Wait, wait, I know what you’re thinking: “You can’t add fonts to an iPad!” Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I learned about AnyFont, an amazing iOS utility app by Florian Schimanke. AnyFont does just what the name implies: it allows you to import any font (well, any TrueType or OpenType font) onto your iOS device and use it in iWork apps, Office apps, or any other app that uses the iOS font chooser. Of course, the first font I tried to install in this fashion was SBL BibLit, and it works like a charm in Pages. Even vowel points line up properly.
Now, to actually type those vowel points, you’ll need either an external keyboard (which will follow the Hebrew layout native to the Mac OS) or a software solution like the Davka Nikud on-screen keyboard (which is effective, but slow, since you have to switch character sets (not keyboards) each time you want to type a vowel point. You can also copy and paste pointed text from Accordance or Olive Tree’s Bible app (which, after many years of being called “Bible Reader,” has gone through a perplexing number of name changes in the last few years). I don’t currently know of any way to type cantillation (trop) marks on the iPad. Accordance seems to strip the cantillation marks when you copy text, but Olive Tree’s Bible app preserves them, so that option exists if you need the marks in your iOS word processor.
But this talk about vowel points digresses from the main point: AnyFont enables you to use SBL BibLit and other third-party fonts on iOS. And to me, that’s a very big deal and a very good thing.
I haven’t had many nice things to say about Microsoft Office for Mac in the last few years two decades. Despite the suite’s power and the fact that it outstrips it competition in many different ways, I’ve used other software in preference to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for many years, largely because right-to-left text processing in Office for Mac has been poor nonexistent since the 1980s, even after the advent and wide adoption of Unicode. I have consistently made sure to have legitimate access to the latest version of Office (currently as a personal subscriber to Office 365) for collaborative purposes, but I almost never use it for my own independent work.
Yes, okay, I admit it. Referencing a popular media property in the post title is more or less clickbait. If you’re reading this, I guess it worked. Anyway, it seems the last time I blogged was in August 2015, and the last time I tweeted was in December. I have a pattern of starting strong, then blogfading as things get busy. But to tell the truth, I miss being part of the Bible-blogging community, so I’m going to try to give this another go, taking inspiration from both Ezekiel 37 and the Hooters’ “All You Zombies.”
I do have several things on my mind that I want to share with friends and colleagues far and wide, and questions I want to ask. I also have these recurring intentions of using Higgaion as a kind of accountability tool, keeping me moving on my research to avoid the shame of having nothing to really blog about. Maybe that will help me make good progress on my two SBL presentations for November 2016 and my Stone-Campbell Journal Conference presentations for spring 2017 (I can’t remember if it’s March or April in 2017).
But I’d also like to know: what’s on your mind? I’m especially keen to learn what kinds of Old Testament related topics (yes, there should probably be some hyphens in there, but I thought they looked ugly) would be of interest to other folk who, like me, self-identify as members or heirs of the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, Restoration Movement, Stone-Campbell heritage, or whatever label you want to use. How is the Old Testament being heard and used in our churches these days? What parts of the Old Testament cry out for more of our attention?
So please use the comments section here to let me know what topics interest you, and in the coming weeks I‘ll try to share with you some topics that interest me. Maybe there’s some life left in this old blog after all.