Nazarani True Type Font

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From the personal blog of H.E. Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel, Emeritus Metropolitan of the Nazarani Church.

The goal of the Nazarani Liturgical Publishing Project (NLPP) is to publish the ancient Nazarani liturgical books and make them available in bilingual editions along with the modern languages. By doing this we are giving regular people exemplary access to the ancient worship of the church throughout the world.

However this noble work is not merely one of translation and editing of the ancient texts into modern languages, it is also about presenting them and the concepts and theology that they represent in a comprehensive manner that can be learned, taught and reproduced easily; in order to improve literacy in the ancient Aramaic language.

The need to have a font that is comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to read is obvious, especially when undertaking the publication of books in an ancient language. Because we have no less than the goal of creating a modern Nazarani language out of the ancient language of Jesus Christ and His apostles, certain tools need be developed that will make it possible for us, moving forward, to be able to reach out to the wider community, and provide support for the teaching of this part of our common heritage with the Christians.

The Aramaic alphabet in it's many forms serves as the basis of all other natural alphabetic scripts. You can find many Aramaic letters in the scripts of Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Malayalam, Arabic, et cetera.

Finding the fonts that were available for this type of work unsatisfactory to the task at hand, it became clear after performing a audit of the fonts which were available that we would need to develop a specific, comprehensive font for our Aramaic language manuscripts, and educational forums. I spent the days of March 29-30th 2012 creating the Nazarani.ttf font.

Unfortunately it's not just designing a 'font' but also building characters (glyphs) for that font as well, since there were a number of different ways to write each character. In Aramaic the letters developed in a dynamic way, over the period of thousands of years. As a result of this natural development there are a number of instances where one letter might be easily and habitually mistaken for another. While desirious of making a script with authentic glyphs from the time of Christ (technically this text is known as Herodian Aramaic script), some minor changes had to occur for the sake of readability and teach-ability.

The final version of the Nazarani_Herodian.ttf font has the following active characters (upper case listed first, lower case listed below).

Thus the project to create an authentic Herodian Aramaic alphabet was started.