Monday, April 20, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 24: 'Reality check' on alphanumeric clues


Earlier in the analysis, it was claimed that Lecter's prisoner number in Memphis, 'B5160-8', is a reference to the bible - Deuteronomy 16, i.e., book 5 chapter 16. Also claimed was that Lecter's prisoner number in Baltimore, 'B1329-0', is a reference to Book 13.29 of Saint Augustine's Confessions. And, in part 22 it was stated that Lecter's statement to Starling in Memphis, "First principles, Clarice. Simplicity.", contains two references to Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica: Part 1 Question 45 ("The Mode Of Emanation Of Things From The First Principle"), and Part 1 Question 3 ("Of The Simplicity Of God").

Some doubt might be raised about the Saint Augustine reference at this point, by noting that the Summa's 'Part 1 Question 3' reminds one of '13', the first two numbers in Lecter's Baltimore prison number. To get the '29', either a 'Part 2 Question 9', or a 'Part 1 Question 29' would be needed. Both of these do exist: the first is on "That Which Moves The Will", and the second on "The Divine Persons." However, whether or not the movie-makers are making a reference to Aquinas with the '1329', it does not invalidate the reference to Augustine, for the simple reason that the full prisoner number in question is B1329-0: 'B' must stand for 'Book', in accordance with the biblical reference, 'B5160', referring to the book of Deuteronomy; and whereas the Confessions (and the bible) are divided into books, the Summa is not. Our reference to Augustine is not invalidated solely by virtue of the possibility that '1329' may point to something else; i.e., if it does, this would be in addition to Augustine.

Next, consider 'B5160' (neglecting the '-8' for the moment): Could it be a reference to someplace else in the bible, besides the one to Deuteronomy 16 as claimed? There is no book 51, chapter 6 or 60 - book 51 is Colossians, which only has four chapters. And, Deuteronomy has far too few chapters for there to be a chapter 160. Could 'B5160' be a reference to Augustine? There is a book 5 in Confessions, but no 5.16 or 5.160. Confessions consists of only 13 books, so there is no book 51. What about Aquinas? As already noted, his Summa is not divided into books, so using the same logic as above, even if there is a reference to Aquinas here, this alone wouldn't invalidate the biblical reference.

Of course, it's possible that 'B1329', and even 'B5160', are references to some work(s) of literature not considered so far, in addition to the Confessions and the bible respectively. This will be discussed when the reality check is continued in the next post.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine (Outler)
St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica on the Logos Virtual Library


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