Number of the Beast Video
- Mark Goodacre has put up a video on his NT Blog today that
ties in nicely with a number of things I've said about Coptic
Gos.Thom. over the years:
Titled "Number of the Beast: 666 or 616: how does it work?", the video
describes how the number 666 corresponds to 'Nero Caesar' in Hebrew,
and how the number 616 (found on a papyrus fragment of Revelation at
Oxyrhynchus) corresponds to 'Gaius Caesar' (i.e., Caligula) in Greek.
The "how does it work" is the same in both systems. Although there
were differences between Greek and Hebrew as to which letter was
assigned to which number, the systems were basically the same, both
being three-tiered decimal systems (the zero, which they didn't have,
isn't necessary for a decimal system). Thus, in both systems, each name
and word had a number associated with it. At one point the narrator says
"The ancient world loved puzzles." Plenty of that in Coptic Gos.Thom.,
- Hi Mike,
The premise that 616 stands for Gaius Caesar is a stretch IMO. The reason was that Caligula reigned from 37-41 CE, a period where Christians were relatively free from persecution (but not for Caligula's relatives). Saul and Caiaphas raised havoc with the Christians before 37 CE and Herod Agrippa I killed John's brother James c 44 AD.
Of course, if John was reflecting on the invasion of Judea by Gaius Julius Caesar during Jewish BCE days, then Gaius Caesar as 616 could be the beast of Jewish folklore.
But I still think it is the beastly Nero that was on John's mind so the "original" Greek and Latin accounts had the number 666.
- Further information on this subject is provided by Mark Goodacre
in his audio/podcast:
... in which Mark observes that Nero could have been referred to
in Hebrew by either 666 or 616, depending on the spelling of
his name (666 with final 'N', 616 without). The matter of spelling
and others is described quite well in the Wikkipedia article
"Number of the Beast":
See especially sections on Nero and Caligula, if this link doesn't
take you directly there. Thanks to Mark for answering the questions
I posed on his blog.