“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” reads the opening words of the King James bible. According to new research, those words might be considered a slice of creation-angled bread in ametaphorical sandwich — one with a rather morbid filling.
Using a free online analytics tool dubbed “Search Visualizer” that transforms text queries into color-coded visual charts, researchers at Keele University in the U.K. and Amridge University in the U.S. have reportedly discovered an ancient literary trick in the Judeo-Christian Bible’s famous foundational book. That trick, known as inclusio or “bracketing,” involves placing similar material at the beginning and end of something; in Genesis’ cases, the writers appear to have enclosed a midsection thematically dominated by “death” with intro and outro passages devoted to “life.”
The researchers call this the “Genesis Death Sandwich,” reports Science Daily. (It’s also not a bad way to draw attention to your research.)
“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 been passed down to us was clearly employing this rhetorical structure,” said Dr. Gordon Rugg, a senior lecturer in Computing and Mathematics at Keele and the guy who designed Search Visualizer. “Whether this was done consciously or subconsciously will probably remain a mystery, although possible reasons for the pattern might be to soften the negative messages of death, or perhaps to juxtapose life and death for greater impact.”
It’s not the first instance of inclusio noticed in the Bible; in fact the sacred text is brimming with others, including several found in the New Testament Gospels and others in various Old Testament books.