First hyperlinked text: The Bible and its 63,779 cross-references

(ORDO NEWS) — “Each line at the bottom of the picture is a Bible verse. The length of each line is proportional to the number of times that verse is mentioned in some way in any other verse in the Bible.”

Professor Jordan Peterson described the Bible as the first “hyperlinked text,” that is, the first text to comprehensively refer to itself throughout its entire structure in an extensive series of internal relationships. Think of Wikipedia, where all articles are linked and linked to each other in a vast web of knowledge.

The Bible is hyperlinked in the same way, but for ancient stories and repositories of ancient myths, ideas, narratives, wisdom, mystical poetry, and ethical theories. The difference was that instead of clicking the mouse, ancient readers had to flip through the pages like Choose Your Own Adventure.


In other words, this image is a map. It shows 63,779 cross-references in the Bible, in this vast text written over thousands of years by hundreds of people from all walks of life in three different languages: Greek, Latin, and Aramaic.

Starting with any verse, imagine how many ways you could go through all the related verses in the text! There is an almost infinite number of permutations and combinations, and every verse and phrase depends on almost every other verse and phrase …

A histogram created by scholars represents all chapters of the Bible. The books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each strip indicates the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross-references found in the Bible is represented by a single arc — the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow effect.


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