And 666 becomes just another number
"This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty six."
Oops, make that six hundred and sixteen.
Some ancient papyrus dated to the third century which was excavated in 1895 from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt and previously considered unreadable has recently been identified using advanced imaging techniques. One fragment turned out to be part of The Revelation to John, and is in fact the oldest version of this New Testament book ever found.
This particular document happens to contain the verse known as Revelation 13:18 which, identifies the number of the beast as 666. However, this newly discovered version specifies 616.
Now, to biblical scholars, this is not all that new. My own RSV bible provides a footnote to the verse which states: "some ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen."
What is new is that now the most ancient authority we have available reads six hundred and sixteen. This suggests, though it certainly is not conclusive, that six hundred and sixty six is nothing more than a later transcription error.
No wonder satanists have been so unsuccessful in materializing Lucifer! They've been using the wrong number in their ceremonies. And no wonder those predicting the apocalypse have shown a 100% failure rate. They've also been using the wrong number.
At least triskaidekaphobes can be happy: 6 + 1 + 6 gives them one more reason to fear thirteen.
- National Post, Wednesday May 5, 2005 p2