This package is one of three aimed at those specialising in the OT. Hebrew Pro ($999) includes the main Hebrew and Dead Sea Scroll texts, and a number of major lexicons (BDB, HALOT, TLOT, and TWOT). Hebrew Expert ($1999), the collection reviewed here, adds cognate languages and related texts, notably the Syriac Peshitta and the Aramaic Targum. It also adds Leningrad Codex images, along with the full version of DCH. Hebrew Master ($3699) adds more Semitic resources, including Rabbinic resources, such as a tagged Mishna and an untagged Babylonian Talmud. It also adds DSS images, along with BHQ, NIDOTTE, and TDOT. All packages come with a clutch of English Bible translations, including ASV, ESV, KJV, NET, NRSV. All packages only ship with a few general Bible dictionaries (e.g., Easton’s Dictionary and Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary), and a couple of commentaries (abridged Matthew Henry and the New Bible Commentary).
To demonstrate some of the features and potential of this package, I will outline how a seminary or graduate student, or a scholar can use this collection to study Ruth 2:12. BHS and BHQ Ruth can be placed in parallel columns, with the apparatus displayed in a separate window at the bottom of the screen. The user can add the LXX, Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, Targum, and Peshitta as parallel panes. The BHQ commentary can be displayed in a separate window to the right. A text browser window below this can contain a selection of English (and other language) Bible translations. Hovering over a Hebrew word while depressing the command key will bring up the definition in a designated lexicon in another window. Clicking on a Hebrew word after selecting the “Live Click” option allows a user to bring up a research pane in which you can choose from all the hits related to that word in the lexicons. Clicking on an entry in one of these lexicons will bring up the full lexical entry. The bibliographic details for the lexical entry can be easily produced by using “copy as” > “bibliography.” A click on a Hebrew word in BHS-T can also bring up a window with all the hits of that word in the original language texts. Right clicking on a Hebrew word brings up different search options, based on the lexeme, inflected, root, tag, and letters. For instance, a search based on the lexeme of פֹּעַל produces a list of thirty-seven verses. The analysis graph of the search results will immediately reveal that these verses are mainly found in poetic texts of the OT. Observations such as this, along with other textual thoughts or comments can be jotted down in “User Notes” for later reference. Personal translations of verses can be added with “User Notes,” which can be configured as a scrollable parallel column. Although a little fiddly for basic phrase diagramming, analyzing the structure of a verse is possible with the diagram feature. Overall, these features, among others, makes performing text-critical work on the original texts, as well as referencing lexical resources using this software package convenient and efficient.
There are a few minor ways in which the Accordance Hebrew Expert Collection can be improved. First, an option to copy Hebrew as one SBL transliteration style or the other would be useful. As it is, Hebrew transliteration is closest to the academic, rather than general purpose style. For instance, וּתְהִי מַשְׂכֻּרְתֵּךְ is transliterated ûṯᵉhi maśkurteḵ instead of ûtǝhî maśkurtēk. Second, add pagination for the BHQ Megilloth commentary, since copying bibliographical information produces a paragraph instead of a page reference. A user needs to consult a hardcopy edition of the BHQ commentary to correctly cite pages for publication. Third, an option to “Copy As” > “References” in Concordance after a word search would improve efficiency. Fourth, the ability to edit in the diagram feature in full screen, not just when the window is small.
Some graduate students and scholars specializing in the OT will need to consider buying additional resources. These might include (additional cost in parentheses) BHQ ($199), the Vulgate (available in Catholic Bibles and texts add-on bundle, $199), NJPS ($19.90), TDOT ($699; surprisingly, the package includes TDNT but not TDOT), and NIDOTTE ($179). Those considering this software package might need to keep the additional cost of items such as these in mind (total cost for Hebrew Expert and these add-ons is $3294.90). Also, since all the Hebrew packages only ship with a limited number of English Bible translations, dictionaries, and commentaries, Themelios readers who want to move beyond text-critical work might want to add at least NIV-11 GKE ($49.90) and HCSB ($14.90), along with other Bible dictionaries and commentaries. A Hebrew collection in Accordance could be supplemented with English Pro ($999.00) or English Expert ($3999.00) to obtain these resources.
I’ve been trialling Accordance for six months after using BibleWorks for the previous eighteen years. The learning curve has been steep, but the gains in efficiency after learning to use the basic functions, along with resources of Accordance Hebrew Expert, has made the effort worthwhile. Since this collection is geared towards more scholarly use, those preparing Bible studies and sermons will need to add more resources to this collection.