Linguistic historiography over the past few years has awakened to the importance of numerology in the development of linguistics this century, particularly in the generative school (see, for example, G.D. Duvkal’s “Science or Mysticism? The Importance of Numeral Notation in Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures”). The little-
The guiding theme of this book is that numbers, and the world, are not haphazard agglomerations but rather beautifully patterned systems. It thus stands to reason that the world can be understood and its problems resolved through appreciation of these patterns. The exposition is programmatic: beginning with the aptly named first section “Number Patterns”, it progresses through a number of sections revealing ever greater intricacy of patterning until finally the initiate is deemed ready to progress to problem solving. Word problems show the applicability of numerology to such areas as carpentry, sheep farming, and Bedouin inheritance law. Several “games” reveal to the acolyte his superiority over his unenlightened brethren
It remains for further research to elucidate the precise ways in which numerology has underlain all of Lamb’s linguistic work, although a few are obvious prima facie: e.g., the geometrical nature of Lambian network diagrams obviously is meant to show that they are informed by a higher level of consciousness than other, nongeometrical linguistic tools (recall that geometry was placed at the end of The Magic of Numbers). Critical analysis based on the volume reviewed here will obviously make much of Lamb’s other work far more comprehensible.