To be most fertile, the soil must first be torn up; and shall not thy soul accept suffering for the sake of better growth.
Better to think wrongly with your own head, than to think rightly with the head of another.
Few can tell what they know without also showing what they do not know.
I have eclectic interests. Frankly I have no idea why something strikes my fancy in the first place. Sometimes these little intellectual rabbit trails that I go down are quite contrary to something that I would normally have an interest in. For instance, mathematics. I never particularly enjoyed math in school. Sure I struggled through and passed, but I never was interested in it beyond finishing the class and getting on with life. If it wasn't for computers doing the heavy lifting for me, math and activities that require math would still be a source of frustration for me.
Lately, math has become very interesting to me. This strikes me as most odd for several reasons. What's even more odd is that that what interests me is "hard math". My first awaking to the adventure in math started when I got serious about long range shooting. Suddenly trigonometry became a useful subject for me. Fortunately there are computer programs for that and I was saved from any real need to work it out with my pencil. Most recently quantum physics, regression methodology, calculus and probability statistics are suddenly topics of interest and study. The first thing I learned was that I should have been paying better attention in the 7th through 10 grades, but I already knew that.
On my little adventure I "met" a man whose scholarship simply blows me away. This scholar was born in 1855. As a youth he was exiled from his home land for plotting to overthrow his king. When he showed up at Harvard in 1878, he had no real academic credentials. He claimed to be "self educated" and they let him in. He graduated Harvard in 4 years and soon became one of the worlds foremost authorities in his field of Literary Criticism. In his capacity as a literary authority, he traveled extensively and was highly sought after and compensated. During this period of his life, he became somewhat famously known for his agnostic and nihilistic philosophical positions.
Then inexplicably he became a Christian. This was considered so odd an event that it was newsworthy in its day, it even made the headlines of some newspapers.
Because of his conversion to Christianity he began to read the bible. One day he discovered that there seemed to be certain numeric patterns that repeated themselves in scripture. That initial discovery launched a 50 year project where he investigated the mathematical evidence for divine inspiration of scripture. The man who did this was Ivan Panin.
In my reading I discovered that no one has ever disproved his theorems, or the math behind his discovery of heptadic biblical structure. Which led me down another rabbit trail. If this man's work, over 50 years of his life and over 40,000 pages of original research, is so amazing why isn't he talked about and lauded by Christendom? After all he didn't just define the heptadic tradition, he also discovered a great many other "bible number codes" that are textually definitive.
I haven't looked at all 40,000 pages of his work, nor am I a Greek and Hebrew linguist. However I believe I have discovered, at least part of the problem. First off there is his math. Frankly no one has discovered any serious math errors. They don't exist. This may be in part due to the fact that the math is seldom harder than basic addition/subtraction, multiplication/division and some probability statistics. Next is his methodology. That is pretty much solid as well, with a couple of exceptions I will deal with latter. The main reason we are not having a lively debate between believers and non-believers over the works of Ivan Panin, is the fault I believe of the Christian denominational scène.
Christian scripture consists of two main divisions, the old and new testaments. The old testament is basically a collection of scriptures that are (mostly) Jewish in origin and have a long history of Rabbinical supervision and authentication, as well as strictly professional standards for copying and translation. The rabbis had about an 1,800 year history of making sure their scripture was correct before the Christians ever came along. The new testament has a similar although not as long, history of textual diligence. However, there are minor differences in copies of texts and of text fragments that have survived to this day. Herein is the problem in scholarly Christian circles.
There are two 800 lb gorillas in Christian textual translation and criticism, they are textus receptus (think King James bible in English) and the translation work done under the name of Westcott and Hort (think NIV, RSV etc in English). For those of you who can't get enough of controversies involving dead languages: Westcott & Hort vs. Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? I'll let you decide the merits of the controversy.
Dr. Panin did what any thinking independent research should do, he followed his own way. This meant that sometimes he sided with Westcott and Hort, and sometimes he sided with textus receptus and sometimes, this is key, he sided with fragments of texts or less well received documents that maintained the heptadic structure. For the most part he used Westcott and Hort's work. This cost him support of the traditionalists. But if the numbers didn't back up Westcott & Hort, he'd side with the traditionalists, which cost him support among the revisers. If he couldn't verify the structure in either, he would use a less popular source document embraced sometimes by neither camp.
Mostly Panin used and sided with Westcott & Hort. One finial fly in that ointment, Westcott & Hort turned out to be occultists. Go ahead and let that sink in, the two main players in revising the bible into modern languages were involved in biblically prohibited satanic activity.
What I think happened is that in the beginning years of the last century Dr. Panin discovered and proved some very interesting things about the bible. However he was an independent sort of person with very little interest in denominational squabbles. Therefore he gathered no supporters while collecting a handful of influential critics who incidentally, were the gatekeepers of Christian seminary education. By the time of his death in 1942, no one came along with the same zeal as Dr. Panin to carry the torch and his scholarship was dutifully categorized and put on the shelf; where from time to time other scholars bump into it, dust it off and say to themselves "hey that's interesting why haven't I seen this before?"
So why aren't believers and non-believers hashing out the details of 40,000 plus pages of biblical math proofs? Well 40,000 pages is a lot and its math and dead languages and... you get the picture. I've not read all or even a significant portion of his work. However I have read some of the more popular and pointed examples. They are in a word compelling. I've also read a number of criticisms (from non believers) of Panin's bible numbers. Some of them are interesting, some of them simply beg the question, and some fall some place in between.
Without rehashing points found elsewhere, I'd like to post one criticism, if it is a criticism. The mathematics are as I have pointed out undoubtedly correct as the math itself is fairly simple. I believe you can do it all with a calculator or excel. Question/criticism that I wish I could pose to Dr. Panin has to do with his statistical analysis of the underling heptadic structure.
I'm not sure he set up his work properly.
That's right, the guy who had to retake several math classes over his life, just called one of Albert Einstein's math tutors method of establishing statistic probabilities into question. I can't tell you how to calculate the surface area of the two spheres that it takes to do that, but I can tell you that they are large and made of brass.
Here we go:
If I place a condition on a text that can be met by fulfilling 7 criteria, the odds of that happening randomly are 1 in 7. With me so far? Good. If I place a different stipulation that can be met by fulfilling an additional 7 criteria the odds of that happening are also 1 in 7. In order to combine the two conditions into one set of stipulations the odds become 1in 7x7 or 1 in 49. As I add heptadic stipulations the equation grows so that each new stipulation increases the multiple by another 7. Seven independent stipulations all being true, with a each having a probability of a 1 in 7 chance looks like this: 1 in (7x7x7x7x7x7x7)=823,543.
Dr. Panin has heptadic probabilities for some passages of scripture calculated out well into double digit exponents. My issue is with the dependence and independence of the of the individual heptadic stipulations. If each stipulation is truly independent in nature than his (very high) calculation of probability of randomness is correct. Incidentally that would make falsification of his hypothesis that math proves the divine nature of the bible, virtually impossibly from a statistical stand point. If I am correct and a portion of the heptadic stipulations are either a.) random therefore excludable or b.) dependent and therefor excludable, then Dr. Panin's calculations overstate the probabilities of randomness and therefor need to be recalculated and reevaluated.
OK there are about 6 of you who drop by that I know can rip me to shreds in the math department. Please rip away. I'd love to be proven wrong, since affirming Dr. Panin would be a huge apologetic victory. If you were to prove my doubt and rational to be incorrect, it would save me figuring out how to do my own proof. After all 43,000 pages of calculations is a lot and I don't know that I have 50 years of life left to do it. Granted a computer could help, but still its a big project.