Re: personal revelations

From: Iain Strachan (
Date: Sat Feb 19 2000 - 12:47:30 EST

  • Next message: "Re: personal revelations"

    On Tue, 18 Feb 2003 18:27:36
     Michael Roberts wrote:
    >My test is that is someone claims they have had something revealed to them
    >then it is not revealed by God. If they come in humility and almost doubt
    >then it may be.

    I fully agree and think that this is a very fair test. If someone comes up to me and says "This is right because the Holy Spirit revealed it to me", then that puts me right off, because it precludes any rational debate. How dare I question the authority of the Holy Spirit? I must be a terrible person even to contemplate such a thing. And so I politely ignore such "revelations".

    Having agreed fully with your summary, Michael, I have to say, and I hope it comes over with sufficient humility, that I believe I have been "led" (whatever that means) to investigate Vernon's mathematical claims seriously, and therefore find it somewhat irksome when it is described as "Pfaffing about", as you have done elsewhere. I came into this from quite a different angle; the use of numerology by classical composers, which is well documented, and in some cases the composer himself would have written extensively about it.

    I got interested in this because I've always loved classical music, and I've always loved numbers, right from the age of about 5 when I'd collect bus numbers. I made a few discoveries in the music/numerology field myself; just something I stumbled upon because I can't resist a mathematical puzzle & they were accepted by a leading musicologist who was normally sceptical in that area. During my wider research into that topic (symbolic numbers) about which I knew practically nothing, I also contacted a fairly eminent maths professor, specializing in the field of History of Maths. His name is Ivor Grattann-Guinness, and he has published several peer-reviewed papers on the subject of numerology as practiced, quite deliberately by composers such as Beethoven and Mozart.

    It was Grattann-Guinness who first told me that the New Testament gematria were rigged so that many key phrases yielded multiples of the number 37; a number with a long history - apparently Plato was fascinated with this particular number. There were far too many examples of this, according to him, to write off as coincidence. However, Grattann-Guinness isn't at all religious - in fact he is rather hostile towards religion and regards the numerology in the bible as very strong evidence that it was all cooked up by humans who have done that sort of thing all through history. Even names like "Jesus", "Christ", and "Son of Man" would have been deliberately chosen to yield multiples of 37. (I've checked; they do). My first response to this claim of Grattann-Guinness was to try to ignore it; the thought that the bible was constructed by Kabbalists doing sums, rather than it being the revelation of the truth, was horrifying. I assumed that Grattann-Guinness must be deluded - p!
    aps wanting to find a reason to disbelieve. I felt it was far better to have nothing to do with it & go back to examining music (which clearly has no sinister implications).

    However, somewhat later, I came across Vernon's web-site & while the initial idea of this kind of thing was something I found distasteful, I was forced to conclude that the level of detail in the mathematical patterns was of an entirely higher order of sophistication than anything I'd seen in my musical studies, either my own "discoveries" or anything else I'd read in the literature. Hence the evidence that I came across by this route rather forced me to accept that there was something deliberate in it, and that it should be investigated. Furthermore if an accredited mathematician states that it is deliberate, then it lends at least some credance to the idea it might be so. (The big debate being who was responsible for the deliberate design). When one researches this field on the web, one comes across many examples where bizarre calculations have been performed by people who clearly have no proper understanding of mathematics; but evidently Grattann-Guinness has a very dee!
    p u
    nderstanding, particularly of the historical aspects of his subject, so his opinion, at least as regards it being a deliberate design, is not to be taken lightly.

    I fully understand that it may not be every person's cup of tea; but equally I have to say that "in my humble opinion" (if one can use that phrase without a trace of irony), it is wrong to give the kind of contemptuous dismissal of it that I have seen all too frequently on this list.


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