Sunday, August 13, 2006

DA VINCI CODE PUZZLES (1)
THE BIBLE CODE

As promised at the outset (July 1, 2006), I want to examine the puzzles scattered through Dan Brown’s novel *The Da Vinci Code*, because for me that is the most interesting aspect of the book. While I was reading it I would stop and try to solve each puzzle before moving on (after I inadvertently turned a page and saw the solution to the first one staring at me!).

Rama (cuckooscall.blogspot.com) sent me a response, alerting me to:
http://dandv.blogspot.com
That’s #California Rants# of Dan Dascalescu (is that Romanian for ‘Brown’?!)

DD refers us to:

http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/davinci-code.htm
How The Da Vinci Code Doesn't Work by Tracy V. Wilson.

A large number of big mistakes are brought to judgement in that account.
It must be very humbling to Dan Brown. His head will be hung low as he takes each bag of money to the bank.

Dan Dascalescu makes his own attack on the novel for its bad science and history, and he compares it with the Bible Code controversy.

I took a great interest in that exciting new (but actually old) method of interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures. I redd (read, past tense) the newspaper accounts, and a student of mine bought and brought a copy of the book, to show to me: Michael Drosnin, *The Bible Code* (1997).

Astonishing results had been achieved by getting a computer to highlight every twelfth letter (for example, with an enormous variety of other choices) and produce new words in the text, something like the results obtained through a Ouija board (which also involves the participants giving a push to the equipment to achieve the desired answers).

Christians latched onto it, and I was amazed that Chapter 53 of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, which supposedly depicts the Messiah (as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and all we like sheep have gone astray, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all; yes, that’s the one, and I will be singing those words in Handel’s Messiah this year) also provides the names of the 12 Apostles of Jesus (Yeshu`) the Messiah (when the computer does its tricks, with a little guidance and prompting from its programmer).

Another spooky discovery, (more recent and relevant, but, alas, it was uncovered too late) was the prediction of the assassination of the prime minister of Israel (Yitskhaq Rabin), with the name of his killer supplied.

However, the worry was that too many selection processes were applied to the text of the Bible, not just one. And being Hebrew writing the vowels were ignored, so that made it easier to fudge the names and words.

But the rumour soon got around that you could achieve the same results with any book, if you used enough computer force on it.

A mathematician I know specifically named *Moby Dick* as a source from which you could extract any number of famous murders and infamous scandals. He said a friend of his in Canberra had done it, and it so happened that I was visiting the Australian National University when these findings were published, by Brendan McKay. And here are the places you can go to for the facts (though most of them are fictive facts).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_codes

http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html
Copyright Brendan McKay (1997), bdm@cs.anu.edu.au.

The Bible does play an important part in the DV Code novel: Jesus and Mary of Magdala constitute a central theme; and a particular verse from the Hebrew Scriptures is quoted amidst a tense encounter in a church in Paris. Also, the Hebrew alphabet, whose origins we are tracing along another thread, is involved in a cipher.

And DV (Da Vinci? 505? No, Deo volente, God willing) we will discuss these matters ere long, unless the Divine voice pronounces the fateful words again: “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further”. Do you recognize them?

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