About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


3.14159265358979323846264... and Faith

Would you know how to calculate the volume of a spherical cap?
     Well, in preparation for this Sunday’s sermon I refreshed my high school mathematics. The volume of spherical cap is V = (3r²+h²)πh/6 where h is the height of the cap and r is the radius of the base of the cap.
    BUT DON’T WORRY, the Sunday sermon will not be a mathematical lecture. A few elemental mathematical facts will only help us to better appreciate the Bible and understand our faith.
    How could math help us to open up and deepen our faith? Because while describing the equipment in the Jerusalem temple (specifically a large bronze water basin 1 Kings 7:23-26) the Bible makes a shameful mathematical blunder defining
π as equal to 3. Fundamentalists of all possible streaks and stripes tried an almost unending list of strategies and explanation to harmonize the Bible with reality. In the 19th century the pious American faithful even tried to legislate (declare by a state law) this biblical value of the Ludolph constant. There are rumors about these legislative attempt in Kansas, and Iowa and almost “successful”attempt in Indiana. Of course it did not work! The number “Pi” is not 3 even if the Bible says so. Any attempt to harmonize it with mathematics is an elementally misguided endeavor because this is not the only mathematical blunder. Here comes the reason for calculating the spherical cap; the volume of the basin according to the Bible was off by about 150%. (And I leave completely aside the impossibility of any ancient foundry handling about 30 metric tons of bronze). 
     Biblical authors were eager to exaggerate and embellish the furnishings of their faith tradition; they were not interested in detail and accuracy. They were poets not mathematicians. They were evoking impressions and feelings using large amount of life giving water, a fresh water sea in Judean highland (all 7,750 gallons of it). Our deeper understanding of life and faith streams from their aquatic evocations.

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