Shibboleth: A Free Tool for Typing in Ancient Scripts

A few years ago Bob came up with the idea to create a small utility to facilitate typing in ancient scripts, and the first version of Shibboleth was born.

We have been using this tool internally for a couple of years, but have recently updated it to take advantage of some of the new technologies made available with Microsoft’s .NET Framework 3.0.

We’ve found Shibboleth to be such a handy tool that we wanted to share it with you. Best of all, we’ve decided to make it free for personal use!
Here are three reasons you might want to use Shibboleth.

  1. Shibboleth makes typing in a script you don’t know well very easy. It’s perfect for those who are still learning to type in Greek and Hebrew; it’s also great for those who can skillfully type in the biblical languages, but occasionally need to type in a non-biblical ancient script like Ugaritic or Coptic.
  2. Shibboleth makes typing obscure characters easy. Even if you’re proficient at typing in Greek and Hebrew, you probably don’t have characters like the Greek digamma (ϝ) or the Hebrew inverted nun (׆) memorized. With Shibboleth that’s no longer a problem. No more hunting for all those keyboard layouts in PDF files somewhere. Shibboleth provides a single location to look up all those obscure ancient script characters!
  3. Shibboleth is also an ideal tool for learning to type proficiently in an ancient script. By practicing for a while in Shibboleth, Greek and Hebrew students will become skilled at typing in no time. The transition from using Shibboleth to typing directly in Greek or Hebrew in other Windows applications like Word is easy since Shibboleth uses the same keyboard layouts as our free Windows keyboards. So once you have a feel for where all the characters are in Shibboleth, making the switch is seamless.

Shibboleth works with both Vista and XP. However, if you’re running XP, you’ll need to download the free .NET Framework 3.0 from Microsoft if you don’t already have it. (We provide the link for you on the Shibboleth page.)
A note about browsers: Shibboleth is a ClickOnce application. You will probably want to use Internet Explorer 7 to install it. To install Shibboleth from Firefox, you will need to use the FFClickOnce add-on or the IE Tab add-on.
Visit http://www.logos.com/shibboleth to find out more and install the application. Enjoy!

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5 Responses to “Shibboleth: A Free Tool for Typing in Ancient Scripts”

  1. John Kaess December 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm #

    Can you compare Shibboleth with BibleScript Unicode that came from Galaxie Software? I purchased it several years ago. Does Shobboleth do things that BibleScripts does not, or does it do them better?
    Just trying to decide if I should replace it,

  2. Phil Gons December 28, 2007 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi, John,
    Shibboleth is not a font conversion tool, so it won’t allow you to convert from a non-Unicode Greek font to a Unicode Greek font (or vice-versa, or from one non-Unicode font to another). Of course, since it is a Unicode application, you can switch to other Unicode fonts without compatibility problems.
    If typing in Unicode is your concern, then Shibboleth will be a handy tool to have. If you also need to convert fonts, you’ll need to use something else. FWIW, Logos has a built-in font conversion tool that will convert Graeca, GraecaII, Hebraica, and HebraicaII to Unicode.

  3. Ken Neighoff December 31, 2007 at 7:49 am #

    Thanks for making this application available. I was wondering if there was a way to type directly into a Word Document, like you can with the Logos Windows Greek/Hebrew keyboards? If you can this would eliminate one step in the typing process.
    What I do like about this is the correct placement of the iota subscript and the circumflex. IN the Logos keyboard this has always been a little off for me.
    Thanks for sharing this application.

  4. Phil Gons December 31, 2007 at 9:41 am #

    Hi, Ken. You’re welcome. The Logos Windows keyboards allow you to type directly into Word and other applications. Shibboleth is the tool to use of you aren’t very proficient at that task or if you need to look up something obscure. At this time we don’t have plans to bridge the gap any further. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

  5. Dhara January 28, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    Hi,
    This is good but can you come up with something for ancient Indian scripts?
    Thank you