Secret Codes (fwd)

yahua'sef gs02wmr at panther.Gsu.EDU
Mon Jun 14 13:21:24 EDT 1999


SHalom everyone!

Thanks for your responses and informational links. I had a gut feeling it
was superstition and fanaticism all along. Todah Rabah!

WOndell M. Rachman

On Mon, 14 Jun 1999, Andre Desnitsky wrote:

> Dear Wondell,
> 
> The previous discussion on the Bible Codes was started by myself.
> Here is a digest of it. I have nothing to add.
> 
> Andre S. Desnitsky, Ph.D
> Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
> 
> _______________________
> 
> Dear colleagues,
> 
> When I have heard a couple of years ago about the the so called
> "Bible codes", quite naturally I considered them to be another trick
> of some clever guys with a computer. Quite recently I received an
> apology of the method from its supporter claiming that the results
> were proven statistically.
> 
> I am still very cautious about the method but such a claim can't be
> simply discarded because we don't like it. What do you think? Do you
> have any other arguments? Has someone tried to repeat the experience
> or to do the same with another sequence of Hebrew letters? In a
> word, was there an independent expertise?
> 
> ...
> 
> Andre S. Desnitsky, Ph.D.
> Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
> Bible Society in Russia.
> ________________________
> 
> Andre:
> 
> The Torah Codes have been successfully debunked by Dr. James D.
> Price,
> professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Temple Baptist Seminary
> 
> http://www.prophezine.com/tcode/
> 
> ________________________
> 
> My question about all this is: which Hebrew text?  BHS?  Some 
> other?  Was it appropriately emended based on text-critical 
> principles?  Which ones?  How was the base text decided?  Who 
> decided and on what principles?  How do textual variants affect 
> these codes?  I have yet to see an adequate answer to these and 
> similar questions.  I have no problem believing the Scriptures are 
> inspired, and in fact am [flameproof suit on] an unabashed 
> inerrantist.  However, I don't need stuff like this to "prove" it,
> nor do 
> I feel threatened by textual criticism.  There are places, I
> realize, 
> where we're not certain what the text is and are still working on 
> recovering it.  This whole "Bible codes" thing seems to subtly 
> suggest that the text is fixed, known and cast in stone; that is 
> hardly the case.  Hence, I'm more than a little skeptical about the 
> idea.
> 
> Dave Washburn
> http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.
> 
> ___________________________________
> 
> This site explains how it is done! It is quite an interesting method
> and
> this fine spoof shows how it can be done.
> 
> http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html
> 
> This is a quote taken from the site:
> 
> The following challenge was made by Michael Drosnin:
> 
> When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime
> minister
> encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them.
> (Newsweek, Jun 9, 1997)
> 
> Note that English with the vowels included is far less flexible than
> Hebrew
> when it comes to making letters into words. Nevertheless, without
> further
> ado, we present our answer to Mr Drosnin's challenge.
> 
> Go there!!
> 
> Grace to you,
> Mark Markham
> Heidelberg, Germany
> 
> _________________________
> 
> Dear Andre,
> The Masoretic Text, upon which the Bible codes are based, is full of
> scribal errors, and is not at all the original autograph of the
> Biblical
> books. Even with the aid of the Qumran MSS, the Samaritan
> Pentateuch,
> and ancient translations, it is nigh impossible to reconstruct any
> original Urtext. What is more, there were more than one edition of
> some
> biblical bookds, e.g., Jeremiah.
> So any "code", or nuimerology, or other prophetical or mystical
> phantasmagoria based on the Masorwetic text is pure fantasy.
> Sincerely,
> --
> Jonathan D. Safren
> Dept. of Biblical Studies
> Beit Berl College
> Beit Berl Post Office 44905
> Israel
> 
> _____________________________
> 
> 
> Dave Washburn wrote:
> > 
> > My question about all this is: which Hebrew text?  BHS?  Some
> > other?  Was it appropriately emended based on text-critical
> > principles?  Which ones?  How was the base text decided?  Who
> > decided and on what principles?  How do textual variants affect
> > these codes?  I have yet to see an adequate answer to these and
> > similar questions.  
> 
> Neither have I seen the willingness of the supporters to admit the
> very existence of those damned questions. For them, there is the
> Text, namely the traditional text of the synagogue. All the variants
> are nothing by deviations.
> 
> > I have no problem believing the Scriptures are
> > inspired, and in fact am [flameproof suit on] an unabashed
> > inerrantist.  However, I don't need stuff like this to "prove" it, nor do
> > I feel threatened by textual criticism.
> 
> I am afraid I have a rather vague idea about the unabashed
> interranism but all the rest sounds like I feel it myself.
> 
> Jonathan D. Safren wrote:
> > 
> > Dear Andre,
> > The Masoretic Text, upon which the Bible codes are based, is full of
> > scribal errors, and is not at all the original autograph of the Biblical
> > books. Even with the aid of the Qumran MSS, the Samaritan Pentateuch,
> > and ancient translations, it is nigh impossible to reconstruct any
> > original Urtext. What is more, there were more than one edition of some
> > biblical bookds, e.g., Jeremiah.
> 
> Jonathan, these are the facts - in our eyes. Not in theirs.
> Certainly that's exactly what I preach to my own students but what
> can we do about a sect that doesn't share our orthodox textual
> criticism? Can we really convert them? Shall we try? ;-)
> 
> > So any "code", or nuimerology, or other prophetical or mystical
> > phantasmagoria based on the Masorwetic text is pure fantasy.
> 
> I agree; but they say: the textual criticism is pure fantasy since
> we have proven that our codes are no fantasy at all.
> 
> The point where I get puzzled about all that stuff was when I
> realize that the claim id quite serious and that I am absolutely
> unable to investigate the question by myself being absolutely
> illiterate in statistics. Some experts say that's but a nonsense;
> some say that's a discovery of the century - all I can do is to join
> the party I like the most. You know my preferences, but how honest
> it will be to ignore such a claim simply because I don't like it?
> 
> But now I think there can be an answer for a person who is not that
> clever in maths. We can ask a very simple question: So what? OK,
> let's admit that Auschwitz and Yitzhak Rabin were predicted in the
> Bible, but these are the facts we already know. If I say: "I knew it
> all before it happened", what does such a statement add to your
> understanding of what has actually happened?
> 
> Do these codes say something we didn't know before? Do they shed
> some light on the things we do not understand now? Where is written
> the name of the next president of my country and if it is written
> somewhere, will it really affect my choice at the next elections? I
> think that if some guys say they now the name I will still vote for
> the guy I like the most, not for the name they have read somewhere.
> 
> The same is true for the spiritual dimension of the Bible. As a
> Christian, I believe the Bible is inspired by God; I believe there
> are multiple levels of understanding the Scripture. Let's admit
> there is another one, fixed in the Bible codes - but does it give us
> anything for our spiritual life or our intellectual investigation? I
> don't see any positive answer.
> 
> Andre S. Desnitsky, Ph.D.
> Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
> Bible Society in Russia.
> 
> ___________________________
> 
> 
> In addition to the objections already raised here, several
> mathematicians have also challenged the statistical methods
> underlying
> the work.  One of the most active, Brendan McKay of Australian
> National
> University, even has a Web site devoted to the topic.  Take a look
> at
> http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/index.html.
> 
> Yigal
> 
> Yigal Arens
> USC/ISI
> arens at isi.edu
> http://www.isi.edu/sims/arens
> 
> ____________________________
> 
> Dear Andre,
> 
> I'm sorry, I'm not convinced by these "Bible codes". This can quite 
> easily happen by chance. Let's look at some statistics and compare 
> with what would happen if instead of the Hebrew Bible we looked a 
> random selection of the same length, over 1 million letters chosen 
> from the 22 Hebrew consonants. (We are looking at the consonants
> only 
> I think). What is the chance of finding the name "Hitler" "hidden"
> in 
> this way? Presumably we are looking for just He-Taw-Lamed-Resh, or 
> perhaps Tet instead of Taw, or either. For any given starting place 
> and skip value (number of letters skipped in either direction), we 
> have a 1 in 22 chance of finding the right letter, which gives 1 in
> 22 
> to the power 4 or about 1 in 200,000 that all four letters are 
> correct. Thus for each skip value we would expect to find the name 
> Hitler 5 times in the random text. Jeffrey's examples allows skip 
> values as high as 153, and in both directions, so we must multiply
> by 
> at least 300 and so expect to find the name Hitler "hidden" 1500
> times 
> in a random text the length of the Bible! (The details will be 
> slightly different if you weight the proportions of each letter 
> according to how common they are: this will mean more "hidden" 
> examples of words spelt with common letters).
> 
> Longer phrases will of course be rarer, but if when you find the
> word 
> "Auschwitz" (also only four Hebrew consonants?) you look at the 
> surrounding random selection of consonants, there is a pretty high 
> chance that you can make them mean something appropriate. Obviously 
> the chances are less if you restrict yourself to a short passage in 
> Deuteronomy, but in fact the cases quoted are from several parts of 
> Deuteronomy which is long enough in itself for several occurrences
> of 
> "Hitler", "Auschwitz" etc.
> 
> So I conclude that these phrases could well have got into the Hebrew 
> Bible by chance, and so (especially considering the textual problems 
> others have mentioned) very probably they did. Now I believe that
> all 
> "chance" is subject to the providence of God, but I don't think this 
> is a case of anything deliberately hidden but of people finding in
> the 
> text something which was never intended by anyone.
> 
> Peter Kirk
> 
> ___________________________
> 
> Andre Desnitsky asked about Bible Codes.
> This subject is discussed in an excellent paper by Richard A. Taylor 
> presented at the most recent annual meeting of the Evangelical
> Theological 
> Society--Title: "The Bible Code: Teaching Them [Wrong] Things"
> Taylor is Professor of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.
> I don't know whether the paper is available on the Internet, but one 
> could ask him for a hard copy.
> 
> One web site on the subject is:
> http://www.prophezine.com/tcode/index.shtml
> 
> My own research on the subject has led to the conclusion that 
> all equidistant codes are the result of mere chance.
> 
> In any segment of Scripture literally thousands of such codes can 
> be found on thousands of words. One may pick and choose among 
> them to imagine any message he desires. The same is true for secular 
> Hebrew literature. Hundreds of false and self contradictory
> statements 
> have been found. The alleged "statistical" proof has been seriously 
> challenged by expert mathematicians. In my opinion, the topic is 
> not worthy of serious thought. It is a waste of one's time.
> James D. Price, Ph.D.
> Prof. of Hebrew and OT
> Temple Baptist Seminary
> Chattanooga, TN
> 
> ______________________
> 
> Dear Andre,
> 
> I don't think you'll find the name of the next president of Russia 
> hidden in the text. Why? Quite simply because most Russian surnames 
> (spelled in Hebrew) are too long! It's just a matter of statistics
> and 
> chance. I know you don't understand them, I understand a little more 
> but far from anything. But it is worth learning a bit - simply
> because 
> those who can be fooled by such statistics can just as easily be 
> fooled by fraudulent lotteries, investment funds etc. I'm afraid
> quite 
> a few people around the world have got very rich, and made a lot of 
> others poor, by knowing a little about statistics.
> 
> Peter Kirk
> 





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