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Beast's real mark devalued to '616'

Revelation fragment




Chris Wattie


National Post


Wednesday, May 04, 2005



Satanists, apocalypse watchers and heavy metal guitarists may have to adjust their demonic numerology after a recently deciphered ancient biblical text revealed that 666 is not the fabled Number of the Beast after all.


A fragment from the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament, dating to the Third century, gives the more mundane 616 as the mark of the Antichrist.


Ellen Aitken, a professor of early Christian history at McGill University, said the discovery appears to spell the end of 666 as the devil's prime number.


"This is a very nice piece to find," Dr. Aitken said. "Scholars have argued for a long time over this, and it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast."


The tiny fragment of 1,500-year-old papyrus is written in Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and contains a key passage from the Book of Revelation.


Where more conventional versions of the Bible give 666 as the "number of the beast," or the sign of the anti-Christ whose coming is predicted in the book's apocalyptic verses, the older version uses the Greek letters signifying 616.


"This is very early confirmation of that number, earlier than any other text we've found of that passage," Dr. Aitken said. "It's probably about 100 years before any other version."


The fragment was part of a hoard of previously illegible manuscripts discovered in an ancient garbage dump outside the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. Although the papyrus was first excavated in 1895, it was badly discoloured and damaged. Classics scholars at Oxford University were only recently able to read it using new advanced imaging techniques.


Elijah Dann, a professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Toronto, said the new number is unlikely to make a dent in the popularity of 666.


"Otherwise, a lot of sermons would have to be changed and a lot of movies rewritten," he said with a laugh. "There's always someone with an active imagination who can put another interpretation on it.


"It just shows you that when you study something as cryptic and mystic as the Book of Revelation there's an almost unlimited number of interpretations."


The book is thought to have been written by the disciple John and according to the King James Bible, the traditional translation of the passage reads: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."


But Dr. Aitken said that translation was drawn from much later versions of the New Testament than the fragment found in Oxyrhynchus. "When we're talking about the early biblical texts, we're always talking about copies and they are copies made, at best, 150 to 200 years after [the original] was written," she said.


"They can have mistakes in the copying, changes for political or theological reasons ... it's like a detective story piecing it all together."


Dr. Aitken said, however, that scholars now believe the number in question has very little to do the devil. It was actually a complicated numerical riddle in Greek, meant to represent someone's name, she said.


"It's a number puzzle -- the majority opinion seems to be that it refers to [the Roman emperor] Nero."


Revelation was actually a thinly disguised political tract, with the names of those being criticized changed to numbers to protect the authors and early Christians from reprisals. "It's a very political document," Dr. Aitken said. "It's a critique of the politics and society of the Roman empire, but it's written in coded language and riddles."

© National Post 2005



I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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Originally posted by offramp:

......The fragment was part of a hoard of previously illegible manuscripts discovered in an ancient garbage dump outside the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. ...........

Obviously, the person transcribing the text made an error in the number and threw it away with the rest of the garbage.

KB Gunn

website: www.visionoutreach.net


....government is a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

-Neal Boortz

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It'd be odd if metal bands with Satanic references immediately changed all their 666 refs to 616. It'd show they care a bit much about something so... dumb.


We learned about Biblical numbers in high school, and of course 6 was evil or something, and 7 was good.. There's more to it but I fail to remember.

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Guess that means that we now have to examine those folks in the central lower peninsula of Michigan with a lot more scrutiny. Hmmmmmm.

"I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to."

-Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

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Alan Mitchell, a theology professor at Georgetown University, said there's no reason the discovery should detract from the popularity of 666. "In my opinion, it doesn't change anything," he said. "The most reliable manuscripts have the number as 666. There's no reason to change the text of the New Testament, and there's no reason to change the tattoos."


Still.....just to be on the safe side, I think we should burn all of the people in the 616 area code. Just in case.

Super 8


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Originally posted by Christopher Robin:

*beep* *beep* *beep*

We're sorry - the number you have reached - six, six, six - is no longer in service of Satan. Please check the Bible and try again.

:thu: Beat me to it, Chris!


Originally posted by ryst:

now i gotta go back to the tatoo parlor and get my ass tatoo changed to 616. This santanic shit is too expensive.

Don't you see, Ryst?!? There's no new text! Sure, they discovered an "ancient scroll in Egypt.." I've been to Egypt. Every few feet another underprivleged kid has antiquities to sell the tourists. It's a plot to get people like you to buy more Satanic items and services. I mean, you have the 666 tat, now you need a matching 616. It's all a sales scam. :mad:




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666 makes more sense... I was always intrigued by the some of the other associations. Check out this site...

The Number of the Man Antichrist


Two quotes that were interesting to me...


Number 6 in the Bible is the number of imperfection, so, the Antichrist would have the triple total imperfection, in his religious, political and social dimensions, symbolizing the climax of man's failure and wickedness
In the Hebrew alphabet -- Hebrew, by the way, is the language of God -- ``W'' ( pronounced ``vov'') is the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and, in the Hebraic number system, has traditionally stood for the number 6, so WWW = 666
So, it has to be *666*. And, the Internet has to be evil.. :P


"It's all about the... um-m-m, uh-h-h..."

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