ASSOCIATES (vol. 4, no. 3, March 1998) - associates.ucr.edu
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_The Bible Code_ Michael Drosnin Simon & Schuster Publishing Company 1997 ISBN: 0-684-81079-4 US $25.00 Reviewed by Bob Farnsworth Senior Library Technical Assistant University of North Florida firstname.lastname@example.org As you would probably suspect, this review may be a bit different than our usual because it deals with a book and a topic that can cause some controversy. However, this review only is submitted to continue the hope of presenting current books you will hear patrons and colleagues discussing. The validity of its background and premise is still being debated. _The Bible Code_ is a book about what the author, Michael Drosnin (a reporter formerly with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal) feels is "the first full account of a code in the Bible that reveals events that took place thousands of years after the Bible was written." The book opens as the author is warning Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that "an Israeli mathematician has discovered a hidden code in the Bible..." This code has indicated that Rabin will be assassinated. As we know from the news, this was a prediction which came true in 1995. We are then told that the current discoverer (there had been those like Izaak Newton who suspected its existence) of the Code was Dr. Elijahu Rips--a world-renowned expert in group theory (the mathematical field that underlies quantum physics). According to the author, Dr. Rips heard about this code but was only able to decipher it when he used a computer to assist him. While the information in the Code is information for the whole world, one has to understand that the Code exists only in Hebrew--the original language of the Bible. According to Michael Drosnin, there was a senior code-breaker at the U.S. National Security Agency--Harold Gans--who decided to disprove the whole Code theory. He was so skeptical that he wrote his own computer program for this purpose. However, Gans' disproval theory backfired--when his own program proved that the program Dr. Rips had used for the Code was valid. The Code was real. Basically, we are told "The Bible is constructed like a giant crossword puzzle...Criss-crossing the entire known text of the Bible, hidden under the original Hebrew of the Old Testament is a complex network of words and phrases--a new revelation..." The premise of the code is that it works according to historical writings. All spaces between words are turned into one continuous letter strand--which is, according to what we are told--the Bible's original structural form. That strand is searched by the computer for sequences of names, words, and phrases following a fairly simple skip sequence. The results reveal relation information by bringing together interlocking words--in a pattern similar to a crossword puzzle. Oddly enough, when this same formula was performed on other books and written pieces, none revealed the interlocking crossword type of code. Following the information gained from the sequential pattern, the author indicates that the Code also announces that we are in the "End of Days'--beginning the time of the Apocalypse. However, rather than attempting to instill fear in his readers, Drosnin stresses that the true use of the Code is to inform and to warn. "It is not a threat of inevitable doom. It is just information. The message of the Bible Code is that we can save ourselves." So, no matter what, if any, your religious convictions, this book has merit in the library field for several reasons. First, as workers in libraries we naturally have all been exposed to the Bible as one of the most famous books. Second, if you've ever tried a crossword or similar puzzle, this may be the story of the "ultimate" such puzzle. Third, we are given a good review of the background of some of the current problems in the Middle East. And last, if you only want to read the book as a science fiction tale, you'll find it fascinating. Try it...it's unique and thought-provoking!