The Bible Code
by Michael Drosnin
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. 264 pp. $25.
Reviewed by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Hands down, Drosnin (a former reporter for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal) wins all awards for 1997's stupidest book about the Middle East. He rearranges the 304,805 Hebrew letters of the Jewish Bible into a continuous letter strand and discovers in his much hyped study—lo and behold—that the holy book contains patterns of letters referring to virtually every modern event. "Napoleon" turns up encoded along with "France," "Waterloo," and "Elba." The main leaders of World War II appear jointly. "Economic collapse" appears along with "5690" (which equals the common year 1929). The moon landing is dated to the correct day. Major cultural figures ("Beethoven" and "Rembrandt") are correctly identified. Every major assassination of the past two centuries was "accurately detailed" in the Bible. It predicted the precise day when the Kuwait war would begin and even includes an event so small as the capture and murder of an Israel policeman in December 1992.
As might be expected, Drosnin often stretches facts to fit his scheme. Finding February 25, 1996 associated with the warning "all his people to war," he finds vindication in an Arab act of terrorism against Israel on that date. His patterns are sometimes barely visible. But perhaps most charmingly idiotic about his all-so-serious book is how the computer programmer who wrote the Bible already knew the modern Hebrew neologisms for such words as "autobus," "subway," "airplane," "electricity," "lightbulb," and "computer"—all of which appear in its supposed code!
But predicting the past is the easy part: What comes next? Well, Drosnin found the Jewish year 5757 (which ended in October 1997) associated with "holocaust"—a seemingly wrong call. Other prophesies, yet to be determined: that Binyamin Netanyahu will not live out his term as prime minister and a world war will begin in either 2000 or 2006.
Related Topics: Daniel Pipes | December 1997 MEQ
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