Tuesday, June 06, 2006


"Damnation! I utterly forgot today's date!"
(Borrowed via Wikipedia)

As a fellow scholar on the Milton List pointed out for the hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic among us, today's date, June 6, 2006, can be written as 06/06/06, which sort of looks like 666.

The Mark of the Beast, Revelation 13:16-18:
16. και ποιει παντας τους μικρους και τους μεγαλους και τους πλουσιους και τους πτωχους και τους ελευθερους και τους δουλους ινα δωση αυτοις χαραγμα επι της χειρος αυτων της δεξιας η επι των μετωπων αυτων 17. και ινα μη τις δυνηται αγορασαι η πωλησαι ει μη ο εχων το χαραγμα η το ονομα του θηριου η τον αριθμον του ονοματος αυτου 18. ωδε η σοφια εστιν ο εχων τον νουν ψηφισατω τον αριθμον του θηριου αριθμος γαρ ανθρωπου εστιν και ο αριθμος αυτου χξς
This Greek is from the so-called Textus Receptus, from which the King James Version is translated:
16: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18: Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
And today is 06/06/06. What a coincidence. Without having been aware of the upcoming date's significance, I've actually been building up to it in my recent posts. In a comment to my June 4th post, "A Universe of death," I cited Paradise Lost, Book 5, Line 666 as the point at which evil first enters into one of God's creatures:

Satan, so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in Heav'n; he of the first,
If not the first Arch-Angel, great in Power, [ 660 ]
In favour and præeminence, yet fraught
With envie against the Son of God, that day
Honourd by his great Father, and proclaimd
Messiah King anointed, could not beare
Through pride that sight, & thought himself impaird. [ 665 ]
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the duskie houre
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
With all his Legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipt, unobey'd the Throne supream [ 670 ] (
PL 5.658-670)

By stressing the word Deep, Milton is taking special care to emphasize that Satan 'conceiving' of malice amounts to more than a mere intellectual consideration of an evil act. Satan's mental activity is not purely a thought about evil; it is a deeply evil thought.

This is important to Milton's great argument, for he also emphasizes that:

Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
No spot or blame behind: (
PL 5.117-119)

By emphasizing the depth of Satan's malice, Milton reveals that the evil entering into the mind of this archangel comes approved, and never goes.

For all concerned about the state of my own soul these past few days, rest assured that the evil entering my mind has come and gone unapproved and has already disappeared down the memory hole.

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At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear...ominous...oh dear, some people do not know their numerology (following your link). 6 is THE perfect number. 6 is not evil because it falls short of 7. And yes 1-36 adds to 666 because 666 is the magical number of the Sun in Cabala. But let's not confuse Agrippa and the magical tradition with biblical exegesis. It reminds me of a meeting I attended in my student days...Jewish cabalists on one side of the room...occultists on the other...did the sparks fly in the darkness! And of course Satan would have been "conceiving" in the sexual sense, a sense that Milton draws upon in his Divorce Tracts. Satan, like a jealous son, conceives resentment at the Sun/Son's exultation. In one sense, Satan is the Black Sun of alchemy: the abomination/unclean chaos. Your sub-conscious is working overtime. You need a break, I think from such melancholic thoughts.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Excellent point about Satan 'conceiving' in a sexual sense, i.e., sin's existence, for sin later emerges from his brow like Athena from the brow of Zeus.

I suppose that there can be various systems of numerology, but I've always wondered why "6" sometimes gets a bad rap among Christians. The number "6" represents the days of creation, which was -- we are explicitly told -- good, very good.

I wonder why 666 was chosen as the number for signifying the evil Beast.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:52 AM, Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Philo didn't like 6 either--I'd guess our distate comes from there...

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Derek, do you have the specific source in Philo?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:21 AM, Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Ummm--I *can* find it for you but it may take me a little while. My Philo stuff is packed at the moment...

At 3:22 AM, Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

If I remember rightly its in the context of creation--he refers to 6 as a number of chaos I think because it wasn't quite 7.

More later...

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Oops--seems I was quite wrong... Here's the pertinent portion on six from On Creation

III. (13) And he says that the world was made in six days, not because the Creator stood in need of a length of time (for it is natural that God should do everything at once, not merely by uttering a command, but by even thinking of it); but because the things created required arrangement; and number is akin to arrangement; and, of all numbers, six is, by the laws of nature, the most productive: for of all the numbers, from the unit upwards, it is the first perfect one, being made equal to its parts, and being made complete by them; the number three being half of it, and the number two a third of it, and the unit a sixth of it, and, so to say, it is formed so as to be both male and female, and is made up of the power of both natures; for in existing things the odd number is the male, and the even number is the female; accordingly, of odd numbers the first is the number three, and of even numbers the first is two, and the two numbers multiplied together make six. (14) It was fitting therefore, that the world, being the most perfect of created things, should be made according to the perfect number, namely, six: and, as it was to have in it the causes of both, which arise from combination, that it should be formed according to a mixed number, the first combination of odd and even numbers, since it was to embrace the character both of the male who sows the seed, and of the female who receives it.
from Yonge's translation

I wonder who I was thinking of...

At 4:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Derek. I had been surprised to hear that Philo considered "6" a distasteful number, and I'm gratified that he liked it.

Some manuscripts of "Revelation" give the number of the Beast as "616." I wonder if that might not be the original. If some persecutor's name actually had the numerical significance of "616," an early scribe might have copied it incorrectly, thereby resulting in the number "666."

If so, then there would originally have been no special animus toward "6" -- and I don't think there generally is among Christians anyway, most of them recognizing that it represents the days of creation.

Jeffery Hodges

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