1 May 2005

Unicode Fonts for Biblical Studies - made easy

I looked in vain for Greek & Hebrew Unicode keyboards, which were
easy to install, intuitive to use, and free. Some keyboards are free for a trial
period, some include just Hebrew or just Greek, and most are difficult to use.

So I wrote my own, and I'm sharing them as the Tyndale Unicode Font Kit.
Almost all word processors now support Unicode - with the notable
exceptions of Word Perfect on the PC and Word on the Mac before Word 2004.
If you use Windows 98, Mac OS 9 or earlier, you should use the legacy fonts
(see previous emails).

1) Why use Unicode?
2) Tyndale Unicode Font Kit (and some others)
3) Greek & Hebrew Unicode Bibles to download
4) Greek & Hebrew Unicode Bibles on the web
5) Masoretic Punctuation

1) Why use Unicode?
* All Unicode fonts are interchangeable
- in theory at least; in practice you need a 'scholarly' Unicode font
for Biblical languages.
* Unicode fonts are loved by publishers
* Documents with Unicode can go straight to the web
* No need to make PDFs to make your fonts look right
- though this is still the safest route if you aren't sure everyone
has a Unicode font yet
* PC and Macintosh Unicode is exactly the same
* Unicode Hebrew works with true right-to-left formatting and wordwrap.

2) Tyndale Unicode Font Kit (and some others)
The Tyndale Unicode Font Kit includes
* keyboards for easily typing Biblical Hebrew, Greek and Transliteration
* simple look-alike and sound-alike key positions (see attached)
* instructions for customising the keyboards if you want to change them
* the Cardo Unicode font by David Parry - excellent for Greek & Hebrew
* Hebrew includes vowel pointing and Masoretic punctuation
* Greek includes breathing, accents and ancient forms
* Transliteration is on the same keyboard as Greek
* PC and Mac versions use the same keyboard layout
* PC installer does all the hard work, with simple instructions for activation
* any other scholarly Unicode font can be used instead or in conjunction
* works perfectly with the Unicode Greek & Hebrew Bible Word docs (below)

Tyndale Unicode Font Kit for PCs
Save this installer on your desktop, double-click on it to install the files,
and follow the simple instructions to activate it. Then you can delete it.

Tyndale Unicode Font Kit for Macs
Download this, open the folder, and open the "Instructions" file

Other free Greek & Hebrew scholarly fonts are available from
SBL - only Hebrew yet
SIL - Greek & Hebrew separately
TITUS - only Greek

Some commercial fonts are also worth considering:
Linguist Software: http://www.linguistsoftware.com/lhebu.htm
Linguist fonts are used by the Oxford Hebrew Bible Project and it has been
licensed by the United Bible Societies for work on the Biblia Hebraica Quinta,
so it is guaranteed to reproduce the BHS perfectly.
Galaxie Fonts: http://www.galaxie.com/store/product.asp?ProductID=27
which are supplied with Word macros for converting from legacy Greek & Hebrew.

3) Greek & Hebrew Unicode Bibles to download
The following texts are converted to Unicode by Tyndale House from texts which
have been prepared elsewhere. Please respect the copyright restrictions which
are appended to the texts, and use them only for non-commercial scholarly work.
Hebrew OT with vowels
- based on BHS, with Hebrew versification and English variations marked
Greek LXX with accents- based on Rahlfs text
Greek-Hebrew LXX & MT in parallel
- Unicode version of Tov's electronic edition
Greek NT with accents (NA27/UBS4)- (UBS3, UBS4, NA26, NA27, and the coming NA28 all use the same text,
though UBS & NA use slightly different orthography)

4) Greek & Hebrew Unicode Bibles on the web
Before you can read Unicode Biblical Greek and Hebrew on the web properly,
you need to set up your browser to use the Cardo Unicode font
(install this with the Tyndale Unicode Kit, or use another scholarly font).
The instructions are slightly different for each browser:
In Internet Explorer 6:
- click on "Tools", "Internet options..." then "Fonts"
- for "Latin based" language scripts, select the Web page font "Cardo"
- for "Greek" and "Hebrew" language scripts, also select "Cardo"
Leningrad OT (used for BHS) with pointing
Leningrad OT (used for BHS) with pointing & Masoretic punctuation
Leningrad OT (used for BHS) with pointing & Masoretic punctuation
& analysis & concordance & English parallel

Aleppo OT with pointing
Aleppo OT Hebrew with English in parallel (Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Ed)
Aleppo OT with full pointing & Masoretic punctuation
Targum Onqelos with vowels
Mishna, Tosephta, and both Talmuds in unpointed Hebrew
Hebrew Unicode typewriter with all the cantillation marks
Greek NT NA26/UBS3 = NA27/UBS4 - click on a word for simple lexicon and gramatical analysis
Orthodox Church Greek NT with accents
Sacred texts from other religions, incl. Koran & Hindu texts

5) Masoretic punctuation
English has a few ways to split up a sentence (commas, brackets etc)
but Masoretic punctuation employs about 30 ways. This enables some very
precise analysis of the text's meaning, as defined by the Masoretic rabbis.
Now that you can read and write these punctuation marks on your computer
you might be interested to find out more.
TanakhML Project - http://verboomen.starline-inc.de/
- the Hebrew Bible with full Masoretic pointing
- concordance to every form of each word
- analysis of verse structures, using Masorectic punctuation
Masoretic Hebrew Punctuation
- a summary of the history of the Masoretes and introduction to
how Masoretic punctuation helps us to interpret the biblical text.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Masoretic Hebrew Punctuation (item 5): The BFBS document location has moved to http://lc.bfbs.org.uk/e107_files/downloads/masoretes.pdf. There is more detail at