Course Materials from Vern Sheridan Poythress
I am providing various course documents online, which you are free to download. Most of these come from courses being taught atWestminster Theological Seminaryin Philadelphia. Let me remind you that these course materials are very much works in progress. They are tentative in nature, and subject to repeated alteration and improvement. Not everything in them represents settled views on my part.
You may use all the course materials in OpenDocument Format under the GNU Free Documentation License. For details, you must read this license. Briefly, the license allows you to use and pass on both unaltered and altered files, provided that you give credit to the author and that you grant to others the same freedom given to you.
NT 123 Hermeneutics of Old and New Testaments
NT 311 Revelation(half of the course NT 311 General Epistles and Revelation)
Wives' Weekend Seminary
Sunday School lessons
All the files are now available in the OASISinternational standard "OpenDocument" format(.odt and .odp). This is the preferred format. For convenience I am also providing presentation documents in PDF format, and text documents in RTF format (which is readable by almost all word processing programs). On occasion the RTF format may lose minor details in comparison with the original OpenDocument format; but the substance will be there.
You can view open document files with OpenOffice 2.2, which is available for free. You can view PDF files with Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is probably already on your computer.
The open document format (.odp and .odt) contains the latest unicode encoding of Greek and Hebrew. See below on fonts.
I avoid Microsoft Corporation's many secret .DOC and .PPT formats. (Yes, I think there areethical issues here.) OpenOffice 2.2 will recognize all the formats, and will even convert open-standard formats to Microsoft secret formats if you so desire (but because of the secrecy, the character of these files cannot be guaranteed; the problems are more frequent with .ppt than with .doc).
I have also provided zip files that contain all the files in one category. If you are running a recent version of GNU/linux, you can open these files by clicking on them or by using the unzip program. If you are running Windows XP, you should be able to open these files by right clicking on them and selecting "extract." For earlier versions of Microsoft Windows, a Windows program for unzipping these files can be downloaded for free. If the download fails, try my copy.
Display of Hebrew
For Greek and Hebrew to display properly, you must have the Athena font (for Greek) and the SBL Hebrew font (for Hebrew) installed on your computer. See below on fonts.
In the case of Hebrew, there are some further difficulties. Hebrew unicode is displayed on screen from right to left, unlike older fonts (SP Tiberian, for instance) that were based on transliterating from a Roman alphabet. This right-to-left orientation makes sense from the standpoint of internationalization of alphabets. But it creates challenges for on-screen displays. And it means that, if you make alterations in the Hebrew, you must be aware of the right-to-left movement of the cursor.
Further challenges are created by Hebrew accents and points. In my experience, Windows 2000 and earlier versions of Windows have some difficulty in displaying pointed Hebrew properly. Windows XP is better, but still has a few small problems. The latest versions of GNU/linux are best. I wish that all were well in the world of unicode. In the long run, it will be, and that is why, for the sake of long-range accessibility, I have converted to unicode. Please be patient with the short-run.
Obtaining the programs
OpenOffice 2.2 and any later versions are available at the website www.OpenOffice.org. But the program is a large one, and will take time to download if you have a slow internet connection. I have accordingly made the main Windows version of OpenOffice available on CD, along with some other programs as well as the files for my courses. Copies are circulating on the Westminster Seminary campus. This CD can be copied and handed on. If you want to make changes, these too can be handed on, subject to the licenses for the programs and the course materials.
Some files use Greek and Hebrew fonts. I use the Athena unicode Greek font, which is completely free, and the SBL Hebrew font, which is free for noncommercial use. (The SBL Hebrew zip file contains further information about the keycodes.) Some files may also use SPIonic and SPTiberian, which are completely free.
If you want to see Hebrew and Greek characters displayed correctly, you need to have these fonts installed. The latest versions of GNU/linux, Apple, and Microsoft Windows have font installation programs that will assist you. (For Microsoft Windows, go to the Control Panel, and look under "Fonts.")
For standard text, I use mostly Arial and Times New Roman, both of which are available for free. In the presentations, I also use Baskerville Handcut, and Brush Script BT, which are available for free. For rather strange reasons deriving from Microsoft's licensing, Arial and Times New Roman (from Microsoft Corporation) cannot legally be redistributed directly as .TTF files. Most users of Microsoft Windows already have these fonts automatically installed. They can also be legally obtained on the internet in other forms. Users of Windows can use the ".EXE" files supplied below. Users of GNU/linux who do not yet have Times New Roman or Arial can follow the directions at corefonts.sourceforge.netin order to extract them from freely available files. Also, the entire group of Microsoft core fonts is available as an .rpm file at <http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-fedora-fc6.html#ttf>.
Bullet dingbats used in the presentations were originally dervied from "monotype sorts" font (mtsorts.ttf). I have converted in some cases to FreeSerif.ttf, in order to have coding consistent with unicode standards. FreeSerif.ttf is one of the fonts in the "freefont" suite. Make sure that mtsorts.ttf and FreeSerif.ttf are installed on your system.
A large number of unicode multilingual fonts are available on the internet.
The fonts that I am suppying below can be usedfor free (but SBL Hebrew is free only for noncommercial use); but in most cases the internal data within the supplied .TTF files cannot legally be modified. SPIonic and SPTiberian are public domain, so that their internal data can also be modified. FreeSerif and other fonts in the freefont package are issued under the GNU General Public License, and so can be modified, provided one observes the terms of that license when distributing files to others. The Greek in FreeSerif is better looking that Athena, so one may consider converting the Greek.
by Dr. Vern S. Poythress
Westminster Theological Seminary