The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible

πeriander ‫א‬. esplana

1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 The Solution to the Mathematical “Problem” No. 1 in the Bible 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094 3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912 9833673362 4406566430 8602139494 6395224737 1907021798 6094370277 0539217176 2931767523 8467481846 7669405132 0005681271 4526356082 7785771342 7577896091 7363717872 1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235 4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113 4999999837 2978049951 0597317328 1609631859 5024459455 3469083026 4252230825 3344685035 2619311881 7101000313 7838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303 5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532 1712268066 1300192787 6611195909 2164201989 3809525720 1065485863 2788659361 5338182796 8230301952 0353018529 6899577362 2599413891 2497217752 8347913151 5574857242 4541506959 5082953311 6861727855 8890750983 8175463746 4939319255 0604009277 0167113900 9848824012 8583616035 6370766010 4710181942 9555961989 4676783744 9448255379 7747268471 0404753464 6208046684 2590694912 9331367702 8989152104 7521620569 6602405803 8150193511 2533824300 3558764024 7496473263 9141992726 0426992279 6782354781 6360093417 2164121992 4586315030 2861829745 5570674983 8505494588 5869269956 9092721079 7509302955 3211653449 8720275596 0236480665 4991198818 3479775356 6369807426 5425278625 5181841757 4672890977 7727938000

The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible

PERIANDER A. ESPLANA

The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible

πeriander ‫א‬. esplana

The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible
(The Solution to the Mathematical “Problem” No. 1 in the Bible) PERIANDER A. ESPLANA
www.geocities.com/perianthium786 6/24/08

THE SO-CALLED MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM NO. 1 IN THE BIBLE
Biblical Errancy, Issue No. 23, November, 1984:

"And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about" (1 Kings 7:23). How could a circle be 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits in circumference? Since pi is 3.14, the circumference must be 31.40 (3.14 x 10) cubits. THE EXPLANATION OR SOLUTION TO THE SO-CALLED MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM NO. 1 IN THE BIBLE Let us analyze the “Biblical Errancy, Issue No. 23, November, 1984” on its criticism of 1 Kings 7:23:
"And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about" (1 Kings 7:23). How could a circle be 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits in circumference? Since pi is 3.14, the circumference must be 31.40 (3.14 x 10) cubits.

Obviously, the stupid author of “Biblical Errancy” is not asking for any enlightenment for he started his “commentary on biblical math” with the following words: “From a scientific perspective, one of the more interesting aspects of the Bible
concerns the number of times numerical calculations are inaccurate. Poor addition, erroneous measurements and fallacious counting are all too evident.”

After he gave ten (a – j)

“examples,” he continued: “Besides fallacious counting and adding, biblical authors had difficulty measuring and computing.” Then, he gave three (k – m) “examples” in which he prioritized 1 Kings 7:23 in the list and he discussed it immediately by reviewing a book on biblical inerrancy. All these so-called examples of mathematical problems in the Bible were merely misinterpretations of his perverted mind. All these so-called problems in all the issues of “Biblical Errancy” were already explained and solved in Dr. Peter S. Ruckman’s “Problem Texts” and in Dr. Gerardus D. Bouw’s “The Book of Bible

The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible

πeriander ‫א‬. esplana

Problems.” In this e-book, I will clearly proved the outright foolishness and downright ignorance of the infidel in his criticism of 1 Kings 7:23. In his criticism, the stupid infidel asked a question:
“How could a circle be 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits in circumference? Since pi is 3.14, the circumference must be 31.40 (3.14 x 10) cubits.”

You will noticed that in his first question, he already assumed “problem” in the text for he immediately followed it with his statement on pi and a review of the book of Dr. Gleason Archer entitled “Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties” in its discussion of the said “problem” text. In the infidel’s question, he indicated the impossibility of a circle which has a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits. The impossibility existed only in his foolish mind, as the following scholars will show:
Dr. Norman L. Geisler and Thomas A. Howe: “1 KINGS 7:23 - Doesn’t the calculation in this verse represent an inaccurate value of pi? PROBLEM: According to 1 Kings 7:23, Hiram constructed a ‘Sea of cast bronze ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.’ From this report we learn that the ration of the circumference to the diameter is three to one. However, this is an inaccurate value of pi which is actually 3.14159. SOLUTION: This is not an error. The biblical record of the various measurements of the different parts of the temple are not necessarily designed to provide precise scientific or mathematical calculations. Rather, the Scripture simply provides a reasonable approximation. The rounding of numbers or the reporting of approximate values or measurements was a common practice in ancient time when exact scientific calculations were not used.” (N. L. Geisler and T. A. Howe, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties, Wheaton: Victor Books, 1992, p. 182) Dr. Henry M. Morris: “Critics who try to find scientific ‘mistakes’ in Scripture nearly always settle on this verse as one of their prime examples. Solomon’s sea, ten cubits in diameter, had a circumference of 30 cubits, supposedly showing that the writer thought the value of π, or ‘pi’ (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) was exactly 3.0, instead of 3.1416. The critics do not understand the principle – always applied in careful scientific calculations – of ‘significant figures.’ The dimensions as given were not intended as precisely 10 or 30, but were obviously round numbers. To say that the diameter was 10 means only that it was somewhere between 9.5 and 10.5. Similarly, the circumference was somewhere between 29.5 and 30.5. Thus the implied value of π was somewhere between 29.5/10.5 and 30.5/9.5 – that is, between 2.81 and 3.21. The precise value of π is clearly within this range, and it would have been incorrect to try to specify a more precise value. (H. M. Morris, “1 Kings 7:23 annotation” in The New Defender’s Study Bible, Nashville: World Publishing, Inc., 2006, pp.541 – 542) Dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger (1837 – 1913): “Here the proportion of the diameter to the circumference (1:3) was revealed, while human wisdom was still searching it out.” (E. W. Bullinger, “1 Kings 7:23 annotation” in The Companion Bible, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1990, p.459) Dr. Math: “The Bible does not state that pi = 3.0. It states that a particular object (the circular basin in front of the Jerusalem Temple) had a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits. So the correct question is not, "Is it proper to round pi to 3.0?" but "Is it proper to round the circumference of this circle to 30 cubits?" Or better, "Are a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits consistent within reasonable measurement error?"

What an arrogant exhibition of infidel’s stupidity and insanity! Pi (π) is NOT 3. In the infidel’s statement that “Since pi is 3.14 x 10) cubits. So let's suppose that the diameter was measured.14. 3.98 cubits.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.8 to 32.14 x 10) cubits.0. 3. esplana We do not know the precision of the measuring instruments used to measure the diameter and circumference of this circle.” he exposed his utter ignorance of mathematics. If you have further questions of this nature.40 (3. the circumference must be 31. Notice that the two ranges have considerable overlap.14. or 29.5 cubit.that is.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944 5923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470 9384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964 4622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233786783165271 2019091456485669234603486104543266482133936072602491412737245 8700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133 0530548820466521384146951941511609433057270365759591953092186 1173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279 3818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217 9860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127 1452635608277857713427577896091736371787214684409012249534301 4654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815 9813629774771309960518707211349999998372978049951059731732816 0963185950244594553469083026425223082533446850352619311881710 1000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875 . or specified in the design.40 (3.1. 3. see the Appendix A of this e-book) Now.5 pi.5 pi to 10.14159265358979323. There is therefore no inconsistency between the diameter and the circumference as reported in the Bible.5 cubits.” I will show to you the perfection of the Bible and the foolishness of the infidel. Then the actual circumference would be in the range from 9. the circumference must be 31. 3. But here is what I would naturally understand if I saw this figure in a scientific journal: in the absence of an explicit indication of precision.” (Note: To read the entire math forum on this question of rounding pi with the answers of Dr.1416.14159. we get a range of 29.” Let us further analyze the infidel’s criticism: “How could a circle be 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits in circumference? Since pi is 3. the absence of a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the nearest 1 cubit . 3. Math defending the Bible.141592.14 x 10) cubits. 3.5 to 30. I hope you will be careful in stating them so that the facts are properly represented.001 decimal digits of pi (π): 3. or if you want up to 1.5 cubit. to be 10 cubits plus or minus 0. plus or minus 0.14 only!!! It can also be rounded as 3. I hope that you clearly see how foolish the infidel when he dogmatically asserted that the circumference of 30 cubits is wrong and that “the circumference must be 31.142.40 (3. If we make the same assumption about the precision of the circumference measurement. He thought that his “little” knowledge of logic and math enabled him and gave him authority to criticize God Himself by finding errors in His words: the inerrant Bible.

Eric Weisstein: “The Bible contains two references (I Kings 7:23 and Chronicles 4:2) which give a value of 3 for π (Wells 1986. Gerardus D. in ‘The ‘true perplexity' [2. water management and the like.’ (I Kings 7:23. It cannot be expressed exactly as a quotient of two integers.com.D. and still computing… Did you now see the infidel’s ridiculous stupidity when he tried to correct the inerrant Bible? A rabbi who lived 1. astronomy. Rather. “The Life of Pi: From Archimedes to Eniac and Beyond. the Bible. Lambert) and a transcendental number (mathematically proved in 1882 by Ferdinand von Lindemann). Borwein.1204) is translated by Langermann. this matter is unknown due to its nature. Clearly. would need an infinite number of pages just to write down the diameter or the circumference. 2004. D. Cleveland: Association for Biblical Astronomy. however. the Babylonians used the approximation 3 1/8 = 3.1604….” (Eric Weisstein. p.” (Jonathan M. 48). If God were to give the actual values. and five cubits the height thereof. therefore. this is not practical. That is a mathematical term which means that it cannot be expressed as a fraction. July 29. interest was metaphysical and geometric. p. The Book of Bible Problems. 4 – 5) This genius rabbi had already written in advanced that Pi is an irrational number (mathematically proved in 1761 by Johann H.wolfram. Dr. Bouw. are probably well within the bounds of experimental uncertainty.” (G. Then or earlier. With the Greeks. pp. ‘You ought to know that the ratio of the diameter of the circle to its circumference is unknown.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. We can. compiled by CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics) . 1997. Egyptians assumed a circle with diameter nine has the same area as a square of side eight. Bouw: “The problem is that π is an irrational number.” Prepared for Mathematics in Culture. and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. several millennia later.Some have argued that the ancient Hebrews were satisfied with π = 3: ‘Also. as the ignorant think. the great Rabbi Moses ben Maimon Maimonedes (1135 . and its discovery will never be attained. “Pi” at http://mathworld. 753] as fairly clearly asserting the Pi's irrationality. round in compass. see the perfection of the Bible by expressing its measurement in personal unit of measurement (cubits) which was not only very useful or practical but also very relevant during the ancient time: Dr. It is a non-terminating number with non-terminating decimal. pi is already digitally computed in a trillion decimal places. see also 2 Chronicles 4:2) In Judaism's defense.’ (Maimonedes) In each case the interest of the civilization in π was primarily in the practical needs of engineering. This is not due to any shortcoming of knowledge on our part. esplana 5468731159562863882353787593751957781857780532171226806613001 92787661119590921642019893 As of now. 102 – 103. nor will it ever be possible to express it precisely. It should be mentioned. according to ancient papyri. pp.): “Four thousand years ago. which implies π = 256/81 = 3.125. that both instances refer to a value obtained from physical measurements and. he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim. as such. as a book.000 years ago had something to say for this postmodern stupid infidel: Rabbi Moses ben Maimon Maimonedes (1135 – 1204 A.

we have no way of knowing for certain whether the measurements were approximated in this way. which corresponds to the distance that a healthy pedestrian might cover if he keeps at it and doesn't take too many breaks. "You're using meters now. The circumference of the vessel described in 1 Kings 7:23 was precisely 30 cubits. In his lovely little book The Joy Of Pi. Pi is a number without a unit because when we divide so-many meters by so-many-more meters. which comes down to nothing but a hardy handshake between two gentlemen. the bar becomes a little larger or smaller and the meter itself changes. It just states that a line of thirty cubits went around a ten cubit vessel.The first concerns the meaning of the word cubit. or possibly a cubit-long rod. and this length would then have been measured off in cubits by the measurer. The Hebrew cubit was about 45 centimetres (18 inches). Most civilized countries nowadays use the meter as standard of length. but not in practice.. and so on). a piece of string or cord on which the distance was marked. And there's the rub: the cubit was by no means standardized and its usage yielded no mathematical precision from which to deduct a ratio that is the same every time.32÷ 9.1415927 plus or minus 0. It therefore seems highly probable that any measurement of more than half a cubit would have been counted as a full cubit. From 1 Kings 7:23 (‘a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about’).5 inches. Engineer: Pi is about 3. which comes down to about thirty arm-lengths of a medium seized gentleman. The ratio of true circumference to true diameter would then have been 30. Similarly the diameter would have been marked on a line and ‘cubitized’ in the same way. the [meters] cancel out of the equation and a pure relational number remains. The realness of number theory But suppose that a measuring line dropped from heaven and the vessel maker now had a standard length of exactly 10 meter (and God said. If the actual diameter was 9. Arie Uittenbogaard: “Theory vs practice.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. It is obvious that a man's forearm does not readily lend itself to the measurement of fractions of a forearm. The actual circumference would then have been 30. The cubit denotes any length that is roughly the same as an arm length. Most commentaries will state that the cubit was approximately 17. for example. but there is no mention of a third part of a cubit or a fourth part of a cubit. which corresponds to about an arm-length. this would have been reckoned as 10 cubits. The ratio between the two was exactly 3. This would have been reckoned as 30 cubits (9.. 1 Kings 7:23 says nothing about the theoretical value of pi.!") and the vessel maker made the vessel precisely 10 meters in diameter. The same goes for the other unit of length.32 cubits. And that means that the decimal tail of pi may go on for ever in theory. and any measurement of less than half a cubit would have been rounded down to the nearest full cubit.e.65 cubits. A cubit was the length of a man’s forearm from the elbow to the extended fingertips. 17 inches is a cubit. esplana Russel Grigg: 1. but that's not entirely accurate. Because if that bar of platinum gets a little warmer or colder. even though these fractions of ‘a third part’ and ‘a fourth part’ were used in volume and weight measurements.6 cubits diameter gives 30. In the Bible half a cubit is mentioned several times. using his own or someone else’s forearm. Physicist: Pi is 3. The diameter of the vessel was precisely 10 cubits.e. even though the measured value (i. the ratio between C and D is as accurate as the unit in which both were measured.14. The standard unit of length in Biblical times was the cubit. used to indicate larger distances: the day's journey. and 18 inches is a cubit as well. to the nearest cubit) was 30 ÷ 10 = 3. and how it would have been used in measuring the vessel.000000005. and the mother of all meters is a bar of platinum stored in a Paris clean-room that is kept at precisely 20 degrees Celsius. David Blatner inserts an anonymous statement (page fifty-four): What is pi? Mathematician: Pi is the number expressing the relationship between the circumference of a circle and its diameter. That means that the circumference of that vessel was precisely 10 times pi .14 circumference. Point well taken. the true value for pi.65 = 3. it appears that the circumference was measured with ‘a line’. i. which comes down to ten arm-lengths of the same or some other gentleman. Practically. and the Ask ‘Dr Math’ Forum agrees that there is no error in the Bible here. While the above seems reasonable.

the more advanced a nation was and the stronger its weaponry and tools were. And the number of pi-digits that we can calculate is a measure for our technological abilities.” (http://www.org/lp/piwrong. plus an electron more or less. but all of it is fictional and untrue. It used to be fire: the hotter the fire.com/Bible_Commentary/1Kings7v23.41592. and he is savvy. In fact. plus nine micrometers (that's pretty much the limit of accuracy used in modern engineering). esplana = 31. if he is involved in a techincal discussion with other engineers. the less accurate it represents nature! Because pi is transcendent. If the Bible were to contain an accurate representation of something that isn't true to begin with (pi). and infinity does not occur in nature. Smaller detail than that is not possible. plus five millimeters. Pi lies by nature of its transcendence.. Unless the Bible authors were mathematicians on the level of Archimedes (one of the other few ancients to go this far in looking at pi). And even though there's nothing wrong with using computers (we're using one now to show you all these things.9 million gallons" rather than bewilder the scientifically inert with more detail. But such an expectation is ludicrous from a non-mathematician. it should use a method that has no precedent in nature and look like an infinite series. plus a couple of the smallest units of length possible in the universe. And even if it did. The only practical function pi in all its extend has is to test new computers for their speed and accuracy. like the whole number sequence does. Pi lies. In other words. aren't we?) the rub lies in the place we give our power to compute in constructing a model of reality around us. like these: . If he's talking to the press.” (http://www. plus the width of a few molecules. which they didn't. Nowadays it's computer power.942. Pi is also not rational and can therefore not be written down as the ratio between two other numbers.html) . We would rightly expect accuracy of greater order from specialists in mathematics like the writer of the Rhynd Papyrus. the number pi can not be fully written down in any way! It leans heavily on the concept of infinity.abarim-publications. but pi goes on! Pi goes on and on to describe smaller and smaller detail. we expect a detailed answer like "4.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.. plus a few picometers. it can not be written down in a finite string of numbers. because there is a semantic contract that correlates the level of precision with the level of expertise. called Planck-Wheeler lengths.or The Bible shows no such thing. not even in the Bible even if the Hebrews had decimal notation. the more accurate we represent pi in numbers. and from Babylonian astrologers.78 gallons" from a NASA engineer. The Kings and Chronicles writers were evidently literate. and the hope we invest in it that it may some day deliver us from all our shortcomings and failures. When the Bible was written. it would only have served to display a numerical tower of Babel. Put it this way: If we ask how many gallons of fuel a rocket contains. no such notations existed. plus forty-one centimeters. but there is no evidence that they were mathematicians. Are any of them incorrect? No.but this is found in places like the Rhynd Papyrus. he'll say "4. then it is ridiculous to expect precision to that level from them. Or in words: Thirty-one meters. by its very nature. plus the width of some atoms.html) James Patrick Holding: “The ancients did measure pi more precisely in some cases -. a book of mathematical equations. and has no relationship to reality. Pi can not even be caught in any finite algebraic equation.tektonics. Your average hobbyist (or even a reporter) will say "5 million gallons". meters.827.

α and e can be found encoded in the text of the Bible at http://homepage. Visit also the website of the mathematician Vernon Jenkins to see how the value of the constants π.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. You must remember that imprecision or approximation by rounding or truncation in mathematics is not equivalent to mathematical error.jenkins/index. and algorithmically! See http://mathworld.net/vernon. What is really IMPOSSIBLE is the ignorant infidel’s wishful thinking of computing the precise ratio of diameter of a circle to its circumference by means of a measurement of physical objects! What is really IMPOSSIBLE is the stupid infidel’s foolish thinking of writing a precise measurement of physical objects which will express the complete value of pi by means of precise measurement of diameter and circumference! The ignorant infidel did not know that pi (π) could be defined or expressed algebraically. analytically.html And 1 Kings 7:23 in itself is NOT written to define pi (π) for pure mathematicians in particular but simply to express approximately the practical measurement of the molten sea in Solomon’s temple for all men in general. it is not only possible to express diameter and circumference in imprecise. geometrically.whatabeginning. All their foolish arguments are mere expression of their arrogant stupidity and fanatic bigotry. Don’t ever trust the ignorant infidel when he or she tried to criticize or correct the Bible by using his or her perverted mind to justify his or her sins and immorality.com On a lighter note. . you can read the amazing proofs from Appendix B to Appendix D.virgin. But if you really want to know the value of pi (π) in the Bible as used in 1 Kings 7:23 in a much wider CONTEXT. you can also see at Appendix E some of the “solutions” which will make you laugh.wolfram.com/PiFormulas.htm http://www. esplana In other words. rounded numbers but also it is the only actual measurement that can be applied by man to physical objects. the truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Sin really drives all infidels crazy.

.0 You can round pi to anything you want. what is lost if you round pi down to 3? You're reducing its value by . and you'll get zero. so that when rounded to two significant figures. makes perfectly good sense if that is what you want to do. If you try to use that number to find the circumference of a circle with a given diameter. I find nothing that says that Pi cannot be rounded to 5. you don't get 3. giving 3.14/3. you can round pi to the nearest ten if you want.14 = 4. but you won't have pi when you are done.math/ Date: 06/01/99 at 12:21:44 From: Doctor Rob Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3.0. thinking that it is obvious that it would make all calculations needing Pi incorrect. I balked at this.0? I have been challenged to prove that the value of Pi cannot be rounded down to 3. Math Date: 06/01/99 at 11:37:02 From: Sam Gibson Subject: Can Pi be rounded to 3. This can be done as follows. you will get answers that are not accurate. but for many purposes that would be perfectly acceptable. I'm not sure of the context of this question. At the same time.html The Math Forum – Ask Dr. The Math Forum http://mathforum. I hope that helps.org/dr.5%. Any number can be rounded to any precision you want. Rounding it to the nearest unit.0.Doctor Peterson. either. so any calculations you make will have that much error. .1. The real question is.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. I think what the challenger wants is for you to prove that pi > 3. so all such calculations are incorrect. Whenever we work with pi we are rounding it to some number of digits. Sam. Can you help? Thanks! Sam Gibson Date: 06/01/99 at 12:09:26 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3. Actually. The only issue is how much accuracy we need for a particular application.0? Hi. esplana Appendix A ROUNDING PI Source: http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52573. but I can find nothing that would say that this is improper.

and that Dr. a circumference of a circular object is given as 30 while the diameter is given as 10. Rob has not proved your claim at all.1. The purpose of this little experiment was to show that there is an error in the Bible.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. Rob answered. and that the sine of 150 degrees is 1/2. The perimeter of the hexagon is p = 3*d. Peterson. Dr.0.math/ Date: 06/01/99 at 12:40:32 From: Sam Gibson Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3. Thanks again. . I am actually doing this to show that there is an error in the Bible at 1 Kings 7:23 and have run into a person who claims that there is no error here and that it is proper to round the value of pi to be 3. > 3. You have shown that this can not be. which is what you wanted. esplana Start with a regular hexagon inscribed in a circle with diameter d. so Pi > p/d = 3.0. You can show that the perimeter of this polygon is p = 3*(sqrt(6)-sqrt(2))*d. Sam Gibson Date: 06/01/99 at 12:51:06 From: Sam Gibson Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3.0 Thank you very much. Sincerely. So the correct question is . base angles of 15 degrees (or Pi/12 radians). The Bible does not state that pi = 3. The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr. but is it proper to round it that much? Thanks.. which is [sqrt(6)-sqrt(2)]/4. thus forming a dodecagon (regular 12-sided polygon) also inscribed in the same circle.. You can use trigonometry to find the lengths of the other two sides of the triangle (the Law of Sines comes to mind). when using the equation 2Pr (where P = pi) to find the circumference this would make pi equal to 3. In 1 Kings 7:23.0 Hi. Sam. Obviously. It states that a particular object (the circular basin in front of the Jerusalem Temple) had a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits. is not the same question that you have now stated.0 Hi Dr. I understand that pi is always rounded no matter what. I was wondering if it is considered proper to round pi down to 3. I beg to differ. Now bisect each side of the hexagon.1058. The small isosceles triangles formed will have base d/2. once you know the sine of 15 degrees. The question that you asked. and vertex angle of 150 degrees (or 5*Pi/6 radians). The verse claims that there is a circular object that has a circumference of 30 and a diameter of 10. and connect the points where the perpendicular bisectors meet the circle to the vertices of the hexagon.Doctor Rob. Sam Gibson Date: 06/01/99 at 16:08:16 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3. so pi > p/d = 3.

or specified in the design. Notice that the two ranges have considerable overlap. to be 10 cubits plus or minus 0." Why? The Bible does not say approximately or about 10 cubits. Notice that the two ranges have considerable overlap.98 cubits. "Is it proper to round pi to 3. Doctor Math does not want to have inaccurate statements attributed to him/her! . esplana not.org/dr. the absence of a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the nearest 1 cubit . we get a range of 29. or specified in the design.5 to 30.0. I am not sure why we could take that to mean anything other than 10 cubits which is what we would need to do if we accept a range from 9.that is. "So let's suppose that the diameter was measured.5 cubits to 10.5 pi to 10.5 cubits.5 pi to 10. The Math Forum http://mathforum. If we make the same assumption about the precision of the circumference measurement. It states that it is 10 cubits." First.0?" but "Is it proper to round the circumference of this circle to 30 cubits?" Or better. You wrote: "in the absence of an explicit indication of precision.5 cubit. So let's suppose that the diameter was measured. I am not quite sure I am understanding you." Same problem as above. plus or minus 0. the absence of a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the nearest 1 cubit .5 cubit. we get a range of 29. The figure given is 30.Doctor Rick. plus or minus 0.5 cubit. "If we make the same assumption about the precision of the circumference measurement.5 pi. Then the actual circumference would be in the range from 9.8 to 32.0 Doctor Rick. "Are a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits consistent within reasonable measurement error?" We do not know the precision of the measuring instruments used to measure the diameter and circumference of this circle. If you have further questions of this nature.8 to 32.5 cubits. we would need to understand why this is acceptable to do when we have been given a figure of 10.5 cubit. or 29. can pi ever be expressed as being equal to 3. The Bible makes this claim and it is mathematically incorrect. to be 10 cubits plus or minus 0. There is therefore no inconsistency between the diameter and the circumference as reported in the Bible.98 cubits. not "approximately 30" or "about 30. What I asked is simply.5 cubits.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.that is.5 to 30. But here is what I would naturally understand if I saw this figure in a scientific journal: in the absence of an explicit indication of precision. I hope you will be careful in stating them so that the facts are properly represented. I do not think that I misrepresented the question at all." .math/ Date: 06/01/99 at 16:44:47 From: Sam Gibson Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3. Then the actual circumference would be in the range from 9. There is therefore no inconsistency between the diameter and the circumference as reported in the Bible. or 29.5 pi.

the question that I asked was: "Is it proper to round pi to 3. Rob to interpret the phrase "can be rounded." Both said that pi can be rounded however you like. but for many purposes that would be perfectly acceptable. The figure of 3. makes perfectly good sense if that is what you want to do. giving 3.5 cubits to 10. The Bible does not make this claim. I hope you will be careful in stating them so that the facts are properly represented. Doctor Math does not want to have inaccurate statements attributed to him/her!" I probably won't have future questions like this. > >Why? The Bible does not say approximately or about 10 cubits. so all such calculations are incorrect! The only issue is how much accuracy we need for a particular application. what is lost if you round pi down to 3? You're reducing its value by . please: "I'm not sure of the context of this question. I am not sure why we could take that to >mean anything other than 10 cubits which is what we would need to do >if we accept a range from 9.5 cubits. It simply reports two measurements which imply a value of pi.0 is not found there.5 cubit.5%. I started from the measurements as given and derived reasonable precision criteria from them.1.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.that is. >You wrote: >in the absence of an explicit indication of precision. esplana "If you have further questions of this nature.0 Hi again. Peterson or Dr. the absence of >a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the nearest 1 >cubit .0 meets these criteria." We need to start from the actual question posed to you in order to decide what are the appropriate criteria how accurate we need to be in this particular application. Any number can be rounded to any precision you want. Then we can see whether approximating pi as 3. Whenever we work with pi we are rounding it to some number of digits. No. Sam. Therefore in my analysis. you didn't misrepresent the question. >What I asked is simply. so any calculations you make will have that much error. plus or minus 0. It >states that it is 10 cubits. Rob made a reasonable guess at what criterion you might have in mind. the Bible never says that there is such a thing as pi. The real question is. Thanks again.14 = 4. can pi ever be expressed as being equal to >3. . Peterson's answer. and you'll get zero. but you didn't give enough information for either Dr. Re-read Dr. Again.14/3. Rounding it to the nearest unit. supposing that you needed to prove that pi > 3. This information was not available in the original question. Dr. Sam Gibson Date: 06/01/99 at 19:22:51 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Can Pi be rounded to 3.0?" This would need to be the case if we understand the diameter to be 10 and the circumference to be 30. you can round pi to the nearest ten if you want. The Bible makes this claim and it is mathematically incorrect. If we are going to be mathematically precise.0.

we get a range of 29. Again. I don't know your background.98 cubits. so I might write 11.math/ . >> or 29. whether it is written or not.org/dr. In any case. Then the >> actual circumference would be in the range from 9. we would need to understand why this is acceptable to do when >we have been given a figure of 10. because as I said. > >Same problem as above. Every measurement we ever make is an approximation.0?" This would need >to be the case if we understand the diameter to be 10 and the >circumference to be 30. how can you prove that pi is greater than 3. >> Notice that the two ranges have considerable overlap. to be 10 cubits plus or minus 0.5 mm or even just 11 +.1.0. Under some conditions. 5% accuracy is enough. >> Doctor Math does not want to have inaccurate statements attributed >> to him/her! > >I probably won't have future questions like this. I hope I have made myself clearer this time. or specified in >> the design.5 millimeter. with some guesses about the precision of the measurements. as Dr.5 cubit. the question >that I asked was: "Is it proper to round pi to 3. If the smallest markings on my ruler are millimeters. not "approximately 30" >or "about 30". Rob was answering a different assumed question. Dr. Rob's answer as "proof" of your claim.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. See my last paragraph.5 mm. >> So let's suppose that the diameter was measured. Such a measurement precision is part of every measurement. esplana Look back at Dr.5 cubits. . I hope you will be >> careful in stating them so that the facts are properly represented.Doctor Rick. we learned about how to write our measurements so that they would accurately reflect the precision of our measuring instruments.5 pi. I know it was not exactly 10.5 pi to 10. Peterson's answer.423 millimeters. >> If we make the same assumption about the precision of the >> circumference measurement.0. My analysis showed that. it seems that 5% may indeed have been enough in the context. namely. no real-world measurement is exact. it's not right to take Dr. The Math Forum http://mathforum.5 to 30. There is >> therefore no inconsistency between the diameter and the >> circumference as reported in the Bible. The figure given is 30. then I would not write a measurement as 11.8 to 32.5 mm +. I can only make a reasonable guess. but I studied physics and before we had our first laboratory. the closest I could measure with that ruler would be plus or minus 0. > >> If you have further questions of this nature. Peterson said. > >First. I don't know what the actual precision of the measurements was.

e. . with flowers of lilies’ (KJV). ‘round about’ (v.0? by Russell Grigg Source: http://www.creationontheweb. the brim or rim turned outward. The diameter of 10 cubits was measured ‘from brim to brim’ (v. i. 23). = Thus the external diameter of the vessel at the point where the circumference was measured must have been 9. It is believed by Bible scholars to have looked like the drawing below. It is very obvious that the diameter of the main body of the tank was less than the diameter of the top of the brim.55 cubits. Verse 26 of 1 Kings 7 says that the vessel in question had a brim which ‘was wrought like the brim of a cup. It is thus abundantly clear that the Bible does not defy geometry with regard to the value of pi. These are: 1. 2. 2. the most natural meaning of these words is that they refer to the circumference of the outside of the main body of the tank. and seeming discrepancies vanish on closer examination.e. And it is also obvious that the circumference of 30 cubits could have been measured at any point down the vertical sides of the vessel. suggesting the curvature of a lily.com/content/view/1731/ However. The circumference of 30 cubits was measured with a line.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. we can calculate what the external diameter of the vessel would have been at that point from the formula: diameter = circumference ÷ pi = 30 cubits ÷ 3. like a lily blossom’ (NIV). Let us consider the details given in 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2. Skeptics who allege an inaccuracy are wrong.0. and in particular it does not say that pi equals 3. because they fail to take into account all the data. below the brim. The Bible is reliable. For a measured circumference of 30 cubits. 23). the following appears to provide a definitive answer. esplana Appendix B Does the Bible say pi equals 3.55 cubits. measured by a string pulled tightly around the vessel below the brim.14 9. from the topmost point of the brim on one side to the topmost point of the brim on the other side (points A and B in the diagram). even if it is assumed that the measurements given were precisely 10 and 30 cubits. or a rim ‘like the rim of a cup. i.e. i.

``the ancient Hebrews regarded as being equal to 3'' [Almkvist. . esplana Appendix C Source: http://www.ca/people/faculty/israel/bpi/bpi. Rabbinical exegesis. p. ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about. S. 1989] and historians of science [Bell 1945]. Abstract: We present here a biblical exegesis of the value of . after mentioning this verse.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. et al. [Gillings 1972] many hundred years before this part of the Hebrew Bible was written: . from the well known verse 1 Kings 7:23. the comparison provides independent supporting evidence for the exegesis. 412] As a matter of fact. [Holy Scriptures. Belaga C. 1 Kings 7:23. to ) their surprise by such a low accuracy of the Biblical approximation. people either can not hide (or are even happy for some ideological reasons.math. and its height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did circle it round about''. 01 A 17 Key words: history of Pi.The Hebrew Bible often speaks the language of numbers and measurements [Feldman 1965]. 599]. to emphasize . if at all [Hoyrup 1989]. especially in the light of well-documented much better approximations evidence that the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians used for [Neugebauer 1969]. understands this language. giving the dimensions of a tank in the First Temple : ``And he made a molten sea [tank]. p. N. As a recent publication in The American Mathematical Monthly puts it.html On The Rabbinical Exegesis of an Enhanced Biblical Value of Shlomo Edward G.ubc. the Western tradition rarely . This verse is then compared to 2 Chronicles 4:2. R. [Beckmann 1971]) is based on the plain meaning of the following verse of the Hebrew Bible. rue René Descartes F-67084 STRASBOURG Cedex FRANCE AMS 1980 Mathematics Subject Classification: 01 A 15. This claim (as several identical claims made by both working mathematicians [Borwein. Université Louis Pasteur 7.. and the case of the Biblical value of could be seen as both a remarkable exception of this rule and its striking confirmation. . or do not want . 1. Berndt 1988.

whereas the written version slightly deviates from the correct spelling. for that matter. [Britannica 1985]. and disseminated in the written form. Mem=40. Gordan 1984] . as they were not interested (with the Jewish Temple being a notable exception) in creating numerous and splendid monuments of their religion and culture. is hidden in the choice of the written version! The letters of the Hebrew alphabets were traditionly used (well before the building of the First Temple [Guitel 1975]) for numerical purposes and. The key to an alternative reading of the verse 1 Kings 7:23 is to be found in the very ancient Hebrew tradition (see. any other scientific knowledge per se as deserving to be developed. . Aiin=70. Lammed=30. [Britannica 1985]. Yod=10. part three: Method]. e. but also in several other. less obvious and/or more involved ways). but it has to be read as ``QV (Qof.. Pea=80. the reading version is usually regarded as a correct one (in particular. [Britannica 1985].a much more accurate approximation to . see more about this version of the exegesis in 4). and this is why it could be easily either remembered or reconstructed from the written version). Here are the standard numerical equivalents of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet: Aleph=1. 1968]). it seems both appropriate and interesting at this point to give a Rabbinical interpretation of . Noon=50. Tradition asserts that not only does this disparity testify to an approximate character of the given length of the line circling around the ``sea''(tank). Beth=2.g. p.g. Vav)'' (the reader is advised to look at any edition of the Hebrew Bible with the Hebrew text and its translation. -. Zain=7. one could even doubt that such diagrams ever existed: ``ancient Hebrews'' have never regarded mathematical or. [Banon 1987. no diagrams were preserved. Gordan 1984] and [Roiter 1993]). Tet=9. 2. . we do not know. Hea)''.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. 142]). implicitly defined in this verse. all disparities are either marked by an atersik.. a researcher writes about the value of : `` Just how this remarkably close approximation was found. e. Vav. of course. or the reading version is written on the margins). 163]. Vav=6. involving the comparison between written forms of the same words in 1 Kings 7:23 and Chronicles 4:2 is cited in [Posamentiern. TSadik=90. In our case there is such a disparity for the word ``line'': in Hebrew. Using these values. esplana Thus. however. well known to historians. Caf=20. that the Rabbinical folklore has preserved either the mathematical method which was used in this approximation of . Gimel=3. We do not claim. thus. Samech=60. p. one can calculate values of words (as sums of values of letters. has to be the above verse and the way the number computed [Max Munk 1962 . and in any such case there exists (or existed: some of this knowledge was definitely lost) a Rabbinical folklore (in fact. have had numerical values . (Another approach. Such a disparity is a common feature for all Books of the Hebrew Bible. 53]) to differently write (spell) and read some words of the Bible. but we can offer a suggestion on examining the diagram of RMP 48'' (cited in [Gillings 1972. In our case. 52. it is always correct from the point of view of the Hebrew grammar. it is written as ``QVH (Qof. strict Rabbinical hermeneutical rules [Steinsaltz 1976. Hea=5. preserved. 1968] (see also two popular and slightly different accounts in [Posamentier. pp. or its historical origins: all that was left to us is an extremely natural and concise mnemonic rule of the reconstruction of (see more about it in [Max Munk 1962. CHet=8. these methods became later known as gematria [Michael Munk 1983. Daled=4. as. Such an absence of mathematical justification is. [Banon 1987]) of interpretation of the difference in question.

e.``QVH''. esplana Qof=100. [Khintchine 1963]) corresponding to the first five sections of : One immediately observes that. it is even more remarkable qualitatively. ``QV''. . . Quantitatively. Tav=400.. was known to ancient Greeks. is Qof+Vav+Hea=100+6+5=111. the numerical equivalent of the written version . and.g. one defines as follows: Thus. firstly. Shin=300. cm In particular. [3:7]=22/7. secondly. this is quite a remarkable approximation! However.000 ! Notice also that the preceding convergent. 3. is the second (after ) best convergent with a denominator under 30. Using these numerical equivalents. is Qof+Vav=106. whereas the numerical equivalent of the reading version. Reish=200. Here is a finite section of the (infinite) continued fraction of the number : and here are the convergents (see.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.

-reading disparity to encode it. p.the [exact] ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference cannot be known [is irrational]. Thus. and the author of the Chronicles (traditionally identified with the Scribe Ezra) was much more preoccupied with rebuilding the Temple and preserving the spirit of the Torah. And they relied on this for all the measurements they needed'' [Mishnah 1983. in fact.. [Mishnah 1983. Looking at the Hebrew text. esplana 4. he would still have to explain the disparity between two different written versions of the same word (with only one version being grammatically correct) in two almost identical verses of the Bible! This last disparity is chosen as the point of departure for the Rabbinical exegesis in [Posamentier. why would be this important hint to the enhanced value of omitted from the Books of Chronicles? An answer might be that the Books of Chronicles were written more than four hundred years after the Books of Kings. 988]. still. at least briefly. Gordan 1984]. It is worthwhile to mention here a remarkable fact. plays an important rôle as an approximation which was regarded (and is still regarded) as best suited for all ritual purposes in the everyday life of a common practitioner (possibly.. namely.. touched upon: if the author of the first Book of Kings (traditionally identified with Prophet Jeremiah) actually knew the value and intentionally exploited the aforementioned written-vs. why couldn't he simply write this value down in his text? The answer might be that the value . 22] and confirm that the real value of is ``slightly bigger'' than 3.. Still. 5. One could ask. was it conceived by its author) as the [only] textual basis for the following legal definition of : ``Any [circle] which has a circumference of three fists has a diameter of one fist'' [Mishnah 1983. Ezra has faithfully reproduced these dimensions in his book. Thus.. .and the approximation used by scientists [Greeks and Arabs] is the ratio of one to three and one seventh.. the above exegesis exploits a more rare event: the existence of two almost identical verses.-reading versions of a verse is a very general method in the Rabbinical tradition [Munk 1962. [Banon 1987]. 1968]. thus. [Scherman 1980]. Namely.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. Rambam comments:``.. p. we conjecture. A methodological remark: whereas the exegesis based on comparison of written-vs.. 1968]. (and so. 23] (this important dictum is encountered in at least four different places of the Babylonian Talmud [Max Munk 1962. it could be easily seen that the verse 2 Chronicles 4:2 of the Hebrew Bible repeats 1 Kings 7:23 almost verbatim [Holy Scriptures. that in the case of the verse 1 Kings 7:23 we have an independent confirmation of the above mentioned written vs. reading disparity. The following question arising from the above analysis has to be. all legal texts thoroughly investigate the problem [Max Munk 1962. implicitly given in the text. with some commentators advancing an almost modern point of view on irrational nature of (the irrationality of was strictly proved only in the late eighteenth century). 22]. p. p. even if somebody would rebuff as irrelevant the problem of interpretation of the disparity written vs. reading version of the word line in 1 Kings 7:23 (because he does not trust the oral tradition of transmission of Biblical texts).. one immediately observes that the Hebrew word translated as line is traditionally spelled (written) here identically to its reading version. Since it is impossible to arrive at a perfectly accurate ratio.but it is possible to approximate it. our verse serves. than with the ``correct'' value of hidden in the descriptions of dimensions of the sacred objects in the First Temple. mathematically illiterate) of the Jewish law. they [the Jewish Sages] assumed a round number and said: `Any [circle] which has a circumference of three fists has a diameter of one fist'.. 1968]). .

This external pressure. In this sense. e. and another one for ``connoisseurs''. Rabbi Dr. read the paper and suggested an important correction. suggested several important Talmudic and Halachic sources. This fundamental difficulty still remains the main obstacle to scientific ``customization'' of the vast body of esoteric knowledge accumulated. it is (and always was) similar to modern science. Judaism possesses elaborate institutions for such a transmission . such as bent or crooked letters. With all this understanding. In fact. of Mevasseret Yerushalaim. Discussions with Prof. commented upon.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. without being lived two hundred years ago. it invariably remained during this period an underdog.in a sense -. The comments of Rabbi Naftali Gut. Vol. cm Acknowledgements. whether written normally or with some change in form. Part Three: Method]. Any acknowledgements would be both incomplete and difficult to appreciate without some rather personal remarks about the history of the writing of the present paper. prone to persecutions and derision. The author hopes to be able to contribute more to our better understanding of this precious intellectual and spiritual heritage.. gained thus far. is not only a typical phenomenon in the Rabbinical tradition -. of course. that ``the ancient Hebrew regarded as being equal to 3''. p. Louis . of Montréal. one level for legal purposes. Rabinovich.g. of Maaleh Adumim. or any other Jewish scholar who . were most inspiring. 10]. 6. As Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman writes: ``Everything that was transmitted to Moses our teacher through the forty-nine gates of understanding was written in the Torah explicitly or by implication in words. with its elaborated institutions of training and supporting professionals. in the numerical value of the letters or in the form of the letters. unable to elucidate the way the exegesis of the verse 1 Kings 7:23 has come to us: was it rediscovered by Rabbi Matityahu Hakohen Munk on his own [Max Munk 1962. several scholars in Talmudic studies have confirmed the existence of the exegesis. together with related to it scarcity of social resources. 1968]. Nachum L. to advance a better approximation of able (as we now are) to confirm this value scientifically. or was it transmitted to him? Is there another source in the Rabbinical literature for the exegesis? A formidable a priori difficulty in answering these and similiar questions is related to unpleasant two thousand years old legacy of Judaism: as a religion. Henri Biberfeld. of Zürich. The author has acquired the knowledge of the Rabbinical exegesis of the verse 1 Kings 7:23 from Rabbi Haim Roth. the verse 1 Kings 7:23 ! The first draft of the paper appeared in October 1990.'' [Ramban 1971.1. no sources for it were ever mentioned. however. in the fall of 1990. since then. explain why Rabbis have strictly separated legal matters (as. with a very gratifying reponse from both the Talmudic and scientific communities. and faithfully transmitted by Jewish scholars. The author decided to publicize the exegesis. in fact. esplana It should be stressed that the purposed interpretation of the two-level semantical structure of a Biblical verse (in our case. or more. and transmit knowledge. the legal definition of ) from ``esoteric'' knowledge available to them (our exegesis possibly included). Rabbis Daniel Mund and Arye Posen. which claimed...such a multi-level approach to texts is the main methodological legacy of this tradition [Steinsaltz 1976. and other deviations. it would be a nightmare scenario for Rambam. Rabbi Dr. accumulate. eleven years ago (the winter of 1979-1980). whose duty is to discover. Of course such an approach makes sense only if applied to texts which are faithfully transmitted from generation to generation. in a matter-of-fact manner. as yet. after he stumbled upon two recent papers in The American Mathematical Monthly (written for a wide mathematical audience and devoted to new methods of computation of ). 1 Kings 7:23). we are. that is. citing. [Banon 87].

unfortunately. D. Hoyrup 1989: The Mathematical Context of the Bible. on the part of colleagues with. Technical Report N 2. J. 201-219. Paris.metic -Geometric Mean. However. French) references which are widely available in modern libraries. Roger Herz-Fischler. Éditions du Seuil. W. P.chique. The Amer. Borwein. the present author has intentionally restricted his choice to such English (and. university Centre. P. Charbonneau. and miraculously. H. M. New-York. has just become aware about the existence of an exegesis and started to look for its source. written in Hebrew and never translated in any of Western languages. Khintchine 1963: Continued Fractions. Clarendon Press. in: eds. Oxford. introduced the author to Rabbi Dr. New-York. of Urbana. The MIT Press. [Hoyrup 1989] belong to Prof. the Arith. Groningen. P. the risky endeavor to bridge the gap between the Rabbinical tradition and modern history of science would be impossible without the steadfastness and support of the author's family. to whom belongs the reference [Zuidhof 1982]. pp. Brook 1988: The God of Isaac Newton. with all the aforementioned interest and encouragement. Paris. supplied the reference [Posamentier. Bell 1945: The Development of Mathematics. In a week or so. J. Oxford Univ. McGraw-Hill. J.. Jacques Lefebvres. 1(b): Eruvin. who. Feldman 1965: Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy. The only (and. the crucial references [Max Munk 1962. G. of Bar-Ilan. Banon 1987: La lecture infinie: Les voies de l'interprétation midra.and all this has happened in the last week of April 1991. E. after eleven years of unsuccessful search for such a source! After hearing about the author's difficulties to locate the (Hebrew) references in Montréal. The Amer. and the Ladies Diary. Almkvist. Monthly. R. Ya. Borwein. 1968] were found and transmitted to the author -. A. J. D. Boulder. M. B. Beckmann 1971: A History of (Pi). Monthly. of Montréal. Finally. Vol. F. esplana Charbonneau. Vol 22: Judaism. 95. by sheer coincidence. Cambridge. The Artscroll Series. REFERENCES Note: The Rabbinical literature on the subject which are dealt with (or only briefly mentioned) in this paper is enormous. Later. Gordan 1984]. Prof.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. Flammarion. . Bernd 1988: Gauss. Montréal. Let Newton Be!. Bailey 1989: Ramanujan. Ellipses. Britannica (The New Encyclopedia) 1985. Mishnah. in three cases. to appear in Anchor Bible Dictionary. the student of Prof. The Holy Scriptures. 14: Biblical literature and its critical interpretation. G. apparently. the references [Feldman 1965]. The Golem Press. bordering on ridicule ). Math. Rabbi 1962: Three Geometry Problems in Tanach and Talmud (in Hebrew). of Carleton. Press. Edward Reingold. Jerusalem. Zeharia Dor-Shav. . helped the author to contain excitement and avoid self-congratulation. M(ax) Munk. Landen. Fauvel. Prof. T. Monsieur Luc Gagnon. Mesorah Publications. Vol. Ramanujan. Still. J. Hermon Press. 166-183. Reingold has found the articles in Urbana and sent the copies to the author. Noordhoff. or How to compute one billion digits of Pi. Gillings 1972: Mathematics in the Time of the Pharaohs. whose enthusiasm for the subject was most encouraging. et al. 96. B. Several manifestations of utmost disbelief (in few cases. 1983: Seder Moed. 1977. Math. Manuel 1974: The religion of Isaac Newton. modular equations. SINAI (Mossad Harav Kook) 51 (5722) 218-227. no previous exposure to Jewish studies. unavoidable) exceptions are the original papers of Rabbi Max Munk. Koren Publishers. 585-608. New-York. and his colleagues were helpful in adjusting the presentation to the tastes of practitioners of history of mathematics. Guitel 1975: Historie comparée des numérations écrites. and approximations to Pi. he introduced the author to Prof. Chicago.

Basic Books. S.. . N 1. Rabbi 1968: The Halachik Way for the Solution of Special Geometry Problems (in Hebrew).The biblical account mentions first the brim to brim diameter of ten cubits.Temple Built by the King Solomon. Rabbi 1983: The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet.. Cambridge Univ. Cambridge..a brim and a lily has outward curving petals. S. Spring.. Translated by Rabbi Dr. A. Mesorah.The sea apparently was not the typical straight-walled mathematical cylinder. Steinsaltz 1976: The Essential Talmud.. a blueprint of heaven. Chavel. Munk.exegesis. and the volume amounted to roughly 45. HADAROM (Rabbinical Council of America) 27 (5728) 115-133. Erster Band: Vorgriechische Mathematik. Neugebauer 1969: Vorlesungen über Geschichte der antiken mathematischen Wissenschaften. Westfall 1987: Never at Rest.. 52. N 38. 1991. Kingston. New-York. pp. in five volumes.not ``but several difficulties complicate the analysis of the design of the vessel. to ascertain every last fact about it was one of the highest forms of knowledge... for here was the ultimate truth of God's kingdom expressed in physical terms'' (quoted in [Brooke 1988]. Berlin. A line streched across the top would easily have measured this. 179]. the height about 2... 93-101. . N. Biblical Archeologist. Mesorah Publications. p. gallons). p. Zuidhof 1982: King Solomon's molten sea and ( ). an overview to Bircas HaChammah. Posamentier. Shilo Publishing House.er. Rabbi 1980: Measurements from Sinai. New-York. and the Talmud scholars'' [Westfall 1987. H. The Mathematics Teacher 77. Scherman. Kountrass 7.. Brooklyn. esplana M(ax) Munk. Ramban 1971: Commentary on the Torah. Its size is comparable to some of the largest church bells cast in modern times'' [Zuidhof 1982.Being the man he was.S. B. New-York. Queen's University. There can be little doubt that it was one of the greatest engineering works ever undertaken in the Hebrew nation. An earlier version has appeared in the Proceedings of the XVIIth Canadian Congress of History and Philosophy of Mathematics. he plunged into an extensive program of reading in Josephus... the ninth century BCE. 346-348]. M(ichael) L. pp.5 m (8 feet). cm Endnotes: . Ontario. the water of the tank was used by priests for ritual ablutions. Press. Summer 1982.. C. Gordan 1984: An astounding revelation on the history of . 47. R. Roiter 1993: La mer d'airain du Roi Salomon et le nombre (PI). A.. Maimonides.000 litres (12. ``The molten sea was a large. bronze water reservoir set on backs of twelve bronze oxen and placed in the court of Solomon's temple.) .It is then ... Philo..The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. its dimensions and the volumetric capacity . Newton's inspirations were conjectured by Frank Manuel [Manuel 1974] in the following form:``The temple of Solomon was the most important embodiment of a future extramundane reality.000 U. 10. May 27-29. p. N. pp.. 177. O..The diameter was about 5 m (16 feet).rarely One of those rare cases is Isaac Newton's ``obsession with the [King Solomon's] temple's plan and dimensions. 179184.

1984] Who attribute their exegesis to Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna.emphasize ``The inaccuracy of the biblical value of is.. and royal physician.. however -.transmission A historian comments: Josephus. and Cyrillic texts [Guitel 1975] . Berndt 1988. p. p. perhaps by someone who believes that `God makes no mistakes'. writing not long after 70 CE boasts of the existence of a longstanding fixed text of the Jewish Scriptures'' [Britannica 1985. died circa 1270. et al.Nachman A Rabbinical authority.... in the Arabic. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204). . the famous Talmudic scholar of the late eighteenth century. esplana reasonable to conclude that the 30-cubit circumference was measured below the brim'' [loc. . pp. with the hindsight of what happened afterwards. . known by his acronym. 204]...cit. codifier. physician.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. p... . RAMBAM.14. . no more than an amusing curiosity. of course.. ``Not all ancient societies were as accurate.... 1989. without doubt... 179-181].. and poet. the ratio between circumference and diameter ( ) of the circular vessel is not mentioned in the Bible. was one of the most illustrious figures in Judaism of all time. p. 599].nearly 1500 years later the Hebrews were perhaps still content to use the value 3'' [Borwein. Greek.. unfortunately.. 180] . and. Nevertheless. vol. known by his acronym. alias Gaon-mi-Vilna. 13-14]. philosopher.Rambam A Rabbinical authority. that `round' and `depth' are to be interpreted loosely. the author was unsuccessful in locating the related reference to works of Gaon-mi-Vilna . p... codifier.want ``It has been suggested.. following the Hebrew tradition. and as Nachmanides .values Analogous numeric systems were used later. and that the tank was elliptical in shape'' [Almkvist. philosopher.implicitly ``Also. RAMBAN. born in 1195.ridicule . it is interesting to note this little pebble on the road to the confrontation between science and religion'' [Beckmann 1971. and as Maimonides.'' [Zuidhof 1982. 760].

2 ni comme en p. The present author does not remember now what exactly has the reviewer referred to on the page 2 (nor was it clear to the author immediately after he has received the reviewer's text).. . esplana As an anonymous reviewer has written on the third draft of the present paper (which went in all through a dozen of drafts). to testify that no ``act of faith'' is needed to compare two verses and to conclude that the second one is a faithful copy of the first one.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.. comme celui décrit en p.3-4:`(. ``Il n'auirait pas à adhérer à un acte de foi. but the author's statement about the ``faithfullness of Ezra'' has survived all changes (see the end of 4).) Ezra has faithfully reproduced these dimensions in his book' ''.

Please refer to the molten sea diagram representation half way down this page for an illustration to this problem... "1john57. All rights reserved. DID! by Don Hewey... when measuring the diameter of . with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths. For the sake of this illustration. email: donhewey@k-online.D. since it is now known that DIAMETER is 171. 540 inches DIVIDED by PI = 171. but twice! Amazing. The circumference of a circle is PI x d (diameter)...htm THE HOLY BIBLE KNEW ABOUT THE CORRECT VALUE FOR PI LONG BEFORE VIETE of 1593 A.").. and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. For a complete discussion on the outer portion of the molten sea..The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. please refer to this link here that gives the proof.." "1 Kings 7:[26] And it was an HAND BREADTH THICK[#02947 tephach].." The mathematics in verse 23 is NOT in error. The rub with this verse 23 is that it does not state how thick the brim is! So here is the mathematics to prove that verse 26 is accurate (". a cubit (strongs #0520 = 'ammah') is defined as approximately 18 in. But with further examination of this outline and also the "yfiles" link. The confusion over 1 Kings 7:23 is that the reader automatically assumes that the thirty cubits stated in verse 23 is the corresponding circumference of the outer uttermost brimmed edge.com disclaimer Copyright © 1998-1999.14159 (approximately). ten cubits[#0520 ammah] from the one brim[#08193 saphah] to the other: it was round all about. Why? Because of verse 26. It is not.HAND BREADTH THICK. 30 cubits = 30 x 18 inches = 540 inches it total circumference.8874.. "1 Kings 7:[23] And he made a molten sea.. outer circumference proof .. ".1john57. so therefore we must solve for "d". main index NOTE: This outline will clearly illustrate the "inside" circumference of the molten sea solid brass tub) which is the non-brimmed portion of the molten sea." First. and the BRIM[#08193 saphah] thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup. 18 inches will be used. we must now subtract the different between the breadth thickness of EACH SIDE. esplana Appendix D Source: http://www. In other words..8874 inches. Now.com/1kings723.in doing this we get.com" of KJV Apologetics. the bible not only proves PI once..the hand breadth thick. PI = 3. the diameter must be solved to account for the width of the brim. The exact physical represention as it is written in verse 23 is physically impossible as one should immediately become suspicious of.

shore. the thickness must be accounted for TWICE. Once for the first edge. NOW GET OUT A RULER AND MEASURE THE BREADTH OF YOUR HAND!!!!! CUBIT = 0520 ammah {am-maw'} prolonged from 0517. Now divide 8. See a Bible Dictionary for a complete treatment HAND BREADTH = 02947 tephach {tay'-fakh} from 02946. edge 8.1126 by TWO. 4 1) span. TWOT . brink 5. speech. bank 10.cubit 242. measure 1. 176 1) lip. the cubit of a man or common cubit (Dt 3.11). then ONCE MORE for the opposite edge. not translated 1. language. brink. side.171. language 7.5) plus others. [25] It stood upon twelve oxen. shore. measurement of length 2) coping (an architectural term) BRIM = 08193 saphah {saw-faw'} or (in dual and plural) sepheth {sef-eth'} probably from 05595 or 08192 through the idea of termination (compare 05490). border. . and all their hinder parts were nward. vain 2. TWOT 2278a. compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.hand breath 3. border 3. and three looking toward the west. misc 4. 245 1) cubit . There are several cubits used in the OT.8874 inches = 8. coping 1. binding 1a) lip (as body part) 1b) language 1c) edge.115c. and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them. [26] And it was an HAND BREADTH THICK. esplana an tank or container that has substantial thickness. edge.a measure of distance (the forearm). and the BRIM thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup.1126 inches.818b. bank (of cup. we get 4. and three looking toward the south. three looking toward the north. hand breadth 1a) a unit of measurement. ten in a cubit.lip 112. side 3. brim 8. width of the hand. river. brim. with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths. n f AV . shore 6. etc) [24] And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it. when it was cast.0563 inches. 10 cubits = 180 inches . n f AV . n m AV . post 1. bank. TWOT . roughly 18 in (.5m). Therefore we get. sea. the egal cubit or cubit of the sanctuary (Eze 40. speech 6. prating 2.

1418 (averaging technique) 3.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.16045 1200? BC 3 550 BC 250? BC 130 AD 3.1622 = square root of 10 . esplana D2 = the measured diameter between the extreme OUTER points of the rim at the very top of the molten sea tub.125 = 3 + 1/8 2000? BC 3.1415926 3. Table of computation of Pi from 2000 BC to now Babylonians Egyptians China Holy Bible (1 Kings 7:23 and 26) Archimedes Hon Han Shu 2000? BC 3.

1415926536 (ave.) 3.16227 = squareroot of 10 3.14166 3. If one considers a hand breadth to be 4 inches. The thickness of the annulus was recorded as a hand-breadth.1415926536 (ave.) 3.uk/~history/Miscellaneous/other_links/Graf_theory The brass tub in Solomon's temple was a thick-sided vessel. We note that the value AD) 355 /113 as an approximation for was first noted by Zu Chongzhi (430-501 . and the measurement of ten cubits referred to the outer diameter.) Graf Theory http://www-groups.1415926536 (ave. The true value of would give slightly different values for a hand-breadth and a cubit.1415926536 (ave.dcs.75 for a cubit. the value of p in the equation: ((10 .1415926 3.1416 3.141818 3. Comment by: Bob Graf. merely observed them.ac. while the measurement of thirty cubits referred to the inner circumference. esplana Ptolemy Chung Hing Wang Fau Liu Hui Siddhanta Tsu Ch'ung Chi Aryabhata Brahmagupta Al-Khowarizmi Fibonacci Al-Kashi Otho Viete Romanus Van Ceulen Newton Sharp 150 AD 250 AD 250 AD 263 AD 380 AD 480 AD 499 AD 640 AD 800 AD 1220 AD 1429 AD 1573 AD 1593 AD 1593 AD 1596 AD 1665 AD 1699 AD 3. and uses a figure of 17.1415929 3.162277 = squareroot of 10 3.14159 3.1415926536 (ave.30/p)/2) 17.) 3.1415929 3.15555 = 142/45 3. 29th October 1996.14156 3. I think this fact is more interesting than the improper imputation of 3 as the 'Biblical' value of .The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.st-and.75 = 4 is p = 355/113 .1416 3. I don't think the Hebrews calculated the values recorded.) 3.

but more on this later).139534+ The difference between the described value of pi (pi') and the actual value of pi is: pi .pi' error = ---------. we get: Ci = pi' × (Do .com/text/biblepi.2 × T) Ci pi' = -----------Do . One fact that is overlooked in discussions of this sort is that the wall of the "sea" (bowl) was "one handbreadth" in thickness (I'm assuming that a handbreadth is about four inches and a cubit is about 18 inches.14159 ). and assuming that the 10 cubit diameter was measured from the outside edge and that the 30 cubit circumference was measured along the inside edge.tribble. If one takes a more analytical look at the Bible verses noted (II Chronicles 4:2-5 and I Kings 7:23-26).2 × T 540 inches = -------------------180 .× 100% pi 3.htm Pi and the Bible by David R.3. Taking the thickness of the walls into account. one will arrive + at a ratio that is startlingly close to the real value of pi (3.2 × 4 inches = 3. Tribble Some mathematical comments are in order to add to the discussion of pi.141592+ described value of pi inside diameter .× 100% 3. esplana http://david.2 × T and substituting. we compute pi thus: Ci = 30 cubits = 540 inches Do = 10 cubits = 180 inches T = 4 inches inside circumference outside diameter wall thickness given the following relationships: Ci = pi × Di Di = Do .141592+ .139534+ = ----------------------.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬.

give or take a bit. the bottom line in this whole discussion is that pi is a ratio between abstract geometric concepts. However. varying from 17 to 22 inches). This same argument was made around AD 150 by the Hebrew Rabbi Nehemiah in his "Mishnat ha-Middot". although there are different types of cubits ("common" and "royal". As such. It is also reasonable for us to measure along the inside as well as the outside edges. we can read "one handbreadth" as "one handbreadth. given the assumptions above. sometimes being defined as one-sixth of a cubit. a cubit is generally taken to be about 18 inches.) Anyway. A handbreadth is taken to be about 3 inches." making it completely reasonable to use a value of four inches. by the same token. or a measuring error of about a third of an inch. Not bad for measurements done by hand. Although ancient standards of measure vary widely. a purely mathematical idea not derived from any physical object or manifestation. Now about that assumption I mentioned ealier. esplana = 0. the Biblical description of pi differs from the real value of pi by less than a fifteenth of a percent. legislative laws. an entertaining story of the search for pi.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. . for more details. This also agrees with the description of a "circular" bowl and not some other shape (such as a hexagon) that some scholars have postulated. the earliest known Hebrew geometry text. if we assume that the Biblical account uses measurements rounded off to the nearest whole number (something the Hebrews did a lot). (See "A History of Pi" by Petr Beckmann. it is impervious to physical laws and.0655% This means that. since the verses don't explain how the measuring was done.

formerly thought to be constant and universal. π and G changing with time? Of course! Alan Sokal demonstrated that years ago in his groundbreaking essay. can be transformed into any other. some “solutions” which were offered for 1 Kings 7:23 which will make you laugh. of course. Derrida's observation relates to the invariance of the Einstein field equation Gμν = 8πTμν under nonlinear space-time diffeomorphisms (self-mappings of the space-time manifold which are infinitely differentiable but not necessarily analytic). In this way the infinitedimensional invariance group erodes the distinction between observer and observed. Posted by: Blake Stacey | August 14. we write the formula for the circumference of a circle.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. and the putative observer becomes fatally decentered. if it exists at all. plugging in the diameter of 10: C = 10π Add 30 to each side and substitute our handy value x: C + 30 = 10π + 30 C + 30 = 2 (5π + 15) C + 30 = 2x Multiply each side by (C − 30): (C + 30) (C − 30) = 2x (C − 30) C2 − 900 = 2Cx − 60x Add x2 to each side and rearrange the terms: C2 − 900 + x2 = 2Cx − 60x + x2 . 2006 10:12 AM Source: http://scienceblogs. esplana Appendix E Jokes There are. "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity". are now perceived in their ineluctable historicity. disconnected from any epistemic link to a space-time point that can no longer be defined by geometry alone. The key point is that this invariance group "acts transitively": this means that any space-time point. the π of Euclid and the G of Newton.com/ Proof that a circle with a diameter of 10 cubits has a circumference of exactly 30 cubits We start by defining a value x to simplify the math: Let x = 5π + 15 Next. In mathematical terms.

78 Don’t believe this works? Try it! Source: http://www.org www.3 + 4 + 5) / 6.noble-minded.com/perianthium786 .geocities. here’s a formula I came up with a few years ago to make it easier to remember: π = (12.The Value of Pi (π) in the Bible πeriander ‫א‬. esplana C2 − 2Cx + x2 = 900 − 60x + x2 Factor and simplify: (C − x)2 = (30 − x)2 (C − x) = (30 − x) C = 30 QED! PS: Just kidding! But speaking of pi.

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