Secret Codes

George Athas gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au
Wed Jun 16 18:38:20 EDT 1999


John,

The 'codes' which you mention in some detail are gematria. This is certainly a very different
kettle of fish to the 'codes' which Drosnin finds. Gematria has relevance for the actual reading of
a text and it is a well attested phenomenon. Drosnin's codes go beyond context, however, and claim
to find a sort of soothsayer's message at numerous points. Occasionally, the context in which the
individual 'code' appears has some connection with code, but it is not necessary. Essentially,
whereas Gematria is a deliberate device employed by an author, the "codes" of Drosnin are a device
which the author apparently had no idea he was writing. We cannot put the two cases into the same
category. As you say, Drosnin's codes appear to be quite sensationalist.

Best regards.
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GEORGE ATHAS
 Dept of Semitic Studies,
 University of Sydney
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Tel Dan Inscription Website is at
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