A gematria cipher is a set manner of assigning numbers to letters of the alphabet so that words can represent values. The oldest of these numerical correspondences were present in the early alphabetic proto-consonantal writing script during the late Bronze age. These ancient ciphers were used in the Tanakh by scribes that saw a numerical basis behind all creation, and reasoned that God must be a master mathematician.
Biblical Gematria used four main gematria ciphers:
• The Biblical Gematria Cipher: this is the main cipher used in the Tanakh, and also the Gospels. The main difference to the Standard cipher is that it assigns 3 to shin and 4 to tav which it places close to the front of the alphabet.
• The Reversal Cipher: this is the main Biblical Gematria cipher assigned in reverse order.
• The Genesis Order cipher: this is a simple cipher which is rarely used except in conjunction with some other literary form, such as in alphabetic acrostics. It is named the Genesis Order because each of the letters are described in turn in this order by Genesis 1-2.
• The Standard Cipher: this is the most well-known Hebrew cipher, used in the Talmud and in various Kabbalistic works to exegete the Tanakh. Of all the ciphers, this is the least used cipher in scripture.
Biblical gematria has been transposed over to the Greek alphabet to be used in the New Testament, and transliterated to the Latin alphabet to be used with English in the writings of Aleister Crowley. Biblical gematria was a very strong cipher because it is counter-intuitive to have two letters with identical values, twice.
The following diagram illustrates how the ciphers were transposed to Greek and English. Note how the letters which have sofit forms are assigned two different letters by their Greek counter-parts, which is how we can tell that the cipher was originally Hebrew being transposed to Greek, rather than the other way around.
Behold! The Art and Practice of Gematria will be published at the end of October. It's a crucial book to have if you need to read the bible using the same methodologies as biblical writers, such as gematria, notariqon, temurah, iteration, and acrostic features.
Behold demonstrates a new scientific approach to gematria. I'm a cryptographer and I've spent some years deciphering ancient Hebrew gematria after I noticed it was actually a formal system of mathematics, that was likely as reliable a way of conveying calculations for them as our system of math does for us today! It really was something else than what we've grown to expect from 'gematria', and it's a rather important tool for biblical studies. Besides the obviously important interpretative elements this tool can give you, it's a wonderful way to spot scribal interpolations and even provides a new way to better date texts and biblical events. It's probably the most significant decipherment since Champollion and Young worked on Hieroglyphics in the 1820's.
Use the discount code - BE20 - which will give 20% off for pre-ordering from Aeon Books, and they tell me they're offering free shipping to the USA too.