Bible Code - Exposing the Hidden Truth : Article: Dr. Hanson vs. The Bible Code

We decided to share with you our latest conversation with Dr. Kenneth Hanson, a Hebrew scholar and professor. Dr. Hanson holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (“Hook ‘em Horns!” shouts the doctor into the phone), and is currently a professor of Jewish History at the University of Central Florida, and of religion and philosophy at Rollins College in Orlando. He lectures widely on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Kabbalah – and he’s convinced that The Bible Code phenomena is actually a bible code fantasy… So here it goes. Let’s get ready to rumble!
DR HANSON vs THE BIBLE CODE Dr. Hanson, why are you so convinced that The Bible Code, by journalist Michael Drosnin, is so erroneous?

Dr. Hanson: Because Drosnin himself stakes his entire presentation on the infallibility of his ELS (Equidistant Letter Sequences) matrix. It’s the lynchpin that holds everything together – but it’s also the “Achilles heel”, if you will, that causes everything to crumble. How is that, Doctor?
Dr. Hanson: Two reasons. First, The Bible Code messages are based on applying the ELS matrix to the standardized text of the Hebrew Bible or Torah. This version was fixed in the early middle ages and held up as the official version. The problem is in this: that version is not the earliest or most reliable version of the Hebrew Bible. Oh, you’re referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls, right?

Dr. Hanson: Exactly. The earlier versions correlate remarkably well to the standardized version, but there are some variations, primarily in spelling. Keep in mind that the Dead Sea Scrolls were penned in the second century B.C.! For example, Goliath isn’t nearly as tall in the Dead Sea Scrolls as he is written to be in the standardized version – probably only about seven feet tall as opposed to nine.

Now, what happens to the matrix if you were to remove one letter, not to mention spaces or words? The entire structure of The Bible Code presentation falls apart! If Drosnin would have extended his matrix to include the Dead Sea Scrolls text, it might hold a little more water, but he can’t because we don’t have the entire text! The 66th chapter of Isaiah is complete, but the rest is in thousands of fragments. What did you think when you first heard about The Bible Code? Was it of any interest to you at all?

Dr. Hanson: No, I dismissed it immediately. It’s much the same as the alliterative technique that preachers and teachers use in their outlines… you know, like J-O-Y representing Jesus and others and you? There is no way that this “code” is accurate… much less placed into the text by aliens or an “unseen hand.” Apparently some other scholars have found the same “eerie” predictions about assassinations and deaths in Moby Dick? Do you remember reading Drosnin’s challenge in Newsweek magazine in 1997: “When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I’ll believe them.”?

Dr. Hanson: Yes, and that’s the other reason that debunks The Bible Code. I just about fell onto the floor laughing when I heard about that. That same formula has turned up curiosities in War and Peace and some Supreme Court rulings. Look, we will never have the earliest version of the Hebrew Bible, so attempts to go back are vain and futile. Charlton Heston has the only exact version. And we should take the Talmud to heart when it reminds us that these things we should not inquire: things above, things below, things behind… only look ahead. That includes looking for “secret messages” in a less-than-perfect text.
Bible Code - Exposing the Hidden Truth : Article: Dr. Hanson vs. The Bible Code