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10841Re: [GTh] Bauckham on Numerical Composition in GJn

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  • Mike Grondin
    Mar 18 12:45 AM
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      Although the standard dictionaries at my disposal have neither 'isopsephy'
      nor 'gematria' (does anyone have an OED?), a search of definitions on the
      internet indicates that (1) the definition I gave here of 'isopsephy' as simply
      the practice of adding up the numeric value of a word or phrase has wide
      acceptance to the point of virtual universality, while (2) the definitions of
      'gematria' often involve a reference to schemes of cabbalistic interpretation,
      which is not at all what I would propose as being behind the numeric design
      features of Coptic Thomas.
      A typical definition of 'isopsephy' copied at many sites:
      "From Koine Greek 'isopsephia' ('iso' meaning 'equal' and 'psephos' meaning
      'pebble'), the practice of adding up the number values of the letters of a word
      to form a single number. The early Greeks used pebbles arranged in patterns
      to learn arithmetic and geometry."
      My current understanding is thus that isopsephy is related to gematria, but
      without the connotation of its being used as a tool for textual interpretation
      and/or divinization. (The mention of pebbles arranged in patterns could
      easily lead into a discussion of the use of triangular numbers in antiquity,
      e.g., 153 as the triangular number of 17, but I'll leave that for another day.)
      Mike Grondin
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