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VMs: Didn't We Just Hear This Somewhere?

"... one document which provides evidence of early readings of the alphabet through Christian symbology is in a letter written by St. Jerome to St. Paula. Known as the XXXth Epistle, this text is also much cited by later authors.

"The passages in St. Jerome, written about 384 A.D., focus on the 118th Psalm which is composed according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet, though using Greek letters. The first verses all begin with alpha and each succeeding set of verses with the succeeding letter until ending with those beginning with tau. Jerome assigns a value to each letter and then groups them into phrases, all the while keeping in mind his ultimate aim, to explain to St. Paula that the alphabet contains spiritual knowledge in symbolic form.

"In the first group are the following letters are equivalents [sic]: Aleph = doctrine, Beth = house, Gimel = plenitude, Daleth = the tablets, He = this here. The meaning of this string of elements is at first construed literally by St. Jerome as 'doctrine house plenitude these tablets here.' But then he expands, filing in the gaps, and arrives at the explanation that the first four [sic] letters read together mean that 'the doctrine of the church, which is the house of God, is to be found in the plenitude of divine books.'"


- Johanna Drucker, *The Alphabetic Labyrinth*, (London, Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1995; first paperback ed. 1999.) ISBN 0-500-28068-1. pp. 87-88.

(She teaches art history at Yale! The book mentions the VMs [pp. 121-3]; she dismisses Newbold, but thinks Feely solved it! "Subsequent scholarship decoding the manuscript has laid to rest Newbold's obsessive scheme to rest when the code in which the text was written was deciphered in the 1940s by Joseph Martin Feely. Feely was inconclusive in determining the attribution and his interpretation was in keeping with the alchemical mysteries of the manuscript's imagery." That was written in 1995. Good grief!)

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