Over the past several years, much controversy has
been generated by statistical research originally done in Israel on what
have come to be known as the "Bible Codes" or "Codes in Torah." This legitimate statistical work on equal-interval letter-skip patterns
found in the book of Genesis was published in the August 1994 issue of
the peer-reviewed journal, Statistical Science. Presentations of
this research for popular audience have taken many different forms, ranging
from reporter Michael Drosin's book, The Bible Code, through the"Discovery Seminars" run by the Jewish outreach organization Aish haTorah,
and onward to various Christian and messianic groups attempting to use
this material to make points of their own. Many of these popular presentations,
unfortunately, range much farther afield than the original researchers
ever intended to go, and until recently, responsible articles written for
the educated non-statistician on the subject of the codes in Torah have
been few and far between.
In October 1995, Bible Review magazine
published an article by Jeffrey B. Satinover, MD, Ph.D., outlining the
history of this statistical research and its basic findings. A psychiatrist
with a private practice in psychotherapy, psychiatry and psychopharmacology,
Satinover also serves as medical director for the Temenos Institute Psychiatric
Clinic, in Westport, Connecticut. We are pleased to present here Dr. Satinover's complete article on the "Codes in Torah," reprinted with permission both from the
author and from Bible Review. In a separate section, we also present
Dr. Satinover's responses to letters received and printed by Bible Review which commented on his article (these letters, and Dr. Satinover's responses,
appeared in the February 1996 issue).
Letters to the Editors
of Bible Review: Dr. Satinover Responds Dr. Satinover's response to readers'
questions and comments, many of which echoed objections
originally made to this work by
statistical professionals. Dr. Satinover's piece explains some of the
statistical researchers' responses
to these common objections to their findings, and adds more details
about the tests required by the
review committee for Statistical Science before they would publish
(Note that readers' letters are
not reproduced here, and names (where Dr. Satinover used them) have been
Many well-reasoned criticisms of this work have
also been written, and studies have been designed to point out flaws in
the statistical methods used by Witztum, Rips, and Rosenberg (the authors
of the original Statistical Science article). Statistician Prof.
Abraham Y. Hasofer of Australia has written criticisms of the Statistical
Science paper from a methodological point of view, and also (and somewhat
more accessibly to the average reader) has strongly criticized their use
for outreach (as is done in the "Discovery Seminars"). He originally published
his Codes in Torah: A Rejoinder in 1993 in the journal B'Or Ha'Torah,
vol. 8E. He has recently revised this article, which is now titled Torah
Codes: Reality or Illusion. We highly recommend Prof. Hasofer's article.
Brendan McKay's "Torah Codes" page In addition to Profs. Hasofer and
McKay, many other mathematical professionals have also
expressed strong reservations about
the "Codes in Torah". Prof. Barry Simon of Cal Tech has
organized a petition that expresses
some of their major concerns.
Essays by Stan Tenen on the Equal
Interval Letter Skip Patterns and the "Codes in Torah"
We believe that Meru Foundation's work may shed some light on the Equal-Interval
Letter Skip (ELS) patterns: how they might have been generated, and what
their significance might be. Below are some informal essays and other material
by Stan Tenen presenting our speculations on the subject.
Stan Tenen's Radio Interviews
on the Bible Codes for Art Bell's Coast to Coast Updated March 2000
In the summer of 1997, Stan Tenen did two radio
interviews on the Bible Codes on Art Bell's Coast to Coast, an all-night
program devoted to unusual and esoteric topics. Note that this program
is designed for a general audience, with no background in Jewish learning,
and only a slight awareness of science. However, the format allows the
speaker enough uninterrupted time each half-hour to make a coherent presentation,
and so the feedback we have received on these interviews is quite positive.
As of March 2000,
Stan Tenen's two 1997 interviews on Coast to Coast are not currently
available online. Apparently, Coast to Coast is between servers
for the Archives of older interviews, and no decision has been made as
to whether, or where, to re-post them. Up to date information can
be found at www.coasttocoastam.com/guest/tenen-stan/6379,
audiocassette recordings of Mr. Tenen's interviews
may still be available.
Art Bell's Interview of Stan Tenen, 9 June 1997 (2
Art Bell's Interview of Stan Tenen, 7 July 1997 (3