Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems

Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012 DOI: 10.1163/156853312X629199 Vetus Testamentum 62 (2012) 189-197 brill.nl/vt Vetus Testamentum Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems Israel Knohl The Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel iknohl@gmail.com Abstract I have recently studied the numerical architecture of several biblical poems and found sophisti- cated use of the numerical structures of words and cola. It is possible that some of these numer- ical structures are based on numerical values of the letters of the names of God. If this is indeed the correct explanation of these numerical structures, it should be perceived through wider cultural spectrum: The phenomenon of symbolizing divine names with numerical values is known in the Mesopotamian world. The development of Alphabetic script opened new possibilities for representation of divine name by numbers. Now, God might be represented by the numerical values of the letters of his names. This method has special significance in a society that forbids representing God’s image with a statue. The fact that the representation of the numerical values of letters is not attested in mundane use in Ancient Israel before the Hellenistic period, may point to the possibility that this method was first a sacred secret knowledge. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Vetus Testamentum Brill

Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems

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Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012 DOI: 10.1163/156853312X629199 Vetus Testamentum 62 (2012) 189-197 brill.nl/vt Vetus Testamentum Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems Israel Knohl The Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel iknohl@gmail.com Abstract I have recently studied the numerical architecture of several biblical poems and found sophisti- cated use of the numerical structures of words and cola. It is possible that some of these numer- ical structures are based on numerical values of the letters of the names of God. If this is indeed the correct explanation of these numerical structures, it should be perceived through wider cultural spectrum: The phenomenon of symbolizing divine names with numerical values is known in the Mesopotamian world. The development of Alphabetic script opened new possibilities for representation of divine name by numbers. Now, God might be represented by the numerical values of the letters of his names. This method has special significance in a society that forbids representing God’s image with a statue. The fact that the representation of the numerical values of letters is not attested in mundane use in Ancient Israel before the Hellenistic period, may point to the possibility that this method was first a sacred secret knowledge.

Journal

Vetus TestamentumBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2012

Keywords: Numerical patterns; number symbolism; Hebrew poetry

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