Fuzzy math? I don`t see how the "equation" in the bible gives a value of 3.141509 for pi. 10 cubit radius and 30 cubit circumference give a value of 3.0. Am I missing something?

I did some legwork re: the biblical equation. There actually is a hermeneutic that yields this value. Gematria, assigning numeric values to words (each letter has a set value, words = sum of letter value) is one of the oldest tools for biblical exegesis in Judaism.

The biblical verse in question uses an usual form of the word "measure". The value of this form (kaf-vav-hay) is 111. The value of the standard form (kaf-vav) is 106. Adding the ratio of these numbers to the ostensible value of 3 yields 3.141509.

Note for those who get inflamed whenever religion is mentioned: I am not arguing for biblical inerrancy; obviously, this value is not 100% correct either. I just wondered where the figure in the link came from. I thought it was interesting and that others might find it interesting too.

@CodeJockey the issue is that the link stated "An equation from these measurements equals 333/106 = 3.141509". This seemed strange to me since the only numbers listed were 3 and 10. My second post identified where that 3.141509 came from.

@ CodeJockey - FYI there are fractions in the bible. But I think they are all rather basic (e.g., 1/2. 1/3, 1/10). In any case, pi cannot be expressed as a fraction.

It is an interesting tangential note that Maimonides (12th century Rabbi and biblical exegete) provides what seems to be the first extant reference to pi`s irrationality. He uses the approximation 22/7 but states, "We can never speak about it accurately. This lack of knowledge is not from us, as the fools think, rather by its nature it is unknowable, and nothing in existence can know it."

"...pi cannot be expressed as a fraction." Blarg, while they may have been trying to express the relationship between diameter and circumference, it`s not guaranteed they had a mechanism for the expression of numbers below the decimal point.

From that perspective, you seem to have answered your own question about "why 3 and not 3.141?" The counter question is: "When did the decimal point come into use by people in that area?"

Was your 12th century cleric using Base 10 or was Base 60 native to him?

"contains every number combination in the universe"

"0123456789"

"Sorry, we couldn`t find your string in Pi!"

*cough*bullpoo*cough* There has never been a pattern found and the end has never been found, so to say "contains every number combination in the universe" is crap.

@CodeJockey I don`t fully understand your point. A number is not irrational because of anything to do with a decimal point. An irrational number is a number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers. Re: Maimonides, 99% sure he used base 10, but I can`t imagine how it would impact anything being discussed here.

"I don`t fully understand your point." A person would have said "Pi = 3" rather than saying "Pi=3.141" most likely because he had no vocabulary for expressing the ".141" part. Arithmetic expression is a language. Languages evolve.

@CoeJockey Gotchya. You are correct that decimal notation did not exist in the ME and Europe in this period. However, the ability to express units less than one did (hence the ability for Archimedes to approximate pi in the 3rd century BCE, which you may have studies in HS Geometry). Also, there were smaller units of measure so that a more accurate implied value of pi (than diameter = 10, circ = 30) could have been given. Heck, even saying "31 cubits around" would have yielded a more accurate value for pi. All that being said, one of the most traditional responses in biblical apologetics to this "problematic" verse is very similar to the point you make: there is no mathematical error because the verse is not speaking in a mathematical language, but rather a colloquial one (even today, in every day speech, we might describe something as being 10 units across and 30 around).

- The pi = you thing is the strangest...
tau is pi in the sky dream

Not an infinite string, but can tell my entire life story. Efficiency. It`s a tool.

The biblical verse in question uses an usual form of the word "measure". The value of this form (kaf-vav-hay) is 111. The value of the standard form (kaf-vav) is 106. Adding the ratio of these numbers to the ostensible value of 3 yields 3.141509.

Note for those who get inflamed whenever religion is mentioned: I am not arguing for biblical inerrancy; obviously, this value is not 100% correct either. I just wondered where the figure in the link came from. I thought it was interesting and that others might find it interesting too.

Have you seen any proof they had a concept and method of expression of fractions?

It is an interesting tangential note that Maimonides (12th century Rabbi and biblical exegete) provides what seems to be the first extant reference to pi`s irrationality. He uses the approximation 22/7 but states, "We can never speak about it accurately. This lack of knowledge is not from us, as the fools think, rather by its nature it is unknowable, and nothing in existence can know it."

Blarg, while they may have been trying to express the relationship between diameter and circumference, it`s not guaranteed they had a mechanism for the expression of numbers below the decimal point.

From that perspective, you seem to have answered your own question about "why 3 and not 3.141?" The counter question is: "When did the decimal point come into use by people in that area?"

Was your 12th century cleric using Base 10 or was Base 60 native to him?

"0123456789"

"Sorry, we couldn`t find your string in Pi!"

*cough*bullpoo*cough* There has never been a pattern found and the end has never been found, so to say "contains every number combination in the universe" is crap.

I don`t fully understand your point. A number is not irrational because of anything to do with a decimal point. An irrational number is a number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers. Re: Maimonides, 99% sure he used base 10, but I can`t imagine how it would impact anything being discussed here.

A person would have said "Pi = 3" rather than saying "Pi=3.141" most likely because he had no vocabulary for expressing the ".141" part.

Arithmetic expression is a language. Languages evolve.

Gotchya. You are correct that decimal notation did not exist in the ME and Europe in this period. However, the ability to express units less than one did (hence the ability for Archimedes to approximate pi in the 3rd century BCE, which you may have studies in HS Geometry). Also, there were smaller units of measure so that a more accurate implied value of pi (than diameter = 10, circ = 30) could have been given. Heck, even saying "31 cubits around" would have yielded a more accurate value for pi. All that being said, one of the most traditional responses in biblical apologetics to this "problematic" verse is very similar to the point you make: there is no mathematical error because the verse is not speaking in a mathematical language, but rather a colloquial one (even today, in every day speech, we might describe something as being 10 units across and 30 around).