Re: Primitive means of calculating pi, WAS: PI In the Bible

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Oct 20 2000 - 11:28:00 MDT

"Michael S. Lorrey" wrote:
> The method used at the time the Bible was written to calculate pi was to divide
> a circle up into little pie slices, then calculate the area of each as if they
> were triangles, instead of as a pie slice with an arc on one leg.

What is interesting, is that if you look at this page, at the bottom:

You will see a nice handy java applet to calculate pi via the pie slice method.
When you calculate pie to an accuracy of 12 pie slices, pi equals 2.999999999
(i.e. just about exactly 3). Its only when you get up between 256 and 512 pie
slices do you reach four decimal places of accuracy at 3.1415.., and around 4096
slices to reach 3.14159, and 32768 slices to reach 3.1415926.

Now, most numbers used in the bible tended to run in a range between three and a
hundred, with numbers like ten, twelve, etc being prominent. Numbers like 666
were considered 'really big numbers'. I suppose you could say that the bible was
meant to be understood by laymen, not as highly complex texts, and as such would
have been written in the form of 'see spot run' as far as mathematical
complexity was concerned, so using just 12 pie slices to calculate pie seems to
fit. If we are to take it as such, then we should also treat it as the vague,
inaccurate, and detail avoiding text it is, and not something for highly
technological individuals to use to help run their very complex lives. Fine for
kids, but to be put away with other fairy tale books when one matures into

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