Whatelse is 7 in our tradition and nature?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I was reading ' The Benedictine Gift to Music,' and ran across an interesting analogy. 7 notes (Do, to Ti, of course not counting Te, which is a variant of Ti) and compare to 7 seasons in Church's calendar. It even compares 'Do' being Advent and so on. I think it is a bit stretched. But I didn't think about the number of notes for music significant as number of days in a week, 7 liturgical hours, 7 seasons in Church year. Are there any meaning to this or it just 'happens to be 7'? What else is 7? Is number 7 God's favorite number for us? (Of course, 3 is His favorite for Himself, I guess.)
    When I taught piano, I used to tell my younger piano students that rainbow has 7 colors and you mix them to make a beautiful painting, and you mix the seven notes and make a beautiful music. Of course it's just a simple analogy for little kids.
    (something light to talk about for a change. )
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Mia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guido_of_Arezzo It's due primarily to Guido D'Arezzo. Originally there were only six notes also. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solfeggio This will say more.

    In my understanding of numerology, 3 is the number of completeness. 7 is the number of God, and 6 is the number of man. Where that all comes from, I have no idea.

    Of course we all know the pope's telephone number, right?
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Don't forget the seven days of creation, the seven sacraments, and the seven planets that governed the ancient sky, known to man for most of history (they didn't find Neptune and Pluto until fairly recently)

    Eerily: "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo...."
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Seven Gifts of the Spirit . . .

    But then there's 5. I've always loved the symbolism of the Jerusalem cross; a large Greek-style cross with four crosses, one in each corner, making a total of 5. There's the 5 wounds of Christ, the 5 senses (an Anglican priest always said that liturgically we should worship with all 5 senses, hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell because Christ was crucified fully in his humanity with 5 wounds . . . kinda neat, huh?), the 5 holy places in Jerusalem.

    In Orthodox Christianity to make the sign of the cross the hand is held with the thumb and first two fingertips together and the fourth and fifth fingers curled into the palm of the hand, that is, all 5 fingers . . . the three with which they make the sign of the cross on themselves representing the Trinity, the other two in the palm representing the two natures of Christ.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    My first instinct was to say, "seven ecumenical councils," but the Catholic Church recognizes more than seven, actually. But pre-schism there were seven.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Well, Gavin, I know that Guido didn't get to 7 notes yet . But maybe 7 is given from God, and we discoverd the rest later?
    I feel that God gave us many special things in 7, and music is one of them. 7 notes makes me happy : ). Glad we found them all.
    Another divine math. What's the meaning of 3 + 4 = 7
    I heard that 4 is the number for men. (3 is number for God)
  • Mia,
    You are correct. 3 (Trinity, divine perfection) + 4 (the poles of the earth) = 7

    This discussion reminds me of a wonderful class I took many years ago with the legendary academic Annamarie Schimmel (you can check her out on Youtube). The class was in religious phenomenology and the topic was numerology. I had written a paper on Bach's use of numerology in a particular chorale prelude. Being of German birth, I assumed Schimmel would by nature love my topic choice. Her opening words on my returned paper were "I don't particularly care for Bach. I'm a Schubert person." Crushed, I resigned myself to a low grade in the course and for my next paper I rather flippantly chose to write about numbers worn by members of baseball's hall of fame. The response to that paper was in large letters "FASCINATING!"

    By the way, Mickey Mantle wore number 7.
  • A slight clarification to my previous post. 5 is the number for men (4 arms + head; 5 fingers and toes, etc.). 4 is the number representing the earth.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I didn't know about number 5. interesting.
    I thought 'number 4 for men' meant for things that are related to men. I think we are getting into Divine math level 2.

    I don't know this is related to the topic, but many people think science and math are against God's creation, forgetting that they are also from God. We have discovered only a tiny fraction of God's math and science. (when my teen age kids complain why do we need Algebra and say I'm not going to use it, I answered them, even if we learned just a tiny fraction of God's math and science, it helps you to know God a bit more, especially His intellectual side. And the more you learn, the more you are amazed at how big he is and how small we are in everything. )

    There's a fascinating book by James Nickel "MATHEMATICS: Is GOD Silent? He really challenges mathematicians and young students that it is in God's realm. The inside of the book starts with the quote, "The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them, Psalm 111:2"
    It has a thorough study of math, its origin and its use and its misuse, ---in different cultures in different time periods. (Also interesting chapter on Dark ages and the misunderstading. I couldn't finish the whole book. It's beyond the scope of my understanding, but just reading several chapters were really eye-opening for me.)

    My point: It's amazing how everything we have can help us get close to God, even math which was not my favorite subject in my school days.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    There is a list of seven virtues (four "cardinal" and three "theological"); and a slightly different list of "seven heavenly virtues", and of course seven "deadly sins". But there is also a list of eight virtues, too, so the writers are not quite consistent!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Yes, Seven virtues, that's a good one, (four "cardinal" and three "theological," ; four cardinal virtues- human morality, the number three is definitely related to GOD here, because the immediate object of the three theological virtues is GOD.).
    Seven deadly sins are not definitely from GOD. The devil is using the number. 'seven heavenly virtues' came out by a Christian poet, according to the reading in the link above, with added eighth one 'justice,' ('justice' is already included in the cardinal virtues.)

    Well, we are still very confused in many things and not consisitent, but we know God is consisitent. That's why we are keep studying, no?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I found some more.
    7 churches in Rome: the basilicas in Rome that in anciant times were the main churches that pilgrims visit. (this can be a good topic for Church history)
    7 Deacons: the first seven helpers ordained by the Apostles. (I found them in the catholic dictionary by Father JA Hardon)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I don't really buy into numerology. You can twist any fact to make it fit some numerical scheme or other coincidence. Mia, your handle has 7 letters in it! Oooooh spooky! Chant was said to be written by Pope Gregory I. Something which is the first is said to be pre-eminent. Therefore chant must have pre-eminence in the Roman Rite. You can tie a tie in 3 steps:
    1. Have the tie around your neck with the left side 3/4" longer.
    2. Cross over the ends, as in a half-hitch (sorry if that's the wrong term, boy scouts seems so long ago)
    3. Make a bow tie shape with the shorter end underneath, put the other end above it, stick it through the "hole that doesn't yet exist" and then shape up.
    3 steps = Trinity. So bowties are divine. Four in hand = 4 = earth = worldliness = sin and all kinds of vice. Pay no attention to the fact that my third "step" is about 4 steps labeled as one. We can continue with this silliness for some time.

    On the other hand, when we see numbers in the Bible, it usually has to do with typology. That is, the idea of an earlier thing acting as a representation of a future thing. For example, Jonah being in the belly of the fish for 3 days is a type of Christ being in the tomb for 3 days. The 12 tribes of Israel are a type of the 12 apostles, because Israel was to bring God's blessing to all, and the apostles preached Christ to all. The two tables of the commandments (the 3 or 4 dealing with God and the 6 or 7 dealing with our neighbor) are a type to Christ telling the summary of the law, that we are to love God and love our neighbor. And so on. Numerology is fascinating, but over-applying it or using it as a strange talisman can contribute to overlooking the promises concerning Christ in the scriptures.

    Oh yes, another interesting one: Isaiah has 66 chapters. Scripture has 66 books, if one excludes the apocrypha. Additionally, there is a well-known change in tone for the prophet at chapter 40. The first 39 are God's judgment on Israel. The last 27 are His promises of redemption. In the list of books considered canonical by Jerome and the protestant reformers, there are 39 books in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New. Read into that what you will, although I think it's more valuable to argue about the apocrypha on the basis of history and the judgment of the Church than on numerology and coincidence.
  • Gosh Gavin, you're taking away all the fun. Just because some guy above wrote "4 arms plus head" to equal 5 doesn't mean we're all wacko.

    Though few really take this stuff seriously, there is some evidence however that Bach did. Some of the academic commentary on the Orgelbüchlein is pretty convincing.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Well, everything is made out of numbers. The Pythagoreans got a lot wrong, but they were right about the importance of math! :)

    Numerology is bosh, but number symbolism is a rich part of Christian and Jewish iconography. It's very important to sacred artists, and it's not surprising that sacred composers would have found it just as useful. (Probably more so, since music is math.)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Fun? Yes! Symbolism? Yes, although I prefer typology. An insight into the mind of the divine? That's when it goes too far.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Gavin, I knew you will say something 'good' out of this (fun) topic ("something light to talk about" as I said at the initiall post?). I'm learning a lot, not the importance of numerology (did I said it right?), while I'm reading things that are related to. When I was reading seven virtues, I was reminded that charity (love ) belongs to theological virtue, it's immediate objcet is God. At the Mass, I was thinking I wonder our mass is pointing to God. When we understand God's love and love God first we can truly love others. During Mass, we should 'actively focus' on God , so we can actively participate in showing the love towards others outside the Mass, charity work, helping needed .... The Mass is the fountain for that. (I really don't know which part of the Mass I can show love towards others, offering, prayers of faithful are all toward God. only a hand shaking part? I guess)
    Typology? Maybe I should start ... just kidding.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    "CommentAuthorJam CommentTime12 hours ago
    My first instinct was to say, "seven ecumenical councils," but the Catholic Church recognizes more than seven, actually. But pre-schism there were seven."

    Actually, eastern Catholics accept 7 councils as ecumenical, also. The rest are regarded as local councils of the west. So... there are 17 posts here. Thats the holy 7 twice plus the perfect godly 3. Wonder what that means? Of course, I don't believe in numerology either. However, I do believe Chicken Little was right. Now there was a man - er, chicken - I can believe in. ;-)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Vey good ChanrlesW, 17 posts, you actually counted? It must been from God and in our Custom? Sorry I hate to add one more post. Can you think of anything in Nature that came in 7? Or if you cannot think of any , where were you when you were 7? Any good memories when you're 7? ;-')

    Thanks
    Mia
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    7 was a good year. That was when I started writing in cursive, sat behind that cute but obnoxious know-it-all Peggy Bernard in class, had the most beautiful teacher in the school, and got a bicycle for Christmas. Definitely a good year. Proof positive that God likes 7. ;-)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Great! Thanks. I wish we all have good memories like that.
    Mia
    (I ran out of 7 now. I counted my candies in the candy box I keep next to my computer, only 5 left, not 7. Not good :(
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "Actually, eastern Catholics accept 7 councils as ecumenical, also. The rest are regarded as local councils of the west."

    Is that so? That makes a whole lot of sense to me...!