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How to Tag Multiple Resources at the Same Time

One of the most useful things you can do with Logos resources is give them tags. Tags are essentially custom pieces of metadata, and they behave like other pieces of data—author, publisher, or resource type, for example. When you tag a resource, that tag becomes a search criterion, and the resources that share that tag become basically a collection. You can add a tag to a resource in its information panel.

Often, you’ll want to add the same tag to many resources, and going one by one can be tedious. Luckily, with Logos, you can add a tag to multiple resources at the same time. Let’s say I want to add the tag “encyclicals” to all the papal encyclicals in my library. First, I sort my library for author:Benedict XVI. Next, I highlight the first encyclical on the list, hold down Shift, and click the last encyclical. (Make sure not to click the title or cover icon, or the resource will open.) Then, I open the information panel and add the tag “encyclicals” to all the resources.

I’m going to do the same thing for author:John Paul II and for title:The Papal Encyclicals. With all these papal encyclicals tagged “encyclicals,” we can sort our library just for them, limit our searches to just these resources, or add them to a custom Passage Guide template or Cited By tool. In just a minute or two, they become far more useful.

The Technology of Scripture Study: The Middle Ages

I am an ecclesiastical historian by training and a Bible software guy by trade. Which, I think, puts me in the unique position to write about the history of the intersection of technology and Scripture study in a series of posts.

We might start with a description of the Bible we are all used to. It is a stand-alone, printed volume of 73 books (give or take a few), with a more or less fixed text translated from the earliest and best manuscripts. Because of its size, its mass production, and the fact that nearly all of us are literate, we tend to think of the Bible as a self-contained work that is readily available and can be read by anyone and anywhere.

The Bible was a very different thing in the Middle Ages. That may seem like a bold statement, but let me explain. Medieval Christianity was profoundly sacramental, focusing on an encounter with Christ that was both spiritual and physical. As the theologians of the period frequently remarked, Christ was the Word of God in both His “doing and teaching” (Acts 1:1). For the medieval Christian engagement with the spoken Word of God was not divorced from physical engagement with Christ’s Body, and so the Bible was, above all else, a liturgical book. In the liturgy, the priest read the Scripture, brought the text to life through preaching, and then confected the Eucharist on the altar, introducing Christ’s physical presence. The Word of God in its totality was made present and the encounter with it was total: intellectual, physical, and social. In the liturgy the Christian was understood as united vertically with God and horizontally with his fellow man—all together, the Body of Christ.

This was the context in which medieval Christians studied the Scripture. Indeed, they often evoked Eucharistic imagery. They “chewed” the Word and “swallowed” it. This was an act of deep reading and meditation on the text that culminated in memorization. But they did not understand memorization as do we. We tend to think of the memory as a hard drive, and memorization as an act of rote drilling that leads to data retention. To the people of the Middle Ages, however, the act of memorization was that of “digesting” the Scripture so that it became a part of who they were. Like how the Eucharist became a part of the body, the Scripture became a part of the mind. Amazing feats of memory are documented, such as being able to recite the Bible backwards. Books, including the Bible itself, were understood more as memory aids than as data storage facilities. The proper place for the Word of God was not on a page but in the Christian’s mind and body. But like the liturgy, the reading of Scripture was a social act across time. And so, it wasn’t just the Scripture that they memorized but the Fathers of the Church, the canons of the councils, the comments of their fellow monks and scholars—a massive tradition. The study of Scripture was an act of mulling the text over, of searching one’s memory and and making new associations, of re-arranging these memorized “packets” of wisdom into original and creative insights. As one did this, the memorized texts became part of one’s personality. Indeed, medieval Christians believed memory was an aspect of moral character.

This approach to the Scripture had technologies that were appropriate to it and that were developed to facilitate it. There were amazingly intricate mental techniques for memorization, whole mental architectures that were built and refined as they were passed on from master to student. Even the physical form of the Bible was a technology. For example, much of the illumination we see in medieval manuscripts functioned as memory “tags,” giving the reader a visual anchor for the memorized text. But even more impressive than the illuminations were the glosses that surrounded the Scripture text. As monks and scholars read, they would often jot down little reminders in the margins—anonymous sayings, references to, perhaps, St. Augustine or an early council. These were intended primarily as memory aids, so there were often only a few lines or even a couple words—just enough to evoke the memory. These notes are called glosses. Over the centuries, as Bibles were copied and recopied, traded and loaned, a standard gloss grew up around the text. The construction of this gloss was a process of dialogue across centuries as monks and scholars meditated on and digested the Scriptures and engaged with the ancient authorities and each other.

This glossed Bible was a giant memory aid; and so, its contents were far more than what was actually written. It was, in fact, a technology for accessing a whole library, a certain organization of a vast corpus of knowledge. It was a technology profoundly suited to the medieval understanding of the Word of God as residing primarily in the body of Christians through time, in communion with each other and united in the sacraments. The Scripture was physically, as well as conceptually, surrounded by a tradition that had, like the liturgy, grown up over centuries.

All this changed with the Renaissance. During the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries a new approach to the Scripture emerged, and with it, new technologies for Scripture study. But that, as they say, is a topic for another post.

Modern Doctors of the Church

To the modern ear, the word “doctor” is normally associated with physicians, or perhaps university professors. But in Latin, the word means “teacher,” and docere, “to teach,” connotes “to show” or “to demonstrate”; a doctor is one who teaches us something by showing it to us. It is with this in mind that we understand the Church’s criteria for those whom she honors with the title “Doctor of the Church.” To be a “Doctor of the Church,” one must live a life of both profound intellectual achievement and great sanctity. Doctors of the Church are saints, first and foremost: they show us how to live. But they are also teachers: they articulate the truths of the faith in a manner worthy of study and even of incorporation into the Magisterium of the Church. The Church is very careful with her use of the title “Doctor.” Indeed, only 33 people have ever been so honored—most of them centuries after their deaths.

Only eight Doctors of the Church have lived in the past five centuries: St. Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582), St. John of the Cross (1542–1591), St. Peter Canisius (1521–1597), St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559–1619), St. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787), and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897). Their brilliant works vary from Scriptural commentary to mystical poetry to catechetical instruction and spiritual direction. While it would perhaps be convenient to lump these saints together as products of the “Counter-Reformation,” of the Church’s response to Protestantism—and it is certainly true that the Church’s struggle with the realities of a Christendom torn asunder form the backdrop for much of their work—in reality, their writings are profoundly mystical, moral, and practical in nature. They tend to focus on union with God and on the pursuit of what St. Francis de Sales called “the devout life.” Their writings are, therefore, of far more than historical interest. It’s hard to imagine Christian works more timeless than those of St. John of the Cross, for example, or of St. Teresa of Ávila.

The Post-Reformation Catholic Thought and Piety Collection lets you study the Faith with these most profound of companions—surrounding your study with their wisdom and piety. What’s more, the collection is currently on Community Pricing and so is one of the best deals Logos will ever offer. Place your bid today and make the Church’s teachers your own.

How to Use The Power Lookup Tool

Power Lookup is one of the most versatile of Logos 4’s many tools. It is used most often to display the cited text of footnotes automatically and without having to click on, or even roll over, the note annotation in the text. So, for example, if a text cites 1 Peter 1:23, the Power Look up panel will display the verse: “You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” For this function, simply open a Power Lookup panel by clicking Tools > Power Lookup. As you scroll through a text or switch to another text, the Power Lookup tool will follow, displaying the citations for the active panel.

Power Lookup can also be used to compare different editions of the same base text. For example, in the Catholic Scholar’s Library there are seven different texts of the Didache: three Greek editions and four English translations. We can see all these versions at once by right clicking in the texts or on a hyperlink to the Didache and opening a Power Lookup panel. Make sure  the reference and not “Selection” is chosen in the right click menu:

The Power Lookup panel that opens will display all seven versions.

If you do a Power Lookup on a single word, the panel will display entries for that word as they appear in your various reference works:

The Power Lookup tool is sometimes overlooked, but it can be very useful. Spend some time exploring its functions. If you like our training posts here on Verbum, you’ll love the Catholic Practicum: Learn to Use Logos Bible Software video series—pre-order yours today!

How to use Logos Bible Software’s Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Logos version of the Catechism is the most powerful and user-friendly edition of the Catechism ever made. Just by opening the Catechism and rolling over some of the citations, the benefits of Logos are clear. However, in order to get the most out of the software, you should set up a solid Catechism layout and learn techniques for using the various Logos tools. Watch the video below for some suggestions.

Logos to Translate Works of Thomas Aquinas into English for the First Time!

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) is certainly one of the most important theologians in history. His immense corpus of work covers every aspect of Christian life and doctrine, penetrating to the core of mankind’s relationship with God. Despite its undeniable importance, much of Aquinas’ work remains available only in Latin. That’s about to change. Logos is going to translate his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter LombardCommentary on the Prophet Isaiah, and Commentary on the Prophet Jeremiah into English.

Aquinas wrote three major works of theology. His Summa Theologica (1265–1274) and Summa Contra Gentiles (1264?) have been available in English for almost a century. But his third major piece, his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, remains untranslated. Aquinas wrote the Commentary on the Sentences in his twenties as a brand-new professor at the University of Paris. The commentary influenced his contemporaries, and it remains heavily cited by modern theologians. In it, Aquinas broached topics that would dominate his later works, such as the relationship between Aristotelian philosophy and theology. It also offers Aquinas’ most sustained treatments of ecclesiology and sacramental theology.

Translating these works is an extensive, expensive project; that’s where the Logos Pre-Pub system comes in. We can bring together thousands of people from around the world to finally make these resources available in English. This translation will be a major event in Thomist studies, and everyone who places a preorder is a direct part of it.

Logos’ translations of the commentaries on Jeremiah and Isaiah will likewise have a major impact on the study of Aquinas’ thought. Aquinas is gaining attention as more scholars realize that his thought was built on a profoundly scriptural foundation. Indeed, some scholars have suggested that our whole interpretation of Thomas’ work must be revisited in light of his biblical commentaries. Logos’ translations of the commentaries of Jeremiah and Isaiah will be a huge contribution to these exciting developments.

Thomas Aquinas’ thought is remarkably valuable, and it is amazing that after 750 years, so much of it remains inaccessible to the majority of English speakers. Logos is remedying this. You can help! Place your Pre-Pub orders today.

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