Bibliomancy scripts


Bibliomancy consists of selecting a random passage from a book such as the Bible.  The following two scripts are intended to assist in the process.  They both present you with all the possibilities and allow you to make the selection; they do not make it for you.

The bibliomancy script allows you to make a selection from any book; you enter the number of pages, chapters, verses, and so forth, and then make a random selection.

The Whole Bible [compressed file, 1.8 MB] contains the text of what I consider to be the whole Bible, as illustrated in the preview below.  There are links to every book and chapter, and a sortes biblicae script that allows you to select a verse from the entire text.



The Boook of
Enoch
1
1The words of the blessing of Enoch wherewith he blessed the chosen and just, who will exist on the day of tribulation when all the wicked and impious shall be removed. 2And then answered and spoke Enoch, a just man, whose eyes were opened by God so that he saw a holy vision in the heavens, which the angels showed to me, and from them I heard everything, and I knew what I saw, but not for this generation, but for the far-off generations which are to come. 3Concerning the chosen I spoke and conversed concerning them with the Holy and Great One, who will come from his abode, the God of the world. 4And from there he will step on to Mount Sinai, and appear with his hosts, and appear in the strength of his power from heaven. 5And all will fear, and the watchers will tremble, and great fear and terror will seize them to the ends of the earth. 6And the exalted mountains will be shaken, and the high hills will be lowered, and will melt like wax before the flame. 7And the earth will be submerged, and everything that is on the earth will be destroyed, and there will be a judgment upon every thing, and upon all the just. 8But to the just he will give peace, and will protect the chosen, and mercy will abide over them, and they will all be God’s, and will be prosperous and blessed, and the light of God will shine for them. 9And behold, he comes with myriads of the holy to pass judgment upon them, and will destroy the impious, and will call to account all flesh for everything the sinners and the impious have done and committed against him.
2
1I observed everything that took place in the heavens, how the luminaries, which are in the heavens, do not depart from their paths, that each one rises and sets in order, each in its time, and they do not depart from their laws. 2See the earth and observe the things that are done on it, from the first to the last, how no work of God is irregular in appearing. 3See the summer and the winter, how then the whole earth is full of water, and clouds and dew and rain rest over it.
3
And so on . . . .

Notes on the text

Most of the text is based on the World English Bible.  “World English Bible” is a trademark of eBible.org.

The following books and parts of books are recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Russian Orthodox Churches:  Tobit, Judith, Esther from the Greek Septuagint, The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (also called The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach), Baruch, The Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees.

The Letter of Jeremiah is included as chapter 6 of Baruch.  The Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon are presented independently, as are the additions to Esther.  Missing verses from Sirach were borrowed from King James and displayed in gray text.

The following books are recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, but not the Roman Catholic Church:  1 Esdras, The Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees.  Note that 1 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh are also in an appendix to the Latin Vulgate Bible.

The Slavonic Bible includes 2 Esdras, but calls it 3 Esdras.  This same book is in the Appendix to the Latin Vulgate as 4 Esdras.

An appendix to the Greek Septuagint contains 4 Maccabees.

The Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch are considered canonical by the Orthodox Tewahedo churches.  They are both found among the Dead Sea scrolls of Qumran.

The Book of Jubilees was known to Justin Martyr, Origen, Epiphanius, and other church fathers.  The text is based on R. H. Charles.

The Book of Enoch is quoted in the Epistle of Jude; the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to Enoch’s witness; the Epistle of Barnabas refers to Enoch as scripture, as did Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian.  The text is based on George H. Schodde.

The epistles of Clement are included in Codex Alexandrinus.  The text is based on J. B. Lightfoot.

The Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas are included in Codex Sinaiticus.  The text is based on Kirsopp Lake.

The World English Bible uses modern English.  All the other translations were revised to remove archaic forms and, in some places, to simplify the grammar and standardize the punctuation.

Sortes Biblicae

Click anywhere in this field to select a verse from the whole Bible.


Psalm 119:39
Take away my disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.


Sortes biblicae consists of seeking guidance by selecting a random passage from the Bible.  A form of bibliomancy, the practice is ancient, and common to many religious traditions, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim.

The canons of the council of Vannes in A.D. 461 are sometimes quoted as a condemnation of the practice; but note what it actually says:

Some clergy are devoted to the interpretation of signs, and under the label of what pretends to be religion—what they call Saints’ Lots (sanctorum sortes)—they profess a knowledge of divination, or by looking into any kind of writings whatever they predict future events.  Any cleric found either to have consulted or expounded this should be considered estranged from the church.  (See Christian Divination in Late Roman Gaul:  The Sortes Sangallenses by William E. Klingshirn, brill.com/previewpdf/book/edcoll/9789047407966/B9789047407966-s005.xml; emphasis on using any kind of writings whatever, and predicting future events).

Modern condemnation of the practice often includes the emotionally-charged term “fortune-telling.”  I will assert that in the following passage, Saint Augustine was not “fortune-telling”:

So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo!  I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of a boy or girl, I do not know, chanting, and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read.”  Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children in any kind of play were in the habit of singing such words; I could not remember ever to have heard the like.  So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find.  For I had heard of Antony, that coming in during the reading of the Gospel, he received the admonition, as if what was being read was spoken to him:  “Go, sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me”; and by such oracle he was immediately converted unto You.  Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose.  I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell:  “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, in lustfulness.”  No further would I read; nor needed I; for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity that was infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.  (The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book VIII, chapter XII; see the translation by Edward Bouverie Pusey at www.sacred-texts.com/chr/augconf/aug08.htm.)

Modern condemnation also objects to the taking of scripture out of context.  Leaving aside the observation that the apostles often quoted scripture out of context, and that context and age-of-reason hermeneutics are not taught in the Bible, nothing prevents the study of the context of a passage obtained by sortes biblicae, or conventional study in general.

Of course, it is possible to abuse the sortes biblicae, such as by trying to use the Bible to predict the stock market.  You will have to follow your own conscience.

As to those who take lots out of the pages of the Gospel, although it is preferable that they do this rather than run to consult demons, nevertheless I am displeased with this custom of trying to turn the divine oracles to secular business and to the vanity of this present life, when they were intended to speak for the sake of another life.  (Augustine, letter 55, 20:37, in Divining Gospel by Jeff W. Childers, doi.org/10.1515/9783110643497-002.)


Concerning the script:

It may be hard to make a random selection from a well-used book, especially if you are familiar with the contents.  The script above allows you to make a truly random selection from the entire Bible.

It is common for scripts like this to let the computer generate a random verse in response to clicking a link.  This script assigns verses to the pixels in the field above, but you are the one who makes the selection, as if opening the book; the computer does not do that for you.  A small number of pixels are unassigned so that all the verses are represented by an equal number of pixels; if nothing happens when you click the field, click again.