Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Thu Jan 10 2008 - 10:39:16 EST


Regarding your questions about why 666 (or 616, the variant) could refer to
"Neron Kaisar" there are a couple of ideas. One is put forward by some
scholars, notably Josephine Ford in her Anchor Bible commentary on
Revelation. If my memory iscorrect, the thesis is that what we have in the
present text is a redacted version of an earlier Jewish apocalypse. The
earlier version was written by a Jew during the reign of Nero when the
Jewish Revolt was underway. A later Christian writer took the earlier
version and revised it around the time of Domitian to transform it into a
Christian apocalypse. This is a minority view, which I do not subscribe to.

Also, there was a legend afoot that Nero had not actually died but escaped
to Parthia where he would return to invade the eastern provinces of the
Roman Empire (namely Syria and Judea) at the headof a Parthian army. Romans
still remembered their shattering defeat at the hands of the Parthians a
century before. Historians report that there was a least one pretender who
went to the court of Parthia and claiimed to be Nero. Another legend, the
"Nero redivivus" story, had it that while Nero died he would be resurrected
and return with the Parthian army. I believe this one is preserved in the
Christian revision of the Sibylline Oracles. Some scholars think that Rev.
13:3 refers to the revived Nero and Rev. 16:12 to this expected
Nero-led Parthian invasion.

Given the highly symbolic nature of Revelation, it makes sense, I think, to
see Nero as symbolic of the evil (imperial and demonic) powers that assault
the People of God.

Bob Schneider

On Jan 10, 2008 12:40 AM, gordon brown <> wrote:

> Some triangular numbers that occur in the text of the New Testament in
> addition to 666 are 120, 153, 276, and 300. Most of the other numbers are
> either small or round. The occurrence of the numbers 153 (John 21:11) and
> 276 (Acts 27:37) seem especially interesting because they are so precise
> in situations where one might have expected merely rough estimates.
> Perhaps some early Christians were wont to take note of triangular
> numbers.
> On Wed, 9 Jan 2008, Rich Blinne wrote:
> >> The difference in numbers has also been explained by the fact that the
> >> Greek and Latin spellings of Nero's name transliterate differently into
> >> Hebrew (the language used to create the coded numerology). The Greek
> >> spelling, "Neron Caesar," transliterates into Hebrew as "nrwn qsr,"
> which
> >> equates numerically to 666 (Hebrew letters double as numbers for both
> >> practical and theological purposes; see entries at Hebrew numerals and
> >> gematria). By contrast, the Latin title for Nero is spelled simply
> "Nero
> >> Caesar," which transliterates to "nrw qsr," or 616.
> This interpretation has the advantage of explaining the occurrence of both
> variants (666 and 616). There are some things about it, however, that I
> have questions about that maybe someone on this list can answer. Nero died
> in 68. Revelation is believed to have been written later than that. Also
> it seems that with Revelation being written in Greek, it would not be
> expected that the answer to the puzzle would be from the Hebrew. I also
> wonder whether it was common to transliterate the Latin C and the Greek
> kappa into Hebrew as qoph (q) rather than kaph (k).
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)
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Robert J. Schneider
187 Sierra Vista
Boone, NC, 28607
"Science and Faith: perspectives on Christianity and science:
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Received on Thu Jan 10 10:40:49 2008

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