Three are the Graces, three the Fates, three the canticles of the Divine Comedy, three times “holy” is God in the canon of the Roman Catholic mass. Operas often have three acts, concerts three movements, and literature offers many friendship threesomes (Dumas’ three musketeers, Jerome’s three men in a boat). Most of all, the number 3 immediately calls to mind the Christian doctrine of the Trinity but is also the regulating norm of perfection for many other realities. The number three is a ubiquitous presence, a veritable ternary obsession; even popular lore reminds us that good things come in threes and that only three things in life are certain (birth, death and change). The author leads his readers into the great hall of that ideal castle which bears the number three on its architrave and leads them on a journey through musical, biblical, classical, natural, scientific, poetic, literary and sacred triads. This book unveils a number that transcends mere arithmetic.
Gianfranco Ravasi, author of more than 150 books, is a renowned biblical scholar and a former president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.