CRACKING THE BIBLE'S NUMERIC CODE

Conservative Christians interested in the Bible and numbers will find this a reassuring introduction; others would do better...

A Christian take on numerology that attempts to demonstrate that God is the sole author of the Bible.

Gannaway explores the significance of numbers in the Old and New Testaments, highlighting their explicit and implicit meanings and bringing to light the metaphorical mathematics strung together across centuries and languages. He does a thorough, admirable job of taking the reader through the single digits, revealing the meaning behind each one and demonstrating how they interact with each other both mathematically and symbolically. He draws out themes of unity, the nature of the Trinity, the end times and humanity’s striving against carnal desires to deepen the reader’s understanding of the Bible. Gannaway is quick to distance his practice from numerology, citing its relationship to witchcraft, while mentioning the long-standing (and apparently not numerological) practices of gematria and isopsephy. This facile distinction is in service of his stated goal: proving God is the sole author of the Bible based, apparently, on the complexity of the book’s math. Gannaway ignores the long history of the study of numbers in his effort to prove that only God could come up with such dazzling and complicated logic as the number one signifying extraordinary things or the number eight symbolizing perfection—conclusions that appear in most numerology systems. The book contains six appendices, including an impressive concordance of where each number appears in the Bible, a cursory glance at the apocrypha and a list of all 613 commandments in the Old Testament. However, his thesis—reiterated didactically at the end of each chapter—falls short of his aims. Gannaway, who teaches classes on biblical symbolism, has an admirable grasp of numerology and a readable, familiar but professional voice. He knows what he’s talking about, even if his book is less academically rigorous than a book of this nature should be.

Conservative Christians interested in the Bible and numbers will find this a reassuring introduction; others would do better with a book more open to non-Christian perspectives.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2007

ISBN: 978-0595411504

Page Count: 261

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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