"And [Jesus] said to them, 'Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.' So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.Why 153? Surely it was not pulled out of thin air for no reason. An old friend, in an email exchange, expressed it as follows.
"Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn."
John 21:6, 11.
I found that 153 is a special number, a triangular number, the sum of the numbers 1 thru 17. And also the sum of the first 5 faculties, 1! thru 5!. And the 3rd powers of the digits 1, 5 and 3. But I doubt that latter explanation because the positional number system was not yet in use. But apparently 153 was also known in antiquity as part of the ratio 265/153 which is very close to the square root of three.
But what is the significance of the square root of three? It appears that that is the ratio of the length and the width of the vesica piscis, the intersection of two circles from which the circumference of the one circle cuts through the center of the other and vice versa. And a slightly extended version of this vesica piscis is the famous christian fish, the secret recognition symbol of the early Christians, the 'ichthus' symbol.
What is the significance of the square root of three (265:153)?
a. The intersection of two gods
Three is the number of the divine trinity.
One = god the fatherIn the Christian formulation, this would be Jesus Christ. The vesica piscis, under this theory, depicts the union of God the Father with The Holy Spirit producing Jesus Christ.
Three = holy spirit
√3 = offspring of god the father and holy spirit
b. Plato and √3
The most informative book on Christian gemetria, to my knowledge, is Jesus Christ, Son of God by David Fideler. Chapter 6 of this book discusses the Gospel of John but, inexplicably, omits a discussion of the 153 fish. However, Fideler does touch on the ratio 265:153 in an earlier chapter discussing Plato. Here is a quote from Plato's Timaeus:
But two things cannot be rightly put together without a third; there must be some bond of union between them. And the fairest bond is that which makes the most complete fusion of itself and the things which it combines; and proportion is best adapted to effect such a union. For whenever in any three numbers, whether cube or square, there is a mean, which is to the last term what the first term is to it; and again, when the mean is to the first term as the last term is to the mean -- then the mean becoming first and last, and the first and last both becoming means, they will all of them of necessity come to be the same, and having become the same with one another will be all one.According to Fideler, this means "in the proportion A:B:C, A is to B
in exactly the same ratio as B is to C. In this proportion, the middle term B is the so-called Geometric Mean, the point of mediation between A and C. The mathematical formula for finding the Geometric mean between any two numbers is a simple: take the two extremes, multiply them together, and find their square root." In my copy of Fideler, I wrote many years ago (over a dozen) the example 2:4:8. 4 is the geometric mean as it is the square root of 2 x 8. Fideler, without delving further, points out that the square root of 3 (i.e., 265/153) is the geometric mean of 1 and 3.
If, as Plato posits, "two things cannot be rightly put together without a third" and that third which binds them perfectly is the geometric mean, then I think Plato is describing theoretically what the vesica piscis displays graphically. What perfectly binds the first and second elements of the divine trinity? Their geometric mean which is itself the third element of the divine trinity. Logically then, 265:153 is the geometric ratio that represents the logos, see prologue of John's gospel.
Vesica Piscis = the female vulva
Rotate the viscia piscis 90 degrees and it goes from the body of a fish to the almond shape of a female vulva. Implications? If 153 represents the vulva, what might have been caught in the nets cast at the command of Jesus in John 21? Author Margaret Starbird suggest that the number 153 in the context of John 21 represents Mary Magdelene, the sacred feminine. Link.