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Vs: orion When the Eschaton is delayed - Collins and the Expectation of the End
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Apocalyptic calculations and mathematical correspondences were intimately
interrelated with each other. We must remember that in the late antiquity
there was no idea of the logical preconditions of mathematical systems.
Different systems and numbers could be linked with each other without
difficulties (as some do today!). When someone managed to gain some
correpondence then he interpreted that "this is revelation from God!"
About one year agon I lectured to laymen about "666 in Revelation." We
created mathematical systems the aid of which we could call Hitler, J.
Stalin, Bill Gates, Willy Brandt etc. Antichrist. For example Willy Brandt
is VILLY BRANDT = 5 + 1 + 50 + 50 (Y=0) + (B, R, A, N =0) + 500 + (T = 0) =
606. And we need extra 60 which is, of course (!) = LEX = 50 + (E = 0) + 10
= 60. And the meaning of this tohuwabohu is that "Willy Brandt is coming to
change Law", i.e., he will make the job of Antichrist.
So in late antiquity mathematical systems were interpreted to contain
divine secrets -- and I think that if the system failed it was quite easy
to find good hermeneutic tools to reinterpret the "cognitive dissonance". I
think Robert Carroll's book "When Prophecy Failed" is good reading -- he
adopts Festinger's theory about cognitive dissonance.
I have written some articles on apocalyptic mathematics in late antiquity
(ZAW 102 1990, 212-225 concerning Dan 9:24-27; RdQ 60 1992, 605-607
concerning CD; and one forthcoming in JSP concerning 2 Baruch) where
arguments are based on the presupposition that mathematics provided a
source to divine revelation. So, I cannot find any problem in Collins'
approach as far as the relationship between mathematical calculations and
cognitive dissonance is conecerned.
with best regards, Antti Laato Dr, MA