Month: December 2009

Rosslyn Chapel restoration underway

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Work is getting underway to preserve one of Scotland’s most famous and important chapels.

Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian starred in the blockbuster Da Vinci Code and has seen a massive increase in visitor numbers since.

But thanks to a botched repair job in the 1950s the roof is crumbling and has been sealed off for some time.

The Rosslyn Chapel Trust is looking to secure a further £1 million to ensure that a £9 million restoration can be completed within the next year.

Work is set to start next month on a brand new roof for the chapel, restoring the building to its former beauty.

It is famous for the intricate carvings that line the walls of the small chapel, and the rumoured connections to the Knights Templar.

Work has already begun on restoring the stained glass windows in the main body of the building.

By Cara Sulieman


How crusading Templars gave Bruce the edge at Bannockburn

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Bannockburn has long been heralded as Scotland’s finest victory over the Auld Enemy.

The battle has been celebrated in verse and song ever since Robert the Bruce defied the odds to send King Edward II’s army “hameward tae think again” in 1314.

However, a historian now claims the credit lies not with the Scots but with a band of Templar knights from overseas.

Robert Ferguson, an American lawyer, says a new “statistical analysis” shows that a significant number of Templars arrived in Scotland from other parts of Europe and that they tipped the balance in Bruce’s favour.

The King of France ordered the arrest of any Templars in his country in 1307 – seven years before Bannockburn – and Pope Clement later ordered all European monarchs to follow suit.

Ferguson claims, citing a statistician he hired for his research, that at least 29 battle-hardened knights and sergeants would have ended up in Scotland, based on 335 avoiding capture, and that they influenced Bruce’s tactics. And he argues that the real figure could even be as high as 48.

He said Bruce progressed with unusual speed from small encounters with the English to a full-blown battle at Bannockburn with properly armed men.

Ferguson says he has built up a convincing case from the circumstantial evidence that is available.

“Given the battle plan that is commonly accepted for Bannockburn, I believe that the Templars were necessary,” he said.

“The existence of Templars at Bannockburn follows a consistent line of facts.

“There is now good evidence that a number of Templars, if not most of them, were aware that they were going to be arrested, and they escaped. There’s only two places they really could escape to, Portugal and Scotland.”

Ferguson’s new claims are made in his book The Knights Templar And Scotland, which will be published in the new year by The History Press.

Ferguson is a Californian attorney, a former professor of astronomy, and a former vice-president of his local Clan Ferguson Society. His book comes with an endorsement from Raymond Morris, laird of 14th century Balgonie Castle in Fife, who claims to be the “Grand Prior of the Scots” Templars.

“Every Templar should read it,” said Morris.

There are several Templar groups in modern Scotland.

“I’ve got about 150 people in America of Scots ancestry,” said Morris.

But Ferguson’s claims were met with scorn yesterday by historian Helen Nicholson, who teaches medieval warfare at Cardiff University and is an expert on the Templars.

It has been claimed before that Templars took part in the battle, and Nicholson said Ferguson’s theories drew on discredited Victorian historical fantasies.

Nicholson said the idea was “hardly more credible” than old claims that the kingdom of Scotland was founded by the Egyptian princess Scota, and that Ferguson’s theories reheated an old slur on Bruce’s achievements.

“The myth is being used to show that Robert the Bruce was a weak man who couldn’t win his own battles, rather than the inspirational military leader that he was,” she said.

“I think that the Scots should be fighting this myth.”

Nicholson, author of The Knights Templar On Trial, bluntly said claims of Templars fighting at Bannockburn in 1314 were “rubbish”.

“There are no records of any French-speaking knights appearing in Scotland in the early decades of the 14th century in a country where French speakers would certainly be noticed.” she said.

“The story has an unpleasant result for the Scots, because it makes out that Robert Bruce was incapable of defeating the ‘all-powerful’ English, without the help of foreigners.”

The Templars’ main fighting force was wiped out at the Fall of Acre in 1291, she said. By 1307, any left with fighting skills would have been in Cyprus.

“Bruce’s battle plan at Bannockburn would have followed best contemporary practice which, as the Templars also did the same, would have meant that there were some elements in common. This does not mean that Bruce had actually met any Templars.”

The Templars rose to prominence as knights of the Crusades, guarding revered sites and castles in the Holy Land.

But on Friday, 13 October, 1307, King Philip IV of France, heavily in debt to the order, ordered the arrest of its Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and other French Templars. Many confessed to numerous sins under torture, and Pope Clement made his order the following year.

The writer Dan Brown drew heavily on Templar stories in his 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, which was later made into a film, claiming that the order built Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, and guarded many secrets there with their lives.

By Tim Cornwell

Deception, Lies and Gullibility

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A supposed tibia relic belonging to Mary Magdalene is making it rounds in the U.S. From the Catholic Georgia Bulletin: “The tradition of the Church is historically pretty close to being infallible in this area,” said Borgman. “King Louis XIV crawled on his knees up the mountains to venerate the relics of Mary Magdalene, and the princes of Europe and their ladies and the queens made special pilgrimages to this grotto in the 1200s. For centuries the relics were missing, disappearing from about A.D. 710, when the Saracens pillaged the south of France and the Church hid sacred objects to safeguard them. Then in 1279, the relics were discovered by Charles II of Anjou in a crypt of a chapel in the town of St. Maximin in a sarcophagus that did not have her name but tt contained a piece of old parchment dated A.D. 710, which read, ‘Here lies the body of Mary Magdalene.’ Upon discovering the bones, Charles II sealed the crypt and gathered all the bishops for an official opening and inspection. All of the bones including the skull were found intact. The only missing bone was the lower jaw bone which was later found and identified by the pope as the same jawbone that had been venerated, for centuries, as the jawbone of Mary Magdalene, at St. John Lateran Church in Rome. A letter of authentication from Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon indicates that the relics have been venerated, without interruption, since their rediscovery in 1279.”

The greatest hoax perpetuated on humanity has created wars, murders, subterfuge, and the enslavement of minds of a large majority of the masses. There is a vast difference between spiritual and religion. Spiritual is one’s personal connection to the Divine within. Religion is man-made and is used to control people. The current whoop-de-la regarding a tibia supposedly belonging to Mary Magdalene is part of the great deception.

During my research for my book Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, I found that many of the relics so revered in the Catholic Churches were nothing more than animal bones. The fad of relics began in 325 A.D. when Constantine appointed his mother Helene to go to Palestine and locate relics of Judeo-Christian faiths. This move was to strengthen his newly found religion. It is reported that she found some nails of the crucifixion. Really? After 325 years, she was able to locate these when Jesus was not at this time revered as a Christ or the Son of God? This did not happen until the Council of Nicene in 325 A.D.

It was Paul who gave Jesus the title of Christ ,and Paul was not a disciple. Josephus, the noted Roman/Jewish historian is quoted widely by any scholar writing about Jesus and his life. In the first translation I read, there was no mention of Jesus or Mary Magdalene. I thought this was odd. A few months later, I again went to a translation of Josephus’ ”Jewish Antiquities.” In this version of “Jewish Antiquities” 18.3.3 there is a short paragraph regarding Jesus. It is possible that this paragraph was added later. What does this have to do with Paul?

I also discovered the books written by Ralph Ellis who has done extensive research into the bible and ancient history, especially that of ancient Egypt. In Ellis’ book Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs, Chapter VII, titled The Evangelist, pages 220-221. This is about the evangelist named Paul, formerly called Saul—the author of the Book of Acts, which is Paul’s autobiography.

Ellis also researched Josephus’ own autobiography and found amazing coincidences between Josephus and Paul/Saul. The events of their lives are almost identical, so much so that it is obvious that Josephus and Paul/Saul are the same person. It is this same Josephus, who became a turncoat as an undercover spy for the Romans. When the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed its temple, Josephus, a Jew went to Rome and was given Roman citizenship. While living in Rome, he began his writing. Even though Josephus’ creation was a hoax, it is not the greatest one—or perhaps his was the beginning of the greatest hoax perpetuated by the Vatican in order to control the people and their minds. Today the Vatican is extremely wealthy and the papal palace filled with priceless objects. It is all about power. It is time the truth be revealed to those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. We are living in the era of revelations.

This relic myth is still believed today. A relic can be minute flakes of bone, a hair follicle, skin, as examples. In fact, there is one report of the foreskin removed at the circumcision of Jesus being a relic. The truth is that relics became a way to control the people and to have them worship these relics. In John 14:12, Jesus is quoted as saying, “”the works I do, shall ye do also, and greater works shall ye do.” In John 10:34, Jesus said in answer to the Jews who would stone him, “Is it not written in ‘your law’, I said, Ye are gods?” This is in reference to Psalms 82:6, “I ‘said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High.” Religions slide over these verses and focus on false beliefs that Jesus died for your sins. I think it is time to take him down from the cross.

Mary Magdalene was deemed to be an adulteress and a repentant prostitute by Pope Gregory the Great in a speech given in 591 A.D. For centuries, she has been portrayed as a symbol of repentance. It was not until 1969 that the Church allegedly admitted that her being a prostitute was not in the Bible. Myths have an insidious way of being believed as being true.

This great myth regarding Mary Magdalene as being a ‘fallen woman’ has no actual foundation. In A.D. 710, anyone could have placed a piece of an old parchment reading, “Here lies the body of Mary Magdalene.” There is no doubt in my mind that Mary Magdalene was a great woman. Her presence in southern France and the Pyrenees is evident and her memory has been kept alive, and it is possible that it was the Knights Templar who realized her greatness and is responsible for the preservation of her memory.

With the revelation that Ben Hammott of the UK discovering a hidden tomb near Rennes-le-Chateau, France containing a mummified body of a female covered by a Knights Templar shroud, it is now suspect that the Catholic Church suddenly is sending a supposedly reliquary containing the tibia of Mary Magdalene around the United States. Hammott and others are working with the French government to examine this tomb and Hammott has already had the hair of the body tested for its DNA.

Having researched Rennes le Chateau extensively when I was writing my books “Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls” and “Mary Magdalene, Her Legacy,” I was well aware of the vast number of treasure seekers and read numerous books on this as well as the Knights Templar and Mary Magdalene. I visited Rennes le Chateau and the Languedoc region in 2001 and returned home with a desire to know more. I knew there had to be more than what was known at the time. I pondered why a figure of a demon or devil called Asmodeus was at the entrance of the church and why there was a sign over the church entrance stating Terribilis est locus iste and generally translated as This place is terrible.

Even though there have been many interpretations of the paintings and decorations of this church, none of the researchers gave what I call a valid translation or found Saunière’s treasure. Ben Hammott had a dedicated tenacity to search and find the secret. This led him to the discovery of bottles containing these clues, which he deciphered. In his book, “Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar: A Tomb; A Treasure; A Great Secret,” Hammott deciphered the clues Saunière had left in the bottles. On page 316 of Hammott’s book begins the deciphered statements of Saunière.

Saunière found a tomb with a mummified body covered by a tattered shroud with the Knights Templar symbol of a red cross. Saunière realized that this was the body of Jesus Christ from the crucifixion marks on the body. He realized that the Catholic Church knew the story and that Christianity is based on a lie. This is explosive information. Hammott writes that Saunière decided to preserve his information and thus we have a renovated church created by Saunière with his clues for future seekers. Hammott discovery of another message, which is apparently documents of the Knights Templar giving information that they discovered the body under the Temple in Jerusalem and brought it back to France (Gaul) reburying it in this tomb.

Although Hammott discovered a tomb not with a tattered shroud, but a seemingly intact shroud that covered the mummified corpse in it. Are there two tombs? Is one of Jesus and the second the body of Mary Magdalene? Ah mystery! Following the clues Saunière left, Hammott found a possible anointing jar and a cup that could be the wedding cup of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

If this is so, then it does indicate the duplicity of the Vatican—the cover-up and lies over the centuries. I now perceive that the demon Asmodeus represents the Catholic Church and the phrase This place is terrible refers to religion.

Ben Hammott’s book of 680 pages is never boring. He writes with humor, and uses photos to document his journey of discovery and the DNA testing of the body as well as discussing artifacts found in the tomb. From André Doucet’s book “Saunière’s Model and the Secret of Rennes-le-Chateau,” it is written, ‘There is very little difference between Galilee, Galicia and ‘Gaule’, the area of France and England. Doucet writes that one could say that “Gallile” can be read as “en galles il est,” in Gallie (Gaule) he is.”

Can the public accept this? Probably not. The Church has over the centuries coerced, plundered, murdered, warred, and above all lied. Was there ever a Paul, formerly called Saul? What did Jesus and Mary Magdalene really teach? What are their true messages to the world? What else is to be uncovered?

Bettye Johnson is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, an Independent Publishers Book Award Winner 2006.

The guru with a gift for brainwashing

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Thierry Tilly looks like a geography teacher or a chartered accountant, or a French version of Bill Gates. He claims, variously, to be a Nato “master-spy”, a confidant of presidents and prime ministers, a financial genius, a 21st-century representative of an ancient, secret order descended from the Knights Templar and a man with superhuman powers sworn to fight the forces of evil.

He is now in a French prison, refusing to answer questions on possible charges of kidnap, brutality and torture. Seven or eight of his followers, from three generations of a French aristocratic family, are living in Oxford, Tilly’s base for the past nine years. One of them, formerly a gynaecologist, is working as a gardener. Others have jobs in fast-food restaurants. Until 2006, 11 members of the family had spent five years barricaded in their château at Monflanquin, 100 miles east of Bordeaux.

Their relatives say they remain under the spell of a lurid fantasy, which might have been torn from the pages of a Dan Brown thriller. They have been convinced by Tilly that their family – the De Védrines, part of the Protestant nobility of south-west France for 300 years – has been chosen to struggle against supreme evil by an ancient order called L’Equilibre du Monde (The Balance of the World). Lawyers and relatives say they refuse to accept that they have been duped and fleeced of the family fortune of up to €5m (£4.5m) by an unscrupulous, possibly deranged but mysteriously effective con-man.

Angry landlords in Oxford, owed tens of thousands of pounds by Tilly and his followers, say the De Védrines, aged from 96 to 24, are not necessarily all victims. Some members of the clan, they say, have become Tilly’s willing accomplices.

Dotty sect or elaborate fraud? Either way, since the arrest of Thierry Tilly, 44, in Switzerland last month, relatives in France are desperately worried. They fear that the “Oxford Eight” (or perhaps seven) may be so deeply under Tilly’s spell that they could fall victim to a mass suicide pact. They are angry that British authorities have refused to treat the Tilly affair seriously for more than eight months.

Jean Marchand, 62, a former financial journalist, has run an almost single-handed crusade against Tilly for eight years. The Oxford Eight include his former wife, Ghislaine de Vedrines, 55, and his two children, Guillemette, 32, and François, 30. In September 2001, they abruptly severed all ties with M. Marchand, whom they declared to be an “agent of evil”. His daughter, Guillemette, then 24, abandoned her husband after only four months of marriage. Neither husband nor father has seen her since.

M. Marchand’s wife and children barricaded themselves into the family mansion in France with Ghislaine’s elderly mother, also called Guillemette. They were joined by Ghislaine’s two highly educated and successful brothers, Philippe, then 56, and Charles- Henri, 53, Charles-Henri’s wife Christine, 51, and their three children, Guillaume, 24, Amaury, 21 and Diane, 16. The transfer of the family to Oxford began in 2006.

“I still cannot explain Tilly’s hold on my family. It is a kind of mental kidnapping,” M. Marchand said. “He does not even have to be physically present to control them. Almost from the beginning, he has issued most of his orders by telephone or by email and they have always obeyed him.”

For years, the French judicial authorities refused to intervene, despite a police investigation which showed that the family fortune, in cash, furniture, paintings, jewelry and property, was being systematically liquidated and transferred to accounts controlled by Tilly. In March this year, Charles-Henri’s wife, Christine, fled the group in Oxford and returned to France.

She told French police she had been tortured, physically and mentally, beaten and kept for days in darkened rooms. The ill-treatment, she said, was supposed to dredge from deep in her unconscious the whereabouts of a lost treasure of the Knights Templar, the powerful, shadowy, medieval order of chivalry suppressed by the French monarchy in 1307.

The French authorities issued a European arrest warrant. But. despite several requests by a French investigating magistrate, the British judicial authorities refused to honour the warrant for technical reasons. Tilly was finally arrested aboard an aircraft at Zurich airport on 21 October and extradited to France.

“You might think, or hope, that, with Tilly under arrest, the spell would be broken and they would return, painfully, to reality,” M. Marchand told The Independent in his Paris suburban home, still crowded with portraits of his lost family. “But no, it seems not. They are just as much under his spell as they were before.

“I keep thinking of the Temple du Soleil and Jim Jones’ followers in Guyana [sects which entered mass suicide pacts in 1994 and 1978]. What kind of instructions has Tilly given them? Time may be short. The authorities in France have started to take this affair seriously but in Britain we are still being ignored.”

A few days ago, M. Marchand and his lawyer, an expert criminal psychologist, and other helpers visited Oxford and tried to speak to his relatives, now living in guest-houses, expelled from large houses after they failed to pay rent. The attempt led to violent verbal clashes, photographed and filmed by French journalists. M. Marchand tried to accost his son, François, on the street, leading to another shouting match. Oxford police told M. Marchand there was nothing they could do.

“I love Britain. I have a great admiration for Britain,” M. Mar-chand said. “But the attitude of the UK judicial system in this affair has been unhelpful and obstructive since the beginning. Tilly is a convicted fraudster, with other legal problems in Britain and France. He is being sued, many times over, by ex-landlords in Oxford. The French investigating magistrate has asked for the right simply to interview the members of the De Védrines family still in Oxford. He has been systematically refused.”

M. Marchand is especially worried about his daughter, Guillemette, who has not been seen in public for months. In theory, she is still in Oxford but Mr Marchand fears she has been taken elsewhere; or that something worse may have happened to her.

Philippe de Védrines, a former oil executive, now 71, was the first family member to “escape” from Tilly, with his wife Brigitte, 61, in 2008. Much of the French police information on Tilly’s methods and far-fetched claims comes from Philippe, now living in Normandy. He refuses to bring a legal action or talk to the press.

The second breakthrough came in March this year. Christine de Védrines, 59, the wife of the former gynaecologist, Charles-Henri, was persuaded to flee from Tilly by a Frenchman, living in Oxford, for whom she worked as a cook. Robert Pouget was born in Paris and educated in Britain. He came back to England after his French military service and started a business in Oxford selling fresh produce. Mr Pouget said: “After more than a year of working for me, we sat discussing things one night after hours and she just came out with all of it, the whole story.

“She had been incarcerated of her own volition with these people. They had told her she was the direct descendant of people who knew where treasure, handed down from generation to generation, had been hidden by the Knights Templar as a fund to help French aristocrats if they got into trouble: except, she couldn’t remember where it was hidden or how to get it. She said she was taken from bank to bank in Brussels to try to find it but she just couldn’t remember. I told her that was because she had never known. She was told a lie.”

Mr Pouget arranged for Christine to call a cousin in France, who came to collect her within two days. “Christine was a very sweet, nice woman. She was good-natured and kind. When she came to work with normal people, little by little I think, the realisation dawned that it was all an illusion.”

Andrew Scully, 48, also rues the day he ever met Thierry Tilly and the De Védrines. Since renting two houses in Cornwallis Road, Oxford, to Tilly and Guillaume, in 2006 he has been involved in 19 court cases, partly for non-payment of rent, partly counter-claims by the De Védrines.

He rejects the suggestion that the De Védrines are hapless victims. He believes they are “all in it”, especially Guillaume, whom he describes as “Tilly’s right-hand man”. He adds: “They were almost imprisoned in a house that was boarded and shuttered. No one was allowed in or out. Tilly tried to tell me I was being watched and followed, that he had his own entourage of enforcers. I don’t care what happens to any of them, after what they have put me through. They think they are a high-and-mighty, wealthy family but they are just money-grabbing.”

Tilly, in prison in south-west France, is refusing to answer questions. But how was he able to commandeer the lives of three generations of a family, described by M. Marchand as “previously joyous, outward-going, successful people”?

The man was born in March 1964 in Bois-Colombes, west of Paris. He has a record of fraud convictions and failed companies in France. In 1999, he began to work for Mr Marchand’s former wife, Ghislaine (née De Védrines), who ran a successful secretarial school in Paris. He was rapidly taken into Ghislaine’s confidence and, through her, became friendly with her two brothers. M. Marchand said: “I asked her colleagues whether they thought that Tilly and my wife were having an affair. They said, ‘No, we think it’s far, far worse than that’.”

Tilly even tried to recruit M. Marchand. He claimed to be, variously, a “Nato agent”, a confidant of George Bush and to have limitless, mental powers. M. Marchand dismissed his claims as fantasy. He believes Tilly “brain-washed” the De Védrines by playing cleverly on their pride as members of a prominent, Protestant aristocratic family. He persuaded them that previous generations of the De Védrines had always been “called” to act for the forces of good against the forces of evil. He even invented a fictitious role as a wartime resistance hero for the elderly matriarch, Guillemette, but told her children never to discuss it with her.

Another technique used by Tilly, M. Marchand says, was to convince his wife and brothers-in-law that he could make them very rich, then persuaded them that they were in imminent, mortal danger from “evil forces” (including M. Marchand). If they pursued their normal lives, they would be killed instantly.

What were the De Védrines doing for all those years when they were locked in the family chateau, now sold? “Nothing. That is the tragedy,” said M. Marchand. “My brother-in-law Philippe, told me that they were doing absolutely nothing. Most heartbreakingly of all, he says that my daughter Guillemette used to have moments of lucidity. She would say, ‘The best years of my life are being thrown away’. All the same, she remained, somehow, under Tilly’s spell.”

The Independent tried to contact Charles-Henri de Védrines and one of his sons, who work for The Oxford Garden Company. The company said they declined to speak to the press “for the time being”. But Charles-Henri did say: “The truth will come out eventually, then the world will see.”

in theindependent

Los templarios no caben en Soria

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La escultura de ‘Los Templarios’, del escultor Eduardo Mazariegos, tendrá que seguir ‘durmiendo’ en una nave de la avenida de Valladolid durante algún tiempo más.

Y es que, tal y como reconoció el concejal de Urbanismo, Luis Rey, su colocación en la capital se ha aparcado. Matizó que “no se ha descartado, pero ha dejado de ser una prioridad”.

Desde el Ayuntamiento se barajó, con motivo de Las Edades del Hombre y la remodelación de calles del barrio de San Pedro, instalarla en la plaza enfrente de la Concatedral. Finalmente, un pequeño árbol ocupó su lugar antes de la inauguración de la muestra. Aunque también se habló de la posibilidad de proceder posteriormente a su instalación, esta opción también ha sido descartada por el Ayuntamiento capitalino. “No se colocó entonces, ahora ya no, los vecinos están contentos con el árbol”, añadió Rey.

El principal problema con el que se topó el Ayuntamiento era económico, es decir, su adquisición. Hablamos de una pieza de 3.000 kilos con un coste de 80.000 euros, si la opción hubiera sido adquirirla en propiedad. En el caso de haber optado por el alquiler, este ascendía unos mil euros al mes, más el coste del seguro que había que contratar para evitar daños por vandalismo.

Sin embargo, tal y como señaló Rey, esta última opción, la del alquiler, ya fue desestimada “ya que no encontramos un seguro» que se adaptara a las necesidades que requería su protección”.

La propiedad de la pieza está en manos de Ángel González, el cual espera que algún día ‘Los Templarios’ tengan la oportunidad de ser expuestos y pueda por fin salir de la nave del polígono. Sin embargo, la propiedad intelectual sigue siendo del autor de la escultura, Eduardo Mazariegos.

No sería la primera vez que la pieza se expusiera. Ya sucedió hace más de 15 años, cuando ‘Los Templarios’ estuvieron en la Plaza Mayor de Soria. Posteriormente, tuvo la oportunidad de recorrer la geografía española y estuvo en la Expo de Sevilla y en Valladolid.


Mere coincidence or divine truth?

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A niggling curiosity about colors started the whole thing. “For many years, I found myself idly wondering if the name value of colors mentioned in the Bible had any relationship to their wave frequency,” says Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Haim Shore.

“In the scheme of things, that’s an outrageous suggestion – why would anyone think that the Hebrew name for colors mentioned in the Bible – red, green, yellow – would bear any relationship to the wave frequency of the color itself?” he asks. “Finally, just for fun, I checked it out. When I saw the results, I was stunned. It was a heck of a coincidence, but the two were linearly related.”

“The Hebrew word for the color actually matched the color’s wave frequency,” Shore says. “How could that be?”

Shore’s methodology was relatively simple. He took the Hebrew names of five colors that appear in the Bible – red (adom), yellow (tzahov), green (yerakon), blue (tchelet) and purple or magenta (argaman) – and calculated a numerical value for each word by adding the total values of the letters, with aleph as one, bet as two, etc. Then he plotted them on a graph. The vertical axis charted the colors’ wave frequencies, which are scientifically established, while along the horizontal axis, the ‘CNV’, Color Name Value, appeared. When it was complete, “I was astonished,” Shore recalls.

“The five points on the graph formed a straight line – which means that the names of the colors related directly to their established wave frequencies.” It was a straight-out statistical analysis, Shore says. “I didn’t manipulate a single number in doing the analysis.”

“I didn’t plot anything at all until I had all the data,” he says. “But when I saw it, I was like a lion in a cage, pacing around. I couldn’t believe it. Then I went on to other words in the Hebrew Bible, plotting the value of the letters against known scientific data. The whole thing blew me away.”

“What I found is that there’s an astonishing number of ‘coincidences’ in which the Hebrew name for some ‘entity’ in the Bible relates directly to that entity’s scientifically established physical property,” Shore continues. “I began recording it all, and finally published it in a book which contains about 20 different analyses – statistical, scientifically verifiable findings.”

“I have no intention of trying to tell anyone what this means, or how this information should be interpreted. All I did was publish what I found,” he says. “As a scientist, as a matter of integrity, I felt compelled to offer what I’d found for discussion.”

Shore’s book Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrew offers dozens of incidents in which the Hebrew words in the Bible offer hidden information about the objects or people they represent, information which, in many cases, couldn’t have been known or measured until modern times.

“This is not gematria,” Shore says. “Gematria, adopted by rabbis and Jewish Bible interpreters, suggests that if two Hebrew words share the same numerical value, there’s then a ‘secret’ that binds them together. By contrast, the Hebrew word, ‘heraion’ (pregnancy) has the same numerical value as the duration of human pregnancy, 271 days.”

“That is not gematria,” he insists, “nor is this a ‘Bible Code’ sort of thing, with overtones of prophecy. What I have attempted to do, with as plain and non-technical means as possible, was to offer several quantitative analyses that demonstrate that major physical properties are probably reflected in the numerical values of Hebrew words.”

Colors were one thing. Celestial objects were another – moon, earth and sun. “It is well known from Kabbalistic literature that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were created first, and that thereafter, by use of these letters, God created all the worlds. Ancient Jewish sources repeatedly stress that idea,” he says.

“Could there be a linkage between numerical values of biblical words and certain physical properties, as demonstrated by the heraion example?” Shore asks. “In Hebrew, yareach is moon, eretz is earth, and shemesh is sun. One thing that distinguishes the three bodies is their size, expressed by the diameters. I used their diameters as listed by NASA, and plotted them on a graph, just as I did with the colors.

“On the horizontal axis is the numerical value of the Hebrew word, on the vertical axis is the planetary diameters from NASA (on a log scale),” he continues. “To my astonishment, the phenomenon repeated itself. The three points aligned themselves on a straight line – an exact mathematical relationship would have given a linear correlation of ‘1,’ whereas these three points had a linear correlation of 0.999. Again I thought, ‘What an amazing coincidence!'”

IT’S NOT as though the Tiberias-born Shore was intellectually primed to believe what he was seeing. “My research has been in the areas of statistical modeling and quality and reliability engineering,” he says. “I graduated from the Technion in Industrial Engineering and Management, received a Masters in Operations Research, plus a BA in Philosophy and Psychology, then a PhD in Statistics from Bar Ilan. I’ve worked as a management consultant, taught at Tel Aviv University, then came to BGU in 1996. But beyond that, I’m an engineer. I don’t accept anything as true unless there is quantitative analysis – without that, everything is debatable.”

“But not this,” Shore says. “It’s a universal principle of engineering that if you have two sets of data, you put them in ascending order, plot one set on a horizontal axis and the other on a vertical axis and they fall on a straight line, that means both data sets are measuring the same thing, only on different scales.”

Nor did he start out believing what the Sages had written, that within the Hebrew words lay an additional layer of information, hidden to us, which can be exposed by relating to the numerical value of the word.

“Not at all,” he says. “For many years I was utterly convinced all that was based on superstition – pure myth, no different from those provided by any number of other religions and cultures. But what I was seeing made me think twice about what was written in the Talmud, like in Midrash Rabba, where it says, ‘Thus was God observing the Torah and creating the universe,’ and in Berachot, ‘Bezalel knew how to assemble letters with which Heaven and Earth had been created.'”

Shore’s postulations don’t amount to scientific evidence, he says, but he’s now moved beyond terming the multitude of correlations he found as mere “coincidences.”

“Initially, I related to these incidents as curiosities, things that had no scientific basis. But over the years, I’ve come to see these ‘coincidences’ evolve into something more,” he says. “By 2006 I’d reached the conclusion that the number of instances I’d assembled had reached a critical mass, which justified putting some of it into print.”

One of the things that fascinates Shore is how modern science and technology reflects or reinforces Biblical terminology. “The word ‘year’ – in Hebrew shana – is numerically equivalent to 355, which happens to be the average duration of the lunar (moon-based) Hebrew year,” Shore explains. “Or ozen which means ‘ear’ in Hebrew, which comes from the same root as the Hebrew word for ‘balance.’ That’s curious, because it was only at the end of the 19th Century that we discovered that the mechanism responsible for the body balance resides in the ear.”

Another curiosity relates to the name of the Biblical character, Laban, one of the more menacing personalities in Genesis. A passage in the Passover Haggada reads, “Go and realize what Laban the Aramean wished to inflict on Jacob our Patriarch. Pharaoh decreed against the males only, however Laban wished to uproot all.”

“Laban represents a total loss of Jewish identity,” Shore says. “He wanted everything mixed up, with no one, or no culture, having any distinguishing features. He mixed his children, his wives, his religious faith, his language and his property. He idealized the ‘everything goes’ maxim – the ‘global village, as we’d say today – where everyone and everything is just alike.”

“As every Hebrew school kid knows, the name ‘Laban’ means ‘white’ – which is extraordinary,” he continues. “‘Laban’ is the only personal name in the Bible that’s also the name of a color. Up until 1666, when Isaac Newton came along, every scientist since Aristotle believed that white was a single basic color. Not until Newton passed a thin beam of sunlight through a glass prism did anyone recognize the spectrum of colors. White, Newton argued, is really a mixture of many different types of rays that are refracted at slightly different angles, with each ray producing a different color. White, then, is a mixture of all colors.”

“Isn’t that bizarre, if it’s just a coincidence? That in the Bible, Laban, the man who mixed everything up, should be named ‘white’?” Shore asks.

THE BOOK of Genesis, especially the creation story, comes in for special treatment. Together with Prof. Yehuda Radday, Shore analyzed Genesis and published a book in 1985.

“Prof. Radday, who passed away on Sept. 11, 2001, was one of my closest friends. We first met when I was a teaching assistant back in the 1970s and he was affiliated with the Technion doing statistical analysis of Biblical texts,” Shore recalls. “At that time, the theories of German-born Julius Wellhausen were in vogue, and we set out to statistically test Wellhausen’s theory that there were multiple authors for Genesis.”

Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) was a German Bible scholar who argued that the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses, were not written by Moses but rather resulted from oral traditions that evolved from a nomadic culture which, relatively recently, had been pieced together. Wellhausen named the four sources “J”, “E”, “D” and “P” distinguishing individual verses and segments on the basis of terminology and by perceived differences in philosophy. For many decades, Wellhausen’s theories enjoyed general acceptance among Biblical scholars.

“Yehuda and I published our research – which statistically affirmed the position that the book of Genesis was homogenous with respect to authorship (namely, a single author) – in several research papers and ultimately in a book published by the Biblical Institute Press in Rome (Romae E Pontificio Instituto Biblico) of the Vatican,” he tells. “So when I began looking at the book of Genesis again, I already had considerable background.”

One of the elements Shore analyzed was the Biblical timeline of creation. In the Genesis story, the universe was created in six “days,” whereas in modern day cosmology, it’s measured in billions of years, which sets off the faith vs. science debate.

“I started by taking the events of the first chapter of Genesis – just the facts as given, no interpretation. ‘Light’ was created on the first day; on the second – the sky; on the fourth – the sun and the moon were set in place; on the fifth – marine and bird life; and on the sixth day, according to oral Torah, Adam and Eve were created at the end of the 14th hour,” he says.

“I took the six points and correlated each Biblical day – ‘1 day,’ ‘2 day’ – with the scientifically established time period. For example, science has established that galaxies started to be formed about 11.8 billion years ago, the sun and the moon, 4.5 billion years ago, etc. I plotted the cosmological age on the vertical axis and the Biblical timeline (day – one through six) on the horizontal axis. I found them to be arranged in a straight line,” Shore says.

“Is that possible that the two sets of data, the biblical and the scientific, represent the same ‘timeline,’ just expressed in different time scales?” he asks.

“Statistical analysis shows that the probability that would happen by chance alone is less than 0.0021%,” he continues. “If you take out day 2 and day 5 – there’s scientific debate about when life as we know it came into existence, or when exactly large scale structures had appeared in the early universe – you can plot just four points. The probability of those four points aligning themselves on a straight line, the way they did, by chance alone is still less than 0.0165%.”

Shore now believes he might have used a word other than ‘coincidences’ in the book title. “The title reflected my attitude towards many of the examples given in the book. But during the short span of about two or three months when I feverishly wrote it all down, something changed. I’d now say it’s highly probable that hidden information in biblical words supplements the exposed information submitted.”

What did Shore hope to gain by publishing his findings? “I knew very well I was putting my reputation on the line with this book,” he says. “What I hoped would happen is that it would start a discussion, that people would begin to talk about it.”

“That hasn’t happened so far, probably because I’ve been reluctant to publicize it,” Shore admits. “I finally went ahead because the data is significant. Everyone can figure out for himself what it all means – I’m not saying anything here about God or the Bible or biblical Hebrew. But there’s something here that should be discussed and analyzed further.”

Several more ‘coincidences’ have helped shape Shore’s life. At present, he is statistically processing data received from a web-based feedback survey, conducted at the end of the 18th Maccabiah. “We’re measuring participants’ satisfaction, which involves analyzing questionnaires submitted by e-mail to athletes, delegation officials and Maccabiah staff,” he says.

“The Maccabiah is special to me because in 1932, my father, Daniel, came to Tel Aviv to participate in the first Maccabiah as a member of the Polish football team. Once here, he stayed – which meant that he escaped the Holocaust (most of his family did not). Because of that, I told the Maccabiah Organizing Committee, who had approached me with a request to conduct this feedback survey, that I would conduct the survey and analyze its results free of charge, on a voluntary basis only,” Shore recalls.

Then, too, Shore was stunned to find that he wasn’t the first Shore to write a book on Genesis. “My father’s grandfather, Baruch Schorr, was a famous cantor in Lemberg, called Lvov today,” he says. “He wrote two books, one about Ecclesiastes and another about Genesis that he named Bechor Schorr. I only learned about Baruch’s book of Genesis – which was published in Lemberg in 1873 – long after my book about Genesis, with Prof. Radday, was published.”

“That’s just one more coincidence,” Shore adds.

in Jerusalem Post