Theologies of the digital 2019 workshop project.

View the Project on GitHub iliff/theologiesofthedigital

bible as interface: reading bible with machines

There are two primary assumptions driving this project. First, our team believes that machines are partners in reading bible. Machines read differently than we do and can teach us things about bible as we read together. Second, we contend that bible is an interface that can afford collaboration and anarchy. I will expand on these affordances later, but for now, bible as interface simply indicates that bible is made in the encounter between a user and the materiality of the technologies that participate in the event.

I refer to bible without the definite article and without capitalization to emphasize that bible is multiple and fluid, constructed as we as users engage with it in interface.

As an experiment in bible as interface, our EHL and ai.iliff teams are working together to build a conversational AI that will take a bible verse as input and provide some commentary on this verse as output.

Theologies of the Digital Workshop 2019

This project is our team’s contribution to the international workshop on Theologies of the Digital held in November 2019 at Princeton Theological Seminary.


In this project, our Experimental Humanities team at Iliff has been a core inspiration and partner in the work at all stages. Dr. Justin Barber is the lead AI engineer on the project. Shawn Goodwin and Dr. Micah Saxton are providing substantial data support for the project. Dr. Timothy Beal, co-investigator at ai.iliff, has provided consultation and contributed to writing in the project. Dr. Michael Hemenway is the coordinator and designer of the project. To see the active contributors at any stage of the project, you can find this in the insights area of the repository. We are also building upon development underway at the AI Institute at Iliff and utilizing the excellent high performance computing power provided by the institute.

I have enabled on all pages of the site. Please feel free to pose questions or thoughts or additional resources or arguments, etc. using the tools. If you are interested in participating in the development of the data or the model used to construct this conversational AI, let us know and we can invite you as a collaborator on the repository.

I have struggled for years with the best way to translate the codex afforded “footnotes” into digital writing spaces. For this project, I will include my notes as either indentations within the text of as annotations. Please look for the annotation highlights while you read. Often, the most interesting places for engagement are in the margins, are they not?

Project TOC

This is the main structure of the writing about this project. It wouldn’t hurt to engage these pages in this order, but feel free to skip around wherever you see fit. Please use the links at the left to view the actual code base driving the project. At any time, click the theologiesofthedigital link in the top left of the site to get back to this page. If you have any questions related to the project, feel free to post an issue to the repository or email us at