Prioritizing My Top 5 Commentaries for Each Book of the Bible

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Dec 28 2020 4:46 PM

I've been doing a lot of maintenance work on Logos over the holidays and one project that I decided to do was to prioritize the top 5 commentaries I own for each Bible book according to www.bestcommentaries.com.

It was a lot of work but I'm pleased to report that it is working like a charm. Now, whenever I want to consult Bible commentaries my top 5 appear in sequential order. Has anyone else on the forums done this?

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Matt Hamrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 28 2020 5:22 PM

Several years ago I prioritized  my top 3 for each book not based on best commentaries but my own experience. Over time it's changed a little as I find a commentary I like better than what I had prioritized. 

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Phil Tuften | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 28 2020 6:29 PM

Bruce Dunning:

I've been doing a lot of maintenance work on Logos over the holidays and one project that I decided to do was to prioritize the top 5 commentaries I own for each Bible book according to www.bestcommentaries.com.

It was a lot of work but I'm pleased to report that it is working like a charm. Now, whenever I want to consult Bible commentaries my top 5 appear in sequential order. Has anyone else on the forums done this?

Bruce,

I tend to prioritise series, so NICNT/NICOT, NIVAC, Word, Pillar, BST and Tyndale are always at the top of my list.  I Find NICNT/NICOT and the others in my list are fairly constant in their comments, apart from some of the Word commentaries.  This is an easier work around for me. 

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1Cor10:31 | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 28 2020 8:17 PM

Bruce Dunning:

I've been doing a lot of maintenance work on Logos over the holidays and one project that I decided to do was to prioritize the top 5 commentaries I own for each Bible book according to www.bestcommentaries.com.

It was a lot of work but I'm pleased to report that it is working like a charm. Now, whenever I want to consult Bible commentaries my top 5 appear in sequential order. Has anyone else on the forums done this?

Hi Bruce,

Is there a way for me to free ride on your investment? Is there a way I can easily import your prioritization? 

I wondered aloud if rankings would be made available by Logos: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197110.aspx?PageIndex=1. Some didn't want it. I respect that. It would be an enormous time saving if multiple rankings from different sources (to cater to different audiences) is available from Logos itself. Is there a way to put this as a suggestion for Logos and see if people want to vote for this feature?

Thanks 

NDD

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 28 2020 10:35 PM

Bruce Dunning:
It was a lot of work but I'm pleased to report that it is working like a charm. Now, whenever I want to consult Bible commentaries my top 5 appear in sequential order. Has anyone else on the forums done this?

I assume you are doing this using advanced prioritisation?

I did something similar, but not as good, some time ago - tagging the top five (or so) of my commentaries for each book as Best commentaries and then creating a section on a custom guide for Best Commentaries.

Now, for whichever book I am looking at, I get a section containing my top commentaries (but as I am relying on tagging not advanced prioritisation) they are not in order.

One of the reasons I have held back from doing this is concern that the resource prioritisation pane would get very large!

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 12:49 AM

Merry Christmas!

Bruce Dunning:

Has anyone else on the forums done this?

Yes.

Bruce Dunning:

one project that I decided to do was to prioritize the top 5 commentaries I own

I did it a while back with, e.g. 16 books on the Gospel of Matthew, see screenshot below:

Bruce Dunning:

according to www.bestcommentaries.com.

Bestcommentaries is one source. I've done a hybrid one, utilizing both bestcommentaries.com, Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey, 7th Edition, John Evans' Guide to Biblical Commentaries, 10th edition, and various seminaries' recommendations as to the top commentaries for each book of the Canon (and deuterocanon).

Phil Tuften:

I tend to prioritise series

The only series I've prioritized is the NIB, Phil. I agree with you that the NIC is quite homogenous. Usually every series has it's gems and flops.

Graham Criddle:

One of the reasons I have held back from doing this is concern that the resource prioritisation pane would get very large!

Graham, your concerns have proven to be true. By this method the prioritization pane is insanely large!

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 4:41 AM

I started doing this as Bruce suggests some years ago, and it worked well for the books I'd done it for. I've stopped trying to maintain it and I tagged each commentary that's in the Bestcommentaries top five and created a collection called "Bestcommentaries". I then added a commentary section to the Passage Guide which only gives me those (up to) five commentaries. I also created another collection to exclude these five, and set the main Commentaries section of the PG to use this collection. I prioritise things like background commentaries, textual commentaries and NT use of the Old commentary above all other commentaries in this section as well as I always consult these when preparing a sermon.

That suits my workflow rather better, and makes it somewhat easier to maintain, as maintaining a prioritisation list with about 300 commentaries gets really messy. 

The main problem is that, if a commentary covering more than one Bible book is in the Bestcommentaries top five list for one book, my method doesn't make that distinction, whereas you can use prioritisation limits in the method Bruce has done (although it's messy to do). 

I'd like to see prioritisation revisited as I'm sure there must be a better way of doing it. Even faceted browsing by resource type would improve it - I created "Dummy" personal books to divide it up into sections but it's become a nightmare to navigate. By the time you've prioritised devotionals, Bible Dictionaries, lexicons and commentaries to get things appearing in the order you want them, it becomes an unmanageable jumble. 

By the way, I haven't spelt "prioritisation" incorrectly - I'm English and can't bring myself to spell it with a "z".  😀

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 5:08 AM

Graham Criddle:

I did something similar, but not as good, some time ago - tagging the top five (or so) of my commentaries for each book as Best commentaries and then creating a section on a custom guide for Best Commentaries.

Now, for whichever book I am looking at, I get a section containing my top commentaries (but as I am relying on tagging not advanced prioritisation) they are not in order.

I did similar to Graham, consulting Tim Challies, BestCommentaries, Ligonier Ministry, TEDS Library and Denver Seminary Library.

I use a combination of MYTAG and assigning stars. 5 for top 2, 4 for next 2 and 3 for 5th favorite.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:16 AM

NDD:
Is there a way for me to free ride on your investment? Is there a way I can easily import your prioritization? 

I would be pleased to share what I did but I'm not sure if that is possible.

NDD:
I wondered aloud if rankings would be made available by Logos: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197110.aspx?PageIndex=1. Some didn't want it. I respect that. It would be an enormous time saving if multiple rankings from different sources (to cater to different audiences) is available from Logos itself.

I can understand why some people would not like this. The nice thing about doing in yourself is that you can adjust any volumes that you would prefer at any time. I view the list as being quite dynamic.

NDD:
Is there a way to put this as a suggestion for Logos and see if people want to vote for this feature?

You could put your suggestion in FaithlifeFeedback and see if others might vote for it. - https://feedback.faithlife.com/boards/logos-desktop-app

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:20 AM

Graham Criddle:
I assume you are doing this using advanced prioritisation?

Yes, that is the only way I know to identify a specific book in a series.

Graham Criddle:
One of the reasons I have held back from doing this is concern that the resource prioritisation pane would get very large!

I had the same concern and wondered what the maximum number of resources would be possible. I found that, as my list got longer, the space between each entry got smaller. I'm guessing that there is a maximum number but I'm not sure what it is.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:27 AM

Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari:
Bestcommentaries is one source. I've done a hybrid one, utilizing both bestcommentaries.com, Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey, 7th Edition, John Evans' Guide to Biblical Commentaries, 10th edition, and various seminaries' recommendations as to the top commentaries for each book of the Canon (and deuterocanon).

Those are some great resources that could also be considered.

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1Cor10:31 | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:33 AM

David Thomas:

I did similar to Graham, consulting Tim Challies, BestCommentaries, Ligonier Ministry, TEDS Library and Denver Seminary Library.

I use a combination of MYTAG and assigning stars. 5 for top 2, 4 for next 2 and 3 for 5th favorite.

People already know this I am sure, but BestCommentaries is a composite ranking based on the reviewer list (which includes Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver Seminar). See here for the full list of reviewers: https://www.bestcommentaries.com/reviewers/  Thus, using Best Commentaries & [Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver seminary] will result in overweighting [Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver]. 

I see lots of BestCommentaries.com bashing and I can understand that. So what I'd love to see is Logos give the rankings from several people (not just BestCommentaries.com) that are respected by different audiences: Catholics, Baptists, Reformed, Scholar, etc. Thus, if I am a Catholic, I will able to sort the commentaries in my Libraries by a Catholic reviewer. If I am a scholar, I will be able to sort the commentaries in my Library by a reviewer whose recommendations are for the scholarly audience. If I am a Catholic scholar, I will be able to sort by...You get the drift. 

NDD

I am a financial economist and I am trying to sway MJ (who I think is a Catholic) to vote on having rankings feature in Future Logos versions! So I've tried to use an illustration that appeals to a Catholic.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:34 AM

GregW:
I've stopped trying to maintain it and I tagged each commentary that's in the Bestcommentaries top five and created a collection called "Bestcommentaries".

I've actually done the same thing with tagging but tagged the top 10 in my case.

GregW:
The main problem is that, if a commentary covering more than one Bible book is in the Bestcommentaries top five list for one book, my method doesn't make that distinction, whereas you can use prioritisation limits in the method Bruce has done (although it's messy to do). 

Yes it is kind of messy but it works.

GregW:
I'd like to see prioritisation revisited as I'm sure there must be a better way of doing it.

I agree and look forward to this happening someday. Not sure how that would be done.

GregW:
By the way, I haven't spelt "prioritisation" incorrectly - I'm English and can't bring myself to spell it with a "z".  😀

Haha! I'm Canadian and am quite inconsistent, landing somewhere between the US and the UK Tongue Tied

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:36 AM

David Thomas:
I use a combination of MYTAG and assigning stars. 5 for top 2, 4 for next 2 and 3 for 5th favorite.

David, I also make extensive use of mytags and ratings which I'm continually adjusting.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:47 AM

NDD:
but BestCommentaries is a composite ranking based on the reviewer list (which includes Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver Seminar). See here for the full list of reviewers: https://www.bestcommentaries.com/reviewers/  Thus, using Best Commentaries & [Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver seminary] will result in overweighting [Tim Challies, Ligonier, Denver]. 

I was aware that the rankings are a composite based upon an unknown (to me) formula. I had read that BestCommentaries' formula favors commentaries that have been around long enough to be widely used and commonly reviewed. (being aware of the bias) I tried to weight some of the newer reviews in order to consider good commentaries that have not been around long enough to get traction in the BC formula (Baker Exegetical, ZEC & EEC). My personal rankings result from a Venn Diagram approach.

But your insight is valuable to those who are unaware of the methodology of BC!

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 6:51 AM

Bruce Dunning:
Has anyone else on the forums done this?

Since you're asking, no. But only because I don't use the guides. Mainly, right-clicks where needed.

Instead one of my 'windows' in my layout is a full Multiview for my top commentary sets. I put more in the sequence, which lets Multiview filter out non-participating sets for a given passage.

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1Cor10:31 | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 7:04 AM

David Thomas:

I tried to weight some of the newer reviews in order to consider good commentaries that have not been around long enough to get traction in the BC formula (Baker Exegetical, ZEC & EEC).

I didn't know that. Thank you.  This explains the weird finding that sometimes a newer commentary by the same author in the same series is unranked while the older one is ranked very highly. I wondered: did the scholar age poorly and became less insightful? [It is possible...My top 2 cited papers are the very 2 two papers I wrote. It is downhill after that!]

David Thomas:

My personal rankings result from a Venn Diagram approach.

I started getting the individual rankings to see which ones are ranked high by multiple reviewers (I guess this is what you mean by Venn Diagram approach). But I didn't have time to follow through. Hence, I am hoping Logos will provide the rankings and I can simply pay for the feature.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 8:13 AM

Denise:
Since you're asking, no. But only because I don't use the guides. Mainly, right-clicks where needed.

Denise, honestly I don't tent to use guides either although I have been exploring using them more lately. But what I do incorporate is Morris Proctor's idea of using a one-volume commentary and then using the right arrow to move to my next prioritized commentary. It really is a slick way of accessing them without having to open them from the library.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 8:18 AM

David Thomas:
I was aware that the rankings are a composite based upon an unknown (to me) formula. I had read that BestCommentaries' formula favors commentaries that have been around long enough to be widely used and commonly reviewed. (being aware of the bias) I tried to weight some of the newer reviews in order to consider good commentaries that have not been around long enough to get traction in the BC formula (Baker Exegetical, ZEC & EEC). My personal rankings result from a Venn Diagram approach.

David, do you have the results of your Venn Diagram approach? I would love to see what you came up with. Or did you just do this informally?

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 29 2020 10:03 AM

Bruce Dunning:
did you just do this informally?

Done VERY informally. I started with the BestCommentaries Top 5, then looked for Denver and TIU (TEDS) recommendations that were not in the BC top5 but are part of my Logos Library.

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