Update: 27th February 2009

GEMATRIA
BY
FREDERICK BLIGH BOND, F.R.I.B.A
AND
THOMAS SIMCOX LEA, D.D.

ANNOTATED AND TRANSCRIBED BY
PETER WAKEFIELD SAULT

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60

THE DIGAMMA.

F, The Digamma. An obsolete letter corresponding to the Hebrew Vav, and in sound like a W. Retained as a numerical sign, it became gradually simplified in form until it was no more than a large comma, the epishmon or stigma. The place of the Digamma is taken in the Roman alphabet by the F. In the Greek alphabet, as reconstructed, the Digamma disappears as a letter, but a labial f is introduced. There is no proved connection between the two, but a coincidence must be noticed. F has the numerical value 500, which is that of S and T combined, since S = 200 and T = 300. Both S and T retain their individual values in the Gematria, but where they occur together they make a semi-compound letter, and this, in later Greek, is recognised as a compound letter ‘stau’, with a sign ‘V’ so like the stigma as to be for all practical purposes identical. And in mediaeval Greek they are clearly one.

Now for the purposes of Gematria the letters most frequently employed are necessarily those which denote the unit values.1 For example, the word alhqeia - Truth - is composed chiefly of such numbers, being 1 + 30 + 8 + 9 + 5 + 10 + 1 = 64, and the number 6 would be one whose exclusion would be most inconvenient. Consequently it would be quite reasonable to assume that endeavours would be made to retain this value.

The fusion of the two signs, the stigma with the compound stau, might readily suggest an underlying element of intention. As to this there seems no direct evidence. But on the other hand there is in the Gematria itself some very suggestive internal evidence pointing to such a use, and a typical example of the Gematria so obtained is the word stauroV - The Cross - which, by counting s.t. as 6, gives the number 777 - a highly symbolic one in connection with the 888 of Jesus.2

And the value 500 being supplied by f, there would no longer be the same urgency for this numeration in all cases where the s.t. are employed. Hence on general grounds we have included stauroV in the list of 37 multiples (Appendix C).

1. This assertion is unsupported by any evidence. The example given is contradicted by, for example, the word FWS. - PWS
2. Without a sample of greater than one the example given must be dismissed as coincidence. Not only do the authors give only one example of this hypothetical method but there is only one example of a word with a gematria value of 777 given in Appendix C - the same word. - PWS


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