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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, October 13, 2006  

Triskadekaphobia

Some time ago, I told you about cocktail trivia, useless bits of information which come in handy when trying to impress people at social functions. At the time, I mentioned that one of my favorite bits of cocktail trivia is the word "triskadekaphobia," the fear of the number 13.

Well, if you've ever wanted to use that word, today is your day to do it. It's Friday, October 13—a day when triskadekophobia reaches epidemic proportions. In honor of the day, and perhaps to prove that I do not have an unreasoning fear of the number 13, here are some triskadekaphilic things you can do in Accordance.

Let's start by searching for all the thirteen-letter words in the Bible. To do that, simply enter 13 question marks (?) into the search entry box and click OK. The question mark is a character wildcard. That is, it represents one character of any kind. So entering 13 question marks will find every word with exactly 13 letters. In the HCSB, this search turns up 142 different forms. To see them all listed, click the Details button and then look at the Analysis tab. Some scary 13-letter English words are "controversies," "extermination," "transgressors," "imprisonments," "self-condemned," and "untrustworthy." What might Dan Brown make of that? If we do our search in the Greek New Testament, we get words like agenealogetos, "without genealogy," anexichniastos, "untraceable, inscrutable," antagonizomai, "to struggle against," katadynasteuo, "to oppress," and pseudomarturia, "false testimony." I can almost hear Dan feverishly starting to type!

I keep mentioning Dan Brown because The Da Vinci Code famously reminded us that the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th can be traced back to the coordinated "extermination" of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13th, 1307. We can find out more about that by doing a search for oct* <WITHIN 2 Words> 13 in all of our Tools.

To do this, open a new Search All window from the File menu or by using the keyboard shortcut command-F. Make sure the Language pop-up menu is set to English, select [All Tools] from the Group pop-up menu, and then enter the search just mentioned. Here are a few of the tidbits that search turned up for me:

In Philip Schaff's eight-volume History of the Christian Church, I was able to read all about the destruction of the Templars. In The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) I learned that Nero began to reign on October 13, 54 (don't know if it was a Friday). Smith's Bible Dictionary attests that this is also the date that Nero's mother poisoned her husband Claudius. (Coincidence? I think not!) The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament tells us that the city of Babylon submitted to Persian rule on October 13, 539 B.C.

Hmmm, Nero, the Knights Templar, the Fall of Babylon—maybe we should be a little afraid of this day!

But the news isn't all bad. In The Life and Diary of David Brainerd included in the new Edwards module, we read that on October 13, an ill Mr. Brainerd "found divine help and consolation in the precious duties of secret prayer and self-examination, and [his] soul took delight in the blessed God." In Streams in the Desert, the devotion for this day reminds us not to be "anxious," and in Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, we are reminded on this day that "love is as strong as death.

If you're feeling triskadekaphobic this Friday the 13th, be sure to face your fears by doing a few searches in Accordance. ;-)





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