Notaricon (from the Latin notarius, a short-hand writer, one who among the Romans belonged to that class of writers who abbreviated and used single letters to signify whole words) is one of the thirteen Cabalistic rules (comp. Tenmurah, s.v. Atbach), which is employed when every letter of a word is taken as an initial or abbreviation of a word. Thus, for instance, every letter of the word בראשית, the first word in Genesis, is made the initial of a word, and we obtain אלהים שיקבלו ישראל תורה בראשית ראה, In the beginning God saw that Israel would accept the law; or אדם, Adam, is made אדם דוד משיה, Adam, David, Messiah; a proof, say the Cabalists, that the soul of Adam was transmigrated into David, and David's into the Messiah; or שמע, Sh'ma, is made שאו מרום עיניכם, Lift up your eyes to heaven, or שדי מלעִליון, To the almighty and most high King, or שחרית מנחה ערבית, In the morning, afternoon, and evening, from which the rabbins infer that three times every day, i.e. morning, afternoon, and evening, prayers are to be performed. Sometimes very curious and ingenious combinations are derived from this system. For instance, the word פסים, passim, used in the passage, "And he made him a coat of (passim) many colors" (Ge 37:3), is made to indicate the misfortunes which Joseph experienced in. being sold by his brethren to סוחוים ישמאלים מדינים פוטיפר, Potiphar, Merchants (Sochrim), Ishmaelites, Midianites. It appears that the Christian fathers sometimes made use of the same rule; as, for instance, our Lord and Savior has been called by them ΙΧΘΥΣ (a fish), because these are the initials of those Greek words Ι᾿ησοῦς Χριστός, θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ, "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior." Thus St. Augustine tells us, in his De civitate Dei, lib. 18, c. 23, that when they were speaking about Christ, Flaccianus, a very famous man, of most ready eloquence and much learning, produced a Greek manuscript, saying that it was the prophecies of the Erythrian sibyl, in which he pointed out a certain passage that had the initial letters of the lines so arranged that those words could be read in them. Then he goes on and gives these verses, of which the initial letters yield that meaning, and says, "But if you join the initial letters of those five Greek words, they will make the word ἰχθύς, that is, 'fish,' in which word Christ is mystically understood, because he was able to live, that is, to exist, without sin in the abyss of this mortality as in the depth of waters." SEE CABALA. (B. P.)

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