Technical Concerns associated with the ENTTC Web Site

It was my original hope that the Encyclopedia of New TestamentTextual Criticism will someday be a book (probably electronic, in PDF form, butorganized as a book). Once it exists in that form, there willbe no question of formatting. At present, however, the Encyclopedia exists onlyas a web site. What's more, the sitewas initially formatted for use on the Internet as it was circa 1996.

This raised serious concerns. Space limitations meant that documents had to bedone in basic HTML, and that graphics had to be kept small and few in number. This madeit difficult, e.g., to properly present Greek text. I have begun to modernize thearticles -- but the update is partial, because there is so much to do! And I am forcedto retain the low-res graphics in most cases, because I no longer have the contacts whichsupplied the original versions.

As a result, there are a number of compromises in the presentation of the data onthis site. This document describes these compromises, and offers advice forovercoming them. Many of these concerns are much less relevant now than in the past(who still uses Mosaic or Internet Explorer 4.0?), but I leave them here just incase.

Fonts: Representing Greek text online

It is an unfortunate fact that there is no standard for representing Greekusing the ASCII character set. Although most Greek fonts agree that the letterQ represents θ, there is no agreement, e.g., on whether X or C shouldrepresent ξ and χ (or vice versa). Nor is there any standard for theplacement of accents and breathings.

Since this site was begun, the online community has largely settled onUnicode as a way to represent Greek -- and, what's more, browsers generallysupport the use of HTML entities for individual Greek letters. But most of the Greek text was donebefore this standard was widely implemented. For new material,I am trying to use HTML entities for Greek. As I rework articles, I am graduallyreplacing short sections of Greek text with entities, and longer ones withunicode. But it will doubtlessbe many years before I get to all of them. In any case, entities don't have accentsand breathings. As a result, most Greek on this site is presented without accents andbreathings. In addition, terminal sigmas may not be differentiated frominternal sigmas.

Within that limitation, the attempt has been made to display Greek as Greek.The newly revised material should be no problem. The older material still uses fontcalls. Depending on whether ξ/χ is needed, either three or four fonts are used.The preferred font is Apple's Symbol font (chosen because, unlike the otherGreek fonts I've seen, it can actually be read on-screen). The next choicesare Koine and KoineRegular. If circumstances permit, the Scholars Press SPIonicfont may also be used.

The following list will let you see which fonts you have installed. If youhave a font installed, John 1:1 will show in Greek. If the text is all inRoman type, you do not have that font. Note that you do not need to have allthese fonts installed; any one is sufficient (especially if the one isApple Symbol; if you have that font available but not installed, it isstrongly suggested that you do so; there are a few places where Symboland only Symbol can be used).

If you do not have any of these fonts, or if your version does not displaythe passage in John correctly, I have created a downloadable "Koine" fontwhich you can install. The upper-case letters are fairly standard uncialforms, and the lower case approximate modern sans serif Greek type. It shouldbe noted, however, that this font is only moderately legible on-screen orin print; this is why Symbol has been preferred. Also, I cannot offertechnical support for these fonts; they are as they are and it's up toyou to install and use them. Also note that this font contains only upperand lower case characters, plus some useful punctuation -- no numbers,no accents, etc.

Here you can proceed to download the Koine font:

Another font note: This site makes frequent use of italic type. It is thereforestrongly suggested that you display it using screen fonts which have true italic types(rather than slanted versions of Roman type). If your browser displays text inHelvetica (the current preferred font), for instance, you really should installthe Helvetica Oblique font (available,for instance, with Adobe Type Manager).

Finally, it has sometimes seemed necessary to save files in Adobe Acrobatformat. You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader (available or the Acrobat plug-into read these files.


Space reasons limit the number of images included in the Index. This was especiallytrue in the early days of the site (when I obtained many of the images used). Evensuch images as are included have been compressed heavily. This means, first,that most images have been reduced in size. In addition, the images are displayedat screen resolution, which is sharply limited. As a result, most images havebeen retouched to some degree. In addition, some of the images are saved in.GIF format, which limits the colours available. In such cases, the standardweb palette has been used, whether appropriate or not. All these facts mean thatthe images shown here do not exactly match the originals in color, size,or detail. The student is strongly advised to referto original photographs if there is any doubt about the reading of the imagesdisplayed here, and not to trust the colours displayed.

Most portions of the site can be used with graphics turned off. Wherepossible, ASCII graphics have been used instead of images. There are placeswhere images are necessary -- but these have been kept to a minimum. Itshould be possible to use this site effectively with any browser thatsupports tables, whether it is graphical or not. Still, it is recommendedthat graphics be turned on; the pages at this site are not graphics-intensive, and the large majority of graphics are under 50K.

If you do not want to view the images on this site, it is suggestedthat you load the following six images manually and cache them. Thiswill allow you to read all the text on these pages without loadingimages:

In addition, a handful of images (e.g. those on uncial script) assume a particularscreen image size. Note that the default used is 72 dots per inch, not 96 dpias on some Windows systems. That is, if you wish to print these images atactual size, you should set the output resolution to 72 dpi (e.g. for 720 dpiprinters) or 75 dpi (for 300, 600, or 1200 dpi laser printers).

Browsers/Required HTML Features

Except for fonts, this site deliberately uses the simplest possible HTML. Java,JavaScript, and advanced tags have generally been avoided. However, it hasnot been entirely possible to avoid the use of HTML tables. Thissite can thus be viewed with any browser that allows tables (Navigator,Internet Explorer, recent versions of Lynx), but no effort has beenmade to accommodate earlier browsers (e.g. Mosaic).

In addition, it is very helpful to use a browser that supportssuperscript and subscript tags.

Enabling cascading style sheets will also improve the appearanceof certain pages. Except in a handful of cases, they are not necessary,but the use of style sheets really helps.

An Aside to Professors/Teachers

I never thought I would have textual criticism classes using this site,but I've had enough comments to indicate that at least a few instructors areusing it as a reference. This is wonderful; it's why I put up the site. Butit also brings a request. I am getting an ever-increasing number of requests for help. I have aform letter which I distribute in this case, but I ask you to stress to yourstudents that I can't answer their questions. I put my e-mail address onthe site only so people can offer suggestions and corrections. Thanks!