Jesus’ Mathematical Influences

Preston Harold speculates on other means by which Jesus may have acquired his mathematical knowledge.

But one does not have to look altogether to the unconscious for Jesus’ source of mathematical knowledge. Within His reach was Alexandria, the center of mathematical studies and of Neo-Pythagorianism. Here, Nicomachus of Gerasa, one of the “golden chain” of philosopher-mathematicians, is presumed to have studied, for Gerasa was a city in Palestine, primarily Greek – it is near to the place where Jesus cast demons called “Legion” into the swine – and it is probable that Nicomachus did not receive all of his education there… Nicomachus is thought to have flourished between the middle of the first and second centuries, but it is possible that he was a contemporary of Jesus, and he could have brought Alexandrian mathematics to Palestine, placing his knowledge within easy reach…


Many of Jesus’ statements regarding one reflect Nicomachus’ thinking, which, in turn, rests upon the mathematical knowledge of his day. Nicomachus had much to say of one, which he saw as unity. Jesus’ mathematics came to rest in His concept of one, which appears to have arisen from His grasp of the operation of signed numbers and the concept of zero.

Zero, that non-number number that is both nothing and everything.  At the end of his introduction to his book, “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea,” Charles Seife writes, “The clashes over zero were the battles that shook the foundations of philosophy, of science, of mathematics, and of religion. Underneath every revolution lay a zero – and an infinity… Yet through all its history, despite the rejection and the exile, zero has always defeated those who opposed it. Humanity could never force zero to fit its philosophies. Instead, zero shaped humanity’s view of the universe – and of God.”


Preston Harold writes:

About the time Euclid was stating his axioms (300 B.C.) an unknown scribe jabbed into a wet clay tablet a point to make the space that zero would come to occupy about a thousand years later when Hindus brought to the court of the Caliph of Baghdad the digit 0, still used today. To the mathematician, zero – 0 – is indeed a perfect pearl for the possibilities opened through this symbol are limitless. Did the digit 0 take shape in Jesus’ mind – or was it another gift of the Magi? In speaking of the “eye” of the needle, Jesus called to mind this configuration: 0, and related it to “naught,” for the “eye” of the needle is the  “nothing” of it that makes it operable; and in this enigmatic statement, He brought God, the absent or “minus” one into correspondence with man, the present or “positive” one, and brought both one’s into correspondence with this “hole,” or whole of “nothing” that takes on a “circular” shape, through which God, “minus” one, draws man, “positive” one, into infinity. Through this correspondence, any one-thing is vested with zero’s enigmatic, unmeasurable properties. But Jesus appears to have realized that although one and zero are corresponding unities, they are not the same in action and reaction.

It is this difference between one and zero that we will look at in our next installment. Until then, peace.


Dilemma of the Ego-Group

In his poem “Tintern Abbey” William Wordsworth describes an all too rare state of consciousness:

…I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.


Poetry is necessary because nothing yet in psychology’s concepts of ego or superego provides for humanity’s direct correspondence with complete truth and joy.   Nor does psychology provide concepts for the inner certainty of infinity, or deathlessness. According to Wordsworth’s poem, the sublime sense of joy and eternity is based on the sense of a “presence.” Usually our sense of “presence” is rooted in a person, or some living being. Yet in our everyday lives we regularly identify with groups, becoming a different personality depending upon the group with which we are interacting. Harold says:

Dependency upon the group means loss of one’s individuality – this is seen…to be the growing problem. Dr. Van den Berg says, “We are not ourselves; actually there is nothing we can call a ‘self’ anymore…we have as many selves as there are groups to which we belong.” In simple truth man does present a different self to every person, to every situation – he always has, always will…

This reality of different selves leads to an issue that needs to be solved:

Man’s consciousness is not expressed by an ego, but by an ego-group which includes an image that Imagecorresponds to each person he knows, sees, or thinks about. His Dr. Jekyll selves are haunted by his Mr. Hyde selves, and these graduate one into the other – but none of these selves are the man himself. Only as he tries to merge these ego-members into a Self-consistency, into a Group-ego, to replace Authority-Ego must his identity incorporate every degradation he has suffered, inflicted, witnessed, or read about. Attempting to be one-self by making of the ego-group a Group-ego causes the personality to reflect all that characterizes the group in society – no part of it is responsible for one’s failure or misery, no part is wholly mature.

So what is the remedy for making a person wholly mature?

A governing authority, one central to man’s being, appears to be necessary to him. Jesus teaches that this authority, which upholds social and moral law even as it transcends law’s limitations, cannot be found in society nor in man’s conscious domain where conscience operates. But such an authority is within each man: it is a certainty in being that accords with truth and turns consciousness to experience truth as it works in life. Upon this Authority’s shoulders the government of one’s life rests; in time it brings him to reap as he sows; it refuses much that consciousness accepts; it returns the forgotten errors the ego-group refuses to face; it will call itself only by its God-given name, “I.”


And there it is, our remedy, our answer: the sense of “presence,” an “I,” an experience of “one person,” each person’s Authority-Ego. We will explore our Authority-Ego’s leading in our next post. Until then, peace…