Advancing New Testament interpretation through spatio-temporal analysis: Demonstrated by case studies

Vincent van Altena*, Henk Bakker, Jantien Stoter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article explores, via three case studies, how spatio-temporal analysis can advance New Testament text interpretation. Acts 2, verse 9 to 11 is the text of study. Case study 1 applies network analysis to data representing the Roman road network constrained by parameters valid for ancient times. This analysis provided new information on the background of people attending a festival in Jerusalem. Case study 2 located geographical entities from the text in a cartographic visualization and provided supportive information to compare contemporary textual resources. For the disciplines of textual and conjectural criticism (case study 3), spatio-temporal analysis opens a new window to study what would be the most probable variant of the original text. The case study puts emendations that have been proposed over centuries in a 3D spatial context and provides in this way a sophisticated tool to relate different alternative variants of a specific text. From the case studies, it can be concluded that spatializing, visualizing, and spatially analyzing geographical concepts from the texts in Acts 2 contributes to the field of New Testament interpretation. Further work will elaborate on the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-720
Number of pages24
JournalTransactions in GIS
Issue number3
Early online date29 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


European Research Council, Grant/Award No.: 677312 Jantien Stoter has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Hori-

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme677312
European Commission
European Research Council


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