Disclaimer: Except for the links to the free online GKC, the rest of this post assumes you own a Mac (don’t you?) and you are using Accordance.
Indeed, why bother? Isn’t it an old book in the public domain? Isn’t GKC available online?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful to be able to access Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar for free online instead of having to buy a hard copy. You can read it in German here (online, or download as a PDF). You can access it in English here.
Quite simply, these features (as described on the Accordance website):
- quick lookup via the familiar section-letter reference scheme (e.g. 75h), and additionally permits searches for scripture references, Hebrew and Greek content, and even transliteration,
- useful typographical features: the type size distinction between primary and secondary discussion has been preserved, scripture references have been reformatted (e.g. Ec I17 becomes Ec 1:17), and the occasional Arabic or Syriac script citations have been transliterated,
- scans of numerous passages whose accuracy depends on exact reproduction of the typeset page: for example, occurrences of Babylonian punctuation (the footnote to § 8g), the table of vowel classes (§ 9t), and the verbal paradigms (AQ),
- the useful Table of Alphabets script chart and facsimile of the Siloam Inscription, carefully scanned,
- the Index of Subjects, with corrections, and
- support for highlighting
To start with, the Accordance version is magnificently readable. It is not just a page scan (like the online versions).
You can easily copy and paste information for quotes.
But for me, the most useful aspect is being able to (accurately and completely) search for English Titles, Hebrew Titles, English Content, Scripture, Hebrew Content, Greek Content or Transliteration. The online English version does allow some limited English word search capability (Hebrew does not work), but nothing like what can be done within Accordance.
Also, by hovering over the Accordance GKC module hyperlinks, the linked material can be displayed in the Instant Details window. So, you don’t need to navigate to another section in the book or to another text in order to read a section reference or a scripture example.
Finally, as with all my Accordance modules, I have my library with me wherever I go (even when I am not online). I love books (I have too many of them), but digital reference tools like the GKC Module in Accordance are prime examples of technology put to very good use.