Bible Atlas Scholarship and Cartographic Functions

Authors: Natalie Vredevoogd*, Calvin College, Edward Lambert*, Calvin College, Jason VanHorn, Calvin University
Topics: Bible Geography, Cartography
Keywords: Cartography, Atlas, Religion, Historical
Session Type: Paper
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Bible atlases synthesize scholarship from history, archaeology, and hermeneutics with visual aides like illustrations and maps to frame the Biblical narrative in its geographic context. This study comprehensively analyses all print and online Bible atlases and related commentaries on Bible geography, with the goal of providing an unprecedented review which can be used to inform future Bible atlas creation. The following essential components of Bible Atlases were investigated: scope and organization; spatial data and cartography; page layout and design; writing style; navigability; and treatment of archeological uncertainty. Positive and negative renditions of each component were demonstrated. Quantitative ranks for all evaluated atlases were assigned based on the measured successfulness of each component. This analysis then definitively outlines successful applications of each component which can then be adapted for future Bible atlas publications.This is part of a larger project to build a comprehensive GIS-based dataset for Biblical atlas creation.

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