This is a list of common misconceptions. Each entry is formatted as a correction; the misconceptions themselves are implied rather than stated. These entries are meant to be concise, but more detail can be found in the main subject articles.
Sabbath mode, also known as Shabbos mode (Ashkenazi pronunciation) or Shabbat mode, is a feature in many modern home appliances, including ovens and refrigerators, which is intended to allow the appliances to be used (subject to various constraints) by Shabbat-observant Jews on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The mode usually overrides the usual, everyday operation of the electrical appliance and makes the operation of the appliance comply with the rules of Halakha (Jewish law).
- "Sabbath mode" | 2015-03-21 | 93 Upvotes 168 Comments
The prophetic perfect tense is a literary technique used in the Bible that describes future events that are so certain to happen that they are referred to in the past tense as if they had already happened.
- "Prophetic Perfect Tense" | 2023-09-28 | 154 Upvotes 96 Comments
Edward Louis Bernays (; German: [bɛɐ̯ˈnaɪs]; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations". Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life. He was the subject of a full length biography by Larry Tye called The Father of Spin (1999) and later an award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis called The Century of the Self.
His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom" and his work for the United Fruit Company connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.
Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and his own double uncle Sigmund Freud, he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways.
Gematria (; Hebrew: גמטריא or gimatria גימטריה, plural גמטראות or גימטריאות, gimatriot) is the practice of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase by reading it as a number, or sometimes by using an alphanumerical cipher. The letters of the alphabets involved have standard numerical values, but a word can yield several values if a cipher is used.
According to Aristotle (384–322 BCE), isopsephy, based on the Milesian numbering of the Greek alphabet developed in the Greek city of Miletus, was part of the Pythagorean tradition, which originated in the 6th century BCE. The first evidence of use of Hebrew letters as numbers dates to 78 BCE; gematria is still used in Jewish culture. Similar systems have been used in other languages and cultures, derived from or inspired by either Greek isopsephy or Hebrew gematria, and include Arabic abjad numerals and English gematria.
The most common form of Hebrew gematria is used in the Talmud and Midrash, and elaborately by many post-Talmudic commentators. It involves reading words and sentences as numbers, assigning numerical instead of phonetic value to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. When read as numbers, they can be compared and contrasted with other words or phrases – cf. the Hebrew proverb נכנס יין יצא סוד (nichnas yayin yatza sod, lit. 'wine entered, secret went out', i.e. "in vino veritas"). The gematric value of יין ('wine') is 70 (י=10; י=10; ן=50) and this is also the gematric value of סוד ('secret', ס=60; ו=6; ד=4).
Although a type of gematria system ('Aru') was employed by the ancient Babylonian culture, their writing script was logographic, and the numerical assignments they made were to whole words. Aru was very different from the Milesian systems used by Greek and Hebrew cultures, which used alphabetic writing scripts. The value of words with Aru were assigned in an entirely arbitrary manner and correspondences were made through tables, and so cannot be considered a true form of gematria.
Gematria sums can involve single words, or a string of lengthy calculations. A short example of Hebrew numerology that uses gematria is the word חי (chai, lit. 'alive'), which is composed of two letters that (using the assignments in the mispar gadol table shown below) add up to 18. This has made 18 a "lucky number" among the Jewish people. Donations of money in multiples of 18 are very popular.
In early Jewish sources, the term can also refer to other forms of calculation or letter manipulation, for example atbash.
- "Gematria" | 2023-09-07 | 46 Upvotes 47 Comments
Searches for Noah's Ark have been reported since antiquity, as ancient scholars sought to affirm the historicity of the Genesis flood narrative by citing accounts of relics recovered from the Ark.: 43–47 With the emergence of biblical archaeology in the 19th century, the potential of a formal search attracted interest in alleged discoveries and hoaxes. By the 1940s, expeditions were being organized to follow up on these apparent leads.: 8–9 This modern search movement has been informally called "arkeology".
In 2020, the young Earth creationist group the Institute for Creation Research acknowledged that, despite many expeditions, Noah's Ark had not been found and is unlikely to be found. Many of the supposed findings and methods used in the search are regarded as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology by geologists and archaeologists.: 581–582 : 72–75
- "Searches for Noah's Ark" | 2023-10-05 | 33 Upvotes 56 Comments
Tza'ar ba'alei chayim (Hebrew: צער בעלי חיים), literally "suffering of living creatures", is a Jewish commandment which bans causing animals unnecessary suffering. This concept is not clearly enunciated in the written Torah, but was accepted by the Talmud as being a biblical mandate. It is linked in the Talmud from the biblical law requiring people to assist in unloading burdens from animals (Exodus 23:5).
- "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim" | 2019-09-13 | 54 Upvotes 27 Comments
Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A' and B', being presented as A,B,B',A'. Chiastic structures that involve more components are sometimes called "ring structures", "ring compositions", or, in cases of very ambitious chiasmus, "onion-ring compositions". These may be regarded as chiasmus scaled up from words and clauses to larger segments of text.
These often symmetrical patterns are commonly found in ancient literature such as the epic poetry of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Classicist Bruno Gentili describes this technique as "the cyclical, circular, or 'ring' pattern (ring composition). Here the idea that introduced a compositional section is repeated at its conclusion, so that the whole passage is framed by material of identical content". Meanwhile, in classical prose, scholars often find chiastic narrative techniques in the Histories of Herodotus:
"Herodotus frequently uses ring composition or 'epic regression' as a way of supplying background information for something discussed in the narrative. First an event is mentioned briefly, then its precedents are reviewed in reverse chronological order as far back as necessary; at that point the narrative reverses itself and moves forward in chronological order until the event in the main narrative line is reached again."
Various chiastic structures are also seen in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Quran.
- "Chiastic Structure" | 2021-09-13 | 41 Upvotes 12 Comments
Atbash (Hebrew: אתבש; also transliterated Atbaš) is a monoalphabetic substitution cipher originally used to encrypt the Hebrew alphabet. It can be modified for use with any known writing system with a standard collating order.
- "Atbash – Ancient Hebrew Cryptography" | 2016-02-01 | 43 Upvotes 7 Comments
Lawsuits against God have occurred in real life and in fiction. Issues debated in the actions include the problem of evil and harmful "acts of God".
- "Lawsuits Against God" | 2021-09-30 | 20 Upvotes 4 Comments