In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Digital Humanities and the Bible

  • Introduction
  • Digital Humanities: Introduction and Methodological Questions
  • Digital Humanities and Bible: Method, Theory, and Pedagogy
  • Online Bibles and Software: A Select List
  • Digital Editions and Biblical Projects
  • Bibliographies

Biblical Studies Digital Humanities and the Bible
by
Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 April 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 April 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0316

Introduction

Digital humanities and the Bible is an arm of biblical studies that uses computing and linked data technologies to create tools, portals, electronic indices, digital textual editions, and digital publications for biblical research and pedagogy. The intersection of biblical studies and computing technology has transformed how scholars teach and study the Bible, its world and characters, and its interpretative history. Digital Bible scholars and theologians engage digital tools and applications in their research, teaching, and publishing. They also analyze how digital methods, databases, and visualization affect the dissemination of knowledge of the Bible. This article presents projects that elucidate how scholars can use digital tools to probe the questions of biblical studies and train scholars in the skills for studying the Bible. It includes introductory material for students and scholars new to the digital humanities. The digital scholarship addressed here is meant to help scholars recognize the size of different biblical textual corpora in the various languages of the ancient world. Collaborators in the digital humanities work across disciplinary boundaries. Biblical studies, too, which brings together theologians, philologists, historians, archaeologists, paleographers, and anthropologists, therefore, works well with the interdisciplinary nature of the digital humanities. Digital bible scholars work with librarian collections, archives, memory institutions, and the preservation of cultural heritage as this pertains to their field and the knowledge economy of the Bible: its textual history, its people and places, and its transmission.

Digital Humanities: Introduction and Methodological Questions

The intersection of computing technologies and the questions of the humanities have advanced theoretical questions about the nature of how research, teaching, and learning are done and digital humanities is reaching across the spectrum of disciplines (Berry 2012; Schreibman 2004; Battershill and Ross 2017; Bilansky 2017). While some scholars have embraced digital technologies in their research and teaching, the interdisciplinary field of digital humanities must overcome the fear that some users have of engaging with it to engage pedagogical initiatives and collaboration in the classroom (Battershill and Ross 2017; Davidson and Savonick 2017; Sample 2011). Berry 2012 and Sinclair and Rockwell 2015 have studied how digital technology has mediated much research today. This digital revolution presents theoretical and practical challenges but also remarkable potential for scholarly creativity (Helmi 2021), and textual analysis and visualization (Sinclair and Rockwell 2015; Text Encoding Initiative). Our capacity through database searches to read and represent collections of texts and search them for specific questions has had a transformative effect on scholarly research, especially as the digital humanities have moved beyond simply content processing and the questions we can ask our sources, as with Bilansky 2017 and Buzzetti 2019 (p. 32).

  • Battershill, Claire, and Shawna Ross. Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers, and Students. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

    This book is a lucid introduction for teachers who wish to integrate digital humanities in their courses and teaching, introducing digital humanities and writing syllabuses that incorporate digital humanities. This text would be beneficial for non-specialists and beginners.

  • Berry, David M. “Introduction.” In Understanding Digital Humanities. By David M. Berry, 1–20. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230371934.0005

    This introduces a volume on the digital humanities that addresses several topics, including chapters that explore theoretical questions about research in the digital humanities and practical obstacles for scholars working in this field.

  • Bilansky, Alan. “Search, Reading, and the Rise of Database.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 32.3 (2017): 511–527.

    DOI: 10.1093/llc/fqw023

    This article discusses how the ability to search primary texts with databases has altered research methods and has made much of that source material more accessible to wider audiences.

  • Buzzetti, Dino. “The Origins of Humanities Computing and the Digital Humanities Turn.” Semantic Metadata, Humanist Computing, and Digital Humanities 6.1 (2019): 32–58.

    DOI: 10.5399/uo/hsda.6.1.3

    This article traces the development of humanities computing as a field. He shows how now the digital humanities are focusing on the “representation in digital form of documentary sources” as opposed to “content processing,” which characterized earlier questions.

  • Davidson, Cathy N., and Danica Savonick. “Digital Humanities: The Role of Interdisciplinary Humanities in the Information Age.” In Oxford Handbooks Online. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. Edited by Thompson Klein and Roberto Carlos Dos Santos Pacheco, 159–172, 2d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

    This chapter focuses on the inherently interdisciplinary nature of the digital humanities and what that means for pedagogical initiatives and the future of higher education.

  • Helmi, Laila. “Digital Humanities: A Paradigm for the 21st Century.” BAU Journal - Society, Culture, & Human Behavior 2.2 (2021): 1–11.

    Helmi explores how the digital world is a “fluid continuum with incredible potential for creativity, dissemination, interaction, retrieval, analysis and scholarship” and presents a history of the development of the digital humanities.

  • Sample, Mark. “Building and Sharing (When You’re Supposed to Be Teaching).” Journal of Digital Humanities 1.1 (2011).

    Sample shows the work of the reproduction of knowledge (rather than the production of knowledge) in the digital humanities and explains how the digital “reshapes the representation, sharing, and discussion of knowledge.” This article shows how the digital humanities encourage collaboration and creative construction in the classroom.

  • Schreibman, Susan. A Companion to Digital Humanities. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405103213.2004.x

    This rich collection of essays on digital humanities is an excellent starting point for curious learners. Biblical scholars would also appreciate the chapters “History of Humanities Computing” (Hockey), “Computing for Archaeologists” (Eiteljorg), “Art History” (Greenhalgh), “Classics” (Crane), “History” (Thomas), “Lexicography” (Wooldridge), “Databases” (Ramsay), “Text Encoding” (Renear), and “Linguistic Corpora” (Ide).

  • Sinclair, Stéfan, and Geoffrey Rockwell. “Text Analysis and Visualization.” In A New Companion to Digital Humanities. Edited by Susan Schriebmann, Raymond George Siemens, and John Unsworth, 274–290. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2015.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781118680605.ch19

    Technology changes quickly, and this volume is an updated edition. It includes critical analysis on digital cultural heritage (Kraus), “Interdisciplinarity” (Edmond), “Text-Mining” (Sinclair), and the “Nature of Digital Scholarship” (Mandell).

  • Text Encoding Initiative. TEI Text Encoding Initiative.

    The TEI establishes the guidelines for encoding texts (including ancient ones): “a consortium which collectively develops and maintains a standard for the representation of texts in digital form.”

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