Overview[ edit ] Contemporary discussion and controversy around one specific steganographic method became widespread in when Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg published a paper, "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis", in the scientific journal Statistical Science. The traditional WRR view of the codes is based strictly on their applicability to the Torah, and asserts that any attempt to study the codes outside of this context is invalid. This is based on a belief that the Torah is unique among biblical texts in that it was given directly to mankind via Moses in exact letter-by-letter sequence and in the original Hebrew language. To obtain an ELS from a text, choose a starting point in principle, any letter and a skip number, also freely and possibly negative. Then, beginning at the starting point, select letters from the text at equal spacing as given by the skip number.
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Overview[ edit ] Contemporary discussion and controversy around one specific steganographic method became widespread in when Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg published a paper, "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis", in the scientific journal Statistical Science.
The traditional WRR view of the codes is based strictly on their applicability to the Torah, and asserts that any attempt to study the codes outside of this context is invalid. This is based on a belief that the Torah is unique among biblical texts in that it was given directly to mankind via Moses in exact letter-by-letter sequence and in the original Hebrew language.
To obtain an ELS from a text, choose a starting point in principle, any letter and a skip number, also freely and possibly negative. Then, beginning at the starting point, select letters from the text at equal spacing as given by the skip number.
For example, the bold letters in this sentence form an ELS. Arrange the letters from Genesis —10 in a column grid and you get a word search with "Bible" and "code". Myriad other arrangements can yield other words. Alternate words are bolded for legibility. This is produced by writing out the text in a regular grid, with exactly the same number of letters in each line, then cutting out a rectangle. In the example below, part of the King James Version of Genesis —10 is shown with 21 letters per line.
ELSs for "Bible" and "code" are shown. Normally only a smaller rectangle would be displayed, such as the rectangle drawn in the figure. In that case there would be letters missing between adjacent lines in the picture, but it is essential that the number of missing letters be the same for each line. For religious reasons, most Jewish proponents use only the Torah Genesis—Deuteronomy. ELS extensions that form phrases or sentences are of interest. Proponents maintain that the longer the extended ELS, the less likely it is to be the result of chance.
Early history[ edit ] Jewish culture has a long tradition of interpretation, annotation, and commentary regarding the Bible, leading to both exegesis and eisegesis drawing meaning from and imposing meaning on the texts. The Bible code can be viewed as a part of this tradition, albeit one of the more controversial parts. His four-letter example related to the traditional zero-point of the Hebrew calendar.
Over the following centuries there are some hints that the ELS technique was known, but few definite examples have been found from before the middle of the 20th century. At this point many examples were found by Michael Ber Weissmandl and published by his students after his death in Nevertheless, the practice remained known only to a few until the early s, when some discoveries of an Israeli school teacher Avraham Oren came to the attention of the mathematician Eliyahu Rips at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Rips then took up the study together with his religious studies partners Doron Witztum and Alexander Rotenberg, among several others. Rips and Witztum[ edit ] Rips and Witztum designed computer software for the ELS technique and subsequently found many examples.
About , they decided to carry out a formal test, and the "Great rabbis experiment" was born. Their definition of "compact" was complex but, roughly, two ELSs were compactly arranged if they can be displayed together in a small window. When Rips et al. The "great rabbis experiment" went through several iterations, and was eventually published in , in the peer-reviewed journal Statistical Science. Though still skeptical,  none of the reviewers had found any flaws.
Understanding that the paper was certain to generate controversy, it was presented to readers in the context of a "challenging puzzle. Other experiments[ edit ] Another experiment, in which the names of the famous rabbis were matched against the places of their births and deaths rather than the dates , was conducted in by Harold Gans, former Senior Cryptologic Mathematician for the United States National Security Agency.
There is no scientific or mathematical basis for such a statement, and the reasoning used to come to such a conclusion in the book is logically flawed. The Jewish outreach group Aish-HaTorah employs Bible codes in their Discovery Seminars to persuade secular Jews of the divinity of the Torah, and to encourage them to trust in traditional Orthodox teachings.
Use of Bible code techniques also spread into certain Christian circles, especially in the United States. Another Bible code technique was developed in by Dean Coombs also Christian.
Various pictograms are claimed to be formed by words and sentences using ELS. It is known from earlier versions, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls , that the number of letters was not constant even in the first centuries CE.
The Bible code theory thus does not seem to account for these variations. Thus, if data chosen for ELS experiments are intentionally or unintentionally "cooked" before the experiment is defined, similar patterns can be found in texts other than the Torah. Although the probability of an ELS in a random place being a meaningful word is small, there are so many possible starting points and skip patterns that many such words can be expected to appear, depending on the details chosen for the experiment, and that it is possible to "tune" an ELS experiment to achieve a result which appears to exhibit patterns that overcome the level of noise.
In addition, McKay claimed that Drosnin had used the flexibility of Hebrew orthography to his advantage, freely mixing classic no vowels, Y and W strictly consonant and modern Y and W used to indicate i and u vowels modes, as well as variances in spelling of K and T, to reach the desired meaning.
Criticism of the original paper[ edit ] In , Australian mathematician Brendan McKay , Israeli mathematicians Dror Bar-Natan and Gil Kalai , and Israeli psychologist Maya Bar-Hillel collectively known as "MBBK" published a paper in Statistical Science , in which they argued that the case of Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg WRR was "fatally defective, and that their result merely reflects on the choices made in designing their experiment and collecting the data for it.
In the introduction to the paper, Robert Kass, the Editor of the Journal who previously had described the WRR paper as a "challenging puzzle" wrote that "considering the work of McKay, Bar-Natan, Kalai and Bar-Hillel as a whole it indeed appears, as they conclude, that the puzzle has been solved". The MBBK paper argued that the ELS experiment is extraordinarily sensitive to very small changes in the spellings of appellations, and that the WRR result "merely reflects on the choices made in designing their experiment and collecting the data for it.
Havlin, because all of them say that Havlin compiled the appellations independently. Finally, argues Gans, such a conspiracy must also include the multiple participants of the cities experiment conducted by Gans which includes Gans himself. Gans concludes that "the number of people necessarily involved in [the conspiracy] will stretch the credulity of any reasonable person. McKay concludes that "there is only ONE person who needs to have been involved in knowing fakery, and a handful of his disciples who must be involved in the cover-up perhaps with good intent.
McKay replied to these claims. Robert Aumann[ edit ] Robert Aumann , a game theorist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in , has followed the Bible code research and controversy for many years. Though this work did not convince me that the data had been manipulated, it did convince me that it could have been; that manipulation was technically possible.
After a long and interesting analysis of the experiment and the dynamics of the controversy, stating for example that "almost everybody included [in the controversy] made up their mind early in the game" Aumann concluded: A priori, the thesis of the Codes research seems wildly improbable Research conducted under my own supervision failed to confirm the existence of the codes — though it also did not establish their non-existence.
So I must return to my a priori estimate, that the Codes phenomenon is improbable". This is very telling in that dangerous period of Israeli politics from the Oslo Accords of to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, Scholars note; "For example, citing again the passage intersecting with Rabin: that passage is from Deuteronomy , but Drosnin ignores the words immediately following "a murderer who will murder.
This is because the verse deals with the cities of refuge where accidental killers can find asylum. In this case, then, the message would refer to an accidental killing of or by Rabin and it would therefore be wrong. Another message p. It includes the phrase "fire, great noise," but overlooks the fact that the letters which make up those two words are actually part of a larger phrase from Genesis which says: "under the terebinth that was near Shechem.
Among the most important, Drosnin clearly states in his book "The Bible Code II", published on December 2, , that there was to be a World War involving an "Atomic Holocaust" that would allegedly be the end of the world.
The only alleged Palestinian collaboration in this conspiracy theory involve two leading Palestinian figures from the Palestinian Fatah movement; those are current Palestinian Authority and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan the former head of Fatah in Gaza. He believes that the future is not fixed, and that the Bible code predicts all possible outcomes. Which makes it not much of a predictive tool, but again, he seems not to mind this very much.
If you are laying bets based on Drosnin, you had better be willing to bet on all possible outcomes. In addition, McKay claimed that Drosnin had used the flexibility of Hebrew orthography to his advantage, freely mixing Masoretic biblical no vowels, Y and W overwhelmingly consonant and modern Y and W used to indicate i and u vowels modes, as well as variances in spelling of K and T, to reach the desired meaning.
And the influence and consequences of scribal errors e. McKay and others claim that in the absence of an objective measure of quality and an objective way to select test subjects though that remains an objection as equally against Drosnin , it is not possible positively to determine whether any particular observation is significant or not.
It has been noted that when the Book of Genesis is written as two-dimensional arrays, equidistant letter sequences spelling words with related meanings often appear in close proximity. Quantitative tools for measuring this phenomenon are developed. Randomization analysis shows that the effect is significant at the level of 0. Key words and phrases: Genesis, equidistant letter sequences, cylindrical representations, statistical analysis. As impressive as these seemed, there was no rigorous way of determining if these occurrences were not merely due to the enormous quantity of combinations of words and expressions that can be constructed by searching out arithmetic progressions in the text.
The Remarkable Word Patterns in the Book of Genesis
For they found related names, events and dates from the nineteenth century! Only someone who knows the future could have placed them there! The three mathematicians submitted their findings to the prestigious scientific journal Statistical Science for publishing, Editor Robert Kass, said: "Our referees were baffled: their prior beliefs made them think the Book of Genesis could not POSSIBLY contain meaningful references to modern day individuals, yet when the authors carried out additional analyses and checks the effect persisted. The letters were placed into a two-dimensional array, which simply means, the letters were divided into rows, each row containing a certain number of letters. They discovered words composed of letters at various equal skip distances, or "equidistant letter sequences". For example, every second, third or fourth letter formed the encoded words.