Re: Solomon's 'molten sea' revisited

From: Donald Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 17:41:19 EDT

(I speak for myself, and not for Michael here.) I do not regard this as a
trifling matter. To the contrary, I regard it as very important.
It shows that atheists (who I do not regard as "clever" when they write on this
topic) have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Unfortunately, a number of
Christians have also got hold of the same end -- the wrong end.
Also, I Kings 7:23 is not an important bit of the Bible, but if we interpret
that passage correctly then we will have a better chance of interpreting other
passages, notably Genesis Chapters 1-11, correctly.
Don

mayVernon Jenkins wrote:

> Don and Michael,
>
> I am surprised that you regard this as a trifling matter. You must surely be
> aware that The Sunday Telegraph correspondent (part of whose letter I
> quoted) is but one of a multitude of 'clever people' who delight in
> undermining the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures and the Gospel message. They
> quote 1Kings 7:23 as proof positive that they are correct, and undoubtedly
> take heart from the fact that Christians like yourselves - though blessed
> with keen mental faculties - are prepared to yield the ground. It certainly
> gives one a lot to think about!
>
> Vernon
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Donald Nield" <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
> To: "Vernon Jenkins" <vernon.jenkins@virgin.net>
> Cc: "Michael Roberts" <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>; <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:50 PM
> Subject: Re: Solomon's 'molten sea' revisited
>
> > A more common sense approach is to recognize that the Bible is not
> > concerned with scientific accuracy, and for most non-scientific
> > practical purposes 3 is a sufficiently close approximation to pi. Thus
> > 1Kings 7:23 contains no error, and no harmonization with modern science
> > involving quibbles about inner an outer circumferences is required.
> > Don
> >
> > Vernon Jenkins wrote:
> >
> > > Michael,
> > >
> > > <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
> > > "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
> > >
> > > You may already be aware that The Sunday Telegraph of 25 April carried
> > > a letter from one who shares your view that 1Kings 7:23 reveals the
> > > woeful ignorance of the Hebrews of Solomon's day concerning the
> > > mensuration of the circle - the piece concluding with the words: "The
> > > Bible, we are told, is directly inspired by God and scientifically
> > > accurate, since He cannot err. Clearly, He did not then know the value
> > > of pi, since you cannot get a line of 30 anythings to go round a
> > > circular vessel 10 anythings in diameter, even if you stop at pi =
> > > 3.142."
> > >
> > > I have compiled the following rebuttal which I hope soon to see
> > > published:
> > >
> > > "To claim that the artisans and engineers of Solomon's day were not
> > > aware that piexceeds 3 by some 4.7% flies in the face of simple common
> > > sense and logic - particularly when one considers that their immediate
> > > neighbours, the Egyptians, had long before incorporated an exceedingly
> > > accurate representation of this fundamental constantinto the
> > > dimensions of the Great Pyramid. We therefore seek a more
> > > satisfactoryinterpretation of 1Kings <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
> > > "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />7:23 - and one is not
> > > hard to find.
> > >
> > > "1Kings 7:26 informs us that the wall thickness of Solomon's 'brazen
> > > sea' was 'an handbreadth' - and we are immediately reminded that a
> > > real cylinder has an inner diameter (d, say) and an outer diameter (D,
> > > say); an inner circumference (c, say) and an outer circumference (C,
> > > say). It must follow that 1Kings 7:23 is inherently ambiguous, for the
> > > '10 cubits from one brim to the other' and the 'line of 30
> > > cubits.round about' are unqualified. Your correspondent has assumed c
> > > = 30 and d = 10, so that the ratio, c/d = pi= 3 (or, alternatively, C
> > > = 30 and D = 10; with an identical conclusion). But what if the
> > > writer's intention had been c = 30 and D = 10? The inner diameter (d)
> > > would then be the outer diameter(D) less twice the wall thickness of
> > > the cylinder (i.e. 2 x 'an handbreadth' - about 0.4 cubit). Under
> > > these conditions, pi= c/d = 30/9.6 = 3.125 (underestimating piby a
> > > mere 0.5%).
> > >
> > > "We might well conclude, therefore, that Solomon's chief concern when
> > > planning this structure was to ensure - by the careful balancing of
> > > inner diameter and wall thickness - that 3 (symbol of divine
> > > perfection) would appear as the simple ratio of two of its principal
> > > dimensions, viz c/D."
> > >
> > > Vernon Jenkins MSc
> > >
> > > PS Interestingly, an accurate value ofpiis built into the Hebrew text
> > > of the Bible's first verse. Details may be found at:
> > > http://homepage.virgin.net/vernon.jenkins/Pi_File.htm
> > >
> > > VJ
> > >
> > > Michael, I am interested to know how you would counter this argument.
> > >
> > > Vernon
Received on Thu Apr 29 17:25:53 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Apr 29 2004 - 17:25:54 EDT