, this makes upgrading to a Verbum package the best way to build your library we’ve ever made available.

A Reverse Interlinear for the Whole Canon

One of the challenges we’ve faced in building up Verbum into a fully functional platform for Catholic Bible study is developing support for the entire Catholic canon.

Logos’ powerful features are based on many years of building up data and code around the Scriptures, and, while the study of the Septuagint and the deuterocanonical books is not unimportant to Protestants, for obvious reasons, the smaller Protestant canon has historically been the priority for Logos’ traditional user base of (mostly) evangelical Protestants. Consequently, we’ve had some catching up to do to bring all those features to the full Catholic canon.

The recent completion of the English-Greek Reverse Interlinear of the NRSV Apocryphal Texts is another big step toward this goal. Reverse interlinears are a crucial link in Logos’ functionality, aligning the English translation with the original text so that the two become almost seamlessly interchangeable. The reverse interlinear underlies the Bible Word Study, Exegetical Guide, and other Logos features that make the original languages accessible even if you’re not an expert, and, just as importantly, they’re the crucial link that allows us to hang data on the original text and make it available through all the many various ways that text is translated.

Of course, the NRSV is a Protestant Bible (and the use of the term “Apocryphal” reflects this), but its reverse interlinears now cover the entirety of the Catholic canon (plus a few more—think of it as a bonus!). The project faced quite a number of unexpected obstacles and delays, but much of the work will carry over into the creation of full Old Testament reverse interlinears for Catholic Bibles.

We’ve still got work to do, but our continued success with Catholic products means we’ll have the resources to keep improving Verbum and building better tools for Catholic Bible study.

You can get the NRSV and its interlinears with a huge Catholic library at an incredible discount in Verbum Foundations or above. If you already own Foundations or higher, the new reverse interlinear will be automatically downloaded and added to your system.

Ero Cras

If you’re watching the liturgical calendar in the Lectionary, Missal, or Liturgy of the Hours, you’ll notice that the enumeration for the weekdays suddenly switches today from “X day of the Nth Week of Advent” to “December 17,” “December 18,” etc. The weekdays from December 17 to 24 are reckoned this way because the liturgy in these days is determined primarily by the exact number of days until Christmas, instead of the relation to the Sundays of Advent.

In other words, we’ve begun the countdown to Christmas.

As dawn nears and the anticipation builds, the themes of the Lectionary readings move from the preaching of John and the end times to the specific runup to the birth of the Lord, as well as prophecies and foreshadowings of his coming. We go straight through the genealogy and birth of Christ in the first chapter of Matthew, and then through the circumstances of John’s birth and the Annunciation to Mary in the first chapter of Luke. On December 24, this leaves us hanging right before Luke’s Nativity, which we’ll read at Midnight Mass.

Meanwhile, at Vespers, the Church begins to chant the great O Antiphons for the Magnificat. These antiphons are the basis for the verses of the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” addressing Christ by seven different titles and pleading for him to come: “O Sapientia” (Wisdom), “O Adonai” (Lord), “O Radix Iesse” (Root of Jesse), “O Clavis David” (Key of David), “O Oriens” (Dawn), “O Rex Gentium” (King of the Nations), and “O Emmanuel.”

When you arrange the first letters of these titles in reverse, you discover that they’ve been cleverly arranged to spell out Christ’s Christmas Eve response to our incessant cries of “Veni!”: “Ero cras,” he says, or “I come tomorrow!”

The Logos 5 Topic Guide

Since the introduction of Logos 4, we’ve been developing an infrastructure for intelligent topical searching that’s now starting to pay off in Logos 5’s powerful, easy-to-use features. The foremost of these is the new Topic Guide.

Open a Topic Guide from the Guides menu and start entering your topic and you’ll notice that Logos gives you suggestions from the Logos Controlled Vocabulary (LCV).

LCV is the backbone of our topical infrastructure and the basis of the Topic Guide, which brings together dictionary and encyclopedia articles, Bible references, synonyms, related concepts, and more. First of all, the Topic Guide uses LCV to resolve synonyms when you enter your topic—if you enter “Simon,” it suggests Peter (or lets you select one of the other Simons from the Bible).

The Topic Guide uses LCV to find articles about your topic, related Bible verses, media, and biblical people, places, things, and events. It also gives you links to other related topics and searches.

The Topic Guide is limited to topics that are contained in the LCV, and you’ll find that you get the best results for topics explicitly mentioned by name in the Bible, but we’re continually working on building LCV—aligning more reference works, adding concepts, and improving and refining the data in other ways—so the results are going to keep improving over time.

In particular, the Catholic content we’ve been able to add to our library in recent years will be leading to improved coverage of both Catholic reference works in the Verbum libraries and topics that are of particular interest to Catholics.

Working with Latin in Logos

With the expansion of our Catholic products, we’ve been steadily increasing the number of Latin texts in our library.

Though we don’t yet have the kind of tagging and search abilities for Latin that we have for Greek and Hebrew, there are a couple of resources and tricks you can use to make Logos effective for studying Latin texts.

  1. Download the Dictionary of Latin Forms. This free dictionary is based on the popular WORDS Latin-English Dictionary Program, which gives possible parsings and definitions for thousands of Latin forms. Because of its broad coverage, it lets you instantly view possible parsings and definitions for just about any Latin word in your Logos library by double-clicking or using the Information window. (A warning: the Dictionary is large, so downloading and indexing might take some time.)
  2. Learn to use wildcard searches. The asterisk (*) wildcard stands for any number of characters in a word, so you can combine it with a stem to find that stem with any ending.
  3. Download the free Perseus Classics Collection. This enormous library of classical texts and translations includes hundreds of Latin works, which are important both in their own right and as background for Christian Latin texts. Again, you’ll get the most out of them if you learn to search them effectively. The Perseus texts have lemma tagging, which makes it easier to find different forms of a word, but the sheer volume of material makes organizing them into collections worthwhile.
  4. Build your library with other Logos Latin texts and reference materials. Of particular note is Lewis & Short’s Latin Dictionary, which is still gathering interest on Community Pricing. If we can get enough orders to cover the cost, this volume, replete with classical and patristic references, will represent a major addition to our Latin offerings. A Logos edition of Lewis & Short would be incredibly useful. (Not unlike our edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.) Of course, all those references make for a high production cost, so we need more orders to get this great resource going.

If you’re interested in working with Latin in Logos, place your bid now!

Limit Prioritization to Links from a Particular Resource

One of the first, most important steps for setting up Logos is prioritizing the resources in your library. If you haven’t already done some basic prioritization—setting up, at a minimum, your preferred Bible and lectionary—take a look at this earlier post to learn how.

Beyond this basic setup, though, prioritization offers some advanced options that let you further refine and customize the way the linking between your resources works.

For example, I have my library priorities set up to prefer my modern Catholic translations, like the RSVCE and NABRE, but if I’m studying the Summa Theologica, I know that St. Thomas was using the Vulgate and that, at times, there are important differences between the Vulgate and modern Bibles based on modern editions of the original Greek and Hebrew. Consequently, it would be helpful to be able to prefer the Vulgate or the Douay-Rheims, which is an English translation of the Vulgate, for Bible references in the Summa Theologica.

I can set up Logos to do this while keeping my general preferences in place using the advanced options for prioritization.

To start, prioritize the resource like normal, placing it above your other preferred Bibles. In Library, click “Prioritize” in the upper right and drag the resource above the other Bibles in the list. Placing it above the other Bibles means that Logos will check this prioritization rule before it checks the others.

Now, right-click the title of the resource in the list and select “Set prioritization limits (advanced).”

This brings up options to limit the prioritization rule by reference type, reference range, or resource. In this case, we’re interested in limiting the prioritization to references from the Summa Theologica, so click “from this resource” and select the resource you want.

The finished rule looks like this:

So, for references in the English Summa Theologica, Logos will prefer the Douay-Rheims Bible, but for all other references, it will fall back to the rest of the list.

If I open the Summa, I now see the Douay-Rheims Bible when I hover or click on a Bible reference, but from any other resource, the RSVCE is still preferred. Note that with a limited prioritization like this, you can still have a separate, general prioritization for the resource. For instance, I can prioritize the Douay-Rheims below my other English Bibles like so:

This means that the Douay-Rheims will be prioritized first for the Summa Theologica (English) but, for all other resources, be prioritized after the RSVCE, NRSV and NABRE.

Here are a few other ideas for limiting priorities by resource you might consider:

  1. If the NABRE isn’t your preferred Bible, you might consider prioritizing it for references from the Catholic Lectionary, since it’s the closest translation to the text in the US Lectionary for Mass. As above, prioritize it above other Bibles and then limit the prioritization to references from the Catholic Lectionary.
  2. Lust, Eynikel, and Huaspie’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (LEH) is a great reference for studying the Greek of the Septuagint that’s included in Catholic Scholar’s, but you probably don’t want it to be the first option for New Testament words, so you can prioritize it just for references from the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint or other Septuagint texts. In this case, you would prioritize LEH above other Greek lexicons and then limit it to your preferred Septuagint. Note that you can create multiple limited prioritizations if you want to prioritize it for multiple LXX texts. Just repeat the process for each LXX text.
  3. Prioritize the Catechism of the Catholic Church for references from the Catechism itself so that its glossary will be preferred over your English dictionaries when you look up words in the Catechism. To do this, prioritize the Catechism above dictionaries and other books with English headwords, and limit the prioritization to the Catechism.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to tweak options for an optimal experience, you can make your prioritization rules as subtle as you need to move smoothly through your library in the way you like.

Cross References and The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

In previous posts, we’ve discussed using topical indexes and parallel passages for situating a reading in the context of related passages. Another tool for making these connections is the Cross References section in the Passage Guide.

 

These cross references are just like those found in many print Bibles’ footnotes or margins. In fact, Logos uses cross references from the Bibles in your digital library to assemble this report. It assembles and compares your passage’s cross references to select those most commonly cited and, thus, most likely to be important or clearly correlated.  These references appear highlighted in bold, and the top five are displayed in your preferred translation. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top five cross references to this reading from Mark are from the parallel in Matthew.

In addition to drawing on your Bibles’ footnotes, Logos also draws cross references from a book called The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and links to it at the top of the section. The Treasure of Scripture Knowledge (or TSK, for short) is basically a giant index of cross references to the Scriptures.

 

So while the Passage Guide gives the most commonly cited cross references, you can open up TSK to go deeper. There are around 70 links in TSK for this passage, so it might be a bit much to examine them all, but they’re broken down by verse and particular words or phrases within each verse, which makes TSK perfect for thoroughly exploring cross references related to a particular point. For instance, 12 passages are given as cross references to Jesus’s foretelling in Mark 8:31 that he will be rejected by the leaders of Israel—including Old Testament prophecies, parallels in the other Gospels, and Peter’s preaching in Acts 3. This breakdown by phrase is also helpful for identifying the commonality that is the basis for listing a particular verse as a cross reference, which might not be obvious from the list of references in the Passage Guide.

TSK is also useful apart from the Passage Guide. Since it’s indexed by Bible reference, it makes it easy to directly look up cross references for a particular verse. You can even use a reference search to do a reverse lookup, finding which verses cite your passage as cross references. The references aren’t necessarily always reciprocal, so this can sometimes pull up some interesting results. For instance, this search for our reading from Mark brings up Ecclesiastes 3:6, where TSK relates “a time to lose” with Christ’s words in Mark 8:35 that “whoever would save his life will lose it.”

 

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is just one of the many tools for exploring the Scriptures included in the Logos Catholic Libraries.

Fr. Raymond Brown

In the three-year cycle of the Sunday lectionary, we’re currently
in Year B. Year B is the year of Mark’s Gospel, but in the
summer, it takes a five-week break from Mark to read through
the story of the feeding of the 5,000 and the Bread of Life
Discourse in John 6.

There’s a good chance, then, that the homilies you heard this summer were influenced, whether directly or indirectly, by the scholarship of Fr. Raymond Brown. Brown (1928–1998) was one of the most prominent biblical scholars of the twentieth century, highly regarded by Catholics and non-Catholics alike and especially influential in the study of the Gospel and Epistles of John.

The first part of his Anchor Yale Bible volume on the Gospel of John contains a close reading of the text that draws out important structural parallels between John and the Synoptic Gospels and outlines the structure of John 6 in a way that roughly corresponds to how the readings are broken up in the lectionary. It divides the Bread of Life discourse into two parts: John 6:35–50, which uses the imagery of the Bread of Life with a twofold meaning, referring both to divine revelation and the Eucharist, and John 6:51–59, which refers exclusively to the Eucharist.

Brown speculates on the interrelationship between the development of the tradition underlying this section of John’s Gospel and the Eucharistic liturgy of the primitive Church, seeing Eucharistic motifs in the feeding of the 5,000 and, in the second part of the Bread of Life discourse, possible reflections of a Johannine narrative of the institution of the Eucharist.

Brown’s method is historical-critical, and his career coincided with the adoption of this method by Catholic biblical scholars following Pius XII’s encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu and the Second Vatican Council’s constitution Dei Verbum. Just as this shift has not been without problems or critics within the Church, so Brown’s work has not been received without controversy. In particular, critics charge that these methods undermine belief in the authority and truth of the Scriptures and make the Bible accessible only to academic experts.

Though many view the embrace of the historical-critical method following Dei Verbum as decisive and irreversible, the debate over its limits and place in Catholic exegesis has continued as Catholics have sought to fulfill Dei Verbum’s carefully balanced call to mind both the human and the divine elements in the Scriptures and to make use of modern sciences while maintaining continuity with the Church’s tradition of exegesis. A good overview of the issues, and a balanced presentation of the state of the question, can be found in Peter Williamson’s Catholic Principles for Interpreting Scripture (available in the two larger Catholic libraries). Brown’s work figures prominently in Williamson’s discussion of the historical-critical method and the literal sense, as well as that of the “fuller sense” (sensus plenior), which was the subject of his doctoral dissertation.

Whatever the eventual outcome of these debates, Fr. Brown’s works remain influential and important for understanding the development of Catholic biblical scholarship and the interpretation of the Gospel of John in the twentieth century, and Logos is the perfect platform for studying them in the context of the whole of Catholic tradition. In addition to his three Anchor Yale Bible volumes on the Gospel and Epistles of John mentioned above, you can get his contributions to the Anchor Yale Reference Library in the five-volume Raymond E. Brown Collection or as part of the two larger Catholic libraries.

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