The Original Hypertext: “In The Beginning Was The Word”
Written by Jean Jantzen
The Bible is known as the ‘Greatest Book’ ever written. Yet scholars, theologians and philosophers have never come to any sort of agreement on one circumscribed way to read or understand this intriguing book. In fact, trying to find some middle ground has led to hot debate, division and confusion; nonetheless, the Bible continues to be a bestseller. In his book Hypertext, George Landow describes the many features of hypertext: it has many “networks” that “interact . . .it has no beginning, it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one”(3). In other words, hypertext is a “vast assemblage” which suggests “the structure of an interlacing, a weaving, or a web which would allow the different threads and different lines of sense or force to separate again, as well as being ready to bind others together”(9). In a development of these principles, Professor Ben Shneiderman has three golden rules for hypertext: 1) there is a large body of information organized into numerous fragments; 2 ) the fragments relate to each other; 3) the reader needs only a small fraction at a time. (http://www.aber.ac.uk/~jjw90/work/misc/hyprguid.htm# Getting Started: Shneiderman’s Golden Rules of Hypertext).
I will demonstrate how the Bible is a living, dynamic force and fulfills all the aforementioned characteristics of hypertext.