Bs"d    Adar 5767 (2007 C.E).



A Brief Chronology of Torah Codes Research:
Up to the First Scientific Publication


1.     According to traditional Jewish sources the Torah in general, and the Book of Genesis in specific, contain a wealth of information in cryptic form. This information is encoded in a number of different ways. One of the ways mentioned is in the form of ELS’s (Equidistant Letters Sequences). Several examples of this are given. (For more information, click here).

2.     )In about 5700 (1940 C.E.) Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl began to investigate ELS’s. This research produced astonishing results, some of which were collected, posthumously, in the book Torath Chemed. In 5718 (1958 C.E.) the Neitra Yeshiva in the U.S.A published this book in a limited edition. (For an example of his work, click here).

3.     About twenty years later, the examples found in Torath Chemed aroused the interest of Avraham Oren, Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv, Dr. Moshe Katz, and others. They tried to find new discoveries using this methodology. Rabbi Yaniv got the mathematician Eliyahu Rips interested in the subject.

4.    )In 5743 (1983 C.E.) the mathematician Professor Eliyahu Rips began to conduct quantitative research into the subject: He primarily investigated the occurrence of words as ELS’s clustering at an appropriate place in the text. An impressive example of his work appeared in the periodical, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, Vol. 151, Part I (1988), p 165.

5.     Here is a chronicle of the events surrounding the publication of the Statistical        Science paper (for a more detailed description click here):

  • In the spring of 5745 (1985 C.E.) Doron Witztum discovered the phenomenon of convergences between pairs of conceptually related words in the Book of Genesis - as ELS’s. Shortly thereafter Eliyahu Rips defined a methodology for evaluating the significance of these convergences. The necessary software was prepared by Yoav Rosenberg.
  • Later that summer WRR (Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg) decided to investigate convergences between the names and appellations of famous rabbinical personalities and their dates of birth and death. To this end a list of personalities was prepared, using the Encyclopedia of Great Men in Israel as the basis. The list was to include only the most famous individuals, i.e. those whose entries consisted of at least three columns of text, and for whom dates of birth and/or death were cited. A list of names and appellations was prepared before the experiment began, by Professor Shlomo Zalman Havlin, then head of the Dept. of Bibliography and Librarianship at Bar Ilan University, following professional guidelines. The rules of orthography and the form of the Hebrew date were also established a priori by the linguist Yaakov Orbach, o.b.m.
  • Measurements of the convergences indicated that there is a very strong tendency for the names of the personalities to converge with their associated dates. WRR published their results in a preprint describing their research, in the autumn of 5747 (1986 C.E.).
  • In response to the paper, Professor Diaconis proposed that a new list of famous personalities be prepared, to be investigated using the exact same program.
  • To compile the new list WRR took those personalities whose entries in the Encyclopedia were between 1.5 and 3 columns of text, and for whom a date of birth and/or death were cited. The dates were written in exactly the same format as was previously established. This time, too, the list of names and appellations was prepared a priori by Professor Havlin, using the same professional criteria. [Later, in the autumn 5757 (1996 C.E.) Professor Havlin issued a document describing the professional guidelines he used in compiling both the first and the second list of names and appellations. To read this document click here].
  • Measurements were made using the same program as in the first experiment. The results were very successful. A paper describing the two experiments was published (as a preprint) in the winter of 5748 (1988 C.E.).
  • A shortened version of this paper was submitted for publication in PNAS by the mathematician Professor Robert J. Aumann. Negotiations were conducted regarding publication. In the course of these negotiations Professor Diaconis first proposed, in a letter dated 3 Aug. 1988 C.E., that a new test be used, involving a large number of random permutations. Eventually the details of the test, the number of permutations and the requisite level of significance, were agreed upon by Professor Diaconis and Professor Aumann (as laid down in a letter dated 7 Sept. 1990 C.E., written by Professor Aumann and approved by Professor Diaconis two days later).
  • Professor Aumann delivered a copy of the agreement to WRR, who had taken no part in the negotiations. At Professor Aumann’s recommendation a new paper was composed, even before the experiment was run. This version described the new test, leaving out the results, which did not yet exist. This paper was sent to Professor Diaconis and to several other well known statisticians. They approved the test as it was described in the paper, and they stipulated (each one independently) the level of significance that should be required.
  • The experiment was run in the winter of 1991 C.E., and the results were very significant: p = 0.000016, well beyond the proposed cutoffs. The results were then incorporated into the paper. The paper was finally published in the journal Statistical Science, Vol. 9 (1994) No. 3, 429-438. To read this paper click here.

 6.    In the winter of 5749 (end of 1988 C.E.) the book The Additional Dimension (Hamemad Hanosaf), by Doron Witztum, was published. This book presented many examples, primarily intuitive ones, illustrating the kinds of subjects covered by the phenomenon under discussion, and the typical geometrical patterns of the convergences.

7.  In the winter of 5764 (end of 2003 C.E.) Doron Witzum's book Tzofen Bereishith (Genesis Codes) was published. In addition to explaining the phenomenon and describing its research, the book includes a well documented description of the above discussion and the developments leading to the final publication in Statistical Science. Although the book is in Hebrew, it includes original (English) documentation. For more information, click here


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