Paul and Patristics

The Paul and Patristics project sought to create a searchable database combining data about eary Christian use of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul. In addition to providing viewers with an interactive and querable table, this interactive Shiny app also allows users to visualise the popularity of each letter over time on the Paul and Patristics website.

A portion of this database was first published in The Pauline Effect: Early Christian Use of the Pauline Epistles (De Gruyter, 2015). This is an expanded, searchable version with more than 27,000 entries from over 200 extant works.

These visualisations were built using R and Shiny, here's a basic overview of what Shiny is.

This project was started when Dr. Jenn Strawbridge approached University of Oxford's IT Research Support Team and requested support in creating a queryable database for the Paul and Patristics project. Shiny was recommended as it allowed us to easily build both an interactive table that met Dr. Strawbridge's initial needs but also allowed us to add a range of visualisations of the data.

The visualisation makes use of the following charts:

  • Interactive, queryable tables. 
  • Barcharts - useful for comparison, ranking or displaying the magnitude of data.
  • Bubble matrix plot

To replicate this interactive visualisation for yourself, refer to the IDN Shiny app template or else fork the actual code for the shiny app here. You an also contact the IDN on

Case Study Details

Academic Prof. Jenn Strawbridge (


Divison Humanities
Where is visualisation used?
Data Source [Not yet publicly published]
Link(s) to code
Developer Martin Hadley (