In This Month's Issue:
Briefing Short news items of interest to Bible code followers.
Correspondence Feedback from our readers, along with our comments.
20 Questions And answers on what have we learned about Bible codes, bottom line, in the nearly five years that we have been researching them. In this brief report, we present the main conclusions we have reached.
True Head to Head Comparison, Continued Part 2 This is the final installment of the Islamic Nations Extension Experiment, begun in the March issue and continued in the June issue. It shows that longer codes can be found in any book, but not as frequently as in the Bible.
Professor Haralick Reports on ITCS Meeting
Torah code maven Professor Robert Haralick attended an abridged International Torah Code Society meeting in Jerusalem last month. We e-mailed him asking about how the meeting went and received this reply from the Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the City University of New York's Graduate Center:
I recently went to Israel to work with some other Torah code researchers. I always look forward to such a trip because of the insights the other researchers would share with me. And I would try in my own way to share my insights with them and perhaps to extend one of my Torah code finding programs or Torah code probability programs to help them in their own work.
Before going to Israel, there was no information on an ITCS meeting and indeed when I arrived there was no information on an ITCS meeting.
Moshe Katz, who has through the years worked very hard on ITCS and does all the local arrangements and who deserves a big thanks for his work, wanted very much to publish a proceedings of the ITCS meetings. But in the past meetings very few people were sending him the written copy of what they talked about. This time with some frustration, he delayed making arrangements the usual six months ahead of time. Then when he tried to make arrangements he got stuck. He wanted to hold the meetings in the Jerusalem City Hall, where the meeting room would be free (ITCS has no budget or finances), and could not get any of the politicians to give an OK until after the elections. A natural place to hold an ITCS meeting under these conditions is in a university. But the perceived hostility of the Israeli universities to Torah Code work is so high that it was clear that none would allocate a meeting room for this purpose.
Then immediately after the Israeli elections Moshe got the OK to hold a meeting in one of the meeting rooms in the Jerusalem City Hall. I found out about it, as did the others, a few days after the elections and a couple of days before the meeting. Moshe just called us. As you can imagine, the ITCS meeting was a very small group, half speakers half audience. Because it was a small group, it was possible to have a very nice intense dialog. However, I am sure there were a number of other people who perhaps would have come to speak had the scheduling been like the other ITCS meetings.
I can understand why people have been reluctant to put in writing the work in progress they have been doing. There is nothing wrong with having work in progress, something not yet complete. It is reported on all the time in scientific conferences and the written material is in the proceedings. But the Torah code world is different. There is a conclave of critics who are aggressive and more interested in pursuing their private agendas than seeking the truth. If a person has some work in progress and puts out a publicly available paper, then it becomes his obligation to respond to comments on it. But when the dialog of the response has a hostile element, who wants to enter into it? Witness for example a recent set of e-mail exchanges from one of the Torah code email groups. It was not pleasant at all. It is too easy, even for a disciplined person to become angry or defensive. And at that point the whole point to any dialog is lost.
Therefore, people have been reluctant to put in writing preliminary findings or work in progress and have been waiting until their work has undergone refinements of controls and refinements in methods, working in a congenial setting of dialog and constructive criticism, before publicly releasing any written material. And even then all their work will not necessarily be perfect. But they hope it will be close enough.
In the next half year, I believe a number of impressive and positive statistical studies, most of which are not in the form of the great rabbis experiment, will be written up in a form suitable for publication in a scientific archival journal or book. With God's help my own paper will be coming sooner.
Finally, one more comment about critics. Proper criticism, criticism without emotion, without name calling, without implications that there was anything improper in an experiment, without implications that the Torah code researcher committed fraud, is always positive for the person who has their eyes on the truth. It is possible for one person to have an opposite opinion from another person, but because each understands that the other seeks only the truth, the people can be friends and they can like each other, and they each can honor the other's opinion even if they do not share it. Can we work to create a Torah code research environment in that mode? Or is this asking too much?
Codefinder to Release Updated Version |
A newly revised edition of the code search software Codefinder will be available later this year. Kevin Acres, the Australian developer of the search software, has added a number of improvements that are currently in beta testing. Version 1.23 will be available as a free download to all who own earlier versions.
Satinover Receives Masters in Physics from Yale |
Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., author of the best book yet on Bible codes, Cracking the Bible Code (William Morrow and Company, 1998), has earned a masters degree in physics from Yale University, on his way to a Ph.D. in the subject. And he has updated his web site with information about his family, background, interests and personal history. A practicing psychoanalyst since 1976 and a psychiatrist (requires an M.D.) since 1986, Satinover, is also an accomplished painter, musician and mountain climber, as well as a husband and the father of three girls. His latest book, The Quantum Brain (John Wiley & Sons, 2002), has been out for more than a year. Where does he find the time to do all of this stuff?
In attendance at one of the presentations by Bible Code Digest director Ed Sherman in the San Diego area in late May was a person who objected by e-mail to the attention we have given to Yeshu as a name of Jesus Christ in some of our investigations. We asked for permission to include her comments in this space, but she declined.
The essence of her objection is that she believes some Jewish people use this name to curse the Savior, and so we shouldn't use it at all. She quoted Moishe Rosen, head of the organization Jews for Jesus, as saying, "By calling him Yeshu, the name of Jesus is cursed. Orthodox Jews insist on calling him that, and it is an acronym for the phrase 'May his Name be Blotted out forever.' These anti-Christian Jews take a perverse pleasure when they hear Christians use this name, because they think they are saying Y'shua, which means God's Savior or God is Savior."
We discussed the e-mail with Nathan Jacobi, our Hebrew consultant, and he had this to say:
The reader points out a vulgar acronym that cannot be confirmed in any official Jewish source. There have been too many displays of fanaticism and ignorance in the Jewish-Christian "debate" through the ages, and this is one of them. It is as valid as the existence of the Protocol of the Elders of Zion, or related anti-Semitic rumors.
The accepted Hebrew name of Jesus is a common abbreviation of Yehoshua, and the names Yeshua and Yeshu are linguistically equivalent and interchangeable. For example, when Shalom Asch’s novel The Nazarene was translated into Hebrew in the late 50s, it was named Yeshu Hanotzri and had a profound effect on the Israeli thinking about Jesus.
A note on the nature of acronyms is here in order. They are embarrassingly easy to create, and a mediocre knowledge of Hebrew is all that is required to construct a dime a dozen. For example, as the reader points out, Yeshu can made to read "Yimakh Shmo Ve’zichro," meaning "May his name and memory be wiped out." It took me less than a minute to come with the following "creative" acronyms: from Yeshua I can make "Yimakh Shmo Ve’zichro Al-yadeinu," meaning "May his name and memory be wiped out by us," clearly showing the non-sense of this process. For Moshe I came up with both "Meshi’akh sheker hayah," meaning "He was a false Messiah" and "Me’el shali’akh hu," meaning "He is a messenger of God." All of these acronyms, including the one pointed out by the reader, are not worth the paper they are written on.
Let me conclude with two short notes. In the Bible codes we have observed no qualitative changes between codes involving Yeshu or Yeshua, further affirming to us that the two names are interchangeable. Also, I have consulted with some of my knowledgeable friends, who happen to be Christian, or Messianic. Nobody could find any confirmation that the name Yeshu has a derogatory meaning, and should therefore not be used.
Ed Sherman added this comment:
Let’s suppose for the moment that what the writer suggests is totally correct. Does that mean that it is an inappropriate form of the name of Jesus to use in codes? I have two reasons for thinking it may not be.
First, Bible codes lack attribution, or adequate context, to ascertain who is speaking. Consequently, all we can say about the specific message of a code, if it is real, is that it represents a viewpoint. We have found many codes from a terrorist viewpoint, or from a very Jewish viewpoint, or a staunchly Christian viewpoint. All a real code is is a discernible viewpoint, or even in some cases a conversation representing more than one viewpoint. So, using Yeshu could be a representation of that viewpoint about which you (and I) are so convinced is wrong.
Second, in reality Jesus was cursed when he was crucified. So using crossings of Yeshu codes to represent a crucifix could be quite fitting. In Deuteronomy 21:23, it states, "anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse." In Isaiah 53:4-10, we have a prophecy that the sins of all mankind were laid upon Jesus as he was crucified. What greater curse could there be than that? And yet it was as a result of this guilt offering for our sins that we have salvation.
According to Rene Guenon (died 1951), the French metaphysician and exponent of traditional doctrines, "perhaps one of the most astonishing . . . happenings (of the 6th century B.C.) is the fact that a short period of seventy years should have sufficed for the Jews to forget even their alphabet, so that after (the Babylonian captivity) the Sacred Books had to be reconstructed in quite different characters from those in use up to that time." The Crisis of the Modern World, Luzac 1975, p.5.
Could this "fact" have any bearings on Bible codes?
The view expressed here is pure speculation, which is not borne by fact. The evolution of Hebrew was quite the opposite of the dinosaur extinction. The following 2 points should be noticed.
First, most of the Bible was completed by the time of the destruction of the first temple. Only 2 or 3 of the latest books were written later, during the second temple.
Secondly, even though Hebrew was forgotten by the masses, it was kept alive by the scholars throughout the ages. In fact, it remained "frozen in time", which is why contemporary Hebrew is so much closer to Biblical Hebrew than is modern English to the Bard's English. In fact, since its revival 150 years ago, Hebrew went through more changes than in the preceding 3000 years.
For these reasons I believe that the effect on Bible Codes has been marginal at best.
From the Salt of Betrayal and from Fire, a Sand Dune Provided the Foundation for a Peace Treaty. Yah—indeed God—Came to the Heights of the Mountain
Thought it might be of interest—might be reading too much into it, but maybe not:
From the Salt (a symbol of stability and permanence; used when making a covenant to denote to bind the parties) of Betrayal and from Fire (anger, judgment; could also mean war, destruction or "the messenger of the covenant"; also salt and fire together were associated with sacrifices offered at the temple), a Sand Dune (Bush met with Arabs, Abbas & Sharon & king of Jordan, in a sun-splashed Egyptian seaside resort at Sharm el-Sheikh, surrounded by sand dunes, located in the Sinai Peninsula, from the book of Exodus and a cause of war with Israel; Egypt & Jordan have fought Israel before; Provided the Foundation for a Peace Treaty (Arab support of the roadmap to peace a needed foundation).