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An esoteric branch of Jewish commentary, gematria, seeks meaning in the numerical value of names. This approach never has convinced me, for God is entirely capable of providing names that tell us exactly what to think about the associated material.

For example: a review copy of a new book entitled The Price of Monotheism just came across my desk. It claims that it was “the Moses of the Hebrew Bible who introduced the true-false distinction in a permanent and revolutionary form,” adding

...the price of this monotheistic revolution has been the exclusion, as paganism and heresy, of everything deemed incompatible with the truth it proclaims. This exclusion has exploded time and again into violence and persecution, with no end in sight.

The author’s name—corroborating my thesis that God assigns names in such a way as to make their meaning unmistakeable—is Jan Assman.

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