Peter and the fixation with gematria

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Fri Jun 25 12:37:38 EDT 1999


Dear Ian,

I admit that I did not fully understand the calendar issues, and now I 
understand them better. You thoroughly confused me by including 
irrelevant year data (including an error which you have not explained 
or apologised for), which made me think that the year was actually 
relevant to the matter. Thank you for your clarification.

I have not read the book of Enoch, just as I have not read the manuals 
of gematria or the works on Bible Codes. That is because I have 
considered their relevance to exegesis of the Hebrew text to be 
identical: zero. I am willing to be persuaded on that, and you are 
beginning to persuade me that the calendar issue is worth looking 
into.

I wrote:

>By the way, who first read these dates out of or into Ezekiel? Was it 
>someone at Qumran etc? Or was it some medieval or modern scholar who 
>discovered this alleged match with the "Enoch" and DSS calendar?

and you answered:

"Why not read the relevant ancient texts and discover it yourself."

Sorry, you have not answered the question. In which ancient text does 
it make the point that none of Ezekiel's visions took place on the 
Sabbath? Chapter and verse please. I don't have time to go looking 
through the unspecified "relevant ancient texts" for this.

I wrote:

>In that case, could it not be chance also that none of them took 
place >on the Sabbath?

and you answered: "Try and calculate it."

OK, I now have the data I need. If the date of each vision is random, 
there is a 6/7 chance that it did not take place on the Sabbath. You 
quoted 11 fully defined dates. (6/7)^11 = 0.1834785562297. This 
implies, I think, an 18% probability that none of these visions would 
have taken place on the Sabbath if the dates were chosen at random. 
That is far less than is needed for any sort of statistical certainty. 
We do also have the possibility that the calendar was deliberately 
fitted to Ezekiel's dates rather than vice versa.

So, I'm sorry, I come back to my former tentative conclusion. For you 
have no evidence to support your argument that Ezekiel was written 
after the introduction of the solar calendar. If all you want to say 
is that it may have been but may have not been, what are we arguing 
about? It is just that I don't think the calendar helps the argument 
in either direction.

As for Tyre, I would suggest that even the Assyrians saw the benefit 
of trade with the West and allowed the Tyrians to keep up their trade 
with Cyprus, Rhodes etc., which of course continued to flourish (and 
was well known to Ezekiel) when Assyria went into decline.

As for Egypt, if we want examples of peoples continuing to trust in 
"broken reeds" even in a much better informed age, look at Serbia's 
futile attempts to rely on Russia!

Peter Kirk





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