The first recorded use of the Atbash cipher is its implementation by scribes in 500 BC to encode the book of Jeremiah.This cipher is one of the few used in the Hebrew language.

In the Atbash cipher, the first letter of the alphabet is substituted for the last, the second for the second last and so on. The letter "A" becomes "Z", the letter "B" becomes "Y" and so on.

The substitution results in the following transforms for the Hebrew alphabet.

A   B   G  D  H   V  Z  Ch  T  Y  K  L  M  N  S   O  P  Tz  Q  R  Sh  Th 
Th  Sh  R  Q  Tz  P  O  S   N  M  L  K  Y  T  Ch  Z  V  H   D  G  B   A 

Hidden symbolisms are claimed in the links between these letter pairs and occasional full word pairs. An example of a full word pair is BPVMTh, Baphomet, (the Devil card)which transposed becomes ShVPYA, Sophia or Wisdom.

  • The Golden Dawn used the Atbash cipher to decipher texts which formed a basis for their rituals. For this purpose they were instructed (by an unknown source) to transpose the letters L and T.

  • Dr. Hugh Schonfield used the Atbash cipher in his analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

    ... applying the Atbash cipher to the word hagu, he got the Hebrew word tsaraph, which means, "test." The "hagu" passages are important for they deal with "The Teacher of Righteousness," which some scholars believe to have been Jesus.

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