Cracking The Bible Code
also published as
The Truth Behind the Bible Code
by Jeffrey Satinover
This serious study is by far the best book on the Bible Code.
Satinover investigates whether the code really exists, its accuracy, meaning and implications. The subject of scientific research since the late 1980s, the secret scriptural code was first mentioned many centuries ago in the writings of Jewish mystics, especially during the great flowering of Spanish Kabbalah.
Chapter One deals with the opinions and conclusions of amongst others the Vilna Gaon Elijah ben Solomon, Maimonides and Rabbi Moses ben Nachman and explains how the codes are encrypted in the Hebrew letters of the text. The next chapter recounts the discovery of the codes in the 1980s and provides portraits of some of the personalities involved, mainly religious members of the scientific community in Jerusalem. Illustrated with Hebrew text, it discusses the science of encryption and delves deeper into the structure of the codes and matters of statistical probability.
Chapter Three considers the Jewish devotion to Torah, scribal traditions and the Jewish Torah compared to the Samaritan version. The chapters titled The Black Fires of Holocaust and The White Fire of Destiny recount the agonizing history of Rabbi Weissmandl of Slovakia. The vital role of cryptology in the Allied victory in the Second World War is explored next. The science of cryptology grew out of Kabbalah. A prime example of ancient cryptological sophistication is found in the
work of Nechunya ben HaKanah, a student of the great Simeon bar Yochai, originator of the Zohar.
During the Renaissance, kabbalistic ideas became known in Europe. In the 15th century, cryptology suddenly underwent major advances that laid the early groundwork for the computer and the science of statistics. A famous Renaissance cryptologist, Trithemius of Spannheim, developed a method based directly upon a prayer of the aforementioned Nechunya ben HaKanah. There were others, like Alberti and Cardano, from whose works were derived all the sophisticated encoding machines used by the Allies.
There are thought-provoking sections on Pascal, Von Neumann and Turing, whilst chapters eight and nine recount the (re)discovery of the code by Israeli scientists, with discussions of the phenomenon of clustering, the scientific scrutiny applied and specific messages like the Hanukkah and Purim codes. Chapter 10 provides further information on specific searches and their results.
Chapter 11, The Flames of Amalek, covers the 1991 Gulf War and discoveries on messages about the Holocaust as well as the concept of the biblical Nimrod, the man of violence of whom Hitler was a type. Satinover also briefly discusses the book of Esther here. Chapter 12,
The Great Sages, first looks at the interest generated by the code, then at further experiments that resulted in the publication of an article in the journal Statistical Science.
Some common misunderstandings of the codes are dealt with in chapter 13, whilst the next one contains interesting information on William James, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, his views on freedom of choice within deterministic influences, and his influence on Satinover. Quantum Mechanics, the complexity of the codes, theology and personal conduct are also discussed here.
Technical Appendix A examines the extraordinarily exact Jewish calculation of 29.53059 days to the lunar month plus the age of the universe as calculated by Nechunya ben HaKanah from a code in the book of Genesis and explained by Yitzhak DeMin Acco. They arrived at an age of 15.3 billion years. Nechunya lived in the first century AD and DeMin Acco in the 13th century! The work of Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana, such as A Matter of Days is relevant here.
Technical Appendix B considers transformations of space and time with reference to prime numbers and their visual and spatial configurations, whilst Appendix C revisits the "Great Sages" experiment in finer detail.
The 21 pages of notes are as informative as the main text of the book. Note number 11 to chapter four was especially interesting to me. It explains some seemingly Antisemitic passages by John in the book of Revelation and elsewhere. The first is the attack upon "Jews who are not Jews" and the second is the expression "synagogues of Satan." Satinover argues that these words apply to the Babylonian magic-
based distortion of Judaism by the Samaritans. Archaeological digs have unearthed many of these "synagogues" that contain a blend of Judaic and astrological imagery. He claims that the author was not criticizing the synagogues of the Jewish people. Of that, I am not so sure and would like to direct the interested reader to Monsters & Madonnas by Judith Taylor Gold.
The fact that I was reading Richard Elliott Friedman's The Hidden Book in the Bible at the same time made Satinover's book even more intriguing. This hidden book was originally one narrative but was cut up by the Bible editors so that other stories, poetry and laws were spliced into and around it. The divided segments of this story are now spread through nine of the Bible books from Genesis to the first two chapters of Kings.
A complimentary work to Satinover’s is Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning by Thomas Troward, a rich elaboration on his Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science. Troward viewed the whole Bible as a commentary on the words "man is the image and likeness of God" and pursues this thread throughout. He also considered it as the book of emancipation of mankind for deliverance from sickness, sorrow, poverty, uncertainty and limitation.
Satinover speculates that the discovery of the code might initiate a period of combined spiritual and scientific exploration. He states that there must be some absolute truth to most matters but that we may only ever approximate it. The scientific standard of truth is the only counterbalance to the dangerous human tendency to turn incomplete human understandings into dogmatic absolutes.
Tolerant and filled with compassion, the Torah allows for wide latitude in theological notions and for the confession: “I do not know.” Not so, however, with behavior towards others. Morality is of prime importance. The daily choices of the individual are what counts and it is best to focus our attention there. This observation corresponds closely to Abraham Heschel’s findings in The Prophets. “Turn from evil and do good” as the Psalm instructs us.
Black & white figures and illustrations throughout the book help to explain the nature of the codes. The bibliography contains books and articles plus contact addresses of the Aish HaTorah organization which offers a reliable source of information on the Torah codes. The book concludes with an index. Cracking The Bible Code is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read, and a valuable reference source.