Re: personal revelations

Date: Wed Feb 19 2003 - 18:06:25 EST

  • Next message: Iain Strachan: "Re: numbers from Re: personal revelations"

    Iain Strachan wrote:

    > 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!
    > erh
    > 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).

    I wouldn't see it as "all cooked up" even given that there are sufficiently
    many examples. It would strongly depend on the motives of the person(s)
    writing it.

    For example, let's suppose I have an errr "revelation", start a new religion,
    have lots of dancing girls. Along with it, I write a long book with all
    of mumbo jumbo, but here, I use a computer to aid me with working out
    a series of prime numbers (or some similar gimmick). Of course I claim it
    was from this errr "revelation", that I _need_ those 20 Mercedes Benz
    parked in my palatial mansion and the 20 wives (or whatever) because
    those are also part of this errr "revelation".

    Now here my motives are greed, lust, and using my intelligence to
    bamboozle any gullible soul I can trap with my nonsense.

    On the other hand, take the prophet Jeremiah. He claims to have had
    the call (Jer 1:4-10). Now, let's suppose that you can show me that
    there is a series of prime numbers that come out of that book. Should
    I reject the Bible because Jeremiah (or his scribe Baruch) cooked
    it up?

    Knowing the _content_ of the book of Jeremiah, I would have to
    at least admit that the motives of Jeremiah were sincere. He did
    not go into that ministry to cheat and screw the world. So I would
    not see the numerology (in of itself) as being a sign of divine creation,
    rather, I would see the numerology reflecting something about the
    attitudes, passions and values of the prophet.

    At any rate, it shouldn't be a surprise that people would want
    to use numbers for things they value highly. Even the first clown
    I described had reasons for using numerology.

    In short, it is the _content_ that makes the Bible meaningful, and
    the numbers (even if they really can be irrefutably shown to be
    significant), are still merely the "decorations" on the cake. Even
    if there were none, it would still be engaging. On the other hand,
    the first clown's book is only tawdry decorations.

    by Grace alone we proceed,

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