A brief etymology of the Number of the Beast

Originally published at: A brief etymology of the Number of the Beast | Boing Boing

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beauty and the beast GIF

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Isaac Newton spent a lot of time on this stuff.
I figure it’s a reference to Carbon: six electrons six protons and six neutrons…

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Well, if you like that…

Exploring the Devil’s role in Heavy Metal and more.

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616 is also an area code in Michigan, which makes a lot of sense. Sadly, it’s the one for the Grand Rapids area, not Hell’s.

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“Friend of the Devil is a friend of mine”

Grateful Dead

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Which made me wonder if numbers can have etymologies, which made wonder about the etymology of “etymology”. So I looked up the etymology of “etymology” (I hear repitition is cool). Turns out it is from ancient greek roots for “true” and “logic”, so not inherently linguistic. Hail satan

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According to Anthony Burgess in Kingdom of the Wicked it’s also an abbreviation of Domitianus Caesar Legatos Xsti Violenter Interfacit.

Seems like more than a bit of a stretch which I can say only once in spite of repetition being cool.

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I prefer 667 . . . the neighbor of the Beast.

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Shaved my head once, but it only said 665.

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Also, the number of Marvel Comics’ primary universe.

image

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668 is the neighbor. 667 is across the street. Didn’t you see Highway 61?

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Image: Jared Kushner (Self Un-Made Man) by Jim Carey.

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No disrespect for the pixies but you went with that? when this literally is called Number of the beast? Zwan - Number Of The Beast (Spun Soundtrack) - YouTube

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Coincidentally enough, today (Jan 5) marks exactly 666 days since the first CoVID shutdown.

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Yes! I was checking the comments to see if anyone else had mentioned that. Nice use of the Son of Satan cover. I remember buying that comic off the rack at my local comic book connection. That was Bradley’s, a local pharmacy and soda shop. This was in the days before dedicated comic book stores. We would ride our bikes over, pick out our comics and get a freshly made soda. Those were some good times.

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665 is the fax number of the beast.

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I rather like Heinlein’s interpretation: the multiverse has 6^6^6 (that’s 6 to the 6th power taken to the 6th power) possible realities, and the scholars who wrote it down didn’t understand the math.

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The Nero / 616 association had fairly broad acceptance among religious studies scholars in the 80s and 90s, back when I was in that field at UF and UCSB, if I recall correctly. Wasn’t my particular area of study though, so that may be a misperception on my part.