Book Review: The Bible Code
By Michael Drosnin, 1999
Review by Ian Mander BSc, 20 May 2000, updated 26 March 2018.
Last Saturday I went to see the movie The Omega Code, a movie I think partly inspired by The Bible Code. I say partly inspired because the "codes" involved are quite different. On my way home from the movie I stopped at a friend's house, and found she had an unread copy of The Bible Code. Liking to keep an open mind, I decided to read it, and after finding the first page interesting and the rest of the first chapter a real "bang my head against a brick wall" struggle, found the rest of the book quite interesting.
The codes the book talks about are words found in the Hebrew text of the first five books of the Bible by taking letters determined by a regular skip. For example, taking every 50th letter in Genesis (just the first few) spells out the Hebrew word Torah. Fine so far, but so what? If two discovered hidden words (with same or different skip steps) are reasonably close to each other, or even crossing, they allegedly form a code. The code may predict the future, or recount a past event (which was still a prediction 3000 years ago when he says those books were written).
Mr Drosnin claims that using these "codes", assassinations, calamities, moon-landings etc are all predicted.
Throughout my reading, however, I had a real problem with his claim that these sorts of codes are not found in any other book, Hebrew or otherwise. But he stated it emphatically: They were only to be found in the Bible.
So I went searching the Internet. One of the first things I found was a CNN interview with the author in which he claimed words to the effect of "These things don't occur in Moby Dick." That piqued my interest, so with advice from my brother I searched for "Bible code" and "Moby Dick." Bingo.
What Michael Drosnin doesn't point out in his book is that he omits all vowels from his Hebrew text. This alone makes his task of finding hidden words hugely easier, since whatever the desired vowels are can be added. Australian mathematition Brendon McKay took up Drosnin's challenge, and just to make it harder on himself, used the straight text of Moby Dick, vowels and all.
He found "codes" of assassinations and significant events in Moby Dick just like in Drosnin's Hebrew Bible. But my favourite one was a Moby Dick code that Dr McKay called The Demise of Drosnin. Yes, Moby Dick apparently predicts the violent death of The Bible Code author. What's more, the word LIAR appears in The Demise of Drosnin code no less than three times, and LIES once.
In conclusion: No code has been found in the Bible which could not also be found in any other book. If you're looking for divine revelation, just read the plain text of the Bible. If you're looking for hidden messages, give Moby Dick a try – it'll be as good as anything else.
Predictions made by Drosnin include:
In listing the above predictions, I note that earthquakes in LA aren't all that infrequent anyway. The city rests uneasily on multiple fault lines. There are also almost regular fires in the hills surrounding LA, which are often serious enough to destroy homes.
A review which deals more specifically with the end of the world predictions can be read here (broken link).
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