Creative Uses of Numbers in Scripture

Here I resume my interrupted thread on the use of letters as numbers in ancient languages.   As I had indicated earlier, Greek and Hebrew did not use a different system for their alphabets and their numerals, but the letters of the alphabet played double duty, so that each letter had a numerical value.  One pay-off of that system was that every word had a numerical value, discovered simply by adding up the letters.   In Greek, for example, the six letters ...

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The Mayan Calendar, Y2K, and the Letter of Barnabas

You may have noticed that the world didn’t end two weeks ago, despite widespread anticipation. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It’s a strange phenomenon this expectation that the world is soon going to end; and if Christian fundamentalists and Mayan enthusiasts can’t get it right, who can?

When I was a fundamentalist back in the mid 70s, I – and all my friends – were sure that the end was going to come, with the reappearance of Jesus, before ...

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How to Date Documents, including Barnabas

QUESTION:

In a comment on my recent post on the letter of Barnabas, where I indicated that “it is almost certainly to be dated to the 130s CE (for reasons I could explain if anyone really wants to know….)” – one reader asked:

I, for one, would be quite interested in the how these various works are dated. Seems like it would be of utmost importance seeing as the date of composition all but decides the question of authorship. Even if it ...

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Why Was Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas: Part 2

In my last post but one, in starting to talk about why the anonymous Letter to Barnabas was attributed by early Christians to Barnabas, best known as a one of the closest companions of Paul, I talked mainly about the mid-second century philosopher/theologian-eventually-branded-arch-heretic Marcion. You may have wondered why. In this post I’ll tell you why.

VERY brief review. Recall, the letter of Barnabas is stridently anti-Jewish, claiming that the Jews never were the people of God because they had ...

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Why Was The Letter of Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas?

QUESTION:

So why was the Letter of Barnabas thought to have been written by Barnabas?

 

BACKGROUND:

This question was asked in reference to my discussion of “Gematria” in the Letter of Barnabas. For fuller background, if you’re interested, you should refer to this post: “Another Instance of Gematria (For Members)” (the search function on the blog is very good, btw; it is in the upper right hand corner of your screen).

In that post I note that the “Letter of Barnabas” was not actually ...

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Another Instance of Gematria

From my last post on the gematria at work (possibly) in Matthew’s genealogy, I can’t resist adding a note about the Jewish use of gematria – or its Greek equivalent – in another early Christian writing, the epistle of Barnabas.

First: two bits of background.

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. If you don’t belong yet, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!!!

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