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Biblical Citations and Allusions: Online Index

March 20, 2018

For a number of years now, the online resource, BiblIndex (Index of Biblical Quotations in Early Christian Literature) has been available here, though not widely enough noticed.

It’s a very handy tool. You can search for the number of citations and allusions of any verse, or whole book of the Bible.  You can search instances in particular early Christian writers/texts, or all Christian texts of a given period.  And it will bring up on screen the actual instances for you to assess.

By way of illustration, here are some figures that will show the relative usage of particular biblical books in Christian texts dated ca. 100-400 AD (the figures = combined citations and allusions):  Matthew (36,556), Mark (3,537), Luke (17,410), John (22,735).  Clearly, Matthew was the favorite, and Mark by far the least.

Among other selected NT writings in the same period, Romans (10,794), 1 Corinthians (14,596), Galatians (3,372), James (602), Revelation (2,425).

As illustrations of particular verses, in Christian texts 100-400 AD, for John 1:1 (1,088), Matthew 16:19 (132).

By far, as we would expect, Psalms leads with 41,780.  Compare this with Genesis (22,357), and Isaiah (18,655).  Compare the figure for Leviticus:  2,694.

The index is quite generous in what counts as an allusion, and so the specific figures may be adjusted by exercise of more exacting criteria.  But the comparative number of references to particular Old Testament or New Testament writings would likely remain the same, indicating which books were more frequently drawn upon.

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2 Comments
  1. Larry (if I may)
    Thank you very much for this extremely helpful link. I was not aware of this (perhaps in consequence of having completed my formal theological studies in pre-internet days). Your postings frequently motivate me to research in new directions, as in this case.
    Trevor

  2. Thank you for posting this valuable information.

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