Instead of a vacation to Mediterranean beaches this summer, Olive Tree developers are taking an intellectual vacation to the Eastern Mediterranean, the ancient home of Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible. Academics, lay people, and clergy alike have benefited from the convenience and affordability of Olive Tree’s original Greek and Hebrew products for Palm and Windows Mobile, which brought parsing, morphology, and dictionary products to the mobile platform. Now our developers are hard at work extending those same ground-breaking original language features to the iPhone BibleReader.
The recent release of the BHS/GNT BibleReader for iPhone was just the beginning, and we have great plans to update the platform in the upcoming months. What can you expect to see in upcoming product releases?

  • One touch parsing and morphology
  • Fast and powerful searching capabilities extending beyond the biblical text to the parsing information itself
  • New and improved dictionary functionality, including a nearly-unabridged version of BDB
  • Improved quality of dictionary links to support entries even when sources disagree on lexical forms 
  • Aesthetically pleasing UNICODE fonts

Behind great projects are great people, and Drayton Benner and Steven Cummings will be working on these projects for Olive Tree. Drayton studied math and computer science as an undergrad at the University of Virginia, and he worked full-time doing research and development work in mathematical software for a number of years.  But Drayton was drawn to biblical studies and had a desire to edify the church through academic teaching and research, so he shifted directions and obtained a Master’s degree from Regent College (Vancouver, BC, Canada) in Old Testament. He is now studying for a PhD in Northwest Semitic Philology in the University of Chicago’s Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations Department (Hebrew and Aramaic are Northwest Semitic languages). He is three years into these studies, and he hopes someday to be an Old Testament professor and to research, among other things, the use of computers in aiding biblical studies.  This is Drayton’s third summer working for Olive Tree, and he is “delighted to be working to provide tools to advance the work of two institutions about which I care: the church and the academy.”

Assisting him on manuscript formatting will be new Olive Tree employee Steven Cummings, who is well-versed in Koine Greek and has a Master’s of Theology in New Testament Biblical Studies from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  Steven says, “I am excited to tackle the formatting for Olive Tree’s original language projects, and look forward to helping make original language study more accessible to those on the go!” You can read more about Steven in his own blog entry:

While there are no swimsuits or beach towels for our developers on their Mediterranean vacation, their hard work means that Olive Tree Original Language tools will be as handy to take with you to the beach as the sunscreen.