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Numerology is a philosophical belief structure, borrowed from the Pythagoreans, that considers numbers to possess mystical properties.

At its heart is the pseudo-science of gematria or arithmology: the process of translating linguistic text (in particular a name) into numerical form, and thence to interpret the significance of that text from the mystical power of that particular number.

The techniques of that translation differ between practitioners, and in many cases the same practitioner may use more than one such technique, thereby allowing for multiple different numerical interpretations of any particular given text.

Hence a popular criticism of numerology is to accuse practitioners of deciding what they want the answer to be, and then juggling the numbers in order to achieve that particular effect.

The practice may have originated from the Greek numerals of the Classical period, in which the natural ordering of the letters of the Greek alphabet were assigned numerical values.

It should not be necessary to place much emphasis on the fact that numerology is not a branch of mathematics.

Historical Note

The concept of numerology seems to have begun with Pythagoras and the Pythagorean school, continuing with the neo-Pythagoreans.

Plato adopted the ideas, and from there they were passed on through the emerging Christian tradition into the heart of the philosophy of Western civilization, where it still exerts a powerful influence.

Critical View

... chaotic mass of fanciful mumbo-jumbo ...
Calculus Gems by George F. Simmons: Chapter $\text {A}.2$: Pythagoras (ca. $\text {580}$ – $\text {500}$ B.C.)