Thursday, April 1, 2010

HebrewBible Version 4.0 with iPad support and new fonts

The latest version of my Hebrew Bible app was released on April 1st (to coincide with the release of Apple's iPad in the USA on April 3rd). This version is a "universal" app in that a customer only needs to buy it once and it will run on either the iPhone, iPod Touch (1st or 2nd generation), or iPad (a minimum of iPhone OS 3.0 is required on any device). It is a free upgrade for current users of the app.
The changes:

  1. The application has been modified to take advantage of the greater screen size of the iPad when run on that device.
  2. New fonts (the Culmus Ancient Semitic Scripts) have been added so that users can select (via preferences) alternative fonts with which to view the Hebrew Bible text.

The new fonts are based on script styles used at different times throughout history. So, for example, you can choose to read the Hebrew Bible in a font that looks like a script style in use at the time of Hezekiah or script styles that were in use at the time of the Second Temple! There are multiple Paleo Hebrew fonts, "square" or "Assyrian" Hebrew fonts, and Aramaic/Canaanite/Phoenician fonts included. The Paleo Hebrew fonts could also be useful for someone who is attempting to learn to read Paleo Hebrew as there are few large digital texts that are readily available that one can use when learning to read Paleo Hebrew script. The Keter Aram Tsova font replicates the script found in the Aleppo Codex and is a lovely "square" or "Assyrian" Hebrew script that supports vowels and cantillation marks. There is also a font that is similar to the Ashkenazi Ktav Stam writing in which Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, Mezzuzot, and the Five Megillot are written. Several Aramaic fonts are provided for reading the Aramaic Torah and, for fun, a Proto-Canaanite and a Phoenician font have also been included.

The additional font support is dependent on iPhone OS version 3.2 (which is currently only available on the iPad). Therefore, if the application is used with a device that is not running iPhone OS version 3.2, only the default font will be used.

When reading the Hebrew text without vowels, any of the following fonts can be used. However, when reading one of the versions that have vowels or cantillation, only the default font, Keter Aram Tsova, and Keter YG fonts can be used (the other fonts are not meant to be used with vowels or cantillation). Here is an example of the first line of the Genesis text in the iPad rendered with the different fonts (The fonts are listed in chronological order. The date next to the font name indicates the approximate century that the script style dates from):

Proto Canaanite (27C BCE):

Phoenician Ahirma (12C-10C BCE):

Hebrew Paleo Gezer (10C BCE):

Hebrew Paleo Mesha (9C BCE):

Hebrew Paleo Siloam (8C BCE):

Hebrew Paleo Lachish (6C BCE):

Hebrew Square Isaiah (2C BCE):

Hebrew Paleo Qumran (1C BCE):

Hebrew Square Habakkuk (1C BCE):

Hebrew Square Ben Kosba (2C CE):

Hebrew Square Bet Shearim (2C CE):

Keter Aram Tsova (10C CE):

Keter YG (10C CE):

Hebrew Samaritan (14C CE):

Hebrew Sofer STaM Ashkenaz:

Default Font:

In addition, the following Aramaic fonts are provided that can be used when viewing the Aramaic (without vowels) version of the Torah:

Aramaic Early BR Rkb (8C BCE):

Aramaic VIIBCE (7C BCE):

Aramaic Imperial Yeb (5C BCE):