Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Chamberlain Key by Timothy P. Smith with Bob Hostetler

Smith had some puzzling dreams and an appearance (or vision) of Moses. He was led to look at the Hebrew text of Genesis. He had six sons and a daughter, as did Jacob and Leah so examined Genesis 30:20-23. He found his name in an equidistant letter sequence (ELS) as well as other significant information. That led him on a journey of pursuing the possibility of other significant equidistant letter words and phrases.

The book is more of a spiritual memoir than a scientific study. Smith writes, “My objective in attempting to decipher hidden information in the Old Testament was not to prove to anyone that the text was encrypted or to attempt to predict any future events but rather to unravel the mystery of my own spiritual experiences.” (185, 186) He has done a good job of recounting his own spiritual journey finding hidden words in the Hebrew text.

However, Smith also writes that his discovery “will dramatically redirect biblical scholarship, Christian theology, and perhaps even the trajectory of history itself.” (1) That is a huge claim and one, I think, that is very over blown.

Finding words in the Hebrew through equidistant letter searches is nothing new. The concept has been been known since the thirteenth century. Smith mentions a paper by Rips, Witztum and Rosenberg published in 1994 in which they claimed to have detected encoded information in the Hebrew text. The concept was popularized in The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin, published in 1997. Many articles critical of the claims were published after that time. Some even went so far as to apply the equidistant letter sequence technique to common literature. Hidden messages were found in Moby Dick and War and Peace. (See note below.) The conclusion was that anecdotal messages could be found everywhere in written works and seemed to be just a phenomenon of language and random chance.

Add that there are no vowels in Hebrew and that increases the subjectivity of the ELS phenomenon. Is it Tim, Tom, tame, time, tome? The identification of the word may be a result of the influence of the one searching.

I am surprised that this topic has arisen again. The concept seemed to be pretty much discounted back in the late 1990s. The publisher of this book, WaterBrook, even published a book in 1999 critical of equidistant letter sequencing called Who Wrote the Bible Code? by Randy Ingermanson. Ingermanson had written several critical articles on the subject. When he transferred his web site to new technology, he didn't transfer those articles because he considered it a “dead subject” and doubted “anyone much cares anymore.” (See note below.)

What is the significance of this book? It is a good account of one person and his spiritual experiences. Smith sees his ELS experience as confirmation of the existence of God. (79) Researchers who have found significant ESL words and phrases in common literature would not agree. Smith says he is going to investigate further. You can watch a book trailer, read an excerpt, and find future articles on his research at http://chamberlainkey.com/. Time will tell the significance of this book.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Timothy P. Smith is a noted appraiser and conservator of artifacts and antiques. He and his wife live in Virginia.
Bob Hostetler is the award winning author of more than thirty books. His books have sold over three million copies.

Waterbrook, 224 pages.

NOTE: You can follow links to articles about finding significant ELS events in Moby Dick and War and Peace at http://users.cecs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/torah.html. One author found his name, birth date, and place of residence in significant relationship in the Hebrew of War and Peace, much as Smith found in the Hebrew of Genesis. You can find Randy Ingermanson's comments at http://ingermanson.com/mad_science/bible_code. Accessed 4/24/2017.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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