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RE: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA

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  • Ernest McClain
    Duane: You could not possibly understand what is happening to me these days. The whole Bible is falling open like a new book that I ve never read before, and
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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      Duane: You could not possibly understand what is happening to me these days.
      The whole Bible is falling open like a new book that I've never read before,
      and the reason is clear. I"ve had at least four or more spectacularly
      valuable sessions with Nasr--who is as "hard-nosed" a logician as it it's
      possible find, totally confident in his mastery of M.I.T. mathematics and
      his convinction that the West is mis-using its own Science. He is the
      greatest kind of an opponent to have in dialogue, and we are able to look at
      each other and laugh at how the universe could produce two people as
      "opposite" to each other as ourselves. Our hours together are proving
      fabulous (not because we agree, but because we realize that our
      "differences" lie on convergent paths in the musicology of Ernst Levy, that
      almost nobody but Levarie and I can read.

      The reason our personal dialogues work is that I'm reading Nasr's philosophy
      as fast as I can, and the new volume his 29 friends produced for him as a
      "Festschrift" (the first 100 pages are his own brilliant "spiritual"
      autobiography) in the Library of Living Philosophers is the greatest and
      hardest hitting dialogue I've ever encountered. This is philosophy at its
      friendliest and "most brutal" best with "no holds barred" between old, long,
      and very close friends. Nasr was very close to Ernst Levy during his four
      years at M.I.T., and my association with Levy began immediately on Levy's
      arrival at Brooklyn College as I completed my own doctorate in 1959. Levy
      retired in 1965 but our close association continued until his death in 1981.
      Talking with Nasr AND reading his arguments with his own friends, is helping
      me apply Levy's THEORY OF HARMONY (SUNY PRESS 1985) directly to Bible
      metaphor, and the result is increasingly astonishing to me. I can read MORE
      of the METAPHORS of the TORAH, directly! This is a very strange experience
      indeed! What is happening is that virtually every page I write is obsolete
      within 2 days. I can't keep up with writing up current new associations.

      I dearly hope my heart procedure Thursday proves as benign as my surgeon
      expects, for if so, I may be able to continue for some while yet. If not,
      you know here what it is that is paying off for me as I'm finally
      integrating more of my own life experiences (under new pressures from Nasr,
      with whom I, too, seem to have profound differences--but which may evaporate
      in time). Nasr insists on the primacy of the spiritual, and against all
      claims of positivistic science since Aristtotle. He and you are "natural"
      colleagues although you may not be able to tolerate each other. Nasr has no
      patience with the kind of detailed work you and I do in our own separate
      ways; he insists on staying on the philosophical level where he is most
      comfortable throwing rocks at ALL modernism, East and West, and it's very
      useful for us to have him stay there. At some point we should see better
      just how our work converges. I think I see it all the way to Levy's most
      "far out" exploration in harmonic theory, but laying that on the table for
      "others" is going to command my time and energy for months.

      The "wars of YHWH" stem from basic meanings of Ishmael vs Isaac, of Jacob vs
      Esau, and later of Jesus vs SATAN (the latter pair are the reciprocal
      candles at the two ends of the Menorah model when viewed from the "head"
      candle in the middle)--where YHWH is aiding and abetting BOTH sides! I need
      your help in studying the "traditional enemies" who DESCEND !!!!! from
      Ishmael and Esau!!! The TORAH is integrated at a level we are only BEGINNING
      to approach in understanding! Help me discover more of the texts in which
      YHWH predicts CONTINUING tension with Israel's specific tribal enemies.
      Burnet's familiarity with lines of descent should prove useful. You probably
      have key metaphors in your memory waiting to be used. Holtsman has an
      interesting "philosophical distance" that I'm urging him to share with you
      and BIBAL. I'm beginning to notice more integration within Bible texts. But
      I cannot do everything at once. I must keep re-working my material as more
      of it surfaces.

      I'm enclosing the beginning of a new draft on the "tree of the knowledge of
      good and evil," already outdated by what I've learned from a few more hours
      of sleep. These tables were suppressed by Nicomachus, Iamblichus, and
      Boethius, and apparently were never understood by Proclus. They take us
      through products of 2, 3, and 5. However, Levy's analysis continues on
      through "7" that requires understanding the "gestation" arithmetic (which
      Holtsman is reading well). Nasr is helping me understand that the Quoran is
      based on Ptolemy rather than on Plato. But Ptolemy negates NOTHING in Plato!
      He simply uses it in a new way. It takes time and energy to lay this out for
      anybody. The first problem is to intuit the meanings myself, and that's
      going better. I have overlooked vast amounts of explicit textual help in the
      Bible.

      I quite here and give you a first peak at the Platonic arithmetic everybody
      suppresses. I never published all of it before, and it requires explanation
      that I don't give here. These are the tables that Boethius did not feel able
      to make public. They explain the crisis Joseph solves, the descent from
      Noah's three sons, and why the "sons of Ham ("Canaan") serve Japeth," etc.
      (My file title is corrupted here by a typo, but you must use it as is.)
      Ernest (I'm going back to bed. Sleeping is proving more productive than
      trying to stay awake.)

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Duane Christensen [mailto:dlc@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 1:46 AM
      To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA



      Ernest, if I understand what you are saying here, I am excited indeed about
      the paper I am drafting for the NAPH meeting in November. My attempt this
      last time to present a summation of some of your thinking in regards the
      "Serpent" and the spiraling of fifths (and fourths) only confused everyone
      present. This was true in part because of the curious way in which the
      larger topic was twisted and sent down an unfortunate wrong allie -- in
      terms of Gibson's film on the crucixion of Jesus. By the time we finally got
      to the discussion period, which was postponed to the end, just about
      everyone present at the time my paper was read was no longer in the room.
      C'est la vie!

      This time things should be quite different. I would be happy to expand the
      paper a bit so as to include not only the four rivers but the two trees in
      the Garden of Eden. In so doing, I want to at least open the door to
      discussion on matters of gematria in regards the rivers. How far I go into
      what David Crookes is saying, I don't know at this point. Perhaps it is best
      not to go too far at all, right now. The remaining time can raise other,
      perhaps more profound issues in terms of what you are finding in the
      Mesopotamian background to the biblical narrative.

      However it finally works out, it could prove to be a enjoyable experience. I
      am anxious to learn what you have found about the two trees.

      Your warning about multiplying the possibilities of self-deception is
      well-taken. There are great risks here, some that I do not yet contemplate
      at this point in time.

      Duane


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ernest McClain" <ernestmcc@...>
      To: <bibal@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 9:22 PM
      Subject: RE: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA


      >
      > Duane, Be careful what you assume about me here. I apply this gematric
      > restriction to MYSELF, knowing that it may prove quite wrong. I believe we
      > can ONLY make "rules" for ourselves. That's why I continue to study
      > everybody else, knowing that if I am wrong there is a good chance I'll
      > learn
      > something useful elsewhere. NOBODY can know or use everything, at least
      > with
      > an ordinary and limited intelligence like mine. I recognize colossal
      > capabilities in others that I lack, but I must make my life with what I
      > have. In no case do I any longer reject a very early dating for gematria
      > and
      > its positive influence. And if I apply it in too restricted a mode I see
      > no
      > bar to other others using it in accord with their own convictions. But
      > every
      > time you MULTIPLY gematric possibilities you are also risking multiplied
      > self-deception. That's why we must each take our own risks.
      >
      > Now, on another point I stick my neck out boldly. I am convinced that I
      > understand the "tree of life" vs the "tree of the knowledge of good and
      > evil
      > in the Garden of Evil," at least in their Platonic forms. If you are
      > preparing something on these two narrowly defined topics I'd like to
      > contribute a summary of my own for your consideration. The "four rivers"
      > are
      > a related problem but involve linguistic terms I do not understand, and so
      > I
      > am uncomfortable with suggesting arithmetical river analogues yet. I never
      > specifically explicated the two "trees" in M.O.I. because I knew that I
      > did
      > NOT yet understand them well enough in 1976. But they are two distinct
      > types; one grows forever, the other fruits, and then dies (i.e., is
      > transformed into another in full fruit). The importance of these
      > archetypes
      > is simply that the ancients followed the numbers wherever they led
      > "naturally," thus each new stage of insight came as "revelation from
      > within"
      > and NEVER from the artificial limitation of the thinker himself. It is
      > this
      > "natural" unfolding of mathematical insight that inspired the notion of a
      > "perennial philosophy" as opposed to "positivistic" methods. In the latter
      > the operator imposes constraints. In the former, the operator allows
      > evolving intuition to lead the way "naturally." "Divine Reason" discloses
      > what it will in its own good time. These are two different modes of "BEING
      > IN THE WORLD," both with endless variations. I see Sumer as essentially
      > intuitive; and Judaism as essentially "positivistic" in laying down rules,
      > yet remaining open to experience and frankly altering its conditions,
      > changing its mind, learning from experience. My own life has been a
      > mixture
      > of these "modes," and I've suffered the worst while pursuing the best in
      > both of them. We are fated to connive in our own defeats, and must accept
      > that as the price of learning. We are not all individually programmed to
      > learn either the same content or in the same ways. Ernest
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Duane Christensen [mailto:dlc@...]
      > Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 10:01 PM
      > To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA
      >
      >
      >
      > Ernest, I like what you say here but I am not sure about the restriction
      > you
      > apply as a result. It is quite possible that restrictions of gematria for
      > so-called "divine purposes" were in effect in ancient Israel. This would
      > help to explain their borrowing of the Egyptian hieratatic number system
      > on
      > coins, weights, etc. There is certainly no reason to conclude, however,
      > that
      > the use of this latter system rules out the possibility of gematria in
      > earlier times in ancient Israel. Moreover, I fail to see how you can
      > conclude that ONLY 400 gematria was practiced, and only in a very
      > restricted
      > way. It seems to me that we must leave things more open than that and let
      > the evidence speak for itself -- even if it takes us down paths some of us
      > would care not to tread.
      >
      > The NAPH (National Association of Professors of Hebrew) has chosen the
      > topic
      > of the Garden of Eden and "afterlife" (Olam Ha'Ba) as the topic for their
      > session in November. I am finalizing the abstract of my own paper, which
      > will be on the "Four Rivers in Genesis 2:10-14." With the incredible
      > amount
      > of pure speculation on this topic rampant in the secondary literature, I
      > find it peculiar that nothing at all is said about what David Crookes has
      > outlined for us in recent weeks. To me it is not really a question of
      > whether or not David Crookes is correct in matters of detail, it is the
      > simple fact that the ostrich-headed approach currently entrenched in the
      > field of biblical scholarsh in regards this subject is simply not
      > reasonable. There is just as much reason applied to the data David
      > presents
      > as there is in much of the speculation that has made it into various
      > journal
      > articles, dictionary articles, commentaries, etc. through the years. If
      > you
      > have the time, take a look at the discussion of Claus Westermann in his
      > commentary, GENESIS 1-11: A COMMENTARY (Augsburg Publishing House, 1974),
      > trans. by the late John J. Scullion (who translated some works for us in
      > BIBAL Press). Westermann's discussion of the literature on Genesis 2:10-14
      > is about as complete as anything out there -- and it includes NOT ONE
      > SINGLE
      > WORD about the possibility of gematria as a way to explain the names of
      > the
      > four rivers. Then think about this for a minute! Two of these four names
      > appear nowhere else in the Bible and are totally unknown so far as
      > biblical
      > scholarship is concerned. A third (Hideqel) appears only once elsewhere
      > (in
      > Daniel) and is usually explained as a Persian word. Is it not at least
      > possible that we have here made-up words in Hebrew for some
      > yet-to-be-explained reason? What's so far out about explaining these words
      > in terms of the numerical value of the words themselves?
      >
      > The idea that gematria was unknown in ancient Israel in pre-exilic times
      > is
      > preposterous to me! Using the letters of the alphabet to count is simply
      > second nature in any language, past or present -- including English. Turn
      > on
      > the outlining feature of Microsoft Word and you get gematria -- with the
      > letters A, B, C, ... = 1, 2, 3, etc.
      >
      > Duane
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Ernest McClain" <ernestmcc@...>
      > To: <bibal@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 4:23 PM
      > Subject: RE: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA
      >
      >
      >> DAVID, I should have added a caveat, an idea I picked up from somebody
      >> else
      >> along the way. It could be that the gematria is as old as Hebrew itself,
      >> but
      >> simply was restricted to "divine purpose" until later times. Thus, unless
      >> you or others produce "counter-evidence," it does also seem possible to
      >> me
      >> that ONLY 400 gematria was practiced, and only in a very restricted way.
      >> I'm
      >> thinking of YHWH, Adam and Eve, Abram and Lot, David, and a highly
      >> restricted circle around the throne. However, Duane's "logoprosodic
      >> analysis" is probably a powerful argument against this restriction and
      >> perhaps in your favor. I'm looking to our friendly "contest" over Daniel
      >> to
      >> clarify this issue, perhaps, for if a definitive answer can be found you
      >> seem to have an excellent chance of finding it. I can't think what it
      >> might
      >> be, but I'm sure you can. In the meanwhile, I refrain from using gematria
      >> unless my arithmetic can stand without it. It is a truly superior
      >> "algebra"
      >> when used appropriately, as in Abram/Abraham, Sarai and Sarah, etc. But
      >> the
      >> uncertain dating of Bible texts confounds this matter.So your examples
      >> merit
      >> careful study. Ernest
      >> -----Original Message-----
      >> From: Ernest McClain [mailto:ernestmcc@...]
      >> Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 6:44 PM
      >> To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
      >> Subject: RE: [bibal] Letters for numbers
      >>
      >>
      >> David, Thank you for your alert "wild assertion" here. Because Friberg
      >> documents gematria to Sargon II (8th c.) in ABD ("Numbers and Counting")
      >> it
      >> seems unlikely that the Jews could have remained unaware for several more
      >> centuries. In any case, I think we have to suspect that YHWH is gematric
      >> from its first occurrences, earlier than the temple. Ernest
      >> -----Original Message-----
      >> From: David Crookes [mailto:davidzcrookes@...]
      >> Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 6:25 PM
      >> To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
      >> Subject: [bibal] Letters for numbers
      >>
      >>
      >> Dear JohnW,
      >>
      >> Your friend asks,
      >>
      >> Does anyone know when the Jewish system of using letters for numbers
      >> can
      >> first definitely be seen in literature?
      >>
      >> The first appearance of which I am aware comes in the numerical
      >> subtext
      >> of Genesis chapter 1, verse 1. Look at the enclosed attachment if you're
      >> interested.
      >>
      >> I'm not sure what sort of scholarship is represented by the wild
      >> assertion that 'we can rule out pre-exilic times'.
      >>
      >> With kind regards,
      >>
      >> David
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> Please see our website at http://bibal.net
      >>
      >> The Master Table of project files is at
      >> http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html
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    • Duane Christensen
      Ernest, you attached the wrong file. Somehow the garbage I sent out in my attempt to help David Crookes in his work on Genesis 1:1 got attached to ... Please
      Message 2 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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        Ernest, you attached the wrong file. Somehow the garbage I sent out in my
        attempt to help David Crookes in his work on Genesis 1:1 got attached to
        your message, rather than what you intended:

        > I'm enclosing the beginning of a new draft on the "tree of the knowledge
        > of
        > good and evil," already outdated by what I've learned from a few more
        > hours
        > of sleep.

        Please send this along. I need it.

        Duane
      • Ernest McClain
        Here is a second effort. Ernest ... From: Duane Christensen [mailto:dlc@bibal.net] Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:01 AM To: bibal@yahoogroups.com Subject:
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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          Here is a second effort. Ernest

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Duane Christensen [mailto:dlc@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:01 AM
          To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA



          Ernest, you attached the wrong file. Somehow the garbage I sent out in my
          attempt to help David Crookes in his work on Genesis 1:1 got attached to
          your message, rather than what you intended:

          > I'm enclosing the beginning of a new draft on the "tree of the knowledge
          > of
          > good and evil," already outdated by what I've learned from a few more
          > hours
          > of sleep.

          Please send this along. I need it.

          Duane








          Please see our website at http://bibal.net

          The Master Table of project files is at
          http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html










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        • Ernest McClain
          Duane, It took me a while to find the correction I just sent you, and on reading it again I find it perhaps superior to what I am writing this morning. Please
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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            Duane, It took me a while to find the correction I just sent you, and on
            reading it again I find it perhaps superior to what I am writing this
            morning. Please take it seriously. I am terribly pressed for time. I don't
            wan't to poop out in the middle of this discussion. I should probably "fix
            it up" and let you share it immediately. Ernest
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Duane Christensen [mailto:dlc@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:01 AM
            To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [bibal] Letters for numbers ADDENDA



            Ernest, you attached the wrong file. Somehow the garbage I sent out in my
            attempt to help David Crookes in his work on Genesis 1:1 got attached to
            your message, rather than what you intended:

            > I'm enclosing the beginning of a new draft on the "tree of the knowledge
            > of
            > good and evil," already outdated by what I've learned from a few more
            > hours
            > of sleep.

            Please send this along. I need it.

            Duane








            Please see our website at http://bibal.net

            The Master Table of project files is at
            http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html










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          • davidzcrookes@btinternet.com
            Ernest, let me wish you every blessing with your treatment. I m mildly under the weather at present, sleeping badly, and probably a bit jaundiced, but I think
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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              Ernest, let me wish you every blessing with your treatment.  I'm mildly under the weather at present, sleeping badly, and probably a bit jaundiced, but I think I understand the weariness to which you gave very moderate expression last week.  Amen to what you say about the word YHWH being gematric from its first appearance!  It is quite possible that the numerical values attached to the Hebrew alphabet are as old as the letters themselves.
               
              If you're going to have an alphabet, you have to have a running order, and there is no such thing as a running order which is not numerical.
               
              This elemental fact has never been considered by the scowling 'scholars' who regard gematria as That Which Must Not Be Mentioned.  The case of numbers in Plato is approximately similar.  It is still acceptable for university Greek departments to call Plato's numbers 'obscure', and then to ignore them.
               
              Behind the fearful label of taboo which the academic community attaches to both gematria and Platonic numbers there lies a profound and immoveable laziness.  People don't want to do any of the necessary work.  Work is difficult, and it takes time.  It's so much easier to condemn someone's scholarly work without reading it.  And then of course there is the matter of fear -- not fear of studying something fatuous, not even fear of being part of a Velikovshchina, but fear of being ostracized by members of the lodge.
               
              It occasionally happens over here that an unmarried girl from an evangelical church-going family gets pregnant.  The girl's parents should feel concerned principally for the welfare of their daughter and their new grandchild-to-be.  But too often they are concerned principally with one utterly fatuous question: What will the people in the church think?  I've never been able to tolerate that species of communitarian fear, either in church or in academe.
               
              For their part, other people find my gematric propositions intolerable.  That's fair enough, but there comes a stage when two lots of people must agree to stop talking to each other in mutually imcomprehensible languages.
               
              I mustn't be selfish.  My friends have more to do than argue about gematria.  And anyway, as one year follows another, I wonder if the argument can have any useful issue.  There seems to be no conclusive harbour anywhere.  On one day your vessel crashes into a rock of unshakeable disbelief, and you are misrepresented by someone who won't even bother to read what you say.  On another day you find yourself drifting on a changeable sea, with waves of credence giving way to billows of scepticism as the menacing communitarian winds blow.  You realize that you've said everything over and over again, to no effect.  It's all one step forward, and one step back.  Who provides the best model for a sailor in such a circumstance?  Jonah?
               
              Once you realize that certain things are incommunicable, you get less fun out of discovering them.  There's no point in talking about treasure to people who refuse to believe in gold because they're constitutionally unable to dig.
               
              David
              David, Thank you for your alert "wild assertion" here. Because Friberg documents gematria to Sargon II (8th c.) in ABD ("Numbers and Counting") it seems unlikely that the Jews could have remained unaware for several more centuries. In any case, I think we have to suspect that YHWH is gematric from its first occurrences, earlier than the temple. Ernest
            • davidzcrookes@btinternet.com
              Ernest, you say, .....it does also seem possible to me that ONLY 400 gematria was practiced, and only in a very restricted way..... Well, it s possible.
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                Ernest, you say,
                 
                .....it does also seem possible to me that ONLY 400 gematria was practiced, and only in a very restricted way.....
                 
                Well, it's possible.  Personally, I think that 400 gematria was by far the most common species.  But think of your tool-chest.  You have ordinary screwdrivers (or 'turnscrews'?) for slot-head screws.  You have star-head screwdrivers for star-head screws.  You have hexagon-head screwdrivers for the screws which have hexagonal 'holes' in their heads.  Finally, you have square-head screwdrivers for the very rare screws which have square 'holes' in their heads.  There are four species of screwdriver.  The first is used nearly all the time.  The second is used quite often.  The third is used very occasionally, as for example to assemble ready-made furniture.  The fourth is used hardly ever.
                 
                Leaving aside the matter of finals, there are only twenty-two letters.  Twenty-two symbols with unique significances are unlikely to have sufficed for all the numerical work that had to be done in ancient Israel.
                 
                David
              • davidzcrookes@btinternet.com
                Thanks, Duane, but all that came through at this end was a line of question-marks! David Duane Christensen wrote: DavidC, I have attached a
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                  Thanks, Duane, but all that came through at this end was a line of question-marks!
                   
                  David

                  Duane Christensen <dlc@...> wrote:
                  DavidC, I have attached a .pdf file of your recent attachment in hopes that
                  we can work through a problem to make your work easier for others to follow.
                  As you will see when you open the attached file, none of your Hebrew script
                  comes through. I need to know what Hebrew font you are using. If you send me
                  that font by email attachment, I can load it in my computer so that I can
                  read your file with the Hebrew script included. I can than create a .pdf
                  font so that others out there also see the same thing on their computer
                  screen that you have on yours.

                  Another possibility is for you to use the Hebrew font that is included in
                  the Symbol Font in Microsoft. Let me illustrate:

                  ????????????


                  These letters are all taken from the Symbol Font in Microsoft. If you go
                  down a bir farther in their table, you will find the letters with daghesh,
                  or with various vowel signs. If you use these, they should transmit to the
                  rest of us via email so we can follow more readily your arguments.

                  Please let me know what you see on the screen. Microsoft gives me two
                  options, when I send this message: 1) send as Unicode; 2) send as is. I am
                  going to try the second option to see what happens. If the Hebrew script
                  does not transmit, let me know -- I will try the other option.

                  Duane
                • Ernest McClain
                  David, You re telling the whole story, just as it is.experienced by both of us. In our case, we recognize the tension and try to accept it. This morning I ve
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                    David, You're telling the whole story, just as it is.experienced by both of us. In our case, we recognize the tension and try to accept it. This morning I've been telling myself, even if my most conservative opinions about gematria could be proven correct (and I don't see how that could happen), that David Crookes would still be perfectly correct in assuming that the universe was assembled all for his pleasure. This is what Nasr meant Friday morning, I believe, when we agreed (apparently) that among the really ancient authors one can NOT discern what is today called a "secular" attitude. Not to be living in grateful awe would have been incomprehensible. I believe this why he is happy to nag BOTH (how does one cover "all three"?) Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic conservatives with misunderstanding their own traditions. For him, dogmatically, spirit is primary, never secondary. Plato thought that the teachers "attitude" was the main thing that had to be shared, and that's usually true if you hope to learn from him. I always thought Buddhism properly emphasized the duty of the student to find his own guru, and then submit.
                     
                    I believe that you and I are "getting somewhere," and that you are probably winning, and I don't mind a bit. I lose nothing as a consequence, and have gained immeasureably. Ernest
                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: davidzcrookes@... [mailto:davidzcrookes@...]
                    Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 1:27 PM
                    To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [bibal] Are we getting anywhere?

                    Ernest, let me wish you every blessing with your treatment.  I'm mildly under the weather at present, sleeping badly, and probably a bit jaundiced, but I think I understand the weariness to which you gave very moderate expression last week.  Amen to what you say about the word YHWH being gematric from its first appearance!  It is quite possible that the numerical values attached to the Hebrew alphabet are as old as the letters themselves.
                     
                    If you're going to have an alphabet, you have to have a running order, and there is no such thing as a running order which is not numerical.
                     
                    This elemental fact has never been considered by the scowling 'scholars' who regard gematria as That Which Must Not Be Mentioned.  The case of numbers in Plato is approximately similar.  It is still acceptable for university Greek departments to call Plato's numbers 'obscure', and then to ignore them.
                     
                    Behind the fearful label of taboo which the academic community attaches to both gematria and Platonic numbers there lies a profound and immoveable laziness.  People don't want to do any of the necessary work.  Work is difficult, and it takes time.  It's so much easier to condemn someone's scholarly work without reading it.  And then of course there is the matter of fear -- not fear of studying something fatuous, not even fear of being part of a Velikovshchina, but fear of being ostracized by members of the lodge.
                     
                    It occasionally happens over here that an unmarried girl from an evangelical church-going family gets pregnant.  The girl's parents should feel concerned principally for the welfare of their daughter and their new grandchild-to-be.  But too often they are concerned principally with one utterly fatuous question: What will the people in the church think?  I've never been able to tolerate that species of communitarian fear, either in church or in academe.
                     
                    For their part, other people find my gematric propositions intolerable.  That's fair enough, but there comes a stage when two lots of people must agree to stop talking to each other in mutually imcomprehensible languages.
                     
                    I mustn't be selfish.  My friends have more to do than argue about gematria.  And anyway, as one year follows another, I wonder if the argument can have any useful issue.  There seems to be no conclusive harbour anywhere.  On one day your vessel crashes into a rock of unshakeable disbelief, and you are misrepresented by someone who won't even bother to read what you say.  On another day you find yourself drifting on a changeable sea, with waves of credence giving way to billows of scepticism as the menacing communitarian winds blow.  You realize that you've said everything over and over again, to no effect.  It's all one step forward, and one step back.  Who provides the best model for a sailor in such a circumstance?  Jonah?
                     
                    Once you realize that certain things are incommunicable, you get less fun out of discovering them.  There's no point in talking about treasure to people who refuse to believe in gold because they're constitutionally unable to dig.
                     
                    David
                    David, Thank you for your alert "wild assertion" here. Because Friberg documents gematria to Sargon II (8th c.) in ABD ("Numbers and Counting") it seems unlikely that the Jews could have remained unaware for several more centuries. In any case, I think we have to suspect that YHWH is gematric from its first occurrences, earlier than the temple. Ernest





                    Please see our website at http://bibal.net.

                    The Master Table of project files is at http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html












                  • Ernest McClain
                    And four screwdrivers have never proved sufficient! Ernest ... From: davidzcrookes@btinternet.com [mailto:davidzcrookes@btinternet.com] Sent: Tuesday, March
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                      And four screwdrivers have never proved sufficient! Ernest
                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: davidzcrookes@... [mailto:davidzcrookes@...]
                      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 1:42 PM
                      To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [bibal] only 400 gematria?

                      Ernest, you say,
                       
                      .....it does also seem possible to me that ONLY 400 gematria was practiced, and only in a very restricted way.....
                       
                      Well, it's possible.  Personally, I think that 400 gematria was by far the most common species.  But think of your tool-chest.  You have ordinary screwdrivers (or 'turnscrews'?) for slot-head screws.  You have star-head screwdrivers for star-head screws.  You have hexagon-head screwdrivers for the screws which have hexagonal 'holes' in their heads.  Finally, you have square-head screwdrivers for the very rare screws which have square 'holes' in their heads.  There are four species of screwdriver.  The first is used nearly all the time.  The second is used quite often.  The third is used very occasionally, as for example to assemble ready-made furniture.  The fourth is used hardly ever.
                       
                      Leaving aside the matter of finals, there are only twenty-two letters.  Twenty-two symbols with unique significances are unlikely to have sufficed for all the numerical work that had to be done in ancient Israel.
                       
                      David





                      Please see our website at http://bibal.net.

                      The Master Table of project files is at http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html












                    • Ernest McClain
                      I believe Davod is underbidding his own hand here when he writes: If you re going to have an alphabet, you have to have a running order, and there is no such
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                        I believe Davod is underbidding his own hand here when he writes: "If you're going to have an alphabet, you have to have a running order, and there is no such thing as a running order which is not numerical." It seems to me that all known alphabets have a "culturaly" suspiciously apt number of letters, as if numerical preferences are already established. It's not so hard to juggle the number of phonemes a bit, and apparently everybody does. Language much precedes writing. I'd bet on a numerological influence.  Ernest
                         . -----Original Message-----
                        From: davidzcrookes@... [mailto:davidzcrookes@...]
                        Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 1:27 PM
                        To: bibal@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [bibal] Are we getting anywhere?

                        Ernest, let me wish you every blessing with your treatment.  I'm mildly under the weather at present, sleeping badly, and probably a bit jaundiced, but I think I understand the weariness to which you gave very moderate expression last week.  Amen to what you say about the word YHWH being gematric from its first appearance!  It is quite possible that the numerical values attached to the Hebrew alphabet are as old as the letters themselves.
                         
                        If you're going to have an alphabet, you have to have a running order, and there is no such thing as a running order which is not numerical.
                         
                        This elemental fact has never been considered by the scowling 'scholars' who regard gematria as That Which Must Not Be Mentioned.  The case of numbers in Plato is approximately similar.  It is still acceptable for university Greek departments to call Plato's numbers 'obscure', and then to ignore them.
                         
                        Behind the fearful label of taboo which the academic community attaches to both gematria and Platonic numbers there lies a profound and immoveable laziness.  People don't want to do any of the necessary work.  Work is difficult, and it takes time.  It's so much easier to condemn someone's scholarly work without reading it.  And then of course there is the matter of fear -- not fear of studying something fatuous, not even fear of being part of a Velikovshchina, but fear of being ostracized by members of the lodge.
                         
                        It occasionally happens over here that an unmarried girl from an evangelical church-going family gets pregnant.  The girl's parents should feel concerned principally for the welfare of their daughter and their new grandchild-to-be.  But too often they are concerned principally with one utterly fatuous question: What will the people in the church think?  I've never been able to tolerate that species of communitarian fear, either in church or in academe.
                         
                        For their part, other people find my gematric propositions intolerable.  That's fair enough, but there comes a stage when two lots of people must agree to stop talking to each other in mutually imcomprehensible languages.
                         
                        I mustn't be selfish.  My friends have more to do than argue about gematria.  And anyway, as one year follows another, I wonder if the argument can have any useful issue.  There seems to be no conclusive harbour anywhere.  On one day your vessel crashes into a rock of unshakeable disbelief, and you are misrepresented by someone who won't even bother to read what you say.  On another day you find yourself drifting on a changeable sea, with waves of credence giving way to billows of scepticism as the menacing communitarian winds blow.  You realize that you've said everything over and over again, to no effect.  It's all one step forward, and one step back.  Who provides the best model for a sailor in such a circumstance?  Jonah?
                         
                        Once you realize that certain things are incommunicable, you get less fun out of discovering them.  There's no point in talking about treasure to people who refuse to believe in gold because they're constitutionally unable to dig.
                         
                        David
                        David, Thank you for your alert "wild assertion" here. Because Friberg documents gematria to Sargon II (8th c.) in ABD ("Numbers and Counting") it seems unlikely that the Jews could have remained unaware for several more centuries. In any case, I think we have to suspect that YHWH is gematric from its first occurrences, earlier than the temple. Ernest





                        Please see our website at http://bibal.net.

                        The Master Table of project files is at http://www.bibal.net/04/proj/proj-tnk.html












                      • davidzcrookes@btinternet.com
                        Ernest, you ve committed an act of supererogation by backing up your own opponent! I feel much as Richard the Lion-Heart must have felt during a battle when
                        Message 11 of 20 , Mar 1, 2005
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                          Ernest, you've committed an act of supererogation by backing up your own opponent!  I feel much as Richard the Lion-Heart must have felt during a battle when Saladin sent him a replacement horse.  Many thanks.  The old Irish ogham or ogam alphabet was definitely under numerological influence: it can be seen a set of variations on the theme of one, two, three, four, and five strokes.
                           
                           
                           
                          Some Scandinavian runic alphabets were numerically encoded in a similar manner, with the letters being divided up into several groups of the same number.  Imagine the English alphabet shorn of its Y and Z, divided up into six groups of four letters.  In the encoded form A will be 1. 1 ( = 'letter number one of group one').  In the same way H will be 2. 4, O will be 4. 3, and so on.  Everything depends on the running order.
                           
                          While Hebraists often say that 'the Hebrew language is like mathematics', the truth is that many of them (unlike Duane) were devoutly glad when they were able to give up mathematics at the age of fifteen or so.  Three hours ago I spoke to you polemically about the communitarian fear of gematria.  Behind that fear I can often smell a personal fear of number.  The surprising thing is that such arithmophobia can coexist blithely with the sciolism of the inscient name-dropper.  I once listened to a professor of Greek blethering about Goedel in the pulpit.  In private conversation he turned out to be a mathematical infant.  The same thing happens with Fermat.  People who don't know the square root of 2601 presume to talk to you on aeroplanes about a Frenchman whose name they pronounce 'Fair Mat'.  Pah!
                           
                          Nothing is more simply demonstrable than what we musicians do with numbers.  All that people have to do is COUNT.  Those who refuse to count are shutting their eyes to a whole universe of beauty.  The same goes for gematria.
                           
                          In either case, our own unfamiliarity is no excuse.  It may be that educated ancient Hebrews were able to read the numerical meaning of a text almost as you and I hear the music of a hymn in our heads whenever we read its words.  The fact that I am scared of something represents a weakness which I must overcome.  That weakness cannot disguise itself as strength of conviction, or as scientific scepticism.
                           
                          Sorry to rant so!  I've been on the receiving end of a bit of anti-gematric scepticism rather close to home of late.  And I'm fed up with being an eponymous gematrist.  There's a heck of a lot more to life.  I've finished the verse anthology which I warned you last year I was going to dedicate to you, and within the next week I shall annoy you mightily by sending it to you as an attachment.  (If Bryan or anyone else wants to see it I can attach it to a group message.)  Please don't think you're expected to read ANY of it.  I'm serious.  Honestly!  I'm sometimes PLAGUED by fellow-Britons who send me their ghastly autobiographical poems and expect me to write back a three-page appreciative analysis of each one.  They want to be massaged.  They should all be put out on a soccer-field and given a good hoofing.  In the UK, more people write poetry than read it.
                           
                          What does Polypheme sing in Acis and Galatea?  'I rage, I melt, I burn.....'  I think I'll go to bed with a good Louis L'Amour.  Look after yourself!
                           
                          David
                           
                          PS    I once had a music student who quoted in her exam another number from Acis and Galatea as follows: 'Behold the monster Polythene!'
                        • scholiast
                          On Tue, 1 Mar 2005 22:30:21 +0000 (GMT), davidzcrookes@btinternet.com ... as y all doubtless know, poet Robert Graves (why am i citing the poets so much these
                          Message 12 of 20 , Mar 3, 2005
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                            On Tue, 1 Mar 2005 22:30:21 +0000 (GMT), davidzcrookes@...
                            <davidzcrookes@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > The old
                            > Irish ogham or ogam alphabet was definitely under numerological influence:
                            > it can be seen a set of variations on the theme of one, two, three, four,
                            > and five strokes.
                            >
                            > Some Scandinavian runic alphabets were numerically encoded in a similar
                            > manner, with the letters being divided up into several groups of the same
                            > number. Imagine the English alphabet shorn of its Y and Z, divided up into
                            > six groups of four letters. In the encoded form A will be 1. 1 ( = 'letter
                            > number one of group one'). In the same way H will be 2. 4, O will be 4. 3,
                            > and so on. Everything depends on the running order.

                            as y'all doubtless know, poet Robert Graves (why am i citing the poets
                            so much these days?) made much of Ogham in his book 'The White
                            Goddess,' in which he applied his own blend of intuition, genuine
                            learnedness, and Euhermerism to unriddle a number of Welsh chestnuts
                            and, as a side benefit, helped to inspire the neopagan revival. One
                            of the first books I read which made plausible (to me) the idea of a
                            level of understanding that had been generally forgotten, I still go
                            back to it; for all his quirks, Graves is utterly for real--when he
                            talks about the White Goddess, it's because he *believes* in her--and
                            he has at his disposal a wealth of information. Besides, he writes
                            very, very well.

                            ~~b
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