• ## Re: Use of 3rd Perfect Number in GJn

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• ... Tim Staker says: I don t see how the ancients could have NOT done this. If you are using a numerical system based upon your alphabet, I think the numbers
Message 1 of 3 , May 1, 2012
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--- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
>
> Why is it neglected? Although I may be being unfair, two
> causes occur to me: (1) biblical scholars don't believe that
> authors/scribes would do such a thing (as far as we know,
> they usually didn't, but that they sometimes did is surely
> sufficient to entertain the possibility),

Tim Staker says:

I don't see how the ancients could have NOT done this. If you are using
a numerical system based upon your alphabet, I think the numbers would
just pop out at you.

It is like when we see a long string of random numbers (using the
Hindu-Arabic system), our eyes immediately look for a pattern of numbers
that we are familiar with. Now, imagine if all the letters we used were
numbers. It would be hard, I think, not to see numerical values of the
words before us.

The Attics were using the alphabet for numbers since the 7th century
bce. The Ionians were doing this by the 4th century bce.

Gematria was a long established practice. The earliest historical
example is that of Sargon II of Assyria (8th century bce) who had a wall
built with a length to match the numerical value of his name.

This isn't just a "DaVinci code" pursuit. I think there's a strong case
to be made for number counting in manuscripts.

Tim Staker
Indianapolis, Indiana
• Well said, Tim. I think that one of the reasons that Biblical scholars are reluctant to accept the idea of numerical design is that they re not all that
Message 2 of 3 , May 1, 2012
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Well said, Tim. I think that one of the reasons that Biblical scholars are
reluctant to accept the idea of numerical design is that they're not all that
familiar with ancient mathematics to begin with. The concept of perfect
numbers provides an example of that. As can be seen from the Iamblichus
book which Andrew Criddle cited, ancient mathematicians contemplated
numbers in a way we wouldn't think of doing. In fact, the entire Iamblichus
book is composed of observations about the numbers 1 through 10. The
notion of perfect numbers no doubt began with the observation that the number
six was the sum of its 'parts' (read 'divisors other than itself') 1, 2, and 3.
Since it was desired to categorize numbers (odd-even being obvious) as to their
properties, the relationship between a number and the sum of its parts suggested
itself, and led to the division of even numbers into those whose parts were greater
than, less than, or equal to the number itself. As one worked one's way through the
numbers, the discovery of 28 as the second perfect number no doubt fostered
confidence that perfect numbers wouldn't be too uncommon. But then it was a
long stretch to 496, the third perfect number, and an even longer stretch to the
4th perfect number (8128). They had no way of knowing that the 5th perfect
number would be in the 33 millions, of course, but they certainly knew that
perfect numbers were a rare and magical breed.

The relevance of this is that ancient mathematicians were familiar with a
procedure unheard-of today, viz., that of comparing a number to the sum
of its divisors. Furthermore, it's safe to say that at least some Christian
writers must have been aware of this practice as well. That, in turn, would
have led not only to their familiarity with perfect numbers, but also to their
not being disinclined to calculate that the sum of the parts of IH (18, the
parts of which are 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9) is 21, the tens root of 210, the value of
IS, as they contemplated the meaning of abbreviations for the sacred name.

To show that the writers/redactors of some Christian texts used their
mathematical knowledge for the design of hidden textual structures presents
a further difficulty, given that improbable numerical coincidences do occur.
That's the stuff of all those books and internet sites that give real scholarship
a bad name by attributing authorship of the Bible to God hisself. The trick is
to distinguish (human) intentionality from random coincidence. Part of that
(but only part of it), I think, is that the former often involves a word or name
that is meaningful to the author of the text, whether it be the names of Jesus
(and Thomas, in the case of GTh), or the word 'monogenhs' in GJn. Matt's
genealogy is relevant here also, since it provides a case where the structure
isn't hidden, but the relationship to the name 'David' is.

Regards,
Mike Grondin
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