"Bible Code" Debunked by Journal That Introduced It

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

"Bible Code" Debunked by Journal That Introduced It


THE FOLLOWING REPORT WAS RELEASED on September 10 by Richard Ostling, AP Religion Writer. NEW YORK (AP) An international team of statisticians is debunking the controversial "Bible code," which claims the Old Testament has hidden references to 20th century events that can be revealed by a computer. Proponents of the code claim that names and events were hidden in the Bible as written thousands of years ago and can be found through computer searches of the Hebrew text. Television documentaries, fast-selling books and numerous articles have popularized the theory, first published in the academic journal Statistical Science.

Now the same journal, published by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics based in Hayward, CA, is offering an article challenging the technique it reported in 1994. Believers in the "Bible code" theory treat the Hebrew Bible as a string of letters without spaces, looking for words formed by equidistant letter sequences. For instance, computers might select every ninth Hebrew letter and register a "hit" when a "coded word" intersects with a Bible verse containing related words.

Five years ago, three Israeli scholars published the results of their search in the journal. As they explained, they took names of famous rabbis from a reference dictionary, applied letter sequences and found the names near the rabbis' dates of birth or death. Using the same technique, others have claimed the Bible contains secret predictions, including everything from the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 to a Los Angeles earthquake in 2010. Major Bible scholars ignore the code because, they note, no one has a letter-by-letter version of the Bible as originally written. The oldest surviving manuscripts include slight variations, any of which would throw off computer test results.

In the Statistical Science article the new study's authors--Dror Bar-Natan, Maya Bar-Hillel and Gil Kalai, professors at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, and Brendan McKay of the Australian National University--combine expertise in mathematics and computer science to debunk the theory. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

"Bible Code" Debunked by Journal That Introduced It
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.