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# Discussion

Title Author Date
Is this one instance Guy, Piano Nov 27, 2008
I found something interesting that was not discussed in this discussion.

Around 480, the Chinese mathematician Zu Chongzhi gave the approximation π = 355/113, and showed that 3.1415926 < π <
3.1415927, which would stand as the most accurate value for π over the
next 900 years.

He obtained the result by approximating a circle with a 12,288 (= 211 × 6) sided polygon. This was an impressive feat for the time, especially
considering that the only device he used for recording intermediate results were merely a pile of wooden sticks laid out in certain patterns.

The exact ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter equals pi,
3.1415926535897932384626433832795...etc. In this pasuk, pi = (30/10) = 3. But the deeper reading of the text is saying: if you take 106 (the
numerical value of "kuf" "vav" - the pronounced form of "line") and replace it with 111 (the numerical value of "kuf" "vav" "hay", the written form), you have a correction factor 111/106 (or,
1.0471698113207547169811320754717). To fix up the original ration in the pasuk (30/10, 3) by multiplying by this correction factor (3*1.0471698) we get 3.14150943..., the value of pi to 4 decimal places (an error of 9 parts
in 10^-5)! It turns out that if you analyze the error in the numerator (the error in the pasuk's use of "kuf" "vav" and "hay", or 111), it turns out that this spelling yields the best approximation of pi.

Note the superfluous hei in v'kav. Perhaps it somehow alludes to taking the ratio of v'kav and v'chameish, the value of hei. If you do so, it just so happens that the ratio of the numerical values of v'chameish (355) and v'kav (113) [including one for the word itself] equals 3.14159292...which is precisely six decimal places of accuracy - one part in a million of pi's exact value, 0.00000026 more than pi, and 99.9999915...% similar to pi. It turns out that there is no better approximation for pi as a ratio of the numerical values of any two words, or of any other whole numbers less than
ten-thousand. This calculation is even internally consistent due to the fact that it is veiled within a pasuk containing the ratio of circumference to diameter.

Another thought worth noting, perhaps even stronger than the above: The ratio of the numerical values of kav with and without the hei is 111/106, 1.04716...extremely close to the correction factor (3, the circumference as
it appears in the pasuk, divided into pi), worked out as follows: pi/3 = 1.04719...Hence, due to the extra hei in kav, this pasuk comes to teach us that somehow it "knows" the drawbacks of an approximation - 3 is obviously not accurate. But for all intents and purposes, this approximation is the most succinctly accurate way to teach us the measurement of the "sea". (The Rambam writes in Peirush haMishnayos that pi at 3 is a legal definition that is the legal approximation. The reason that they can use this as the legal value of pi is the pasuk in Melochim.)

Title Author Date
Gezer Calendar Padici, Dec 14, 2005
we read in the point 66:

The Gezer Calendar, dated to the 10th century BCE, mentions a month of "harvest and feasting," but does not name the feast(s) celebrated in that month; moreover, since according to that calendar the month of "harvest and feasting" is three months before the month of "summer fruit," it is evident that this month is not parallel to the present-day autumn month of Tishrei, the most suitable candidate for the title "the month of
feasting" using the Torah's list of feasts. Most likely the calendar refers what is now Nissan, but the Torah's name for that month -- "the spring month" -- is not mentioned. Neither are any of the other Scriptural names of months -- "the month of Bul," "the month of Ziv," "the month of Eitanim" -- mentioned (for the text of the Gezer Calendar see "Ancient Near Eastern Texts," ed. by J. B. Pritchard, p. 320).

This analyse is very superficial, your apparent "contradiction" is based on a translated word : "kl" It is true that Albright (mentioned in Pritchard) translated it feasting, but if you read more recent scholars you will see that this word was more evidently related to "measuring" may be for taxes. Hoftijzer Dictionnary of the North-West Semitic
Inscription p. 507 vol 1 ; Talmon King Cult Calendar In Ancient Israel p 91 or Renz Handbuch Der Althebraischen Epigraphik p 35

In the contrary the Gezer Calendar is very much related to the Bible, his 12 months are corresponding to the solar year (the same in the Bible). Compare GC with Ruth 1:22 and Exodus 23:16, the same Hebrew terms are used.

Title Author Date
Courage to expose Ezra and his Tradition Dobbs, Steven Jul 25, 2005
Dear Mr. Zeligman,

Congratulations for your courageous stand and for daring to let your conscience do the talking.

I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of those teachers of the Law who read your letter. Even if inured by the ignorance and hypocrisy inherent to tradition, being confronted by doubts that one's life could be based on a lie must still be unsettling. (Yet one must bear in mind that, as people say, a guy needs to make a living -- just as Ezra and his team did.)

Ezra's forgery prevented assimilation, but at a terrible price for future generations. Does this mean that everyone must be hopelessly doomed for what someone else did? No. Life is an individual thing, not a collective endeavor. One's duty is to listen to one’s conscience and to seek the truth and to not sink without a fight.

Finding out the truth, even if it is painful, is far more important than a person's ethnic or religious identity. Loyalty to an error, on the grounds that it happens to come from one's own mother, does not make it less of an error and it does not change its consequences.

This may be a bitter struggle, but one can't afford to give up hope that, even now, Ezra's fateful deception can be undone. He was allowed to hide God's word, but not destroy it; its fragments are still there, and those who look with all their heart will find it.

Best regards,

Steven Dobbs

Title Author Date
Reply to A List of Some Problematic Issues Thomas, Dylan Dec 05, 2003
I just finished reading Zeligman's 48-page "A List of Some Problematic Issues Concerning Orthodox Jewish Belief."

He's obviously very intelligent and very deeply into what I as a Christian call the Old Testament, not to mention the Mishnah, Talmud and other halachic works related to it.

I can't fault his work. But I do have something of a "so what?" attitude. Learning of these errors, inconsistencies, etc., doesn't bother me or my faith, because I do not and never have accepted the idea that God dictated to Moses every word or anything remotely close to that. So I haven't been riding some delicate glass chariot in the sky to have shattered under me, leaving me to plunge down into the canyons of atheism or agnosticism.

For me, whatever else God may be, God is also mystery. Different people become inspired in various ways, and with their inspired imaginations they write within the cultural context of their times.

If the Torah writers (J, E, D, P & R) believed in the kinds of miracles described could happen and if their readers also believed, then who are we to scoff at them? Maybe by the sixth millennium CE people will look back at us and our spiritual writings (say, John Polkinghorne) and think we are as superstitious as we think J, E, D, P & R are.

I've recently read William James' VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE and agree with him almost 100 percent. Religion does not arise from rational sources, nor necessarily from irrational, but from non-rational or a-rational sources.

I personally have had religious experiences that lead me to believe I have encountered the God who is mystery. And I haven't lost my grip on reality.

I have read enough of relativity theory, quantum theory and evolutionary theory to accept them, and to condition my religious experience accordingly.

I really don't have a problem with this, my friends. I just don't see what Zeligman sees as "problematic issues."
Here's what I believe in regards to evolution:

1. God created evolution, both in its inception (abiogenesis) and in its ongoingness: random changes in alleles in a gene pool acted on by natural selection.

2. Consequently, God allows for randomicity to occur in nature, including the creation of new and novel DNA.

3. New insights by brilliant thinkers (I'm thinking of Stephen Gould now) will continue to appear. And new discoveries will be made, such as the observation of "dark energy" theoretically linked to the equally startling observation that the expansion of the universe is speeding up!

This last example is not biological evolution, I know, but to my mind everything is linked. For instance, the so-called anthropic coincidences are interlinked with biological evolution.

So why do I have a Creator God at all? Why do I worship? Because the fruits of my religion are love, justice, mercy, kindness, faith, hope, etc. This is all the justification I need.

My God is an evolutionist and does roll dice!

Therefore, love, mercy and justice to all,

Jude

Title Author Date
Is this one instance "proof" (VERY strong evidence) for God and Torah--I hope not!!!! Feldman, S. Nov 17, 2003
If there's a real god and a real bible, one would expect god to want us to think and study It's creation, rather than put up our feet on the kitchen table and drink a beer, watching sports. I think I found evidence, strong evidence, nearly proof. Shucks!

Regarding Kings I, 7:23, Zeligman states, "Even in plain geometry we find Chazal determining laws based on homiletics, and only afterwards trying to make the facts fit these laws. In Tractate Eiruvin 14a the Talmud says:
"Anything which has, in its circumference, 3 tefachs, has one tefach in diameter. How do we know this? Rabbi Jochanan said, it is written in the Scripture: 'And he [Solomon] made a molten sea, ten amahs from one brim to the other. It was round all about, and its height was five amahs. And a line of thirty amahs circled it' (I Kings 7:23)."
The Talmud rules that the ratio between a circle's circumference and its radius, known as pi, is 3. In fact, this number is irrational (impossible to represent as a finite common or decimal fraction), and taken to 10 decimal places, pi=3.1415926536."

I've discovered the following: So, Kings I says that the diameter = 10 cubits, circumfrence = 30 cubits. But pi = 3.14159264!!! The bible made a mistake! It should have given it a 31.4 cubit circumfrence. So how round does this yam have to be? Well, there's always an error in what we do. But wait! The hebrew word for "kav" (border) is supposed to be spelled "kuf" "vav", yet in the Bible it is spelled "kuf" "vav" "hay". What's going on here? Well, the bible is saying, in terms of the numerical value (AKA the gematria, which is explained at this webpage: http://www.inner.org/gematria/gemchart.htm) for "border", to essentially "take 106 parts (the numerical value of "kuf" "vav")and replace it with 111 parts (the numerical value of "kuf" "vav" "hay"." The correction factor is 111/106 (or, 1.0471698). Now, it says (in Kings) that pi = 3. But the deeper reading of the text is telling us to replace that value--to replace every 106 parts with 111--and if we do the multiplication (3*1.0471698) we get 3.1415094, the value of pi to 4 decimal places (an error of 9 parts in 10^-5)! It turns out that if you analyze the error in the numerator (the error in the bible's use of "kuf" "vav" and "hay", or 111), it turns out that this spelling yields the best approximation of pi.

Is this evidence that the bible is from god?

Title Author Date
Your website -- Part 1 kendemyer@hotmail.com Nov 16, 2003
Dear Sir:

I read your site and you are now on my friends list so I can receive you emails. I updated some personal information I compiled and I think it gives a very thorough answer to something that you posted on your site which many people alledge is a contradiction in the Bible. If you could post some of this information on your site I would be indebted to you. Here is a partial copy of a letter I sent someone regarding the issue that was posted on your site:

Thank you for being so prompt regarding getting back to me regarding the 3 inadvertant errors I found on your website.....

The second inadvertant mistake you made was saying that the rock badger does not regurgitate and rechew its food (The New American Standard Bible translates the hebrew word shaphan into rock badger. The King James Bible uses the word coney). A more precise term for rock badger from a scientific point of view is the word hyrax. And according to the Biological Abstracts and a German biology journal the hyrax definitely regurgitates and rechews its food:

Also, the hyrax apparently spends about an hour regurgitating and rechewing its food:

So Moses actually was ahead of the Biological Abstacts by about 3,000 years!!!!

The third mistake you made was in saying that rabbits (actually hares) do not regurgitate and rechew their food.

This is what Wycliffe Bible Encylopedia says about the hare:

" While not a true ruminant according to modern classification in that it does not have a four chambered stomach, the hare does rechew its food. There is a process of partial regurgitation of material that it is too hard for little cells in the stomach to absorb initially; thus there hare actually chews food previously swallowed (E.P. Schulze, "The Ruminating Hare,"Bible-Science Newsletter, VIII [Jan. 15, 1970], 6).

You can look up the Bible-Science Newsletter via your librarian in a catalogue that librarians refer to as worldcat. According to worldcat the Minnesota Historical Society keeps copies of the Bible-Science Newsletter. You should be able to obtain a copy through your library through interlibrary loan. The Bible-Science Newletter is now published by Creation Moments, P.O. Box 260, Zimmerman, MN 55398. The phone number for Creation Moments is 763-856-2552. By the way, Creation Moments used to be known as Bible Science Association.

Title Author Date
Exodus numbers... a question Crowl , Adam Nov 09, 2003
Hi

While I am a sceptic about affairs of religion I have an interest in ancient history and the potential historical nucleus of traditions. I think there is sufficient evidence to, firstly, doubt the blanket scepticism against the Exodus stories and, secondly, sufficient evidence to re-date much of circum-Mediterranean pre-600 BCE. Egyptian history seems to be inflated by 200 - 300 years and this has thrown the rest of Near Eastern history into disarray.

However I am not suggesting that the Torah and related Jewish tradition got all of the underlying history correct either. A gross error is the figure for the Exodus population - over 600,000 males. But a truer figure for the Exodus might be hidden in another part of the text. In Numbers 3:39-43 all the Levites and the numbers of Israelite First-born males are counted and found to be similar.

What male commentators neglect is the fact that a first-born male child is a proxy count for the number of mothers - in this case a mere 22,000. I suspect that this is a more accurate count of the number of Israelite males, and is more believeable figure for surviving the Sinai under the leadership of a desert-savvy leader like the Midianite-trained Moses.

Textual criticism has a number of sources contributing to the final story as we have it in Ezra's Torah, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting traditions that have survived from an originally non-sedentary population. Whether the miracles in the text occurred or not, or reflect striking natural events utilised by a sharp leadership, shouldn't cause the text to be cast into the scrap-heap of history.