Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on fonts

In my previous post, I referred to the SBL Greek and Hebrew fonts. From that link you can download the SBLHebrew, but the Greek is still in beta and under discussion on the SBL Fonts Forum. (The Greek font has been taken down for 'repairs,' but John Hudson says a new beta should be available sometime in July 2007.)
To get the new Microsoft fonts if you have not upgraded to Vista or Office 2007 requires a bit of work. I got Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantina, Corbel, and Segoe UI by downloading a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007. (This new version is certainly improved in many ways from Office 2003, but I'm also finding some issues working with Greek/Hebrew and doing footnotes.)
In the meantime, as I had mentioned in another post, I am sticking with Cardo for all my Greek/Hebrew.


  1. So perhaps you can answer this question. Why is there not more of a push to develop Unicode fonts that contain Greek, extended Latin and Hebrew like Cardo? I like Cardo, but not as much as Gentium and SBL Hebrew, so I end up using two fonts instead of one. No big wup, but just a question from someone who has never developed a font for biblical languages! :^)

  2. Good question... better than I know how to answer! I was a bit surprised that SBL started work on the Hebrew first since there are so many more characters needed. (Remember for Unicode, it is possible to have preformed characters that include both the character and any accents, vowel points, breathing marks, etc.) The Greek would seem to be comparatively easy.
    Perhaps the issue is that these font files can get rather large when everything gets added in (Arial Unicode MS is 22Mb!), but Greek and Hebrew w/ transliteration wouldn't seem to be that burdensome. (Cardo is only 708Kb.) There are a couple other options of which I am aware.
    - Titus Cyberbit has Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, transliteration characters, and more. This is a free, downloadable font.
    - BibliaLS has Greek, Hebrew, and transliteration characters. This font comes with some of the Logos software packages and is not free.
    - As I mentioned, SBL will eventually release a SBLBibLit that includes both Hebrew and Greek. (I think the Hebrew is beautiful, but I don't really like the Greek style . Both may look nice in print, but they really are too 'sophisticated' if the goal is easy identification of characters for students who are trying to learn the language.)

    Perhaps someone else who knows about these font matters will be able to provide a better answer for why we don't have more combined biblical language font sets.