Sacred Architecture: The Numerical Dimensions of Biblical Poems

in Vetus Testamentum
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Abstract

I have recently studied the numerical architecture of several biblical poems and found sophisticated use of the numerical structures of words and cola. It is possible that some of these numerical 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.

The numerical structures are best demonstrated in the Masoretic version of the Hebrew Bible. This fact may bear a significant impact upon biblical text criticism.

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