For a truly horrible article about Bible codes, see today's "CRITIC'S
NOTEBOOK: Is Destiny Just a Divine Word Game?" by Edward Rothstein, The New
York Times, 12 August 1997, pg. C11, col. 1, and continued as "Is Destiny
Merely a Divine Crossword Puzzle?" on pg. C12, cols. 3-6.
Breakers are "On the cosmic 'Wheel of Fortune,' there are no vowels to
buy," and "Mysterious codes are dashing hopes for human improvement." Codes
are dashing hopes for human improvement? What cretin writes this?
Rothstein writes that this "has inspired dozens of sites on the World
Wide Web," yet provides no addresses. The best address (which has many
links) is http://www.math.gatech.edu/~jkatz/Religions/Numerics/.
Michael Drosnin's THE BIBLE CODE (add to new words of the year?) is
mentioned, as is the article in STATISTICAL SCIENCE that set Drosnin off (the
three authors of this article have denounced Drosnin's book).
Drosnin uses a "Bible code" to go off an an Oliver Stone-type hunt for
predictions of modern figures. He allegedly found a reference to Yitzhak
Rabin's assassination, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, et al.
Codes in ancient texts can't be taken out of time. 666 in the Book of
Revelations, for example, can be interpreted as a code in a proper historical
context, but it was not written to be the number of Hitler!
Drosnin's entire book is pure caca, and most people acknowledge this. An
article was not necessary.
However, Rothstein drags out Drosnin to make fun of ALL codes in
EVERYTHING. That's like Hillary Clinton saying that people who believe in
Whitewater are the same nuts who also believe in UFOs.
No codes in literature, Rothstein? Take the greatest writer of the
twentieth century--James Joyce. Go ahead, Rothstein, read ten pages of
FINNEGAN'S WAKE! Any ten pages ya want. No one writes in code?
Read six chapters in the Book of Revelations. Does anything make sense
on its face?
Read the Book of Jeu. There are bizarre numbers and diagrams in every
section. That's not in code? That's understandable to you?
Even ancient, contemporary critics of the gnostics, for example,
acknowledged the use of codes. Ever read a gnostic gospel, Rothstein?
The point is to explain the texts, to find meanings that were intended by
the person or persons who wrote it.
The new catchphrase "Bible code" is itself a misnomer--what text are we
talking about? When was it written? What language was it in? The Old and
New Testaments, for example, are not the same.
"These codes," Rothstein writes, "from the kookiest to the most
compelling, declare that cosmic forces dwarf our desires."
Tell you what, Rothstein. Pick up a New York Times. Look at a
Hirschfeld drawing. It might be signed "Hirschfeld3." It's a secret code!
Honest! I solved it!! You'll find the name "NINA" hidden three times in
that drawing! You know what that says about "cosmic forces that dwarf our
"They proclaim our limitations and define the boundaries on our
freedom," Rothstein continues.
I have more to say about this (we'll even "solve" some "codes"), but
writing like this is sickening.