'And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow'
I wrote my first blog post seven years ago today, on the death of Alan Davidson, followed closely by a piece on Reed Elsevier and scholarly publishing and capitalism's tendency to monopoly, an account of the Varsity Match ( an 11-11 draw), and a rant about the train service. Plus ça change, except that these days my philippics against Southern Rail are more often found on Twitter. Since then I have written 1545 posts, and readers have been kind enough to comment on them 744 times. The blog has recorded 137,504 pages views, an average of 56.84 page views a day.
As for the title of today's post, I remember asking an RE master at school why everything in the bible seemed to happen in either seven or forty units of time. He was wary; our questions about the bible did not often come from piety, or from a wish to understand the text better—thus typical questions might be, in relation to St Paul's baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, 'Sir, Sir, what's a eunuch, Sir?'. But, doubtless thinking that I deserved an answer, he told us that the ancient Hebrews lacked the arithmetic and linguistic ability to express large numbers, so forty was used to convey the meaning of a lot. I accepted this, but if I'd given it a moment's thought, I'd have realised that this was an inadequate explanation. After all, the Babylonians seemed to have no difficulty with complex calculations involving large numbers.
Thank you for your attention. I shall press on, even if the next seven years are lean and ill-favoured.