FREDERICK BLIGH BOND, F.R.I.B.A
THOMAS SIMCOX LEA, D.D.
ANNOTATED AND TRANSCRIBED BY
PETER WAKEFIELD SAULT
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A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE GEMATRIA.
On a top shelf in the study of the ‘House Beautiful’ there are a couple of Early Christian books which even Mr. Interpreter himself has almost forgotten. Indeed, when a pilgrim asks him, he seems only to be able to say that he really knows practically nothing about their contents.
But Mr. Interpreter is a scribe, made a disciple unto the Kingdom, and will bring forth out of his treasure things new and old, and he has kept his copies of the PISTIS SOPHIA and the BOOKS of IEOU. These are possibly Coptic translations of Greek originals and have many words in Greek, inserted in their nominative cases in the Coptic manner. And both books purport to be Resurrection Discourses of our Lord when He taught His disciples things concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. And though this claim cannot be admitted in its entirety, it must not be altogether dismissed, for it cannot have been made without a certain amount of ostensible support, and it may be worth while to investigate what that support may have been.
Now in the New Testament there are several references to the Knowledge and the Mysteries (as in I. Cor. xiii.), which the faithful might learn, as well as to powers which the faithful might exercise and some of these mysteries are still among us and give a hint as to the language in
which they, and probably therefore others, were expressed. Some of these mysteries concern names. It is known that names both in Greek and Hebrew were reckoned by their numerical value. It is, for example, held to be very probable that the celebrated number of the Beast, 666, is that of Nero the Emperor – in the Hebrew rsq Nvrn* (NRVN QSR = 666).
It was a cipher or code expression according to a well known system which prevailed both in Hebrew and in Greek, and there is good reason for supposing that a great deal of secret information of a political or commercial sort was sent under cover of such a code. But that was not all. The name of the code was GEMATRIA or GAMETRIA, the latter word being a recognised variant of GEWMETRIA, and it has become clear that this code-method was actually used in these books to record and to memorise geometrical formulae.
It must be remembered that the Arabic numerals were not then in existence, and the letters of the Greek alphabet were used as numerals. The proof of the statement can only be given by the citation of so large a number of instances as to eliminate completely the possibility of chance coincidence. The workings of the mathematical doctrine of chance must be taken into account, but a few illustrative instances may be given. We may recall first the well known example quoted by St. Iranaeus:
A W and PERISTERA each enumerate at 801, thus identifying the Dove with the First and Last. On this there is a good deal of very striking matter which has recently come to light in the Gematria.
Next we have such geometrical words as KHFAS – which symbolises the perfect ashlar, or cubic stone, since KHFAS = 729 or 9 × 9 × 9.
* Written defectively for
* Written defectively forrsyq Nvrn.
Such words as QUSIASTHRION – the word habitually employed in Scripture to designate the Altar, and adopted by the early Christians for that purpose, has a like geometrical implication, for
typical of the perfect symmetry of form connected with this feature, the earlier form of the Christian Altar being a cubic one until such time as the reliquaries were attached to it.
The Jewish Holy of Holies, the Debir, (DBIR) is 216 or 6 × 6 × 6. The Greek sanctuary, the ¢AGIASMA is 256 or 4 × 4 × 4 × 4, embodying in addition to the Cube a transcendental Fourth measure.
The New Jerusalem of the Apokalypse, figured as a Four-square city, has the number 961 or the square of 31 – ¢H KAINH ¢IEROUSALHM = ¢O OURANOS.
With this introduction a specimen of the method in its more intimate application to mathematical principles, as deduced from the old books above referred to, may now be given. It is not pretended that the whole cipher has been decoded, and indeed it would appear that there is at least one other cipher of a different nature to be dealt with in both books, and, generally, there is a great deal more to be done.
There is IEOU himself; the Divinity of Truth – Bishop of Light – by gematria 485, equated by this method with ¢O PANAGIOS – The All-Holy, a truly remarkable numerical formula – (see Appendix) – whose mathematical powers and possibilities seem to have been regarded as of peculiar importance and as representative of the Creative Principles, as the Gematria of the Nicene Creed may suggest in the phrase
And on investigation these powers certainly appear unusual, if not indeed unique.
But there are other numbers which to a certain extent offer a parallel to 485, since they may be employed to give expression to some of the incommensurable relations of geometry in integral terms which represent with approximate exactness such quantities as cannot strictly speaking be expressed by whole numbers.
Of this nature are the numbers expressive of the circumferences of circles in relation to their diameters, or enclosing squares.
These, generally speaking, are adjusted upon the basis of the proportionals 22 to 7, and similar conventions exist for the interpretation of such quantities as the arithmetical Roots of Two, Three, Five, Six, and Ten. For example, Heaven is conceived as a circle, and the word OURANOS, which is 891 or 11 times the square of Nine, stands for this. The Circle is generated from the Diameter, in this case by convention equal to 284, number of QEOS – GOD, by whom the Heavens were made. And to emphasize the Gematria of these numbers we find that the perimeter of the enclosing square, which is 1136, is the number of MESOURANOS – the Mid-heaven – and of MONAS EN TETRADI.
Here then we have a very simple but typical illustration of the Geometric Method, and such as may serve to indicate the lines for further research. Not only the Books of IEOU, but also the Pistis Sophia, appear replete with such instances, but it need hardly be said that that which the writers of these books strove to convey did not rest with the mere consideration of isolated forms, but that they used these as part of a more coherent teaching.
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