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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006  

Getting the Big Picture

In my previous post, I showed how you can measure distance in time between various items on the Timeline. But option-dragging from one point to another isn't the only way to see relationships in time. The Timeline has two really cool features which help to give you the big picture of what was happening at any point in Biblical history.

For those who aren't familiar with the Timeline, it's divided into eight major geographical regions: Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Aram (Syria), Mesopotamia, Persia, Asia (Anatolia), Greece, and Rome. Each of these regions is assigned a distinct color (all user-customizable, of course). The cool part is that whenever the people of one region dominate the people of another, that region's color spills over onto the other regions. In the following screenshot, you can see the blue of Mesopotamia swallowing up the northern kingdom of Irael during the Late Assyrian Empire, and extending to the southern kingdom of Judah during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The green of Persia then covers everything from Asia Minor to Egypt. This is followed by a thin sliver of orange representing the short-lived empire of Alexander the Great. (You can click the thumbnail below to get a bigger image.)

In addition to showing the ebb and flow of regional supremacy in this way, the Timeline gives one other way to see everything that is happening at a given point in time. If you click a point, or click and drag a selection in the time scale at the top of the Timeline, Accordance will open a new window listing everything that if happening on the Timeline during the period of time you selected. For example, if I'm looking at the period of David's life (in the Conservative dating scheme), I can drag from 1040 B.C. to about 960 B.C. in the time scale. Like this:

The resulting timeline report tells me that during this period of time, the Latins were just beginning to settle in Rome, Greece was in a dark age between the Mycenaean and Archaic periods, Asia Minor was populated by small Neo-Hittite states after the fall of the Hittite empire, Assyria was in decline, and Egypt was in the Third Intermediate period after the collapse of the powerful New Kingdom. Thus we see that David was able to expand his empire at a time when all the major world powers were in a period of relative weakness and disarray!

In these two ways, the Timeline can give you the big picture of the historical circumstances behind various Biblical people and events.

The Timeline is without a doubt a great tool for study. I was wondering if there are any plans to syncronize it to follow the time frame of the scripture text that you are working with?

David's empire??

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