TIP of the day: Interactive: Narrative Character Maps (for Richard)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Feb 23 2016 8:05 PM

1. Yes, this is the third post of the day but Richard needs a bit of help and I have the time to do it ... at least I do if I procrastinate on what really needs to be done. This interactive opens to an index page which has "thumbnails" of the actual narrative character maps. We will be looking a Ruth because the story is well known and the amount of detail is manageable for a demonstration.

2. As usual, the interactive has a resource information panel.

3. Basic elements of a narrative map:

  • a zoom bar to adjust the size
  • movement left to right represents time but a simple before/after/gap sense of time not a time scale.
  • position vertically represents spatial site ... people form a cluster in a spot (often named) when they are together and are off to the margins when they are outside the narrative
  • color lines represent major characters in the narrative. There are conventions for death and birth and for characters who are necessary to propel the story line but are otherwise irrelevant
  • the area shaded vertically as you move the mouse across the map represent distinct events
  • a glance at the chart should give you a sense of the number of important characters, the geographic distribution of the story, the number of events that make up the narrative, which characters frequently interact with each other ...

Below the map itself you have navigation tools (move one event forward or one event back), read the Biblical text for the event in your highest priority Bible, a horizontal scroll bar ... On the introductory (first) event this includes a summary of the book, a list of the events (note that first event corresponds to shaded event ...)

4. Clicking on an event takes you to that event - highlighting it in the map and providing the Biblical text. Note that the four individuals named in the text each have a line and are at the height that represents Bethlehem and are moving toward the vertical center which represents Moab. Note how Ruth and Orpah move from the side line (bottom) into the action beside+ their spouses then Orpah by staying in Moab returns to the side line (bottom) while Ruth remains in the action with Naomi.

5. Hovering on the name in the line brings up a standard popup identifying the individual.

6. The death of an individual is indicated by a square. At that  point the person's line stops.

7. You can re-position the map by grabbing and dragging; or you can move up and down the time line by the previous/next events arrows. The zoom bar and resizing the panel can also adjust the view.

8. A birth is represented by a new line starting with a circle, usually branching from the mother's line. Don't forget the horizontal scroll bar when you don't see all the text.

9. If you click on an person's name on their line, you will open the Factbook to the person.

10. A line "fading" in and out without birth or death is used to represent "unknown /  minor" characters necessary to propel the story line forward as in the "kinsman redeemer" in the story of Ruth

11. Like most references, the reference associated with events will give a preview in your highest priority Bible. Note that when this translation uses non-standard names, those names are not reflected in the map.

12. Hovering on the title of an event in the bottom portion of the map, opens the standard popup for the event.

13. Clicking on the event will open it in the Factbook.

Any specific questions unanswered, Richard?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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