Re: Use of 3rd Perfect Number in GJn
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
>Tim Staker says:
> 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),
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.
- Well said, Tim. I think that one of the reasons that Biblical scholars arereluctant to accept the idea of numerical design is that they're not all thatfamiliar with ancient mathematics to begin with. The concept of perfectnumbers provides an example of that. As can be seen from the Iamblichusbook which Andrew Criddle cited, ancient mathematicians contemplatednumbers in a way we wouldn't think of doing. In fact, the entire Iamblichusbook is composed of observations about the numbers 1 through 10. Thenotion of perfect numbers no doubt began with the observation that the numbersix 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 theirproperties, the relationship between a number and the sum of its parts suggesteditself, and led to the division of even numbers into those whose parts were greaterthan, less than, or equal to the number itself. As one worked one's way through thenumbers, the discovery of 28 as the second perfect number no doubt fosteredconfidence that perfect numbers wouldn't be too uncommon. But then it was along stretch to 496, the third perfect number, and an even longer stretch to the4th perfect number (8128). They had no way of knowing that the 5th perfectnumber would be in the 33 millions, of course, but they certainly knew thatperfect numbers were a rare and magical breed.The relevance of this is that ancient mathematicians were familiar with aprocedure unheard-of today, viz., that of comparing a number to the sumof its divisors. Furthermore, it's safe to say that at least some Christianwriters must have been aware of this practice as well. That, in turn, wouldhave led not only to their familiarity with perfect numbers, but also to theirnot being disinclined to calculate that the sum of the parts of IH (18, theparts of which are 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9) is 21, the tens root of 210, the value ofIS, as they contemplated the meaning of abbreviations for the sacred name.To show that the writers/redactors of some Christian texts used theirmathematical knowledge for the design of hidden textual structures presentsa further difficulty, given that improbable numerical coincidences do occur.That's the stuff of all those books and internet sites that give real scholarshipa bad name by attributing authorship of the Bible to God hisself. The trick isto 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 namethat 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'sgenealogy is relevant here also, since it provides a case where the structureisn't hidden, but the relationship to the name 'David' is.Regards,Mike Grondin