I got a cool offer to upgrade my Verbum software from version 5 to 6 for really cheap (comparatively). Not only is the software an upgrade but they bumped me up from Basic to Foundations. It comes with a bunch of material not available in Basic.

I got 3 additional Bibles, a host of Greek Interlinears (if only I could read Greek), the Clementine Vulgate (which I just bought hardcopy last week), 11 harmony and parallel books, 6 additional Biblical commentaries, (I noticed with version 6 they took Catena Aurea off Basic and onto Foundations so I gained nothing there), 3 more patristic period pieces, 9 additional books on medieval  theology.

Deep breath.

Eighteen more modern theology books including Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Cardinal Newman that I almost bought at the bookstore the other day. Seven more books on biblical study, 13 more books on spirituality (some good ones too), a couple more apologetic specimens (although I don’t usually read apologetics) the church documents I don’t care so much about since that is all available online (but in the program they link to a bunch of other stuff via searches, etc) the reference material is too much to even mention but you can find it here.

It also sports 27 different research tools whereas the Basic had 8 or so. I don’t even know what some of these tools even mean. It also comes with videos by Catholic Answers (a radio/video show) which can be lively and entertaining (and it cuts out the meandering questions by the call-ins and gets to the point) and videos by Father Barron (I’ve seen most of those though).

The only disappointment with the upgrade is the lack of history books. With Foundations you get one history book. I like to have a bunch of different histories. Of course, one could argue, these would all be pretty conforming to a “Catholic” narrative. I would agree, but there is also the Protestant narrative. There is the modern narrative that says fighting the Crusades was wrong (I strongly disagree!). There is the Gibbon narrative, Christians brought down Rome. There are all kinds of “narratives” and I haven’t heard the Catholic one yet. And I think I have a pretty neutral source in Durant’s works. Plus, being a natural sceptic (and a bartender to boot!) I tend to check things through pretty clearly.

One pet peeve of mine is some people will hear some item of knowledge, so-called, and then go parroting it around as fact. In the ear, out the mouth, no processing in-between. I say so-called knowledge because if you haven’t processed it, cross-checked it, thought on it, I don’t consider it knowledge anymore than getting a parrot to say “the sky is blue!” is expressing the parrot’s knowledge.

The only drawback to the software as a whole is – who has the time (outside of a seminarian or monk) to make use of 1/4 of the material and resources? I did the upgrade, but if I used 5% of Basic I’d be surprised.


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