In biblical times, Gematria wasn't a type of numerology - it was a fully developed system of formal mathematics that was used by both Jews and Christians... and then more recently by Aleister Crowley.
“A Kabalistic tour de force. For the modern Kabalist (who might be tempted to be dismissive of the scriptural roots and application of the qabalah), Behold!: the Art and Practice of Gematria is perhaps the most valuable contribution to the study of modern qabalah in over a century.”
– Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford
Biblical Gematria was a formal system of early mathematics. That means it had known rules and conventions, like our system of math does today. Words were reserved to be used as operators (calculating words), and only nouns were used for their value, as long as they weren't measuring words (middot). The art of Gematria in biblical times gave some words a set value, and scribes used other words to flag where Gematria was present. Is was a beautiful and ancient art, and it is a crucial key to biblical interpretation today.
If you’ve ever wondered why Adam and Eve had to leave the garden of Eden? Or how Moses parted the red sea? Or if you've questioned how the story of Elijah riding the fiery chariot to heaven could be possible? The answers are in the gematria.
Gematria is also an invaluable tool for the historian, because its formal system offers insights into the origins of the alphabet in ancient Egypt. It completely rewrites our understanding of the spread of the alphabetic writing and mathematics in the ancient near east. Not only that, but gematria can be used to discover scribal interpolation in biblical texts, even where the three lettered name of God YHW was once used, and to spot where texts have been expanded by later writers. Its possible to use it to arrive at more accurate dates for the composition of biblical books and for some of the events it talks about, while also coming to appreciate why certain lengths of time were symbolic to the ancients. So for all these reasons, learning the formal system of biblical gematria is absolutely crucial to biblical studies and subjects proximate to it.
“The best exegesis of a text flows from the methods actually used by its writer.” — Stephen J. Lieberman.
At one time, the interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphs was regarded as a fringe subject, which was the province of charlatans, cranks and snake oil salesmen. People like Athanasius Kircher were mislead by the 4th-century Greek grammarian Horapollon into thinking hieroglyphs were picture writing with symbolic meanings. Kircher published four volumes of "hieroglyphic translations", which didn't come remotely close to doing the job. However its reputation was completely turned around when Champollion and Young deciphered the Hieroglyphs in the 1820. Such is the trajectory that I see biblical gematria following.
Gematria should also be considered a tool for modern ministry. At the moment, traditional religion is hemorrhaging its membership to fringe organizations and conspiracy theory groups that often use numerology and abuse gematria in debased and unnatural ways. It may be that such people can reawaken their interests in the Bible and the tenets of their religion through loving and patient instruction in the art and practice by their spiritual leaders. This is not a book to preach biblical interpretations to Rabbis and men of the cloth, but rather one which can allow them to bring their decades of learning and scholarship to bear on matters not hitherto discussed or mentioned only lightly in midrashim and commentary.
Kabbalists will discover much of interest in Behold, including information on how Gematria was used with the biblical Merkabah, and how it influenced the creation of the Tree of Life. By demonstrating how the gates of the Merkabah are calculated, much that was otherwise obscure or perplexing in the Shaarei Orah or the Zohar will become as clear and refreshing as a glass of cool water.
"Primarily, the methodology of Temurah-letter exchange, is referred to as Ma’aseh Merkavah-the Act of the Chariot or the act of combining the letters.” – Joseph Gikatilla.
Those of you with an interest in esoteric and hermetic organizations such as the Golden Dawn and the orders created by Aleister Crowley ought to find this book quite fascinating too, because it may be the GD used true biblical ciphers and Aleister Crowley most certainly knew the keys to Biblical Gematria, which was his reason for changing the hebrew letter correspondences of Heh and Tsade to the Tarot cards. Esoteric author, Nick Farrell reviewed the book and opined that Behold ".....should be on every 21st Century magician’s shelf" (read the review).
Whether you're looking for a 'How to' manual, or a history of the art, Behold is the book you've been looking for, even if you didn't realize you were searching for something. It will enrich your skillset, enliven your interest in holy books for decades to come, and give you the depth of technical knowledge you need to grapple with biblical wisdom texts and prophecy.
Order now • 152 x 229mm • 242 pages • illustrated •