Week 8 : Network Analysis


With only two weeks left of Introduction to Digital Humanities, the time has come to start thinking about our final essays. So far I’ve chosen a textual dataset, six Old Testament books, and the next step is to decide what digital method or tool I will use to answer my question. As a starting place, I decided to do a network analysis of the kings and prophets within the time span of these books (not all the prophets are mentioned in the six books but feature elsewhere in the Bible). Though I suspect this will not be the tool I do use for my final essay, it was interesting to see the networks that formed around kings and prophets.

Graph 1 shows the complete network analysis, visualising which kings and prophets interacted with which ones. We are able to see which prophets existed simultaneously and overlapped the  reigns of different kings. However, it does not provide us with a timescale or an order of succession between kings or, on occasion, prophets.

Palladio Network Analytics of Prophets and Kings in the Old Testament

Graph 1

Graphs 2 and 3 show different distributions. Graph 2 consists of a central node, ‘No Recorded Prophets’, visualising those kings who did not have prophets. If we were concentrating on only those kings who co-existed with prophets, this would be an outlier and removed from the dataset. Graph 3 shows a more even distribution of nodes, with four prophets being active simultaneously over the reigns of five kings.


Graph 2 – Light grey indicates a prophet, dark grey indicates a king


Graph 3 – Light grey indicates a prophet, dark grey indicates a king

Graph 4 is the most interesting graph. Here I swapped the names of kings for the different types of relations between kings. The resulting graph shows which prophets interacted with the different relationship groups of kings. Though this graph is more informative when you have a list of which kings belong to which group, it does provide a starting place for understanding why prophets may have interacted with certain kings. For example, the group ‘Captain’ (i.e. the previous kings’ captain) is connected to seven prophets, which could be interpreted as prophets talking against a possible usurper. In contrast, ‘No Recorded Prophet’ is attached to ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘No Relations’, implying that where there was a lawful succession a prophet was not required to intervene.


Graph 4 – Light grey indicates a prophet, dark grey indicates a relationship between kings

In conclusion, though I will probably not use network analysis in my final essay, it has presented some interesting findings about possible motivations behind the prophets’ motivations.


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