Scholar’s Library: Gold

* Scholar’s Library Gold: $1,379.95

* Ratio of scholarly to non-scholarly works: 5
* Ratio of research works to non-research works: 4
* Subject range:5
* Contains resources not freely or more cheaply available elsewhere: 5
* Value for money: 5

This is as good as it gets in terms of value for money, if you can’t spend more than this. It’s also a dramatically more expensive collection. This is a huge amount of money to spend on a single research library, but taking a closer look you can see where the money is. There’s simply nothing else on the market which comes close to this, from what I have seen, at this price point (Portfolio is another story). It contains everything in the Scholar’s Library Silver, as well as:

* Context Of Scripture: $300 An old favourite returns

* The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT in English (Charles): $250 You can find the Apocrypha as a free Online Bible Module, but it won’t contain the Pseudepigrapha, or Charles’ commentary and text critical notes

* The Encyclopedia of Christianity: Volumes 1-3: $290 This is a work I recommend highly. It’s an English language subject dictionary of common terms in Christianity, from ‘Calvinism’, to ‘Canaan’, ‘Eschatology’ to ‘Llullian Method’. Apart from all the useful information on words you already know, it contains a lot of words you very likely don’t and a huge amount of historical information This is a particularly useful resource to help you navigate scholarly material which used standard theological terms. All else aside, it’s a terrific Bible dictionary which is a serious cut above most in the field. Very good value for money, and the fourth volume has just been released

* Early Church Fathers (37 Volumes): $250 Always worth having, for the reasons mentioned previously

We’re up to $1,090 already just with these four resources, all of which are worth having, and all of which you are likely to use regularly. That means that even these four works alone represent $1,000 more value than the last collection, and the last collection had at least $500 more value than the one before. Together with the huge range of Bible translations, and the excellent lexical resources, there’s easily $1,800 of value here, well justifying the price. But there’s plenty more to come. 
* The Amarna Letters: $40 Bronze Age correspondence, we know about this

* The Complete Works of Josephus: $20 Our favourite Jewish historian, well worth the money

* The Works of Philo: $30 Other than Josephus, the most important 1st century Jewish writer outside Scripture though you may need to learn why, and how to use him

* The Nag Hammadi Library in English: Fourth Revised Edition: $66 Not casual reading, nor likely to be read very often, but essential if you ever encounter Gnostic studies or silly claims about what they believed

* Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volumes 1-3: $60 Another resource you won’t be opening often, but useful to have around the place for studies requiring archaeological background material

All cheap but useful resources (another $250 worth), and you’re getting them thrown in pretty much for free. Not only that, this collection also includes some very important works which weren’t included in any of the previous collections.

* The Works of Philo: Greek Text with Morphology: $100 If you’re serious about your Philo, its useful to have him in Greek as well as English

* History of the Christian Church: $80 Schaff’s exhaustive and still well respected history, valuable despite its age (1911), and very useful for research into Christian history and the development of the apostasy

* Semeia: An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism (91 Volumes): $50 A modern academic journal with a different emphasis to most, and may seem a little offbeat at first. But I can tell you from experience there’s some quality scholarship here. I found this particularly useful when I challenged by an atheist ‘If the health and hygiene rules in the Law of Moses are so great, why did the Christians abandon them?’, a question I had puzzled over myself

* A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament – Metzger: $35 Essential reading if you want to understand New Testament textual criticism, and how scholars make their decisions as to what was in the original texts. This is a companion volume to Nestle/Aland 27, the Greek New Testament text used by almost every modern English Bible. The real value of this book is that it explains in detail the various textual decisions made by the committee which compiled that text, so you can understand why the text reads as it does

* Complete Word Study Dictionary NT: $45 A classic work by Zodhiates, oft cited. It contains headwords in Greek, so you’ll have to know your Greek or transliterate, but the entries are very useful

* Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (4 Volumes): $140 A conservative and theologically biased encyclopedia which is nevertheless a cut above the average, well researched, and especially useful on archaeology

* Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (3 Volumes): $140 A huge dictionary which goes beyond merely the meanings of the Greek words (which are listed in Greek), and describes the social, historical, and religious context in which they were used, as well as their different applications and meanings in various passages

* The United Bible Societies’ New Testament Handbook Series (20 Volumes): $400

* The United Bible Societies’ Old Testament Handbook Series (21 Volumes): $400

There is $800 of value here with these two collections alone, seriously. It’s ridiculous that you can scoop these two up along with everything else listed above, for the laughable price of $1,370. Thus far I haven’t bothered mentioning the numerous Bible commentaries bundled with these collections, because most of them don’t fit into the academic/scholarly bracket. But these handboooks are in a class of their own. These were written specifically for translators to help translators understand the Biblical text when they are making translation decisions. 

You’ll find here insights into the text which you simply will not find in any other Biblical commentary. These are professional commentaries for professionals. Remember, they are aimed at helping the translators choose the correct words in English to render the original Hebrew and Greek, so they won’t provide exactly the same kind of commentary as you may be useful (they’re not interested in finding Bible echoes or deep spiritual insights). What you will find is an excellent presentation of the kinds of decision making processes through which translators move when choosing how to render the text in English, which will really help you get behind modern Bible translations and evaluate them rigorously * The New International Greek Testament Commentary (12 Volumes): $533 Yes, that’s correct. These twelve volumes on the New Testament are usually priced at $533 by themselves, despite the fact that this constitutes commentary only on twelve of the New Testament books. There is much of value here, and even though in places it is extremely liberal (each volume was written by a different author, so the same perspective isn’t reflected throughout the work), it still provides extensive commentary from the conservative viewpoint which is extremely useful (the exhaustive though liberal biased commentary on 1 Corinthians 11 is a case in point)

* PBB Reading Key: There’s a module you can buy for the Logos Library system which allows you to actually create your own Logos Library books. This isn’t it. What this does provide is the capacity to read such books as produced by other Logos Library users. This is particularly useful, since users aren’t allowed to sell the works they produce with the Logos Library, so as with the Online Bible there are a lot of free user made Logos Library modules online

This is collection is the stuff. If you will actually use these resources and you can afford to buy this collection, then do so. You may well be better off purchasing the Original Languages collection first, and upgrading to this at a convenient time in the future (you should receive a discount by upgrading, if I remember correctly).