Numeration by Letters
There is a Cabalistical process especially used in the Hebrew language, but sometimes applied to other languages, for instance, to the Greek, by which a mystical meaning of a word is deduced from the numerical value of the words of which it is composed, each letter of the alphabet being equivalent to a number. Thus in Hebrew the name of God, Jah, is equivalent to 15, because = 10 and n = 5, and 15 thus becomes a sacred number. In Greek, the Cabalistic word Abraxas, is made to symbolize the solar year of 365 days, because the sum of the value of the letters of the word is 365; thus, a=1 b=2, p=100, a=1, t=60, a=1, and s=200. To facilitate these Cabalistic operations, which are sometimes used in the advanced Degrees and especially the Hermetical Freemasonry, the numerical value of the Hebrew and Greek letters is here given.
The word Gematrta means to calculate by letters as well as numbers. While this was a late development there are traces of it in the Old Testament in the opinion of W. H. Bennett (Hasting's Dictionary of tile Bible). He says (page 660):
It consisted in the indicating of a word by means of the number which would be obtained bs adding together the numerical values of the consonants of the word. Thus in Genesis xiv, 14, Abraham has 318 trained servants, 318 is the sum of the consonants of the name of Abraham's Steward, Eliezer, in its original Hebrew form The number is apparently constructed front the name. The Apocalyptic number of the Beast is often explained by Gematria, and 666 has been discovered to be the sum of the numerical values of the letters of some form or other of a large number of names written either in Hebrew, or Greek, or Latin. Thus the Beast has been identified with hundreds of persons, e.2. Mohammed Luther, the Pope, Napoleon I, Napoleon III, ete., each of -whom was specially obnoxious to the ingenious identifier. Probably by a little careful manipulation any name in some form or other, in Hebrew, Greek, or Greek letters is here given. Latin could be made by Gematria to yield 666. The two favorite explanations are Lateinos=Latinus, the Roman Empire or Emperor, and Nero Caesar. The latter has the special advantage that it recounts not only for 666, but also for the variant reading, 616, mentioned above; as Neron Caesar it gives 666, and as Nero Caesar, 616.
Much interesting reading on the Number of the Beast is in the two volumes of a Budget of Paradozes Augustus de Morgan. Both Bennett and Morgan agree, the latter being even less impressed by the claims made by various compilers of these numerical values. Brother Frank C. Higgins has devoted considerable study to the subject and discussed it freely by articles in the New Age, American Freemason, etc., as well as in such books as the Cross of the Magi, 1912.
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