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Monday, July 03, 2006  

A Graphic Discussion of Love

In this series of posts on the new graphing features of Accordance 7, we've talked at length about the Analysis Graph, which enables you to break down a search by multiple criteria and observe the frequency of each item across the search range. Today I want to introduce you to some of the other new graphs and charts. We'll do that by "looking for love" in the Greek New Testament.

As most people know, there are several Greek words which are translated by the English word "love." In the Greek New Testament, the principle words are the verbs agapao and phileo, along with their corresponding nouns, agapé and philia. Let's do an OR search to find any of these four words. I can do this by entering each word, then hitting shift-command-O to insert the OR command, entering the next word, and so forth. I can also choose "Enter Lexical Forms..." from the Search menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-L) and pick the forms I want from the list. If I take the latter approach, the words I select will appear within parentheses, separated by commas, like this:

Click OK to perform this search, and Accordance will find 285 occurrences. If we click the Details button and choose Analysis Graph from the Graph drop down menu, we can then break down the results of the search across entire the search range. The obvious way to break this search down is by lexical form, so that we can compare where each of the four words we searched for is found:

Once again, if your Analysis Graph doesn't look exactly like mine, don't panic. I've simply customized the display by using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: Command-T. In this case, I've chosen to Stack the area graphs rather than overlaying them on top of each other, and I've chosen a black background with a grid.

Looking at this graph, there are several things which jump out at us. First, notice how frequent agapao and agapé are, as opposed to phileo and philia, which are used much less frequently. In fact, the great majority of occurrences of phileo appear in a single book: the gospel of John. Within the gospel of John itself, phileo is used most frequently in the famous passage in chapter 21, where agapao and phileo appear in a roughly alternating pattern (note the corresponding spike in the graph of agapao).

Another thing to note about this graph are the disproportionately high spikes for agapao and agapé around 1st-3rd John. These seriously overshadow the spike of agapé in 1 Corinthians 13. Hmmm, maybe 1 Corinthians 13 isn't really the "love chapter" after all!

Of course, since the Analysis Graph plots the frequency of occurrence rather than just the number of occurrences, this graph may be skewed in favor of the smaller books. To get a graph of the number of occurrences, we need to turn to the Analysis Bar Chart. To do this, simply choose Analysis Bar Chart from the Graph drop-down menu of the Details Workspace. Make sure you choose LEX in the pop-up menu at the bottom right corner of the window, and you should see something like this:

The Analysis Bar Chart plots the total number of occurrences of each form, and like the Analysis Graph, you can switch to a different category of information simply by selecting it from the pop-up menu. So, for example, if you wanted to break down the various moods of the verbs included in this search, you could choose Mood. Or if you wanted to compare the cases of the two nouns (along with the participles of the two verbs), you could choose Case. If you choose a form which does not apply to some of the words found by your search, those words are simply ignored.

The Analysis Pie Chart is similar to the Analysis Bar Chart in that it graphs the total number of occurrences, but it differs in the way that information is displayed. Here's what you'll get if you choose Analysis Pie Chart from the Graph drop-down menu and choose LEX in the pop-up menu:

The pie chart makes it clear just how much more agapao and agapé are used rather than phileo and philia. If you customize the appearance of the Pie Chart to show the count as a percentage of the total, you'll see that agapao and agapé account for nearly 91% of our search results. And again, if you want to look at another category of information, such as Tense, just select that category from the pop-up menu:

The final new graph I want to expose you to is the Table Bar Chart; but this post is already pretty long, and I want to give that chart the attention it deserves. We'll therefore save the Table Bar Chart for later in the week. I guess you can expect this search for love to get even more "graphic" in the near future!

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