REVIEW of BIBLEWORKS 10; Part 1: A Personal Anecdote

[This is the first installment of a multi-part review of BibleWorks 10.  Check back regularly for follow-up posts]

Some months after BibleWorks 10 was released, I was conference hopping - participating in three separate conferences, in three states, over a period of just a few days, effectively living out of a suitcase.  For the last event on the east coast, I was planning on giving a talk on the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:26-28.  The argument considered the structural layout of the passage as seen in Hebrew manuscripts and scrolls and considered the visual impact it would have (and still has) on copyists, readers, and exegetes of the original language source texts.  Obviously, this is a perspective more readily available to those who have access to such resources.  So, for the talk, I was going to utilize a visual presentation showing the multi-line poetical structuring of the Hebrew passage, as well as compare the visual similarities and dissimilarities of the parashot of Genesis 1.  The presentation contained images of a Torah scroll as well as images of the Leningrad Codex (Codex L), which was previously only available via facsimile (photographed form; the original is housed in the National Library of Russia).

As I was going over my presentation in the hotel room prior to the talk, I realized that the photographic quality of my Codex L images was not clear enough to be useful when projected onto a screen.  I had personally taken the photos from the facsimile (photographed volume) I keep at the office, but the original volume’s images were done in black and white, and the clarity was fairly poor by current standards.  On my computer screen they looked fine, but when projected, they were illegible.  I was in jeopardy of having a partially botched presentation.  There was no way I could get to my facsimile.  I was moving too much to receive a package.  No one else could take the photos that I needed in exactly the way that I would need them.  I was in a pinch. 

As I was anxiously considering what options I might have, I remembered that BibleWorks had recently made Codex L available in BW 10.  I had not yet upgraded my software (woe to those who wait), but I needed those images quickly.  After thinking through the difficulty, I contacted BibleWorks representative Jim Barr and asked if he could send me a graphic from the color version of Codex L that comes standard with BW 10.  Without hesitation, he immediately made BW 10 available to me via download and I was able to stream the upgrade overnight from my hotel room before I had to check out.  I was able to insert the new higher resolution color images into my presentation just in time for my talk. 

In the facsimile form, the masorah magna is generally too blurry to be useful, at least for me.  In the BW10 digitized version, however, I can magnify the images to a size much larger while keeping the resolution high.  The result is that BW10 represents a huge advancement for those who want access to Codex L. 

As a final word on this installment of my BibleWorks 10 review, I want to emphasize one point; the generosity, accessibility, and excellence of all BibleWorks personnel with whom I have interacted over the years has always been consistent with the highest standards of Christian conduct.  I have actually become friends with Jim Barr through his fine work and look forward to seeing him at conferences and events in various places.  For BibleWorks, software has not merely been a business, but it has truly been a ministry. 

- R. Brian Rickett

Principal Researcher, The MIKRA Corp.