CHRISTIAN TRACTATUS - APPENDIX 2

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BIBLICAL NUMERICS & CHIASMUS

A2.1 With respect to Biblical Numerics, the number of numerical relationships in certain key texts seems only to be limited by the ingenuity of those who look for them.

A2.1.1 Given the licence involved in choosing the length of the text for analysis, the liberal supply of "interesting" numbers, the number of rules allowed and the arbitrary nature of the final conclusion to the study, it is probable that any text (Biblical or otherwise) can be made to yield some esoteric secrets.

A2.1.2 The claim that other classic texts do not do so is possibly due to lack of zeal on the behalf of the investigators.

A2.2 Similarly, with respect to chiasmus and other literary structures, more zeal than knowledge is displayed.

A2.2.1 Evidently, structure, rather than rhyme, is the key to Hebrew poetry. As such, those who thought in Hebrew or Aramaic may have had a feel for literary structure that affected the way they wrote their letters and other literary productions.

A2.2.2 The practical use of structures in Biblical exegesis appears to be as arbitrary as that of numerics. Often, the supposedly matching members of a structure are of such dubious connection & of such disparate size that, if genuinely present at all, are more evidences against inerrancy than for it.

A2.2.3 In fact, neither numerics nor structures have much to do with inerrancy. They are more relevant to what might be termed literary perfection. There is no necessary connection between literary perfection & inerrancy, but, in any case, the evidence is against the literary perfection of the Bible.

A2.2.4 The fact that conflicting structures tend to be developed from the same passage by different exegetes demonstrates that the structure is more likely the creation of the exegete than of the original author.

A2.3 The use of numerics or structures to reconstruct the original text or the correct interpretation of a passage is self-contradictory. A book so perfect in form and structure, even down to the individual letters (as has to be supposed for the application of numerics to work), should not need the use of arbitrary analyses to reconstruct its text or interpretation.

A2.4 A frequent fundamentalist assumption is that numerical relationships & textual structures have been built into the Biblical texts by divine inspiration, without the authors being aware of them.

A2.4.1 Sometimes, however, as in acrostics, an artificial scheme was clearly adopted, maybe for ease of memorisation.

A2.4.2 On the rare occasions where numbers are given explicit significance in the Bible, as in Revelation 13:18 ("666") and possibly such passages as John 21:11 (153 fish), no light is shed and the interpretations are as many as the expositors.

A2.4.3 The whole notion of a secret numerical infrastructure to the Bible is Kabbalistic / Gnostic in tenor and is repugnant to the plain moral sense of Scripture.

A2.4.4 The clear instances of structure may be the unconscious but humanly explicable application of good style.

A2.4.5 The majority of supposed instances of divinely implanted numerics or structure in the Bible may be attributed to pure chance or pure fiction.

A2.4.6 It is also important to remember those counter-examples of poor style, grammar & structure that abound. For instance, the Apostle Paul's inability to resist a good diversion has had the effect of making his writings very difficult to understand.



© Theo Todman 1992 - 2000.
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