Stan Tenen: The Alphabet that Changed the World: How Genesis Preserves a Science of Consciousness in Geometry and Gesture (Edited by Charles Stein. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2011; 364+xvii pp., with 223 illustrations, Editor's Preface, Author's Preface, Author's Note, 14 Appendices, Glossary, Bibliography, and Index)
This may be one of the most insightful, if not profound, books you ever read ... if you are willing to engage it honestly and openly. Tenen has taken his time bringing his findings to the public, primarily because he wanted to be sure that what he was saying has substance. Some things are simply easy to misunderstand or misinterpret, but what he has to say in this book deserves serious consideration. By his own admission his (and all of the already identified, related) research is far from complete, there is enough certainty that he is on to something, something of great significance. At any rate, now that this first, book-length, introductory text is available, it can be hoped that a continuing discussion will ensure that will shed new light on a very old subject.
The premise of the book is rather simple: the Jews have long claimed that their alphabet is sacred, and it appears that this may in fact be the case. Though simply stated, it is difficult to understand, on many levels. What is sacred? What makes something sacred? What does it mean for other things if something is sacred? The list of questions goes on and on.
The fundamental statement of the book is rather simple as well: there is a letter-level, self-referential coding in the text of the Torah that by all appearances has been placed there deliberately. How it got there and why it was put there are questions that the book cannot and does not attempt to answer, but the fact that it is there substantiates and provides support for a number of claims about the Hebrew alphabet and the most famous text it has generated. It is here that the flood of hey-wait-a-minutes starts flowing.
Tenen takes the time to move the reader step-by-step through his process of discovery and the conclusions that he has drawn so that one can follow precisely the development of the thoughts. Everything that is stated has been checked, verified, and examined by any number of relevant subject-matter experts who agree that what he is saying is well supported. The support does not come from anyone who might have a vested interest in what he is saying being true, rather scientific, mathematic, geometric experts who would often no doubt prefer that what he is saying weren't being said.
It is, nevertheless, not a light read, by any stretch of the imagination. It takes both time and effort to grasp what is being said, and to avoid the temptation to lose oneself in where the consequences of those statements may lead. If what Tenen is saying is correct, there may be a good number of textbooks that need to be rewritten, and this in a number of fields, not the least of which are linguistics, physics, psychology, philosophy, and theology. But, much more work has to be done before we get there. This is not a story of someone trying to say, "Hey, look at me and what I found!", but rather "Hey, I found this, what do you think of it?" For that very reason, it is well worth every minute you might spend struggling with it.