Wednesday, September 12, 2007

# of the Beast!

FINALLY, I have discovered why I am valuable when the Apocalypse comes.

But first, a bit of background . . .

My lunchtime colleagues and I sometimes play a game, discussing what each of us will do when The Apocalypse comes and why we will have special skills to contribute to the safety of the group. For instance, Perk (before he moved to Utah and doomed the remaining to starvation) always had large stores of non-perishable food in his basement. We were either going to maintain a solid friendship with Perk to ensure that he would distribute said food among his family and friends (us) or we would good-naturedly raid his food stores when the time was right. Lulu was/is? building a homestead off the grid in the Plains that will be a good home base and isolated enough for good planning and preparation.

But, what about me? My best skills (television criticism, internet viewing, blogging, podcast-listening) are all electric dependent. I'm moderately funny, but could I keep up the humor long enough to prevent everyone making me lunch when Perk's stores run out?

Well, thanks to my pre-Apocalypse hobby of podcast listening, I now have a creditable post-Apocalypse skill that is valuable.

I know the TRUE Number of the Beast! (And no, it's NOT 666.)

Now that I know this, I will be armed with knowledge that can keep my friends and family safe from the roving bands of demonic zombies and hell spawn that will surely infect a post-Apocalyptic Earth.

How do I know this? According to Radio Lab, a podcast that I have mentioned before, archaeologists who dig through ancient trash dumps have uncovered a scrap of ancient Greek, a copy of segment of the Book of Revelations that refers to the number as follows:

"Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelations 13:18, New American Standard Bible)

Well, the RadioLab story claims that this number isn't the original. I quote from the podcast, directly here--

Jad Abumrad [host]: Derek showed me a piece of papyrus that he found in the dump, about the size of your palm . . . a copy of precisely that passage in the New Testament where the number is stated. Now here's the thing. This little scrap of papyrus that Derek turned up is the earliest known copy that we have of that passage. He showed me the three numbers that are smack in the middle of the papyrus--chi, iota, stigma--should say 666 . . . but in fact chi, i0ta, stigma DON'T say 666.

Robert Krulwich [co-host]: They don't? What do they say?

JA: 6 . . . 1 . . . 6.\

RK: NO! Really? Does that mean ALL the bibles are wrong?

JK: Maybe. All we really know is that the Number of the Beast had versions . . . and that 616 may be the original.

So, there you have it. And, no . . . you can't use this to usurp my post-Apocalyptic power. What if I didn't tell you the truth?

1 comment:

Sven Golly said...

Let me get this straight, so I'll be able to dance to this apocalyso number. The Greek letters chi, iota, sigma somehow signify '616'? Or is that your fraternity and this is some initiation prank?