A quick scan through the bookshelf at your local seller reveals innumerable choices when it comes to how to interpret the Bible. There are traditional commentaries that tackle individual books and offer insight into context, original meaning, and practical application. Then there are others that look for secret codes or other supernatural meanings behind the books of the Bible.
The Bible Code was one such book. Written by Michael Drosnin in 1997, this tome asserted that veiled messages exist in the Hebrew Bible. The messages, according to Drosnin, can be interpreted by placing the letters of different Torah passages at equivalent intervals in a text that has been formatted to fit inside a graph. Drosnin also asserted that the Code was written by extraterrestrial life. He elaborated further of his ideas in a follow-up, The Bible Code II, which also reached best-seller status.
Countless other books follow similar patterns, as authors, scholars, and everyday people comb the Bible for clues, patterns, and hidden messages. But for the most part, just like finding Jesus in a pancake in New Mexico, these sorts of experiments wind up being a little less than convincing.
Alexander J. Shaia might be on to something with Beyond the Biography of Jesus: The Journey of Quadratos Book I, but I was hard-pressed to locate any dependable attestation of his sentiments.
Dr. Shaia is an educator, psychotherapist, liturgist, writer, and professional speaker. He is a very spiritual man, by all accounts, and leads retreats on quadratos, Jungian sand-play therapy, rites of passage, and Christian spirituality. For all intents and purposes, Dr. Shaia is an intelligent, kind-hearted individual.
The structure of his book is built around the notion of quadratos, which Dr. Shaia has invented based on the fashion in which the gospels were read and taught. “Quadratos is my invented word for the sequential and unvarying four-fold pattern of spiritual and psychological growth found across all eras of human history, geography, and cultures – and in the four gospels,” Dr. Shaia tells us.
Beyond the Biography of Jesus attempts to employ the four gospels found in the New Testament to flesh out the theory of quadratos and the connotation of the number four. Dr. Shaia believes that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) were chosen by the teachers of the time for a reason. While he admits that there is no exact way to know for sure, Dr. Shaia speculates that the scholars at Nicaea selected the four because they follow the unique quadratos equation.