Bible Myths

The Bible is the most quoted book never read. That is, many people love to quote it without actually reading it all – yes, even Chronicles and Leviticus! The result is that the Bible itself has become a thing of mystery, a magical source of divine power with which the strong may subdue the weak, or by which politicians might win the most powerful office in the free world. The Bible is more dangerous than any weapon its believers may construct, for it is the source of the mandate, the writing that is so much more than ink and paper.

Over the years so many myths have grown about the Bible that it has become a mythical creature. Students often approach those of us who teach the Bible with amazing stories that defy explanation, or sometimes, that are just fun. This past week a student paper waxed eloquent on how the Bible physically describes Satan. It does not. The Bible tells us very little about what anyone looked like! One Bible myth that I have tried unsuccessfully to substantiate or debunk over the years, however, continues to elude me. It is the story of Psalm 46 in the incomprehensibly influential King James Version.

The KJV was completed in 1611, and William Shakespeare died in 1616. There is no evidence that Shakespeare was among those with any responsibility for translating the Bible, but his influence in England in his own lifetime was enormous. Many years ago a student informed me that Shakespeare made his way into Psalm 46. The forty-sixth word of the KJV translation is “shake.” Counting from the end of the psalm to the forty-sixth word from the end, one finds the word “spear.” So the gematria of the psalm give us the name of the putative translator. This story has all the signs of an apocryphal account of a Bible reader with too much time on his or her hands. If the story is true, I would love to see documentation. Otherwise it is one more monument of the power of book that few dare to read.

More than the sum of its parts

4 thoughts on “Bible Myths

  1. Henk van der Gaast

    The amazing thing is that the bard spelled his name differently on different documents. Apparently completely different names from a number of accusers!

    For the bible codes to be valid Ezekiel would have seen my lotto numbers and I should have read Ezekiel that week.

    What do I get from this? A funny plant pot with cows and wheels that always seems to not touch the ground.

    Hardly useful that plant pot, but mythology is fascinating!

    Oh here it is; Bible code 4.5 The prophets;
    Query = money Henk
    code output = Mighty Boulders striking 6, 34, 21, 45, 13 and 4 in the week of the victorious Silken eagle.

    Powerball aparently. I just saw our opposition leader with a big fat smile auctioning off his swimming costume on tv. He has been banned from wearing his “budgie smugglers” in public by his wife two months ago.

    Hey ! I gotta get a ticket in!

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  2. Jonathan

    What I like best about the Shakespeare story is how arbitrary it is.

    If we could produce a plausible name by counting 23 words in and out of Psalm 23, would that say anything about who translated *that* one? Or if you read the Hebrew, might you find King David’s signature in some Psalm?

    Or is there anywhere that you *can’t* find patterns or secret messages, if you look hard enough?

    My advice, since some people won’t drop their bones, no matter what: Make up some hidden message, post it anonymously on the web, and see how long it takes to find its way home.

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  3. Henk van der Gaast

    Jonathan;

    30 or so years ago some “academics” managed to connive a paper in a mathematics journal and link this into a very kooky look up table called the bible.

    This essentially worked by constructing a data interrogation algorithm into the look up table and finding matches of letters or symbols that are equidistant so when presented they looked like material appearing in lines over a written page. The actual linking on such pages made it apparent that the arrays called pages were of arbitrary size.

    Any one who can fix the concepts of dynamic and static files, search variables etc could have written it but only someone after a lot of unnecessary angst and mula would really associate that the words that appear to be mentioned in the past from an non existent array are actually meaningful.

    There has yet to be a paper with a statement of predictivity that comes from this.

    Yes, the bible code is another form of sucker tax along with lotto and alternative medicine.

    Its a wonder I didn’t include the latter in my parody.

    I really do prefer the old days when panaceas were sold from the back of carts. At least then the exchange of information was fair, jeers met claims. Just like conferences today.

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