Re: 153

From: Iain Strachan (
Date: Mon May 05 2003 - 16:11:49 EDT

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    Burgy wrote, in part:
    > Vernon wrote: "Taking any multiple of 3 ...and summing the cubes of its
    digits - repeating the process as many times as may be necessary to obtain a
    final stable outcome - we find that outcome invariably to be 153."
    > Interesting. Vernon has now shown three instances of an unexpected numeric
    pattern in the scriptures.
    > Either all three are just coincidental -- or there is something more
    there. I remain unconvinced that anything more than coincidence is working
    here. But three instances trumps two.

    I think if there were just three instances of this kind of phenomenon, then
    most people would dismiss it as coincidence. But it was Ivor
    Grattann-Guinness who first pointed out all this to me & he is a good enough
    mathematician to at least respect his opinion. One of his papers mentioned
    the 153 fishes, the significance of which had previously passed me by. But
    he also pointed out the fact that the key phrases (e.g. "Jesus", "Christ",
    "Son of Man" ) were riddled with multiples of 37. His comment was that
    "there were just too many examples to ignore". I certainly did ignore it &
    try to pretend it wasn't there, because I didn't like the implications. As
    I've said elsewhere, Vernon's web-site confronted me with the evidence & I
    realised I just couldn't ignore it and maintain any sort of intellectual
    integrity (having published stuff about the much-less-impressive numerics
    of Shostakovich & had it recognized in academia).

    On a slightly different tack, the following extract from the entry for 153
    in the "Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers" (David
    Wells), may be of interest to the group:

    ------------ begin quote -------------
    In the New Testament, the net that Simon Peter drwe from the sea of Tiberias
    held 153 fishes. This was inevitably interpreted numerologically by the
    early Church fathers, especially St. Augustine.

    153 is the 17th Triangular number and therefore already significant. But
    what is special about 17 itself? It is the sum of 10 for the Ten
    Commandments of the Old Testament to 7, for the Gifts of the Spirit in the
    New Testament.
    ------------ end quote ---------------

    (it is not clear whether Wells's second paragraph is how St. Augustine
    interpreted it, but I believe I've read elsewhere that St. Augustine pointed
    out that it was the sum of the first seventeen integers).

    Another literary allusion occurs in another great American poet's work. In
    John Berryman's "Dream Songs" and sequel, number 153 starts (rather

    ----------- begin quote -------------
    I'm cross with god who has wrecked this generation,
    First he seized Ted, then Richard, Randall, and now Delmore,
    In between he gorged on Sylvia Plath.
    That was a first rate haul.
    ---------- end quote ---------------

    The last line seems to refer to John 21:11. Very nasty allusion, since the
    153 were (in some place I've read) supposed to symbolise the saved (as in
    "Fishers of Men?"), and Berryman is talking about suicides. God eats the
    people like fishes instead of saving them! The first book of "The Dream
    Songs" won a Purlizer Prize and contained 77 songs. The sequel "His Toy;
    His Dream, His Rest" continues the numbering straight on. It may be
    significant that 77 is the middle number of 153 (=76+1+76).

    According to Ivor Grattann-Guinness, 153 was regarded as a highly
    significant number in ancient Egyptian lore, millenia before the NT was

    Best, Iain

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