Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Bible Code is a hoax, 7 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bible Code (Paperback)
How does the Bible Code work? It's a giant 'find the word' puzzle with a number of tricks which make it easier to find words. These tricks should be apparent to someone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of Hebrew, but in the book the Hebrew letters are shown in the code samples, but they are never analyzed. Drosnin never mentions whether the "word" he finds is generally translated the way he translates it, or whether his way is an unusual alternative with many more likely translations. For example, the word he translates "assassin" in connection with Yitzak Rabin's assassination is generally translated "murder" or "murderer" in the Bible. While some of the discoveries seem unlikely, difficult to account for, here are some things to bear in mind when considering the validity of the code:
1. Bear in mind that in finding the code, the Torah is placed on the computer-equivalent of a cylinder which can be expanded or contracted until a match is found. With every letter added to the horizontal length of the lines, a whole new set of words becomes possible vertically and diagonally (they remain the same horizontally). The reference to the ten commandments being computer-generated is found in a segment only ten letters wide, whereas some words have letters spaced chapters apart-which can be juxtaposed only by expanding the cylinder to a thousand letters or more in width.
2. The hardest part to find is a person's name, but given that the name can be read in any direction, with any number of equidistant spaces between the letters, and that the computer can adjust the line length, and that any possible variation of spelling is allowed, and that abbreviations, initials, and nicknames are allowed, the wonder would be if any name could not be found (see p. 27). Drosnin generally finds the name vertically by expanding or contracting the line length, then looks for the words around it.
3. The Hebrew used is "unvocalized," it does not use vowel pointings, but Drosnin uses the letters aleph, ayin, waw, and yod as semi-vowels where convenient. These semi-vowels can be used to approximate a number of vowels (yod might represent IH, EE, EYE, EH, EI, for example). Thus, exact spelling is not essential-"sounds similar" is close enough. If none of these semi-vowels occur, the word is simply read without vowels. (For example, President Clinton's name is spelled Q L Y N T W N. "President" is N S Y A which means "leader" or "ruler" and is in fact the Hebrew word for "president" today, though it could also be seen as "Nazi." "Hitler" is found as H Y T L R, and "Nazi" as N A DZ Y. "Shakespeare" occurs as Sh Q S P Y R, "Macbeth" as M Q B T, and "Hamlet" as HMLT. Note the cavelier attitude toward vowels.)
4. In giving the computer names to search for, every possible spelling is used, whether or not the spelling has ever been used. This increases the likelihood of a match. Also, usually the words used are Hebrew, but sometimes they are English (names).
5. Without vowel points, a three letter Hebrew root may have many meanings, thus perhaps quintupling the likelihood of a match. For example, the Hebrew root 'Ayin-Lamed-He, "'LH," with one set of vowels, can mean to ascend or break or excel or fall or offer (and many more), or with different vowels it means "holocaust" or "burnt offering"; or with yet other vowels it means a branch or leaf, or with other vowels it means occasion, or, with other vowels, iniquity. But Drosnin translates words in whatever way seems convenient for the meaning he wants to find.
6. Many modern Hebrew words are based on old words with ancient but related meanings. This makes it easier to find 'modern' words in the ancient text, even though when written, the words did not have the modern meanings. For example, the word for missile.
7. Hebrew has letters which represent different sounds but might be transliterated in English by the same letter. For example, he and heth might both be represented by an H, but the latter has a gutteral CH sound. Kaph and Qoph might be written as K, Q, or C. Taw and teth might both be written as a T. Samech, sin, shin, and zayin all might be seen as S sounds. These are not used interchangeably in Hebrew, nor do scholars who transliterate Hebrew in books and articles use them interchangeably, but they are in the Bible Code, whenever convenient. This increases the chance of a match.
8. The letter field is not made up of random letter, but made up of Hebrew words without vowels. This increases the chance of a horizontal match in Hebrew, of course, even if one rearranges the letters. That is to say, on any page, whatever the line length, there will be many Hebrew words already there, read right to left. Read left to right, some of these words have other meanings. If one begins with the second letter in a word rather than the first letter, one may get yet more words.
9. The dates are based on a letter / number code in which each letter represents a number. As the Torah is all letters, this also makes a match more likely. Also, modern Hebrew dates often leave off the millennium number (1891 would be written, in Hebrew letters, 891). Thus, Drosnin's finding of dates such as "2013" could as well be 1013 or 3013. He never explains this to his readers.
10. Most "pages" have a thousand or more letters to choose from, nearly every three of which constitute a Hebrew word root, in any direction. The chance of finding something somewhat significant on a page with a name on it is quite high. If nothing is found, perhaps the computer might find the name elsewhere.
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