Visualizing the Bible Using APIs

Raymond Yee
Jun. 05 2008, 02:11AM EDT

For many it's dream that computer programs would lets us see into the essential meaning of the words of a text like the Bible. Although we don't have such programs yet, it's fun to look at efforts moving in that direction. As reported on the Blog , the Bible Sentence Paths is a pictorial depiction of the Bible that's built using the ESV Bible API:

This visualization reduces each word from the ESV Bible to a single pixel. Each line is one sentence. The line turns 90 degrees to the right after every sentence. Colors indicate metadata.

These visualizations are based on Stefanie Posavec's visualization of Jack Kerouc's On The Road. Let's take a look at two example. The first is the Book of Job, a series of human speeches (drawn in blue) is interrupted by a speech by God (shown in red):


Contrast this with the Gospel of Matthew, in which the words of Jesus are deeply interspersed through the book:


As pointed out on the Blog, there are features that improve this visualization, including the ability to see the exact words associated with a given pixel. For further insight into this visualization and the data behind, see the ESV Bible Blog.

On ProgrammableWeb there are now 13 religion-related mashups and 3 religion-related APIs.

Raymond Yee