# Monday, December 12, 2005

Anyone doing typesetting or any design work involving text (print or electronic) should know the name Robert Bringhurst. If you don't, then shame on you. Go to Amazon (or wherever you buy books from) and get a copy of his Elements of Typographic Style. Read it. Learn it. Love it.

After you're through reading it, check out Richard Rutter's work-in-progress, The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web. Rutter has an RSS feed set up for site updates; check out his blog for further details.

(thanks to typographica for the pointer)

Post Author: rico
Monday, December 12, 2005 11:05:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, December 01, 2005

I happened acorss the Posner Memorial Library collection at Carnegie Mellon University. They've digitised (photographed) a bunch of stuff.

One of the items is Quinque libri legis Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium with a date of 1539-1544. My Latin ... well, I don't really have any Latin, but I seem to be able to make out something about five books of the law (the book names gave it away, I know).

The text is in Hebrew. Here's the title page, where you can see the standard "Ex officina Roberti Stephani, typographi Regii." ("from the office of Robertus Stephanus, typographer to the king"?) which is the same line that appears on the title page of the 1550 edition of the so-called "Textus Receptus".

Here's the first page of Genesis. Now my Hebrew is only marginally better than my Latin (which isn't saying much) but one interesting item to note is that the first word of the book is printed as the title, the balance of the book takes off from there. From what I understand, this is standard for Hebrew editions (to use the first word as the title).

Typographically, the text is cool because you can see use of wide letters to justify the left margin.

So, my questions (if anyone happens to know):

1. The Posner Library only has the Torah. Did Bobby-Steve publish the whole Hebrew Bible?

2. Anyone know the basis of this edition? Surely it isn't L. Is it the same basis as the Ben Chayyim 1524-25 edition?

3. Does this edition contain anything textually significant?

4. What is the relation of this edition to the King James Version Old Testament?

Post Author: rico
Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:17:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A few weeks back, a colleague at Logos informed me that he had a really old Bible. I mean really old. Then he proceeded to loan it to me for a few weeks. This is, in all likelihood, the oldest book I will ever personally handle.

The Bible (New Testament, actually) is H. Hammond's A Paraphrase and Annotations Upon all the Books of the New Testament, Briefly Explaining the Difficult Places thereof. And it is in beautiful shape for something that is 330 years old. Check it out (apologies, the images in this post are a little large):

That's right. It's in what I'm guessing is the original binding and everything. The binding is weak, but functional. Let's open this baby up and check out the title page. All of these pictures are clickable. And I've got a few more online on my photo page.

This is the only spot that has an engraving of any sort, though a few different folks along the way have left their mark. You can see that this is the fourth edition of Hammond's work. The first edition was published in the 1640's ... during the England's Civil War(s). Charles I got his noggin' lopped off in 1649. Cromwell was Lord Protector from 1653-1658. This book was published after Charles II re-ascended the throne.

How's that for historical context?

Let's check out First Timothy. Here's the title page to the epistle. It has a lengthy introduction. Also, don't miss the notes in the margin. It's a little different, but for all intents and purposes, much of the same sort of thing we'd find in a "study Bible" today.

That's all well and good, but let's get into it, shall we? Below is a two-page spread (I told you that binding was still functional) displaying the first chapter of First Timothy. Take a good look at it, we'll go into some detail on the structure next.

To start the detailed look, let's poke around in 1Ti 1.1-2. Note the red boxes on the below image:

click for larger image

You should really click the above image and view it in a seperate window or tab. There are three parts to the page. The primary translation (and I don't know which translation the English is, if you do please let me know) is in the middle, with the box around it. You can see the verse numbers. Inside the middle box, after the words "Apostle of Jesus Christ", you'll see an asterisk. This points the reader to the margin, which notes the reading "according to the appointment" instead of the text "by the commandment".

In addition, see the right square bracket ']' ending the verse? This tells the reader that the entire verse is paraphrased in the other margin. Here the "paraphrase" says:

1. I Paul that (Act 13.7) was sent out and constituted an Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the designation of him, who being God incarnate is both our Saviour and Lord to rescue us from the power of sin, and to rule and reign in our hearts, even he on whom all our trust and expectation and hope of good is founded and built;
2. To my dearly beloved Timothy whom I first converted and so begat to Christianity. I send my heartiest wish of all good from God our careful and loving father, and Christ Jesus to whom he hath committed all power in his church unto the worlds end.

Pretty cool huh?

But that's not all. Scroll down in the two-page image to get a peek at verse 4. You'll note a letter 'a' by the word "genealogies" along with a larger "a" out in the left margin. This refers the reader to further notes at the end of the chapter. I've reproduced the note below:

click for larger image

To get an idea of how longer passages work, I've provided an image of 1Ti 2.4-7 below. Keep an eye out for asterisks and daggers, and also check out the paraphrase along the way. Note that because this passage is on the opposite page, the paraphrase is on the right (outer) margin, the notes are on the left (inner) margin. You'll need to click the image to get the larver version, but the larger version should be readable.

click for larger image

The extended notes in this edition are really cool. Below, a note dealing with 1Ti 2.1 on "types" of prayer goes through the Greek words and even makes a reference to Pirke Aboth 3.2, providing both the Hebrew (with wide final mem!) and a translation of the Mishnah quotation. If you look at the bottom of the image (right column) you'll see he says "see Josephus", but he doesn't really give any help in finding the particular citation.

But still ... that is very cool. How'd we fall away from including this sort of stuff in our "study" Bibles?

click for larger image

Outside of this, there are a few indexes in the back, none of them very extensive. All in all, a very cool book. And it makes us, with our computers and word processors, look very weak indeed when it comes to researching, typesetting and publishing Bibles. Sure, it's not perfect. But almost every verse has the "paraphrase"; almost every chapter has several of the extended notes. There are a lot of good ideas in here (structure and feature-wise) that folks in Bible publishing today (print and electronic) would do well to examine and consider.

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:15:44 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, June 20, 2005

No, not necessarily.

Mark Simonson of Mark Simonson Studio tells us why, and gives an example.

Update (2005-06-21): Eli comments. I should explain — I know (and knew) that there is more to an italic-style font than slanting.* As regards slanting, the title of my post was poorly worded. Perhaps it should have been "And you thought 'italic font' just meant 'slanted' ... " or something along those lines. For this, Mr. Evans, I offer my humble apologies. Now: When are you going to start blogging again?

(Don't worry, folks, Eli and I are just having fun.)

* This is especially dependent on context as the term 'Italic' could indicate MSS of the "Old Latin" variety if the context were that of textual criticism or early versions of the NT.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, June 20, 2005 4:06:51 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, May 16, 2005

This is the cool part of blogging. Someone you've never met but shares similar interests posts something in the morning. You read the post and have your own thoughts and interact with it and drop the original author a trackback, comment or email. He responds.

You meet someone who shares interests, and you're able to dialog about things, and hopefully all parties involved are able to learn a little something new.

That's what's going on right now between Roger Sperberg (at Electric Forest) and me. Our perspectives are a little different — from what I understand he's looking at portable devices (either dedicated reading devices or Palm/PocketPC style devices) and ebook content for those areas. My perspective due to my role at Logos Bible Software is different, thinking about delivering ebook titles in the area of Bible study and reference through the Libronix Digital Library System.

That said, I think Roger and I agree on the basics. Books are books, whether paper or electronic. Roger writes in his first post:

But the point is to look at the limitations of a print book and, without changing the essence of the material being presented, then to release the e-book from those limits.

And, of course, he's right. There are things that just need to be there for a book to be considered a book, despite the presentation technology (paper or pixels, fixed or portable). Roger refers me to a paper by Bill Hill from Microsoft titled The Magic of Reading (MSWord Doc). If it is the paper I think it is, it is worth reading — and I need to read it again, it's been awhile.

Roger and I are on the same page here. It's almost like there is, deep in the dark recesses of Plato's cave, the clear distillation of book-ness and in most instances it has only been reflected poorly in the electronic arena. The question isn't only technological, it is about what makes a book a book. Too often us techno-types get bogged down (or altogether too excited) about the technology and we forget the purpose: books are what people read and study. Roger continues in his second post:

So if I focus my argument on making books for the digital library instead of discussing the broader topic of ways of delivering information, it's because I agree [with Bill Hill] that books play a special role for us. Let's not re-invent everything just because we can.

Right on. We're still in agreement. And Brannan's First Law of Electronic Book Design ("Just because you can doesn't mean you should") apparently still holds. There is something about books that we're comforted by, that we're used to, and that we take pleasure in when we use them. So we need to shoot for that quality of book-ness when electronic editions of books are created. And we need to do this in the context of a digital library.

Roger and I start to differ when we take into account different reading platforms, when we start to move from general ebook theory into the reality of delivering content to a platform. Admittedly, I'm a little biased because I have a vested interest in thinking about the platform that Logos Bible Software runs on. The platform that Logos targets is the Windows user (and now the Mac user too!). This means desktops, laptops and a few (though increasing) TabletPC users. Logos is about providing libraries of content (customizable and expandable) to its users. We focus on Bibles and Bible reference tools; so think commentaries, dictionaries, foreign languages, ancient languages, and all sorts of assorted study guides, topical resources, cross-reference resources and the like (currently over 4,000 titles, and counting!). But because Logos delivers to a desktop/laptop doesn't mean that the importance of electronic editions that have that sense of book-ness isn't still there. We strive to do that as much as possible. Some of these areas are:

  • We preserve paragraphing and attempt to emulate the typeset page within font and display constraints. So we don't have paged material for display, typically, because we have a continuously scrolling and re-sizable environment.
  • We do, however, encode page breaks from the printed resource for citation purposes, and we do allow users to view a "visual filter" that puts page numbers in the text flow so they know where they are in the book.
  • We encode subject/author indexes with the entries attached to articles. Thus users can search specific books, sub-collections or their entire custom library for subject index entries.
  • Books are organic things, typeset as they were to convey certain information. We do our best to preserve this. We don't stuff every book into the same "global template" as if we really think all top-level headings must be 16 point Arial bold. That would be ridiculous. The book display should remind the user of the printed version, especially if the user is familiar with the printed version. So we select a serif or sans-serif font in accordance with the book's style; font sizes and weights and whitespace are all handled similarly.
  • We encode all sorts of bibliographical metadata in the resource through including MARC record content for most every text resource, along with similar metadata in a Dublin Core style. This information is used within the application in numerous contexts, from browsing the library by Library of Congress subject, or author, or title; down to generating sub-collection or library-wide bibliographies in a number of formats, to appending a citation (in the user's preferred format) to copied excerpts. Why do this? Well, one aspect of book-ness involves considering how the book functions within the context of a collection of books (a library).

In his third post, Roger adds these final words:

My point in my post is not that e-book publishers don't know that they should or could link more, bring in other texts and pictures, and so on, but that you and I, as bringers-about-of-the-future, as Prometheans of publishing, have TWO obligations to meet if we are to succeed: we must find the things (hyperlinks in your case, motion graphics for process in my example) that print books can't do AND then execute these capabilities in such a fashion that in every other aspect we humans still regard the object we are reading as a book.

Remember too that every criterion I could list as to what makes a book could almost be met by magazines and newspapers and web pages — and CD-ROM publications too — and that I claim a special role for books. Hill's title claims the magic for reading and not for book-reading, and so maybe I'm on thin ice when I argue from this position. But it's why I focused on books instead of information retrieval as the key issue for libraries going into the future. Many people won't agree with me; and perhaps you won't agree with me, but that would be their and your prerogative. But my story is we've got to keep an e-book really booklike, and I'm sticking to it.

Agreed. Though I'd amend the last sentence in the first paragraph to say something like "... still regard the object we are reading and using as a book." Not all books are read or used in the same way. My context means I think much more about reference books; books that are accessed randomly and not necessarily sequentially. Many of these aren't books that are read from cover to cover but are read as they are consulted in discontiguous pieces. But Roger's bottom line, " ... we've got to keep an e-book really booklike" is spot on. I'm glad to hear it.

Too often (particularly in electronically representing reference books) the book-ness is stripped through concessions to technology. We don't want to do that at Logos. Bob Pritchett and other colleagues of mine have been able to instill a healthy value for the art of typesetting. It's why we're interested in looking at books (and at codices and scrolls from before the age of the printed page) to see how they communicate information. It's why I get jazzed when I look at the Complutensian Polyglot and realize that not only are the different language editions of texts aligned in columns, but through a superscript letter system they're actually aligned at the word/phrase level — and that in a book that was published in 1522!

There is something about the book. If Bill Hill says it's magic, he may be right. But we do need to do our best to not mess it up when we make electronic versions of things.

Thanks, Roger, for starting to write about these sorts of things. I'm looking forward to the sorts of topics y'all over there at Electric Forest have planned to blog about in the future.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, May 16, 2005 10:35:15 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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You should probably read this article by Roger Sperberg at the group blog Electric Forest. He works through a few of his thoughts on ebooks, and in the comments section mentions a follow-up article. I'll reserve comment until I see the follow-up article and I have a little time to think about this in more depth.

Quickly, though, I wonder if he's aware of Logos Bible Software. That is, if he has seen it and not just heard about it. Logos strives to reproduce the printed page as much as it makes sense in an electronic environment while adding features appropriate for an electronic environment (the Libronix Digital Library System, in this case). These enhancements are primarily in the realm of hypertext referencing (so, click on a Bible ref, or a Josephus ref, or a reference to 'page 347' and go there), topic indexing, and (increasingly) in distinguishing different fields of information for searching purposes.

Some resources take this quite far. The morphologically tagged editions of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament have all sorts of data stuffed in there, associated with specific words. This would never work in print, it only works electronically — much like Mr. Sperberg's chess example only works electronically and doesn't work in print.

Other resources have a relatively high degree of interaction. One recent example is Moody's AM Bible Courseware (be sure to check the video at the bottom of the page) which is powered by the Libronix Digital Library System. The books are delivered as books, they are cross-referenced with the larger Logos Bible Software library. And yes, there are tests. The realm of distance education is one area where great strides have been made in the area of ebooks (even 'free on the web' stuff — check out MIT's OpenCourseWare).

There are many things that could be done electronically that don't occur in Logos books. I like to describe these sorts of things as a sort of "multimedia extravaganza". It is all in accordance with Brannan's First Law of Electronic Book Design:* Just because you can doesn't mean you should.** Just because one could make an edition that animated page-flips doesn't mean that one should do it, no matter how cool someone might think such a thing would be. Instead, the goal is a usable edition familiar to those who use printed reference books with enhancements that fit the platform and the data — not clickie-clickie eye-candy or projects that attempt to convert publishers into movie producers.

And I'm not saying that Mr. Sperberg is advocating clickie-clickie eye-candy. His examples are reasonable, for the most part.

Anyway, I'd better stop now. I'll see about posting more after Mr. Sperberg's follow-up is posted.

Update (2005-05-16): Roger Sperberg has his follow-up posting online: Can our libraries be digital if the books are not? Be sure to check it out.

Update II (2005-05-16): I've been having a good email discussion with Murray Altheim and Roger Sperberg from Electric Forest since posting this article. Thanks to the both of them for their interest and willingness to discuss these things. I know I'm enjoying it. I hope to post some more information about books/ebooks and reading platforms based on some of the discussion in the very near future, depending on the time I have available in the next day or so.

* No, I'm not going to list out all of my Laws of Electronic Book Design. That would require me to actually codify them.

** Let's not forget the corollary to this law: Just because you should doesn't mean you can.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, May 16, 2005 9:01:35 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, May 10, 2005

[Previous posts in series: The Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus' New Testament(s), Stephanus' 1546 GNT, and Beza's 1598 Greek NT.]

This is the edition that many Bible Software packages title 1550 Stephanus Textus Receptus or something like that. The electronic editions you'll find have their genesis with Dr. Maurice Robinson's work. You can download the raw text (no accents, moveable nu normalized, no casing) edition of Dr. Robinson's work at byztxt.com (nb: byztxt.com no longer exists and now links to indecent and rude material).

Here's the title page of the edition:


The typographical device (representing the typesetter, as I understand it) is pretty much the same as the 1546 edition, though this reproduction is much clearer than the 1546. And the mention of the Gospels and Acts is interesting. But that's because this is a two-volume set with the first volume (cover page above) for the Gospels and Acts, the second volume for everything else (Paulines — which include Hebrews in this list; Catholic epistles, and the Apocalypse).

How about that initial page of First Timothy? You can see a page number in the upper left. This appears to be set, not added after the fact. But what else is going on besides an even larger initial drop-cap (seven lines!!)?

Well, there are cross-references in the outer margin (the left margin in the above image) and textual notes in the inner margin. That's pretty cool. The Greek uncial letters represent stichoi, I think — but that's a complete guess on my part. But that means that I don't know what the numeric indicators are on the inner margin.

On the references and textual notes, we can see more when we examine 1Ti 2.3-6. The image is clickable, you may need to examine the larger image to read the Greek and also to see how the referencing works.

So the the superscript circle that looks like a degree symbol indicates a cross-reference (here a reference to Second Peter). The superscript roman numeral I indicates a textual note of some sort. It looks like Stephanus rightly prefers the reading of μαρτύριον to what he notes on the side (apparently μυστήριον, using the stigma ligature, which is not mentioned in NA27/UBS4). So even some rudimentary variants are presented, though their source is not immediately evident.

One difference between Stephanus and the Complutensian Polyglot and Erasmus is the Stephanus has no Latin translation at all in his text. He just represents the Greek text, as does Beza after him. 

All in all, cool stuff. I don't know if I'll do any more of this sort of thing. It all depends on if I can find other interesting editions of the Greek NT. Let me know if you know a source, or if you'd like me to do more of this type of posting.


Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 6:33:48 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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I've played around with posts showing aspects of the Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus' New Testament(s), and Beza's 1598 Greek NT. I've got some spare time tonight, so I thought it would be cool to finally look at some of Robertus Stephanus' NT editions.

This is all the more cool to me because my employer (Logos Bible Software) has a page from an original 1550 Stephanus edition hanging in the lobby. Its the first page of the gospel of Mark, and it is very cool. I sure wish I knew more about the miniscule script ligatures. If I did, I might actually be able to read it. As it is, the page is hanging right next to the coffee machine so everytime I'm making an Americano I take a peek at the Stephanus page to see how much of it I can decipher.

Anyway, the good folks at bibles.org.uk have two editions of Stephanus to choose from: An edition from 1546 and the 1550 edition. We'll start with 1546; the 1550 will be in a subsequent post.

First off, let's just say that whomever had this edition used it. There are notes everywhere — in the margins, underlines, etc. While some may not like that or think it detracts from the value, I kind of like it. It means that this edition was used and used extensively. Here's the title page:

Pretty simple. Standard typographical device of the day. There's a library stamp there too that came along from somewhere. Below is the initial page of the first epistle to Timothy. There are a few things to note. The '1.' in the upper left corner actually indicates the chapter. I'm unsure if this was in the typography or the later addition of the user, but it is consistent throughout the portions of the edition I've examined. The '188' is the page number of the section. So, the Pauline epistles are a section (volume?) and this is page 188 of that section. The numbers running down the margin are actually verse numbers and they're rather reflective of the ordering of the text we have in our modern versification structures today. My guess is that both the chapter and the verse numbers are later and weren't in the original typeset edition.

The typographical device at the top seems typical. The five-line drop-cap is a bit ostentatious for my tastes, but I guess it worked for Stephanus. You can also see the underlining and marginal notation added by an owner of the text at some point in its lifetime.

Finally, let's peek at 1Ti 2.3-6 and see how it looks in comparison to the other editions we've examined.

This is at the bottom of the page, the last word of v. 6 is on the next page. But we can see that the owner underlined it and added a cross-reference to what looks to be Galatians (chapter 3?). Some of the underlining gloppiness makes the text hard to read, but at least we can get an idea of what it was like 450 years ago.

Next up: 1550 Stephanus.

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 5:49:06 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'd planned to blog about a Stephanus version prior to Beza's edition, but then I realized that my edition of Stephanus' 1550 is actually Scrivener's edition of Stephanus, and since I'm primarily interested in format and typography of the originals, this wouldn't do (yet ... wait 'till I work my way into the 1800's!).

So, I'm hopping to Beza. I'll come back to the 1550 (and 1546) Stephanus versions after I download 'em from Bibles.org.uk.

On to Beza. First, check out the device on the title page. An anchor, water, a snake, and some arms. Complete with date in roman numerals. Typical for the period. Again, all of these images are clickable.

The facsimile I downloaded is pretty gritty, so the detail isn't the best. It's a shame, I'd really love to see how the start of each book looks in its full glory. Here you can see the beginning of the epistle to Titus. Once again, Beza's edition isn't simply a reproduction of the Greek text, it is his Greek text, his Latin translation, and the "Vetus" Latin, which I'd guess would be Jerome's Vulgate (but that's purely unconfirmed speculation). There are also marginal notes and scads of translation notes (in Latin, of course) that you can't see on this shot.

Of interest, we see the text is actually versified. I'm guessing that Beza is following Stephanus' innovation here — I think I recall that Stephanus was one of the first to present the text versified in a manner like we're familiar with today, though I could be wrong. So the verses line up. The first block is what we'd call Titus 1.1, and you can see the verse number in the gutter between columns. Same for verse 2, and so on.

On a purely cosmetic note, the marginal note throws the page out of balance. It looks lopsided due to the massiveness of the title device. It's tough for me to look at. It's not nearly as bad on other pages. Also interesting is the use of a smaller italic font for the "Vetus" Latin. He's obviously de-emphasized the older Latin in favor of his own translation.

So, what about Beza's version of 1Ti 2.3-6? Here it is. Beza has so many notes, these four verses span two pages of his edition:

In the above (though you probably can't read it) Beza cites the reading of the Complutensian Polyglot. Anyway, here's the actual content of the verses; you might even be able to read it:

Once again, we see some serious typography going on. Can you imagine hand-setting the type for these plates? That, and this is the third edition of a 1500's-era Greek New Testament we've seen, and they all have a "modern" translation (that is, the Latin) along with them. Yet today, most of those who study Greek seriously would rather not see any modern language translation at all in the version. It makes me wonder how come these early editions viewed such an addition as almost natural?

Of course, Stephanus' 1550 edition doesn't (as I recall, at least it doesn't on the front page of Mark that we have here at the Logos offices) have a Latin translation. So maybe Erasmus, Beza and the Complutensian are the outliers.

Next time: Stephanus' 1550 (and 1546) editions, assuming I download them successfully.

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 6:37:22 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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Some typophiles may know of Ari Davidow's Hebrew Typography Blog. Anyway, he had a flurry of posts over the weekend after about six weeks of silence. I'd recommend posts on:



Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:19:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 15, 2005

I'm like a boy with new toys. What are those new toys? They're PDF versions of way-old editions the Greek New Testament, of course (editions available here; watch out, the downloads are sizeable).

In light of my previous post on the coolness of the Complutensian Polyglot, it makes sense to me to check out the competition: Erasmus' 1516 edition. So here we go.

First, look at this awesome frontispiece from the Gospel of Matthew. It's a little much for my tastes, but it's typical for the style of the day (from the little reading I've done on typesetting from this period). Note that you can click on any of these images to see them in a seperate window, some of them will be larger than they are inline below.

The drop-caps are the coolest part. The artistic stuff around the edges, while interesting, just doesn't do it for me. Another nice aspect of this edition are the introductions to the books. However ... they're in Greek; Erasmus didn't provide the Latin translation. (note: His 1522 edition does have parallel Greek and Latin of this content).

But what about the Bible text proper? Here's the beginning of First Timothy. Again, the drop-caps are prominent. Also interesting (to me, anyway) is the all-cap presentation of the name of Christ in the Greek, but not in the Latin.

But how does this compare to the Complutensian? Well, here's 1Ti 2.3-6, which I also provided for the Complutensian? (image here). 

I see a few differences immediately. First, the Complutensian is much more readable, at least for my minuscule-challenged eyes. If I know the text (as I do in this case) I can figure out that the first two blobs really do represent τουτο γαρ, but I couldn't prove it to you. Second, remember that the Complutensian is aligned at the word level through the use of superscript letters previous to lexical units. No such innovation in the Erasmian text. But Erasmus does have the name of Christ in all-caps, which is an interesting practice, especially in light of the manner in which the tetragrammaton is treated in Hebrew texts.

I do like Erasmus' Latin font better than the font used in the Complutensian. But that's not enough to sway me to Erasmus. My vote is still for the Complutensian. Now that's typesetting.

Lastly, there is the famous historical matter to check into. What did Erasmus really do with 1Jn 5.7-8? (NKJV: For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.) You know what I'm talking about. The legend as I've heard it is that Erasmus didn't put this text into his first edition, but he was beat up by the Vulgate readers such that he made his famous promise: "If you can find a Greek manuscript with that content, I'll publish it". Well, what does Erasmus have in his first edition?

No sign of the explicit mention of the members of the Godhead in Trinity there. So the first part of the legend has merit. What about the second part? I haven't downloaded Erasmus' 1518 edition yet (though it is available, it is 200+ megs) but I did grab his 1522 edition. Check it out:

Do you see that? Yep, it's longer. Through the magic of modern technology, let's get a better look at what's going on in there:

Sure enough. The text is added. And it's been in pretty much every Textus Receptus-based edition since. The Greek MSS with this reading, by the way, are 61 (16th century), 629 (14th century) and 918 (16th century). There are others that have the above as a varia lectio, but who knows when those readings were added to the original MS, or where they came from (most likely a retroversion from Latin back into the Greek, I'd think). I'd guess 629 might be the actual MS that prompted Erasmus to make the change, though that is pure speculation by someone (that's me) with no right to speculate on such text-critical issues.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, April 15, 2005 6:49:06 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 14, 2005

[NOTE: When this post was written in April 2005, several PDF facsimiles of editions of the Greek New Testament were available from bibles.org.uk. They no longer appear to be available. The downloads are sizeable and I am not able to provide them for download or FTP or delivery on DVD. Apologies, RWB]

I've mentioned this before, but I'm a bibliophile when it comes to stuff dealing with the Greek New Testament. If it has to do with the Greek NT and it was published in the mid to late 1800s or early 1900s, chances are I want it. I enjoy the content, the conclusions, the scholarship and the typesetting.

I'm even more excited about early editions of the Greek New Testament, but I know that I'll never own any of these editions. But I have found a few as PDF files. Today I grabbed a PDF facsimile of the Complutensian Polyglot (PDF is approx. 500 megs, available via bibles.org.uk). And it is so very cool.

The Complutensian Polyglot is notable for a number of reasons. First, it is a polyglot, meaning that it presents the text in more than one language (poly + glot ==> "many tongues", roughly).

It was printed between 1514-1517 and as such is the earliest printed (type-set) representation of the Greek New Testament. But it wasn't available until 1522, which means the Erasmian edition of 1516 was the first available printed Greek New Testament; even though the Complutensian is the better Greek text and despite the fact that it was technically complete before Erasmus completed his text. The NT has Greek and Latin in parallel. Check it out (click any graphic for a larger version):

This is 1Ti 2.3-7. If you look closely, you'll see that each word in the Greek and Latin is preceded by a small superscript character. This is a form of alignment. That's right, the text, while typeset in parallel columns, is aligned at the word level through the superscript number device. I've said it before to others, but these early typesetter dudes were studs. Check it out:


Little known to anyone who hasn't read John Lee's fantastic book A History of New Testament Lexicography, the Complutensian Polyglot also has the earliest example of a printed Greek lexicon. The last volume contains a glossary of Greek words with their Latin equivalents.

But that's not all. The Complutensian Polyglot is an edition of the whole Bible. That is, the Greek New Testament is only 1/3 of the book. There are volumes of Hebrew Bible content. Here's a sample from Genesis 1:

That's right. The left column is the LXX ... with interlinear Latin glosses! The middle column is Jerome's Latin. The right column is the Hebrew. If you look closely ... you'll see superscript letters in the Latin column and in the Hebrew column; so there is (I'd guess) a word-for-word alignment going on here too. How cool is that? I don't know Hebrew, so I have no idea what information the right-most margin contains. In addition, if Targum Onkelos has content to represent, the Aramaic is made available as well.

This is scholarship and typesetting that was going on in the early 1500s. I am continually amazed at what was accomplished just in this edition (let alone other typesetting and scholarship from the era), and that in just a few years (1514-1517? By hand? Whoa!). Here we are today, with our computers and our desktop publishing systems ... and we couldn't set something like the above without a whole lot of complaining, grudging and whining, once we got past the Hebrew font issue and figured out a hack around the interlinear portion. Speaking of which, check out the detail on that interlinear portion:

Look at that beautiful work. The Latin gloss is above the main line of the Greek text. You can barely make out the Greek once you account for the minuscule-esque script. Cross-references in the margin. I'll say it again — these guys were studs.

Not only that, but guess what? The supplementary volume (you remember, the one with the Greek-Latin glossary?) also has a Hebrew-Latin lexicon. Yep. You're reading that correctly. Check it out:


Here's some more detail showing a couple of articles in their entirety:

Now, remember — no computers. Nothing but dudes, type (which they probably cut themselves) and a press, along with desire and a bunch of elbow-grease. Not only that, but they sure knew how to end the NT. Why don't we see typographic devices like this in our modern Bibles? Would it cost too much to have the graphic design department whip something out? Would the extra page and ink really sink the budget and cause us to lose money? This is the right way to end the NT, giving all glory to God. If you know Latin and can translate more than the first line, feel free to send me your translation. I'll post it at the end of this article and link back to your blog/website/whatever.

Update: As I work my way through the Latin (I don't know Latin, so it's mostly what I can intuit based on my knowledge of Spanish and Greek) I see that the first few lines do mention the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but the rest of it seems to list the balance of folks involved in the production -- a few cardinals and some other folk. Then it ends with the date (Jan. 10, 1514?). As I said, I may very well be mistaken as I don't know Latin. But that's what seems to be going on in the final typographical device.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 14, 2005 4:38:42 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Here's a cool page about Hebraica & Judaica Incunabula.

And here's a decent definition of the term Incunabula: The printing art was at the time of its inception as revolutionary an achievement in human history as computer technology in our own day: it is referred to in Hebrew sources as a "heavenly craft." Books published in the earliest period of printing, from the time Gutenberg introduced printing to Europe (ca. 1455) until the year 1500, are known as incunabula, or cradle-books. (taken from a page at the above exhibit)

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:06:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, December 10, 2004

I was poking around the referrer logs for ricoblog, and I stumbled across the Hebrew Typography Blog by Ari Davidow. It doesn't look like it gets updated often, but there is some cool stuff on there.

One of the very cool items (to me, anyway) was a link to a Hebrew Type Database. Typophiles, beware, particularly if you're into Hebrew. I know the Hebrew alphabet and that's about it, but the Hebrew Type Database has sucked me in.

The primary presentation (available in German, English, Russian, and Hebrew, it appears) involves sample type from a number of different sources. These appear to have been scanned in. Based on the date range in the “selection criterion” box, I'd guess that one can select typefaces by date range and place of printing.

From each source, one can go to the “detail” page. For instance, here's the detail page for a sephardic font, Zierletter. From here, you can click on any character for a huge detail shot of the glyph. The tav (taw) is pretty cool. If you click on the book title (if it is active) you can get more information on the book the font occurs in. I clicked on  מסכת חולין (the 1579 title) and can see page images and all sorts of info about the book. Whether all books are documented this well, I don't know — but I could spend hours just surfing around looking at the books and images.

Warning: If you're more bibliophile than typophile (that's me) don't even click on the Bibliographie-synopsis link. Don't do it. Really. I warned you — you'll be lost for hours!

Post Author: Rico
Friday, December 10, 2004 6:02:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, November 11, 2004

I am a fan of BDAG. For those who don't know, “BDAG” is the commonly used abbreviation for A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition. The abbreviation comes from the editors' last names: Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich, thus “BDAG” 

I use this lexicon (the electronic edition from Logos, of course*) frequently. It is my primary Greek lexicon. And one of the reasons I like it is because the designers of the print edition did an excellent job in designing and implementing the typesetting/layout of the book. It is obvious that they did their homework and understood how the previous edition was used, what the distinctives were, how to accent them, and how to make the book easy to use.

A few examples are necessary.

First, the typesetter/designer of the print edition understood (or perhaps was directed by Dr. Danker) that users rely on NT citations in BDAG. Whether or not it is correct from a didactic perspective, the first thing many users do when they go to a BDAG article is look to see if the verse they are working on is cited. So, in BDAG (print and LDLS electronic version; I'm unsure about other electronic editions) the NT citations are in bold text. They stand out that much more and are easy to evaluate with a quick skim through the text.

Second, the senses within articles are clearly and visibly delineated. The “enclosed alphanumerics” (to use unicode jargon) serve as informative bullets before each major or minor sense. These are the encircled letters and shaded-background numbers that begin paragraphs. These make scanning different senses easier because it is visibly obvious where discussion of a new sense begins. The structure of the entry is also obvious.

Third, the use of bold/italics/bold-italics to differentiate depth of definition or gloss is incredibly handy. BDAG uses bold text in a definition to indicate an “extended definition”, which is a phrase or two that gets at the heart of the sense being discussed. Bold-italic text is used to indicate a “formal equivalent” which are more like functional glosses (though “gloss” is a bad word in some circles) or synonyms. And plain italic text indicates a “translation equivalent”. If a Greek citation has italic text following it, that italic text is almost always a translation of the preceding Greek text. Very handy, especially for non-Biblical citations where vocabulary may be unfamiliar.

Fourth, the references to non-Bible material are frequent and helpful. I find myself looking into Josephus and Philo references more than I would otherwise simply because BDAG cites them. The same is true for pseudepigraphal and apocryphal references. The supporting references illustrate the use of the word and sense under study. They are incredibly useful to examine to understand how the same word was used in the same way in different writings by different writers who are roughly contemporary with the NT literature.

Fifth, the normal advantages that electronic editions give you — immediate lookup destination from your electronic NA27, complete searchability, hypertext Bible references, a built-in comprehensive scripture index, freedom from continually consulting abbreviation tables with hypertext abbreviations that activate on hover, etc.

Are there things I don't like about BDAG? Sure. I disagree with some spots of entries I've studied. I would be worried if I didn't. But all in all, a good example of great context properly implemented by typesetters/designers so that folks can make the most of the information.

Oh, yeah. The Ode (er, Sonnet. Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Here we go:

BDAG, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
I love thy extended definitions,
providing depth of insight.
I love thy functional equivalents,
displaying knowledge and delight.
I love thy translation equivalents,
erasing my vocabulary ignorance
I love thy bold enclosed alphanumerics,
giving my eyes guidance in their strain.
I love thy scholarly erudition,
informing my understanding of usage.
But most of all, O BDAG, I love thee in hypertext;
Providing copious citations to secondary sources
Allowing examination of these to expand my understanding.

Sure, it isn't technically a Sonnet (right number of lines, but my syllables are off) but you get that picture. That BDAG, it's about as groovy as a Greek lexicon can get.

* Disclaimer: I implemented the Logos version of BDAG (and several other Greek Lexicons) so my opinion of the LDLS BDAG is incredibly favorably biased.


Post Author: Rico
Thursday, November 11, 2004 7:31:01 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The more I read of Updike's Essays (The Well-Made Book), the more the guy seems like a character that would just be fun to talk to.

Here he is in an essay on “Ecclesiastical Printing”, talking about decorations on the page of liturgical books (lectionaries, prayer-books, etc.)

When I have said that fancifulness should be avoided, I mean by this, that the trivial sprinkling of crosses and devotional emblems on printing intended for use of the Church is in wretched taste and is the resort only of ignorant incompetence. When a clergyman wants something "churchy and artistic" he usually means this kind of printing. The first page of any devotional book might very properly have a cross upon it or some religious emblem — but nothing else. One colour of ink is generally enough; and it is much better that black ink should be used and good paper, than two colours of ink, and paper of poor quality. For the service of God it is desirable to use the best material and to avoid all display and needless expense. (p. 150)

In my job and due to my own bibliophile-itude, I've seen and paged through a lot of books published into the Christian market. Many are well-made and professionally executed.

However, there have been a few — and I hope I don't sound too elitist here — that were quite horrid. Updike's first sentence made me laugh, but it also made me think of some of the “stupid editorial tricks” I've seen over the years. Stuff like:

  • strange and almost incomprehensible methods for representing supposedly “free” verse. Look for this when content was most likely transcribed from audio presentations and minimally edited before being printed. Just because it sounded good doesn't mean it will read well, no matter what you do to the page to try to make it read well. Give up, really edit the content, and have another go at it.
  • use of fonts and/or colors that are positively identified with the 1970's. Unfortunately, the Hermeneia commentary series is one of these, from my perspective. Don't get me wrong — the content is informative, well written and quite useful. I've got a volume at home and I'd buy more depending on what I'm studying. But the oddly-shaped orange/yellow hardbacks that don't fit well on any shelf make me cringe when I pick them up. I'm sure they looked modern for awhile, but they look oh-so-dated now. If someone is unfamiliar with the series or the name, and sees a volume in a bookstore or a library, that someone is less likely to pick it up and use it/buy it because it looks like it is dated — in a bad way. You know, like shag carpet and the AMC Gremlin.

There's more stuff deep in this well, but I'm gonna hold back. Updike's quote still makes me smile, though:

 ... the trivial sprinkling of crosses and devotional emblems on printing intended for use of the Church is in wretched taste and is the resort only of ignorant incompetence.

(Random thought: I wonder what Updike would think about the 'Christian' fishes, doves, etc. slapped on the back of cars these days?)

Wow, I just noticed that he worked “wretched” and “ignorant” into the same sentence. Do you have examples of design, editorial practice, or whatnot that you've found  to be indicative of “wretched taste” or “ignorant incompetence”? Or just things that you think look bad? Feel free to drop a comment with your examples. I'm interested to see what you've come across.


Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, November 09, 2004 10:48:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, October 12, 2004

As I've blogged about earlier, I'm reading a fine collection of essays from Daniel Berkeley Updike. Today's essay was “Gutenberg and His Relation to Printers Today”.

Berkeley describes the process of development on the classic 42-line Gutenberg Bible:

Like work undertaken by an experimenter who loved to perfect details as he went along, the book did not progress, or progressed so slowly that Fust [the edition's financer] began to wonder if he would ever get back the money sunk in the scheme. After various quarrels, Gutenberg was made to turn over the types in the printing-office to one of its workers — Peter Schoeffer. It was under his direction that the Bible was finished in the winter of 1455-1456, though by that time the printing office had passed out of Gutenberg's hands. (Updike, 67)

So, the bottom line: the classic 42-line Gutenberg Bible wasn't finished by Gutenberg, and may not reflect his tastes, preferences, and whatnot. However, Updike continues:

He [Gutenberg] still went on with his work and designed another, smaller and less attractive but more workable type. This was employed in the Catholicon of 1460 — a sort of dictionary — and the only book we can safely consider as wholly the work of Gutenberg. (Updike, 67)

So, most folks have mental images of the 42-line Gutenberg Bible type in their heads, and have it positively associated with Gutenberg and his press. But it wasn't Gutenberg's final product.

The internet is very cool, and with a few clicks of some keys and a trip to the Google home page, I located some high-quality scans of Gutenberg's 1460 Catholicon. So hop on over and take a look. If your German is rusty (or non-existent, like mine) the links on the middle left of the page go to images detailing a few pages of the work.

The type is smaller, but (to my humble eyes) seems more readable.

Post Author: Rico
Tuesday, October 12, 2004 10:17:12 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, October 07, 2004

I'm reading a collection of essays by Daniel Berkeley Updike (1860-1941). Updike was a New Englander and a typographer. His essays are published in a book called The Well-Made Book: Essays & Lectures by Daniel Berkeley Updike.

Today I read the essay titled “The Place of the Educated Man in the Printing Industry”. Updike's conclusion is, basically, that if any properly educated man is willing to go through the mechanical training necessary to become a typographer/printer, then that man belongs in the printing industry.

In explaining this, Updike has the following passage:

Perhaps for the educated man this form of livelihood [printing] must choose him — he must as a revivalist would say, “feel the Call.” Otherwise it is a dubious adventure, all the more if one is not obliged to undertake it. Poussin was once asked by a young Italian nobleman, who painted but fairly well, what was the chief thing needed to assure his success. Poussin replied, “The necessity to do it.” Compulsions are a great help in work and for those who are not prodded by necessity, something must be found to take its place. That something is a compelling desire to do a particular thing. (Updike, 61)

Updike goes on to apply this idea of compulsion to the printing industry, noting that it is only through the work of compelled, scholarly and educated men that the state of printing progressed to where it is.

But Poussin's words are generally applicable. Stop and think: what are you compelled to do? It doesn't need to be profitable; it doesn't need to be directly applicable to an occupation or field of study. But you do need to find it, or you do need to find evidence of it. It behooves us to consider these sorts of things as we spend our short (and getting shorter) time on this earth, before our Lord and Savior takes us home.

On a side note: I think this applies tangentially to what I wrote earlier about gaining proficiency in NT Greek. There are those who want to learn Greek because they like the idea of knowing NT Greek; of being an authority of sorts. Then there are others who are compelled to learn NT Greek. The drudgery of review and reading, while not exciting, is something they are compelled to do simply because they have an insatiable desire to study such things. Admittedly, I'm closer to the former than the latter in this area.

Update: My friend John posts some follow-up thoughts on the topic of compulsion. Give 'im a read and see if it stimulates some thinkin'.

Post Author: Rico
Thursday, October 07, 2004 10:56:07 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, August 26, 2004

Typographica (cool typography-related blog) has a posting about the benefits of owning/perusing The Manual of Linotype Typography.

Hear, hear. I agree. I've seen and perused in-depth a copy of this book, and it is astounding. In a design rut? Page through this guy to get inspired. Sure, some would say that the look is dated (the manual is from the 1920s/1930s) but there are good things going on in this book. Drop the over-thick page borders and dated colors, but look at the spacing, sizes, and font selection. And some of the sample text used is simply priceless.

The Typographica article has several links to sample pages.

If you want to get really classically inspired, you could also poke through Alan Bartram's Five hundred years of book design.

Post Author: Rico
Thursday, August 26, 2004 2:15:26 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, August 19, 2004

Thanks to the wonders of Furl, I stumbled across Mark Simonson's Notebook.

Cool blog with decent photos as examples of typography in movies, signs, and elsewhere. Also be sure to check out the Articles section of his web site.

It's obvious this guy knows his stuff.

Post Author: Rico
Thursday, August 19, 2004 10:01:01 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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