Bible visualisations

Two fascinating and possibly useful Bible visualisations

This is quite an interesting way to chart the progression of the Biblical narrative. A “sentiment analysis” from OpenBible.


Here’s the methodology applied to produce these graphics.

“Sentiment analysis involves algorithmically determining if a piece of text is positive (“I like cheese”) or negative (“I hate cheese”). Think of it as Kurt Vonnegut’s story shapes backed by quantitative data.

I ran the Viralheat Sentiment API over several Bible translations to produce a composite sentiment average for each verse. Strictly speaking, the Viralheat API only returns a probability that the given text is positive or negative, not the intensity of the sentiment. For this purpose, however, probability works as a decent proxy for intensity.”

From a cursory analysis the modelling adds up to most understandings of Biblical theology – except perhaps that exile isn’t as confronting emotionally, or as dire and depressing, as we might have thought – probably because most exilic texts include expressions of hope for delivery.
Here’s the sentiment analysed on a book by book basis.

Contradictions v Cross-References: Does the Bible present a coherent picture

Someone on a comment thread discussing the “Contradictions” visualisation I posted yesterday pointed out that it’s remarkably similar to this visualisation of cross references I posted ages ago from Chris Harrison. Lets have a look at them together… I had remembered this cross reference one at the time, and thought it interesting that they took the same approach to presenting the graphic. But given both have presented their data sources, I’m not suggesting plagiarism (the atheist one acknowledges the influence of the other one). There are 63,000 odd cross references in the colourful one, and only 419 contradictions in the red one… but the shapes are very similar. Aren’t they.

It is interesting though, that one speaks to the internal consistency of the Bible while the other presents apparent discrepancies. Could it be that Sam Harris and his designer have a better take on the nature of interactions between texts in the Bible? I doubt it.

Scroll to Top