Entering New Testament Textual Criticism Signs
From time to time, or often depending on your field of work, you might have to type textual criticism signs in you paper, thesis, masterpiece, and what not. Oftentimes the problem is finding the signs and then entering them into your document. There are several ways to find them: websites, the Character or the Glyph Palette of your system and sofware, etc. There also several ways to enter them, some more practical than others.
Where is That Sign?
Here is a list of the signs used in the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament and the Editio Critica Maior with the unicode codes and a brief description.
This is the list of signs for texts referred to in the NA and ECM.
See also this file on the Unicode site with the signs and their codes.
Some signs are not available in some fonts or not yet firmly decided upon. For example
- the sign for the Tischendorf text is unicode 1D517. Due to some technical issues the upcoming SBL BibLit font will use E517 in the Private User Area;
- similarly the sign for Wordsworth-White is 1D51A. SBL BibLit will use E51A in the Private User Area
If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, just know that these two signs may not be available at this stage. Fortunately they are not the most widely used, unless of course you just happen to work on these two texts.
Entering Text Criticism Signs
Download the file Unicode signs from the Unicode site.
Download the tables of signs in rtf format.
See also Entering SBL Transliteration Signs.
Now that you know the unicode number for the signs and symbols you need, the challenge is to enter them. After all, unless you remap a keyboard dedicated to entering text criticism signs, you can’t just hit a hey on any keyboard et voilà, it is in your text! Several choices are available to enter signs.
- You can use the Character Palette to find them, double-click to insert them or drag them to the location in your file. That’s assuming you are using a recent version of your software that will let you use unicode. It’s a bit tedious if you need several signs.
- You could just create a file with all the signs you will ever need and do copy-paste all the time. Rather tedious too.
- If you have a Bible software with the critical apparatus, you can also do copy-paste. See for example in Accordance. But that may be cumbersome.
- You could simply enter the unicode number. The way to do it will vary with the software you use. On a Mac you could simply load the Unicode Hex Input keyboard. Once in your document, switch to it and enter the Unicode codes (hold alt, type the number, release alt). To enter codes in XƎTeX see this post.
- The easiest way I have found is to create a category of shortcuts in TextExpander (only on Mac). Once this is done, with a simple shortcut you can insert the sign in any application on you Mac. I will come back to the usefullness of TextExpander in another post. In the same vein you could also use Popchar. The advantage of TextExpander is that you can use it for more than characters.
Not All Fonts Are Created Equals
Some fonts may not offer all the signs you need. The most complete is probably Cardo. Not my favourite font, but sometimes one’s got to do what one’s got to do. You could use another font for your text and a style that uses Cardo just for the symbols.
Here is a look at some fonts and the signs they offer. This sample was produced in XƎTeX with the same size for all the fonts. The SBL Greek font does not have all the signs since the purpose of the font was to focus on entering Greek text. Greek, Hebrew, Signs, etc. should be included in the forthcoming comprehensive SBL BibLit font.
Thanks to Luc Herren of the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung for his help with this article.