Secret code used to bury bad news in Bible uncovered

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 22, 2013 11:30 hrs

Using a new tool, researchers have uncovered a secret code used in Bible to sandwich bad news between good news.

The opening and closing verses of the book contain frequent mentions of life, whereas mentions of death are only found in clusters in the middle, the researchers said.

The text-analysis tool, called Search Visualizer, represents entire texts as a grid with each square representing a word and coloured squares representing search keywords.

The new pattern emerged when used to examine the words 'life' and 'death' in the King James Version of Genesis, the Daily Mail reported.

The team at Keele University, UK, and Amridge University, USA, noted that the discovery is the first known use of a technique known as 'bracketing', which sandwiches one theme between two mentions of another theme.

The technique is commonly used today.

Dubbed the 'Genesis Death Sandwich', this pattern offers the first clear example of this common rhetorical structure being used in the text describing the creation of the universe.

"This is a significant discovery for historians and theologians interested in the Old Testament, and shows that whoever wrote the version of the text that has been passed down to us was clearly employing this rhetorical structure," said Dr Gordon Rugg of Keele University, who developed a new tool for analysing texts.

Though the team are not sure if the placement was done on purpose, they believe that the pattern was used to soften the negative messages of death, or perhaps to juxtapose life and death for greater impact.

Dr Gordon Rugg from Keele University and Dr David Musgrave from Amridge University, USA, have also used Search Visualizer to explore other significant texts including the Iliad.

They have uncovered a pattern in the text that provides new evidence supporting a theory that one section, 'The Catalogue of Ships', is in fact an older poem incorporated into Homer's epic story.

Apart from exploring patterns in historical texts and literature, the new tool has a wide range of other potential applications.

It may be used to re-examine cold-case police investigations by analysing old witness statements to identify correlating stories.

The software can also be used as a new way of searching the web. (ANI)

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