Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Divine Symbolism of the Hebrew Alphabet (part 2)

In my earlier blogs, Hidden Origin of the Alphabet and Divine Symbolism of the Hebrew Alphabet (part 1) and I traced the origin of the alphabet to a Semitic people who migrated to Canaan from Egypt - and this occurred at the time of the collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, which recent research is indicating was the true historical period when the Exodus occurred. I have also gathered evidence that the order of the alphabet probably originated from the revelation of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai. So far, I have covered the first six letters, which correspond to the first three commandments.

That the Hebrew letters, in addition to the actual words of scripture, are actually sacred and have a symbolic meaning has been a long standing Jewish tradition. This was also seen in the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, who saw that the original text of the Old Testament has been preserved in the Masoretic version:
"I once had a paper sent me from heaven written in the Hebrew alphabet, but as in the most ancient texts, where the letters, which today are to some extent composed of straight lines, were then curved with serifs pointing upwards. An angel who was with me said that he knew whole meanings simply from the letters, and each letter has its own particular meaning. They knew this from the curves of the lines in each letter, in addition to the subject which they knew separately from the letter as a whole. He then explained to me the meaning of yod, aleph and he, the two letters separately and when put together. He said that he, which is in [YHWH], and which was added to the names of Abraham and Sarah [Gen. 17:5, 15] meant what is infinite and eternal. He said that in many places the Word is so written; and when it is read in the Hebrew text by a Jew or a Christian, the meaning of the individual letters is known in the third heaven. For the angels of the third heaven have the Word written in such letters, and they read it letter by letter. They said that in the sense to be drawn from the letters the Word deals only with the Lord. The reason is that the curves in the letters derive from the flow of heaven, which influences especially the angels of the third heaven. Those angels therefore have an innate knowledge of this script, because they are subject to the order of heaven and live altogether in accordance with it. ....These facts may establish what is the meaning of the Lord's saying that not a jot or a tittle or a serif will pass away from the Law (Matt. 5: 18; Luke 16: 17); and it is also clear from these facts that the Lord's Divine Providence ensured that all the letters in the Hebrew text of the Word were counted by the Massoretes." (De Verbo, n. 4)
Two points here: first, in his vision Swedenborg saw that the Hebrew letter HE is associated with the name of Jehovah, as it signifies what is eternal. In my previous blog, I showed that HE and VAV are probably mnemonic letters for the name of Jehovah, corresponding to the third commandment. Swedenborg did not recognize this correspondence, as he had numbered the commandments according to Lutheran tradition, rather than according to Jewish tradition. Second, he provides additional testimony that the words of scripture have been preserved intact. I see a lot of blather on the internet, and from so-called scholars, stating that the Bible has been corrupted. They are simply ignoring manuscript evidence. The scriptures of the Dead Sea scrolls show that the Masoretic version has not changed one bit in over 1000 years. For certain Greek texts they have a point, but the western world has been ignoring the manuscript of the Peshitta for the New Testament.

With that behind us, we can continue examining the Hebrew alphabet. The next two letters, ZAYIN and CHETH, correspond to the fourth command, which regards the day of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the seventh day, as ZAYIN ("weapon") is the seventh letter of the alphabet. The proto-Canaanite script called this letter "ziqq" meaning "manacle" - as that is the actual hieroglyph that was used for this letter. In Hebrew this is ZANAK, which means to draw the feet together, or to leap. This letter is most probably a mnemonic for the word ZAKAR, meaning "to remember". Which is the first word of the fourth commandment:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Ex. 20:8)

The next letter is CHETH, meaning "thread". The original hieroglyph was a court, so the original letter name was probably CHATSAR, meaning "court". This is probably refering to the tent tabernacle that was built to house the ark of the covenant:

And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side: (Ex. 27:9)

All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen. (Ex. 38:16)

Why would a symbol for a court be used as a mnemonic for the Sabbath? Because three times a year on the high Sabbaths, all the males were ordered to present themselves before the court of the tabernacle. And the word for "male" in Hebrew is the same for "remember" - ZAKAR. Coincidence?

The next letter is TETH which means "wheel" in Phoenician. It comes from the Egyptian hieroglyph for NEFER, which means "good". NEFER was used as a baseline marker where to lay stones - in Egyptian mathematics it signified the number zero. The base line would be called nefer, and lines would be drawn above or below that to show workers where to lay stones. It is for this reason I believe that TETH is a market signifying the end of the first tablet, which contained four commandments dealing with love towards God. TETH is similar in appearance to TAU ("marker"), the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which I believe was used to mark the end of the second tablet.

As NEFER in Egyptian means "good", the original name for this letter in Hebrew was probably TAB, also meaning "good". It is this word which is used where God sees that all that he made was "good" before resting on the Sabbath. Another possible name for this letter is TABBATH meaning "signet ring". The oldest form of this letter was that of a sun-cross, which is one of the most ancient religious symbols.

Up until now, pairs of letters marked each commandment. After TETH, this pattern continues. The next two letters are YOD ("hand") and KAPH ("palm of hand"). The two letters share a similar meaning showing that they are a pair. As a hand has five fingers, so these letters are a symbol for the fifth commandment, which concerns honor to one's parents. There is a phrase in Hebrew that appears in this commandment: "that thy days be long". This is YOWM ("days") ARAK ("long") - which phrase begins and ends with YOD and KAPH.

The next two letters are LAMED and MEM, corresponding to the sixth commandment. All the following commandments now begin with "Thou shalt not" - which in Hebrew begins with the negative LO, thus beginning with LAMED. The sixth commandment states that one should not murder ("kill" is a mistranslation). LAMED is an ox goad, which comes from a hieroglyph for a stick, probably signifying a weapon used to kill. MEM means water, but that is probably a mnemonic for the Hebrew word MAMOWTH meaning death. The water of the sea was often used by the Hebrews as a symbol for the underworld of the dead.

The next two letters are NUN ("fish") and SAMEK ("pillar"), which correspond to the seventh commandment, concerning adultery. The original name for the letter NUN was probably NACHASH meaning serpent, related to the word for diviner. Adultery in Hebrew is NAPH. As for SAMEK, that is most probably a phallic symbol. In Arabic SAMAK also means "fish" showing that these letters form a pair. I suspect the original name for this letter was SAMEL meaning "idol", as idolatry was considered a form of adultery against God.

The next two letters are AYIN ("eye") and PE ("mouth"), which correspond to the eighth commandment, you shall not steal. I suspect this was a mnemonic for the phrase "an eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth" as retribution for stealing.

The next two letters are TSADE ("fish hook") and QOPH ("monkey"?) which corresponds to the ninth commandment, you shall not bear false witness. In this case the letter names make no sense. The original mnemonic was probably TSADAQ meaning "righteousness". In the Hebrew sense, "righteousness" is opposed to what is false, and is used in that manner throughout scripture.

The last two letters are RESH ("head") and SHIN ("tooth"), which correspond to the tenth and last commandment, you shall not covet what your neighbor owns. Neighbor in Hebrew is REA, beginning with RESH. One of the items that one should not covet is an ox, which in Hebrew is SHOWR - containing the letters SHIN and RESH. As the last commandment ends with the statement that one should not covet a neighbor's house or ox, the commandments end with the same symbols where it began: an ox and a house.

TAU is the last letter, and simply means marker. It is a marker in this case to signify the end of the second tablet.

In summary, the order of the Hebrew alphabet is a mnemonic device for the 10 commandments, as follows:

ALEPH and BET = first commandment
GIMEL and  DALETH = second commandment
HE and  VAV = third commandment
ZAYIN and  CHETH = fourth commandment
TETH = "end marker" marking the end of the first tablet
YOD and  KAPH = fifth commandment
LAMED and  MEM = sixth commandment
NUN and  SAMEK = seventh commandment
AYIN and  PE = eighth commandment
TSADE and  QOPH = ninth commandment
RESH and  SHIN = tenth commandment
TAU = end marker, marking the end of the second tablet.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Divine Symbolism of the Hebrew Alphabet

In my previous blog, Hidden Origin of the Alphabet, I discussed how historians and archaeologists have uncovered evidence that the alphabet originated from a Semitic people that migrated out of Egypt into the land of Canaan, and from there spread to the other nations of the world. According to the book Riddle of the Exodus, this would coincide with the Exodus of the Israelites under the leadership of Moses.

Semitic names were used for hieroglyphic shapes in Egypt, which became the basis for the shape of each letter. According to Jewish traditions, each letter by itself has an individual meaning. But where did the order of the alphabet come from? Scholars have suspected that the order of the alphabet has mnemonic meaning, provided to help people remember something. Remember what? What is the story behind the order and the odd names for each letter? You can see the meaning of each letter in the previous blog.

Lately, I had a suspicion that the order of the alphabet and the letter meanings originated from a significant event: the revelation of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. That revelation is the centerpiece of the Judaic religion. I found an interesting article by Dr. Ed Metzler which analyzed the original Hebrew text and he proposed that the original tablets had five lines on each face, with 32 or 33 Hebrew letters to each line. From that he was able to determine its actual dimensions and its weight, which became the origin of their system of weights and measure.  Dr. Metzler started with this assumption: the first line began with ALEPH (our letter A) and the second line began with BET (our letter B) - thus the word "alphabet" was coined! So here is what the first two lines stated - first I show the transliterated Hebrew (I found a freeware transliterated Hebrew Bible), and below each line its translation:

'nky yhvh 'lhyk 'sr hv&'tyk m'r& m&rym = 33 letters (32 removing doublets)
I am JEHOVAH thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt

mbyt jbdym l' yhyh-lk 'lhym 'xrym jl-pny = 33 letters (32 removing doublets - the first M in this case)
out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

The first line begins with ANKI (Hebrew for "I") and the second begins with the root word for BET. BET means house, and this is the name for the second letter. The first two letters of the alphabet thus map to the first commandment.

Unfortunately, this is as far as Dr. Metzler got, and does not analyze the rest of the alphabet. What about the rest of the letters? Do they somehow map to the other nine commandments? Dr. Metzler was more interested in the three dimensional nature of the tablets, so I decided to plunge in and do my own research, and learn a little Hebrew. To me this was a code or puzzle to solve - and software development and coding is part of my day-job.

First, the letter BET (house) matches perfectly to the second line, which begins with the "house of bondage". But why is the first letter called ALEPH and not ANKI? ALEPH in Hebrew comes from a word meaning "ox". That in turn is based on the word AL or EL which means "strong one" or "God". EL is the singular form of the majestic plutal ELOHIM, again meaning "God". Thus the first line begins with I am JEHOVAH thy God (ELOHIM). In other words, ALEPH is an ideogram which captures the meaning of the first line in one letter!

In connection with the letter ALEPH, meaning ox, there is an odd event which occurred at the time of the revelation of the ten commandments:

"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (Ex. 32:1-4)

A calf was one of the gods that was worshipped in ancient Egypt - it seems that by the time rumor spread at the bottom of the mountain, they discovered that ALEPH (ox) was the mnemonic for the first commandment as to which god they should worship, and thus made a molten calf. By the time Moses came down, he was so frustrated that he broke the original tablets, and melted the calf into some soup and forced the Israelites to eat it. Then he had to go up that mountain and start all over again.

So, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, ALEPH and BET, map to the first commandment. Taking this as a clue, could it be that the next two letters GIMEL and DALETH form a pair to represent the second commandment? The Hebrew word DALETH means "door", and was taken from a hieroglyph of a door, but its proto-Canaanite form was that of a fish, which is DAG in Hebrew. As A and B form a pair spelling "alphabet", it seems that G and D form a pair, which is DAG spelled backwards. Why backwards? Just like some once thought running old music records in reverse would somehow reveal a Satanic message, putting the pair backwards makes sense as the second commandment forbids the worship of idols. That is just a thought, but it is related to what follows.

Looking at the Hebrew of the second commandment, I was disappointed to discover there was no letter GIMEL. However the letter DALETH appears for the first time, and it is in an interesting position. Here is the transliterated Hebrew, with a translation below each line (following Dr. Metzler's theory, but using the actual text in the Masoretic Torah):

l' tjsh-lk p$l vkl-tmvnh 'sr bsmym mmjl = 33 letters
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above

v'sr b'r& mtxt v'sr bmym mtxt l'r&. = 29 letters
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

l'-tstxvh lhm vl' tjbdm ky 'nky yhvh 'lhyk 'l qn' = 40 letters
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God,

pqd jvn 'bt jl-bnym jl-slsym vjl-rbjym lsn'y. = 38 letters
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

vjsh x$d l'lpym l'hby vlsmry m&vty. = 29 letters
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

DALETH shows up in the last two lines of the second commandment. And it is the last letter of a word at the beginning or near the beginning of the sentence. The two lines emphasize God as a God of Judgment - visiting iniquity upon the evil, or showing mercy to those who keep his commandments.

Notice something else? GIMEL and DALETH are the third and fourth letters of the Hebrew alphabet. And the second commandment mentions the third and fourth generation!

So if the ten commandments is the origin of the order of the alphabet, we would expect GIMEL to be in one of the first three lines, as DALETH appears in the second two. What is interesting is we find two letters that form the word GIMEL - M and L - at the end of one of the lines in the Hebrew word MAJAL, meaning "above". It is as if the letter AYIN (meaning eye) has been inserted inside of the word GIMEL (camel). DALETH means "door". And it just so happens that the symbols of a camel, an eye and a door appear in one of the sayings of Jesus concerning the 10 commandments:
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matt. 19:16-24)

An "eye of a needle" is a small door (DALETH). This rich man had money as an idol, thus disobeying the second commandment, for one can not serve God and mammon (money). Is it not strange that a camel and a door are associated with the second commandment in this story? Not only that, but this is what Jewish tradition says about the mystical significance of GIMEL and DALETH (from http://www.inner.org/hebleter/GIMMEL.HTM)
Our Sages teach that the gimel symbolizes a rich man running after a poor man, the dalet, to give him charity. The word gimel is derived from the word gemul, which in Hebrew means both the giving of reward as well as the giving of punishment. In Torah, both reward and punishment have the same ultimate aim the rectification of the soul to merit to receive God's light to the fullest extent.
GIMEL and DALETH may also be treated as a pair of letters for another word: GADAH ("to cut down") which is the exact opposite of DAG ("fish"). This Hebrew word pops up in an interesting context:
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. (Deut. 7:5)
And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. (Deut. 12:3)
Is it possible that these two commandments preserve the second commandment in its original form, on the tablets that Moses destroyed? That is a possibility. Moses could have seen that the Israelites started to worship a golden calf, simply because the ten commandments began with the symbol of ALEPH (meaning ox). Then if the second commandment stated that one should break any graven image that was worshipped, the ten commandments that were just revealed to Moses were thus saying to Moses he must destroy and break down the tablets! This he did, and it is possibly that the second commandment was watered down slightly stating that idols should not be "worshipped" instead of "destroyed".

That this may be true, is shown by an odd story in the Bible where the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant and placed it in their temple to the god Dagon. Then one morning the following happened:

And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. (1 Sam. 5:4-5)

It is rather odd, since in the proto-Canaanite script the letter DALETH (door - where the threshold is located) was probably named DAG (fish), which represented the god DAGON of the Philistines, which in this story is "cut down" (GADAH). This goes to show that there is a hidden meaning behind these historical events in scripture - they have a deeper symbolic meaning.

The next letter pair in the Hebrew alphabet are HE and VAV. These two letters form the Hebrew word HAVAH, which means "to be". This word is an important part of God's name, for it describes the essence of his being - pure existence of all that is. HAVAH shows up in the following passage:
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Ex. 3:13-14)
HAVAH is part of the sacred name of Jehovah. It is so sacred among Jews in later times they would not use that word. Jesus identified himself as Jehovah incarnate:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:56-59)
As ALEPH and BET are a mnemonic for the first commandment, and GIMEL and DALETH are a mnemonic for the second commandment, so HE and VAV are a perfect mnemonic for the third commandment:
Thou shalt not take the name of JEHOVAH thy God in vain; for JEHOVAH will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7)
The original name of the letter HE was HALAL meaning praise or jubilation, as the hieroglyph is a man with arms lifted up in praise. There are several Psalms where the name of Jehovah is praised, which is the exact opposite to profaning the name of God.

The evidence is strong - the Hebrew alphabet and its order, from which most alphabets are derived, was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. The alphabet probably was intended to be a mnemonic device to remember the ten commandments. See my next blog where the analysis of the Hebrew alphabet is completed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Hidden Origin of the Alphabet

Lately I was wondering about the origin of our alphabet - where did it come from? We all know our ABCs, which we take for granted. But the alphabet was a revolutionary invention, and put writing into the hands of the common people. We do know that the Greeks and the Romans derived their alphabet from the Phoenician alphabet in the land of Canaan, as shown in the following chart:

So, where did the Phoenicians obtain their script? It dates back to around 1000 B.C. According to the wikipedia:
"Phoenician uses a system of acrophony to name letters. The names of the letters are essentially the same as in its parental scripts, which are in turn derived from the word values of the original hieroglyph for each letter. The original word was translated from Egyptian into its equivalent form in the Semitic language, and then the initial sound of the translated word become the letter's value. However, some of the letter names were changed in Phoenician from the Proto-Canaanite script. This includes:
  • gaml "throwing stick" to gimel "camel"
  • digg "fish" to dalet "door"
  • hll "jubilation" to he "window"
  • ziqq "manacle" to zayin "weapon"
  • na?š "snake" to nun "fish"
  • pi?t "corner" to pe "mouth"
  • šimš "sun" to šin "tooth"
The meanings given are of the letter names in Phoenician. The Phoenician letter names are not directly attested and were reconstructed by Theodor Nöldeke in 1904."
The alphabet is thus a Semitic invention - not only that, these Semites dwelled in Egypt and migrated to the land of Canaan. Sound familiar? Could it be that the alphabet originated from Moses, who led the Jews out of Egypt? If we look back even further, the Phoenician script, from which Aramaic and Hebrew were derived, dates back even further to a "Proto-Canaanite" script from about the 15th century B.C. One reconstruction proposes the following meanings for the characters:
  1. [?] Al "Ox head" (A, E)
  2. [b] Bet "Tent floorplan" (B, Bh)
  3. [g] Gam "Foot" (G)
  4. [d] Dal "Door" (D)
  5. [h] Hey "Man with arms raised" (H, E)
  6. [w] Waw "Tent peg" (W, O, U])
  7. [z] Zan "Mattock" (Z)
  8. [h] Chets "Tent wall" (Hh)
  9. [t?] Thet "Basket" (Th)
  10. [j] Yad "Arm and closed hand" (Y, I)
  11. [k] Kaph "Open palm" (K, Kh)
  12. [l] Lam "Shepherd staff " (L)
  13. [m] Mem "Water" (M)
  14. [n] Nun "Seed" (N)
  15. [s] Sin "Thorn" (S)
  16. [?] Ayin "Eye" (O)
  17. [p] Pey "Mouth" (P, Ph)
  18. [s?] Tsad "Man on his side" (Ts)
  19. [q] Quph "Sun on the horizon" (Q)
  20. [r] Rosh "Head of a man" (R)
  21. [?] Shin "Two front teeth" (Sh)
  22. [t] Taw "Crossed sticks" (T)
  23. [?] Ghah "Rope of twisted fibers" (Gh)
So, where did the Proto-Canaanite alphabet come from? There are two scripts, both dating to the Middle Bronze Age (2000 - 1500 B.C.) - the Proto-Sinaitic script and the Wadi el-Hol script, found in the Sinai and Egypt respectively. It again points to a Semitic people which came from Egypt. According to the wikipedia:

"The Egyptian hieratic script was basically logographic, but used rebus and acrophony extensively. There was a complete set of uniliteral glyphs from at least 2700 BC — that is, the hieroglyphic script contained an alphabetic subsystem within it. But while logographic systems such as Egyptian and Old Sumerian are extremely time-consuming to learn, they are sometimes considered superior to alphabets when it comes to reading. For literate Egyptians, there was little advantage to whittling their script down to a pure alphabet. Purely uniliteral (alphabetic) writing was used mainly to transcribe foreign names.
However, from the 22nd to 20th centuries BC, central rule broke down. John Darnell found contemporary references to an Egyptian named Bebi, General of the Asiatics. They speculate that,
In the course of reunifying his fragmented realm, the reigning pharaoh attempted to pacify and employ roving bands of mercenaries who had come from outside Egypt to fight in the civil wars. The Egyptians were the quintessential bureaucrats, and under Bebi's command, there must have been a small army of scribes in the military whose job it was to keep track of these "Asiatics". Inventive scribes apparently came up with a kind of easy-to-learn Egyptian shorthand to enable the captured troops to record their names and other basic information.
In other words, it was a utilitarian invention for soldiers and merchants. The assumption is that they developed a Semitic script based on acrophony, where the first sound of the Semitic word for an Egyptian glyph became associated with that glyph. Just as the numerals 1, 2, 3, etc. changed names but retained their graphic forms as they passed from the Indians to the Arabs to the Europeans, so the names of the letters were translated as they passed from the Egyptians to the Semites. The name of the hieratic glyph for house changed from Egyptian pr to Canaanite bayt, and therefore the glyph came to stand for /b/ rather than /pr/. House and most of the other letters were not uniliteral glyphs in Egyptian: the Semitic alphabet is not derived from the Egyptian alphabet, but rather from the full set of hieratic hieroglyphs. In fact, some of the letters, such as ? H, may have been ideographic determiners (taxograms) only, and thus had no sound value in Egyptian."

So, the alphabet was invented with the collapse of the Old Kingdom. It seems like it was invented long before Moses, or before the Jews even entered Egypt. But not is all as it seems. The dating of the Exodus from Egypt is a controversial subject - many history books will point to the time of Ramesses in the New Kingdom (ca. 13th century B.C.), which many favor due to a late geographic place name in the Torah. Others favor the time when the Hyksos, the shepherd kings, were expelled from Egypt in the 16th century B.C. But strangely enough, scholars have ignored a lot of evidence that indicates that the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt occurred during the collapse of the Old Kingdom, the exact time when the alphabet was invented. There was historical evidence that I gathered from the book of Jasher, a work that did not make it into the Bible, but then I discovered that someone else had already stumbled upon this. He gathered years of research and composed the book, The Riddle of the Exodus. Among his findings:

1. The book of Jasher states that one of the Pharoahs of the Exodus reigned for 94 years. One of the last Pharoahs of the Old Kingdom, Pepi II, reigned for 94 years.

2. There is an ancient Egyptian monument that commemorates the drowning of Pharaoh's army in the sea.

3. The ravages of the Ten Plagues are described on a 3,000-year-old papyrus.

I have not read the book, but the chronology would fit in with the dating of the collapse of the walls of Jericho by archaeologists.What this theory opens up is the possibility that the alphabet was an invention of the Hebrews - and as the characters originated from Egyptian hieroglyphics, and was invented for commanding the military of a Semitic people, the evidence begins to point to Moses, a scribe and ruler who was trained in all the wisdom of ancient Egypt. So what do those alphabetic characters mean? Is there a reason for the order of the alphabet? Indeed there is - I have been recently researching this, and the evidence points to Moses as the inventor of the alphabet. But before I could do so, I wanted to cover the date of the Exodus - how it is much earlier in history than we think. In my next blog I will show the hidden symbolism contained in the ancient Hebrew alphabet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quantum Entanglement, and the Holographic Universe

In physics, it was once thought that all matter was composed of single point like units, known as atoms. The problem now is, the more we know about the atom, the more we discover about subatomic particles. Then Quantum physics came along, and it was discovered that there are no fundamental particles but rather wave-like probabilities. The current theories of physics revolve around "String Theory", which proposes that all matter is composed of vibrating "strings", some open-ended, others closed in a loop. What we are discovering is that the smaller we go, the more complicated things get. The bigger we go, the more simpler. This is the opposite of what many scientists had predicted.

In the 18th century Emanuel Swedenborg saw what the nature of the universe was - all was revealed to him in trance-like visions, where his breathing came to a stop. Here is what he said concerning the nature of matter:
"Many avow that there is a single substance which is also the first, from which are all things, but what that substance is, is not known. The belief is that it is so simple nothing is more so, and that it can be likened to a point without dimensions, and that dimensional forms arose out of an infinite number of such points. But this is a fallacy, springing from an idea of space. To such an idea there seems to be such a least thing. The truth is that the simpler and purer a thing is, the more replete it is and the more complete. This is why the more interiorly a thing is examined, the more wonderful, perfect, and well formed are the things seen in it, and in the first substance the most wonderful, perfect and fully formed of all. For the first substance is from the spiritual sun, which, as we said, is from the Lord and in which He is. That sun is therefore the sole substance and, not being in space, is all in all, and is in the greatest and least things of the created universe." (Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine, from Divine Providence, n. 6)
At the center of everything, is a Spiritual Sun from which all things were created. This is the light that everyone sees after they die, and has been reported from Near Death experiences. The smaller we go, the more inward we go, and the more we reach the Infinite. God is not "up there", he is "inside" all that is. One of my favorite books was the Tao of Physics, which compared statements of Quantum physicists with those of eastern mystics. They were both encountering the same thing: the mind of God.

In the book, The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, both the universe and the human mind are likened to a hologram. A hologram is an image that is formed from the interference of two reflecting laser beams. When a three dimensional image is divided, we end up with two smaller images of the same thing. That is what science is discovering: the more we divide something, the more we see that the smallest of things is in fact a reflection of the universe: all that is, is a hologram, everything is reflecting the oneness of Being. A hologram is turning into something that best reflects how thoughts are stored in the brain: everywhere. The human mind, and the universe, share the same property. According to Swedenborg, all that is is the image of a form of a Divine Human, and we are a small microcosm of that form.

From http://www.crystalinks.com/holographic.html:
"In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science.
Aspect's experiment is related to the EPR Experiment, a consicousness experiment which had been devised by Albert Einstein, and his colleagues, Poldlsky and Rosen, in order to disprove Quantum Mechanics on the basis of the Pauli Exclusion Principle contradicting Special Relativity.
Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart.
Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations.
University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram."
The two particles are not communicating faster than the speed of light, but in fact probably exist in a dimension that is outside space and time, and what we perceive as separate may in fact be a bilocation of the same thing, in two differents spots in space. Science is getting closer to the idea of proving "The Butterfly Effect" - actions we take, especially acts of Love, will have a ripple effect that are reflected in the people who surround us, even those we have never met.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Notes On Fairy-Stories, by Tolkien

These are notes I made in July/August of 2006 on Tolkien's essay, On Fairy-Stories, in which he tries to come up with a definition of what is a fairy story and what isn't. It reveals much of his inner thought concerning The Lord of the Rings. Quotes introduced by some of my comments are taken from The Tolkien Reader.
In the introduction to the reprint, Tolkien reveals that this essay is related to The Lord of the Rings. As for the story Leaf by Niggle, it is a parable of a painter whose painting is left unfinished, at which time the painter must leave to go on a journey. The painter then enters a land where he sees that his painting has come to life, and is complete. The painter Niggle is in fact Tolkien himself, and the painting is his imperfect vision of reality expressed in his writing.
"These two things, On Fairy-stories and Leaf by Niggle, are here reprinted and issued together. They are no longer easy to obtain, but they may still be found interesting, especially by those to whom The Lord of the Rings has given pleasure. Though one is an "essay" and the other a "story", they are related: by the symbols of Tree and Leaf, and by both touching in different ways on what is called in the essay "sub-creation". Also they were written in the same period (1938-39), when The Lord of the Rings was beginning to unroll itself…" (p. 31)
Tolkien describes a fairy-story almost as if it were a vision, in which the mind may not question what it is receiving. Once critical questioning comes to mind, the vision abruptly ends. Is Tolkien here describing some of his own private personal experiences?
"The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveler who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys should be lost." (p. 33)
Here Tolkien states that Fairyland is a realm that exists between Heaven and Hell. Why should he say this? And he even writes a poem in the middle of his essay:
"The road to fairyland is not the road to Heaven; nor even to Hell, I believe, though some have held that it may lead thither indirectly by the Devil's tithe.
O see ye not yon narrow road
So thick beset wi' thorn and briers?
That is the path of Righteousness,
Though after it but few inquires.
And see ye not yon braid, braid road
That lies across the lily leven?
That is the path of Wickedness,
Though some call it the Road to Heaven.
And see ye not yon bonny road
That winds about yon fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Where thou and I this night maun gae." (p.34-35)
Tolkien discusses how fairy-stories are related to visions of the Truth:
"…if elves are true, and really exist independently of our tales about them, then this also is certainly true: elves are not primarily concerned with us, nor we with them. Our fates are sundered, and our paths seldom meet. Even upon the borders of Faerie we encounter them only at some chance crossing of the ways. [Footnote: This is true also, even if they are only creations of Man's mind, "true" only as reflecting in a particular way one of Man's visions of Truth.]" (p. 38)
Interestingly, Tolkien comments that H.G. Well's The Time-Machine is more of a fairy-story than Gulliver's travels, as fairy stories are about the world of Faerie, not just creatures of small size. But why The Time-Machine? Tolkien was interested in time travel. He elaborates further:
"This enchantment of distance, especially of distant time, is weakened only by the preposterous and incredible Time Machine itself. But we see in this example one of the main reasons why the borders of fairy-story are inevitably dubious. The magic of Faerie is not an end in itself, its virtue is in its operations: among these are the satisfaction of certain primordial human desires. One of these desires is to survey the depths of space and time. Another is (as will be seen) to hold communion with other living things. A story may thus deal with the satisfaction of these desires, with or without the operation of either machine or magic, and in proportion as it succeeds it will approach the quality and have the flavour of fairy-story." (p. 41)
Here Tolkien acknowledges that dreams are a means by which one can enter into the world of Faerie, but states that any fairy-story must not mention any explicit reference to the dream itself as the source of the story. He speaks of certain dreams as if from experience. The source of The Lord of the Rings perhaps?
"Next, after travellers' tales, I would also exclude, or rule out of order, any story that uses the machinery of Dream, the dreaming of actual human sleep, to explain the apparent occurrence of its marvels. At the least, even if the reported dream was in other respects in itself a fairy-story, I would condemn the whole as gravely defective: like a good picture in a disfiguring frame. It is true that Dream is not unconnected with Faerie. In dreams strange powers of the mind may be unlocked. In some of them a man may for a space wield the power of Faerie, that power which, even as it conceives the story, causes it to take living form and colour before the eyes. A real dream may indeed sometimes be a fairy-story of almost elvish ease and skill – while it is being dreamed. But if a waking writer tells you that his tale is only a thing imagined in his sleep, he cheats deliberately the primal desire at the heart of Faerie: the realization, independent of the conceiving mind, of imagined wonder. …It is at any rate essential to a genuine fairy-story, as distinct from the employment of this form for lesser or debased purposes, that it should be presented as "true." The meaning of "true" in this connexion I will consider in a moment. But since the fairy-story deals with "marvels," it cannot tolerate any frame or machinery suggesting that the whole story in which they occur is a figment or illusion. The tale itself may, of course, be so good that one can ignore the frame. Or it may be successful and amusing as a dream-story. So are Lewis Carroll's Alice stories, with their dream-frame and dream-transitions. For this (and other reasons) they are not fairy-stories" (p. 41-42).
Again Tolkien discusses the relationship he sees between fairy-stories and time travel:
"For one thing [fairy-stories] are now old, and antiquity has an appeal in itself. …Such stories have now a mythical or total (unanalysable) effect, an effect quite independent of the findings of Comparative Folklore, and one which it can not spoil or explain; they open a door on Other Time, and if we pass through, though only for a moment, we stand outside our own time, outside Time itself, maybe." (p. 56)
Tolkien here talks about his definition of "Imagination," which he seeks to separate from his definition of "Art," or the ability to create a story with an inner consistency of reality.
"The human mind is capable of forming mental images of things not actually present. The faculty of conceiving the images is (or was) naturally called Imagination. But in recent times, in technical not normal language, Imagination has often been held to be something higher than the mere image-making, ascribed to the operations of Fancy (a reduced and depreciatory form of the older word Fantasy); an attempt is thus made to restrict, I should say misapply, Imagination to "the power of giving to ideal creations the inner consistence of reality."" (p. 68)
After Tolkien associates "fantasy" with images of things "not actually present", he then discusses how it can be "maliciously" confused with dreaming and mental disorders. Is he again describing something from personal experience?
"Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has constributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being "arrested." They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar with them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art [Footnote: This is not true of all dreams. In some Fantasy seems to take a part. But this is exceptional. Fantasy is a rational, not irrational, activity.]; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control: with delusion and hallucination." (p. 69)
Again another comparison between fairy stories and dreams:
"If you are present at a Faerian drama you yourself are, or think that you are, bodily inside its Secondary World. The experience may be very similar to Dreaming and has (it would seem) sometimes (by men) been confounded with it. But in Faerian drama you are in a dream that some other mind is weaving, and the knowledge of that alarming fact may slip from your grasp. To experience directly a Secondary World: the potion is too strong, and you give to it Primary Belief, however marvelous the events. You are deluded – whether that is the intention of the elves (always or at any time) is another question." (pp. 72-73)
Here Tolkien explains the primary and highest purpose of a fairy story:
"…At least I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function; but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite – I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function. The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous "turn" (for there is no true end to any fairy tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce very well, is not essentially "escapist," nor "fugitive." In its fairy-tale – or otherworld – setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur." (p. 85-86).
In the above quote, Tolkien seems to be talking about a happy ending to a story. Actually he is talking about something much more than that. He almost ended his essay on this point, but then he felt a need to expand on it further in the epilogue. The "joy" he was speaking about is the sudden surprise that the fairy story is realized to be true, that it is describing something of reality:
"This "joy" which I have selected as the mark of the true fairy-story (or romance), or as the seal upon it, merits more consideration.
Probably every writer making a secondary world, a fantasy, every sub-creator, wishes in some measure to be a real maker, or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar quality of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from Reality, or are flowing into it. …The peculiar quality of the "joy" in successful Fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a "consolation" for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question "Is it true?" The answer to this question that I gave at first was (quite rightly): "If you have built your little world well, yes: it is true in that world." That is enough for the artist (or the artist part of the artist). But in the "eucatastrophe" we see in a brief vision that the answer may be greater – it may be a far-off gleam or echo of evangelium in the real world. The use of this word gives a hint to my epilogue. It is a serious and dangerous matter. It is presumptuous of me to touch upon such a theme; but if by grace what I say has in any respect any validity, it is, of course, only one facet of a truth incalculably rich: finite only because the capacity of Man for whom this was done is finite." (pp. 87-88)
So what is Tolkien talking about? Nothing other than the fact that a fairy story (i.e., The Lord of the Rings) is realized to have been a prophecy, and a prophecy relating to Christianity:
"I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels – peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: "mythical" in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Ressurection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the "inner consistency of reality." There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads to either sadness or to wrath.
It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be "primarily" true, its narrative to be history, without thereby losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. …It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men – and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused." (pp. 88-89).