The recent launch of Many Eyes, a data visualization site, lets us make a start toward mapping New Testament social networks:
The live visualization at Many Eyes lets you pan and zoom around to your heart’s content. (You need the Java plugin for your browser to be able to interact with the visualization.)
The data set behind the visualization isn’t perfect. While it disambiguates people with the same name (John the apostle and John the Baptist, for example), it only tracks occurrences in the same chapter. In other words, just because two people appear in the text near each other, that doesn’t mean they have a relationship. So you have Joseph the Old Testament patriarch linked to Jesus even though they obviously weren’t contemporaries. You’d need an ontology about New Testament names to map deeper relationships.*
But it’s a start and may help you make some useful insights. This data set only includes three or more co-occurrences. We also uploaded a complete list of co-occurrences in the New Testament, but the data set breaks the visualization software at the moment. And there are so many nodes that it isn’t that useful. But feel free to play with our data sets and come up with interesting visualizations of your own.
We’ll leave you with a treemap diagram of similar data:
In treemaps, each section has a label (e.g., “Jesus”), and the size and color of the enclosed boxes show the relationships. For example, Peter, Moses, and Paul are the most common names linked with Jesus. Why Paul? Well, Paul has a habit of introducing himself and greeting people in the name of Jesus when he begins his letters. The association of the two is either a feature or a bug of the data set, depending on your perspective.
Via O’Reilly Radar.
* Also see the post at Blogos for a way of using Many Eyes to look at parallel Gospel passages.
WordPress 2.1 came out Monday, and it’s now powering this blog—no more WordPress 1.5.x for us. Upgrading went without a hitch and took all of four minutes. Sorry for any duplicate posts you see in your feed reader.
Trackbacks Now Closed
We’re also changing how we handle trackbacks: they’re now closed for all posts.
Why are we eliminating trackbacks? First, spam: the signal-to-noise ratio for trackbacks is abysmal, and while plugins exist to help you deal with trackback spam, they’re not ideal.
More importantly, however, is comprehensiveness. Less than 25% of blogs use trackbacks, so visitors to our posts wanting to get a sense of the blogosphere’s reaction were only getting a sample. (As we searched for old links, we found over 400 blog posts that hadn’t trackbacked us.)
We still hope to link to posts that link to us; we subscribe to searches that inform us when someone blogs about a post of ours, and we expect to link to those blogs from our site.
We’ve released six new spots in the “Bible for Life” radio campaign. Each one-minute spot has someone reading a passage from the ESV and meditating on it.
This month features Melody Carlson, Jeremy Redmon from Big Daddy Weave, one about Jonathan Edwards, and others.
Listen to all the spots at www.bibleforlife.org.
A new edition of the ESV Journaling Bible is now available. It features a terra cotta/sage cover and an elastic strap. Like other editions of the Journaling Bible, it has nearly two-inch margins for note-taking.
The blogger at To Tell You the Truth provides some tips for reading and understanding Scripture. Selected quotes:
- Scripture as Story: “I read Scripture as a grand story, the story of Redemption. When all of Scripture is read in this way, we will not see the individual stories as moral lessons or as mere examples of what to do and what not to do in life.”
- Christ-Centered View of Scripture: “The grand story of Scripture revolves around Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
- Never Read a Single Verse: “Read at least a paragraph of Scripture when you read Scripture. But also try to read a book in one (maybe two) sitting(s). These books and letters in Scripture were written as a whole and were initially read in whole. We should strive to read each book in whole.”
- Scripture as Spoken Word: “I believe we must also listen to Scripture being read in our personal time. You will pick up things from Scripture while listening that you may not pick up so easily while reading. You will most likely have more time to listen to Scripture than you will to read Scripture. Take all the opportunities to immerse yourself in Scripture—It is also a good thing to listen to the Scripture while reading at the same time.”
- Scripture as Prayer: “The many times that I do not know what to say in my prayer times, I turn to Scripture and pray passages back to God”
- Knowing God: “The purpose of Scripture is not that we become holy. The purpose of Scripture is to know this Triune God Who has revealed Himself in Scripture. Becoming holy is a byproduct of knowing God through Christ.”
- Spend MUCH Time and Effort Studying Scripture: “I believe the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into understanding the Scriptures is immeasurable!”
- Listen to Sermons: “There are so many Gospel-Centered preachers out there that have their sermons on the internet. Seek them out!”
- Practice What You Read and Learn: “Accountability is huge in this area…. Place yourself under accountability so that you may learn to practice what you learn and read.”
- Rely on Grace: “Grace is the thread by which all of these are tied together.”