Secrets of the Bible Code Invented

by Brendan McKay

In 1998, Grizzly Adams Productions released a 90-minute special Secrets of the Bible Code Revealed. It included some material from sceptics (including this writer) as well as pro-codes material. This document is a brief review.

The Genre

We are all familiar with television specials that take the apparent form of "documentaries" on such subjects as astral projection, aliens live amongst us, the planets affect our love lives, and Marilyn Monroe was killed by the Knights Templar. Invariably such programs have a fine professional gloss and look to an ignorant and uncritical viewer just like the result of careful investigative work by qualified people, but just as invariably are nothing of the kind. Secrets of the Bible Code Revealed is a fine example of this genre.

The Slant

The program had an extreme bias towards the pro-codes viewpoint, and a secondary bias in the American Christian Right direction. It was based largely on books by Michael Drosnin and Grant Jeffrey, neither of whom have any relevant qualifications, and both of whom are notorious for wild inaccuracy. Even though there were some sceptics shown on the program, they received a very small amount of time and were allowed to show very little of the large amount of evidence that they have. Moreover, each small snippet from a sceptic (usually one or two sentences without any detail) was inevitably followed by a much longer "refutation" from some codes "expert". We were even shown "refutations" of arguments which the sceptics had not been allowed to mention! By contrast, codes proponents were allowed to make whatever wild assertions (and, in some cases, blatant lies) they liked without any challenge from either the presenter or the sceptics.

Put simply, the sceptics were set up as strawmen (and women) purely for the purpose of affecting a sham of balance. The technique is a standard item in the propagandist's toolkit: show a quick clip of the sceptic making some negative statements then give an "expert" ample time to refute them. The audience is given the impression that the sceptic took his/her best shot and was defeated, and has no way to know that the sceptic has ample proof which the "refutation" didn't actually address.

The Distortion

Here we will list just a few of the very many distortions that appeared on the program. We will not attempt to present the case against the codes here, except in passing, but merely to demonstrate the appalling propagandistic nature of the program.

The Sequel

A second, somewhat shorter, video Bible Code: The Future and Beyond has been produced by the same company. In a sense it is better, in that the pretense of objectivity has been cast aside and the "Christian" objectives largely behind the scenes in the first video are openly expressed. The message of this video is that the codes prove Jesus to be the Messiah, nothing less.

Having now run out of nice things to say about it, we can note that quite a few of the scenes were simply copied from the first video. Yoav Rosenberg still wears the face of Moshe Zeldman. The small amount of new material is, if such is possible, even more ridiculous. An irrelevant, apocryphal, story about Einstein replaces the previous nonsense about Newton, and some new word arrays are produced (though still without informing the viewers that similar arrays have been found in secular texts).

I have to say, though, that my favorite scene was the one that showed a photo of codes expert Professor Maya Bar-Hillel, who was alleged to have the following statement at a public seminar: "Regardless of the evidence, the codes phenomenon obviously cannot be valid because that would mean that God wrote the Torah." Although the producers of this video did not invent this particular lie, the fact that they uncritically accepted that a senior scientist would make such an inane statement, in public besides, attests to their profound ignorance. A brief phone call to Professor Bar-Hillel would have uncovered the fact that not only does the "quote" contradict her opinion, but that there is a recording of the afore-mentioned lecture in which, surprise, surprise, she does not make the alleged statement.


These programs are excellent material for the study of human gullibility. They are also a nice example of religious propaganda. Otherwise, they are completely worthless.

None of this will be suprising to anyone who knows the background of producers Charles Sellier and David Balsiger as dedicated enemies of science. It turns out that the "Bible Code" is not the first hoax these guys have taken under their wings. More background on these two can be found with the aid of any of the standard Internet search engines.

© Copyright, Brendan McKay, 1998-1999.