Four years after the start of conversion from Square Hebrew to SimHebrew and compilation, and twenty years after the start of the SimHebrew (simulated Hebrew) project, The SimHebrew Bible: The Hebrew Bible in Simulated Hebrew – with English Guide is finally out.
As evident from my prolonged silence on this blog in recent years, work on this project—one chapter a day—came at the expense of my usual blogposting, in my spare time and in the wee hours of the night.
In the end, given the scope and complexity of the project, this first major application of SimHebrew was a joint collaboration with Bob MacDonald – a retired software developer, composer, Hebrew Bible translator, and author of the Dust blog, and Seeing the Psalter, The Song in the Night, and other books on the Hebrew Bible – whose automated convertor engine (based on the SimHebrew algorithm) complemented my semi-manual efforts, and served as a quality control. His conversion was based on the pointed Leningrad Codex, while mine was based on the unpointed ktiv malé (‘full spelling’) which I ‘semi pointed’ manually (to distinguish between consonantal vav (ו), ḥolam malé (וֹ) and shuruq (וּ), and converted by my in-house convertor app. The final SimHebrew manuscript is therefore a blended and resolved version of the two, to ease reading.
The Hebrew text—in SimHebrew transcription—is presented in a two-column format, side by side with MacDonald’s automated translation, as a guide (Fig. 2). (It may also be licensed for such presentation with other translations.) A primer on SimHebrew transcription, along with explanations about the thinking behind SimHebrew, the advantages of this approach, and explanations about the translation are provided in the book’s front matter.
Side by side with English translation
Due to its size, and to take advantage of its built-in search capabilities, The SimHebrew Bible is in ebook format only, at this point. A printed version (probably in several volumes) will be produced if there is demand.
The SimHebrew Bible is intended to be a complement to existing Hebrew Bible publications, not a substitute, given the greater accessibility that it offers to non-Hebrew readers, its search capabilities, and—perhaps most importantly—the ability to use standard text-analysis and text-mining tools on the text, which is often not possible with the traditional Square Hebrew.
If you’re curious to know more, the free preview of the book contains all the front matter and the entire Book of Genesis. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.