This afternoon at 3:30 in the Vatican Radio offices in Rome, a new app for the iPad was introduced. Called Bibleword, the app is produced by Edizione San Paolo, a Catholic publisher in Rome which is associated with the Paulist Fathers here in the U.S.
I learned about it from Luca Paolini, an Italian blogger who, with me, attended the Vatican Blogfest in May 2011. Luca thinks that an English-language version is available, but I’m struggling to find it. (I’m sure that for most of you, the Italian app will be of very limited value.) I think it’s out there, but it may be a week or two before an English version is available in U.S. on-line stores.
Bibleword allows navigation within the biblical text using a variety of sensory experiences—visual and tactile. The text flows as if it were a continuous roll in 3D, and the viewer can choose whether to see the illustrated version, or the Scriptures divided into individual lines. The verses can be shared over the network on Facebook, Twitter or email.
The viewer can read the key episodes of the Bible from Creation to Revelation, from Moses to Christ, with the help of over 600 images accompanied by all the verses that make up an effective summary of the story, made from the original text.
The places and events of the biblical world are presented in two virtual sections: the atlas and history. The reconstructions in computer graphics and satellite maps are accompanied by photos that show the most significant archaeological sites and artifacts of history and biblical geography.
The signs are grouped into six areas: the universe, life, animals and plants, the human body, colors and numbers. When the viewer touches a section, it opens and distributes the icons of symbols around the user. Each symbol then expands to show a list of verses which explain the deeper meaning of the Bible.
Bibleworld contains a 3D reconstruction of a virtual cathedral that becomes a synthesis of the whole Bible. Exploring it like a typical video game, you will find the basic steps of the sacred text: the story of Genesis in the stained floor, painted on the ceiling of the Apocalypse, the figures of the prophets and apostles in the aisles. In the Bibleworld cathedral, the entire Bible becomes a three-dimensional book.
The app may be the first of its kind, and will certainly be a valuable tool for Catholic teachers and educators: it can be used by connecting it to a projector. Three-dimensional virtual tours (of the Temple curtain, the Temple of Jerusalem, etc.) are a helpful tool to enrich all—from the younger generation, to those with a broad education in Scripture. The cost, € 8.99 (that’s something like $12.99 in U.S. currency), is certainly reasonable for a very innovative and well made application.
If you want to download the app that is made just for iPad, Luca provides this address. Below is the promotional video.