Otfried Lieberknecht is the scholar who would have numerology at his
fingertips. Our present system, from counting on fingers, is based on 10.
But mathematically that is a horrible number. The Babylonians, from their
observations of the, to them, seven planets, and other aspects of the
calendar, preferred sevens and twelves. Which is also in Judaism, the
seven-branched candlestick, the twelve tribes. The ancient alphabets'
letters are also numbers and things, God creating the world in number,
weight and measure. Try looking at Boethius' works on music and mathematics,
based on Pythagorean teaching, and then see how those concepts of
proportions, ratios and harmonies are reflected in building programmes in
abbeys and cathedrals - or in Dante's poetry. Otfried could give you good
bibliography. You might look at Otto von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral:
Origins of Gothic Architecture and the Medieval Concept of Order. William
Hecksher told me how the Nazis cracked down on art historians like Janson
for discussing number symbolism because it was Jewish. It is, and also Greek.
A splendid heritage. And in terms of medieval mathematics, look also at
Fibonacci's work on curves in nature.
I was going back over my own convent schooling and realising that its
Geometry was Greek, its Algebra, Arabic, its Arithmetic, Roman, its Art,
Italian, all stuff from the Mediterranean making its way to England.
t 20.40 25/10/97 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 97-10-25 17:46:47 EDT, Julia writes, on the symbolism of
>> And it goes back to Babylonia
>The ziggurat of Ur (which is Sumerian rather than Babylonian) is supposed to
>have had 100 steps, with questions about whether this was symbolic. Could
>have been, I guess, just fascination with a number that seemed to complete a
>cycle, like our fascination with the year 2000.
>Any idea, Julia, about the 100 steps? And do you know much about number
>symbolism? I'm interested in how it's used in the KJV, but can't find books.
>Nor is it easy to think where to get articles published on the subject. It
>seems almost a taboo subject, as if publishers feared that anyone interested
>in number symbolism would "believe in it."
Julia Bolton Holloway, Hermit of the Holy Family
via del Partigiano 16, Montebeni, 50014 FIESOLE, ITALY
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He said not, 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou
shalt not be diseased.' But he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome'.
Julian of Norwich, Showings, Sloane Manuscript, fol. 49.