Friday, February 06, 2009

From Biblical Verse to Bible Map

Many times it is nice to have a quick way to visualize locations mentioned in a biblical text. I have had a chance to experiment a little with this task based on BibleWorks-8, which is now up and running on my computers. I would be interested if readers find these approaches to quick-visualization of sites helpful, and if they have alternative suggestions. (Obviously for serious research, a serious hardcover Atlas needs to be consulted. Most often, I find myself pulling off the shelf either the Harper Atlas of the Bible or The Sacred Bridge. I also recently purchased the IVP Atlas of Bible History for comparison purposes.)

The new "Ermie" function of the BW-8 program points one to a site known as BibleMap.org. Note that the site is directly accessible through the Web; you do not have to go through Ermie. At the site you select any book and chapter from simple drop down menus, and then click on any hyperlinked site name in the biblical text that appears. The site is quickly identified on the map and a bubble appears to give some basic information. Caution must be exercised, since the information appears based on the 1913 "International Standard Encyclopedia." Here is what appears when you click on "Beth-jeshimoth" in Joshua 12:3 (click the image to enlarge):


Click Me!

If you have BibleWorks 7 or 8 running, it is more direct to right click on any place name in the text and select "Lookup in BibleWorks Maps" in the menu that appears. Upon doing that, a blank map appears with a "Find Place" window in front of it. You have to select your site from the list that appears in that "Find" window. When you do, this is what you'll see (again, the example is "Beth-jeshimoth" in Joshua 12:3 (click the image to enlarge; I've circled the site in yellowish pen):


Click Me!

I should add that I have several other map-programs loaded on my hard drive, but they require a bit more time to load and manipulate. I'm thinking in particular of the Logos Bible Atlas (which software appears badly in need of update) and Richard Cleave's Holy Land Satellite Atlas, which I find most engaging for use in my lecturing. Again, any suggestions, comments, etc. about map resources are most welcome.

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