May 4, 2005

Sorry, wrong number!

Turns out the beast's number was never 666. It was 616!

MORE: I don't know. 616 doesn't seem scary at all. Seems more like an area code. You know Satan: he's in Grand Rapids.

9 comments:

Nick said...

That must mean he's from the Grand Rapids, MI area.

Ann Althouse said...

Nick: I did my update before I read your comment. Funny!

Nick said...

Great minds, etc.

I was hoping when I looked it up that Flint would have ended up being in that area code... sadly it didn't work out that neatly.

Art said...

I loved the National Post's headline about the beast's number being "devalued to 616". The writer should be working for the Onion.
It must be related to the exchange rate for the Loonie, eh?

SteveR said...

Next thing you know, they'll find out that 14 is the real unlucky number.

Alcibiades said...

Heh. I blogged about this last week as one of my first posts.

That National Post article is a little imprecise. Here's a more informed read on the same topic.

It all depends on whether Nero's name is being transliterated into Hebrew as Nero or Neron. Adding a final "n" was common practice in that period. And then once transliterated into Hebrew, the values of the letters of Nero(n)'s name were added together to arrive at the sum of either 616, or 666, respectively. This practice is known as gematria - a way of deciphering information from ancient Hebrew texts based on commonalities in the numerical significance of certain words.

Given the variant spellings of the name in first century Hebrew, it's not surprising alternate traditions arose. I don't think there is yet any way to determine which one is first, just guess work. Simultaneous strikes me as logical. And this, after all, is a 3rd century text fragment. Not an original.

Ron said...

I remember an old Firesign Theatre (I think) bit,

"Hi, I'm in 667 -- one flight up from the beast."

Where's the Revelations humor when you need it?

NV Dad said...

Good ole Grand Rapids. Ahh, the memories. GR is core of the largely Dutch CR and PR denominations, as well as Calvin College, a Baptist Academy, and more per capita churches, it's said, than the rest of the country.

Nice place. They're not going to be happy about this...

Murky Thoughts said...

I guess all those folks who underwent unnecessary exorcisms can sure for malpractice now. As if the Catholic Church didn't have enough lawsuits to worry about.