Monday, June 05, 2006

24-09-7514

If you're hunkered down for the day until it's no longer 06-06-06, the following points just might be encouraging enough to get you out the door:

1) The number of the Beast is not 06-06-06. It's not even 6-6-6. It's 666, as in six hundred sixty-six. It's a number, not a string of digits that happen to look like that number in our writing system. In Greek numerals, the digits don't even match each other: χξςʹ.

2) Hardly anyone still writes dates in the format 06-06-06 anymore, at least not by any consistent rule. There's no good reason to do so in this case, except that it looks more ominous than 6/6/2006.

3) Any date-based superstition is susceptible to the problem that we don't all write the numbers in the same sequence. In America, the standard tends to be month-day-year, but in a lot of other places, it's day-month-year. Now, it happens that in this case it doesn't matter which order you write the numbers in, but this would be fabulously encouraging if we were talking about something more like the phenomenon observed when it was 01:02:03 04/05/06. Aside from the difference in time zones, the moment had to be observed on completely different days around the world because some thought it was April 5 and others May 4.

4) There's no intrinsic reason that June should be the sixth month. Just because we consider January the beginning of the year doesn't mean it has always been so or will never change in the future. The Orthodox ecclesiastical year starts Sept 1, so if it makes you feel better, call June month number 10.

5) Better still, who says it's even June or the sixth? On the Julian calendar, which was used from before the time of Christ (named after Julius Caesar, don't you know?) until the late 16th c., it's only May 24. After the Reformation, a group of Catholic scholars came up with a correction to the calendar, so it would stay on track with the solar year. Their scheme was to drop leap day whenever a century year was not divisible by 400. Only the Catholic countries adopted it until the 18th c., when Protestant countries started to follow suit. Who knows--if England had waited a few more decades, we in America might never have adopted it, just to avoid doing what the Brits did. Historically Orthodox countries followed even later, in the 20th c., and it was later still that some Orthodox churches decided to abandon the Julian calendar. But now that I think about it, Martin Luther knew the Antichrist was Catholic, so maybe the Gregorian date is the most significant after all . . .

6) The fact that it is 2006 depends upon a Western medieval calculation of the date of Christ's birth. Most Bible scholars these days would say the calculation was definitely off, but regardless the Byzantine empire continued to count years from the date of creation. By that system, the year is 7514, at least until Sept 1.

So, since it's actually 24-09-7514, go out and have some fun. The Antichrist might be out there somewhere, but there's no reason to think he'll get you today rather than tomorrow.

1 comment:

Lucian said...

Have You ever observed the fact that the millennia of Septuagintal Chronology mirror the Week of Creation, via 2 Peter 3:8 ? ;)