So, the 2013 winner of "Most Popular Old Testament Book" is Genesis! No surprise there, right? If you are going to start reading the Bible, you start with the first book.
What else can we gleam from the data?
Well, the huge drop of page views after Genesis possibly suggests:
- People loose resolve and interest in reading the Bible pretty quickly
- Or people get demotivated from reading the Bible based on the content
- Or people determine that summaries probably aren't the way to go, and so they go to reading the actual Bible
- Or my summaries are poor quality, and people quickly seek out more reputable sources! :-)
It's interesting to see Exodus on basically equal footing with Leviticus, whereas before Leviticus had twice the popularity. Exodus has the miracle-saturated redemption of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, while Leviticus is primarily just laws and commands. I suspect Leviticus hits are driven by skeptics seeking ridiculousness and conservatives Christians trying to reign in liberal Christians, while the hits in Exodus represent more of enchantment with the myth.
I also find it interesting that the "wisdom" books of Job and Ecclesiastes both experienced a significant drop in hits. Depending on how you look at these books, they present God, and life in general, in quite a different perspective than what most Christian pastors would have you believe.
However, the most important and revealing trend in the data is the upticks we see in the major prophets of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Even some minor prophets like Hosea, Amos, and Micah in particular, show an increase in interest. While I would like to suppose that this means more people are seeking out the truth and context of these prophesies for themselves, my gut tells me something different...
Each of those books has a common theme; they're often cited for reference when discussing God's final Judgement Day and subsequent restoration. In fact, the little book of Micah, with its disproportionate number of hits, actually contains the phrase "last days" suggesting the end of an era. So I suspect that this uptick in prophetic interest just indicates an increasing intensity in "the End is nigh" paranoia.
It should be interesting to see if this trend continues in another year and a half.
I will leave you with the hit could for the four Gospels. Note that Matthew has been posted the longest, and John only recently got published, so the skew in the data is at least somewhat, if not mostly, due to its length of availability. Cheers!