# The Absence of Pi in Ancient Religious Texts: An Analysis

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What about the presence of pi in religious scriptures? Are there references to this mathematical constant in texts like the Bible, Quran, Torah, or Talmud?

According to discussions, pi, defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, is not directly mentioned in these sacred texts. However, there are instances that might suggest indirect references through descriptions of circular structures. Here are notable mentions:

**The Bible**:In 1 Kings 7:23–26, the Hebrew Bible describes a large basin in Solomon’s Temple, referred to as the "molten sea." This passage indicates that the basin was 10 cubits across and had a circumference of 30 cubits, implying a rough approximation of pi as 3.0, which deviates from the more precise value of 3.14159.

**The Torah**:The Torah shares the same content as the Hebrew Bible, so the above verse from 1 Kings is also included.

**The Talmud**:Discussions among rabbis within the Talmud touch upon geometry and measurements, which may hint at the idea of pi, albeit not in the mathematically rigorous context we understand today.

**The Quran**:The Quran does not mention pi directly. Some interpretations attempt to identify indirect references or hidden meanings related to pi, but these claims are often speculative and not widely acknowledged in scholarly circles.

Understanding these texts is complex, and interpretations can differ significantly among scholars and religious followers.

Tony remarked that the biblical reference concerning Solomon’s Temple offers only a rough idea for constructing a circular basin. It does not indicate a comprehension of pi as a constant.

ChatGPT-4 agreed, noting that the description provides a practical approximation suitable for the period's construction needs. The value derived, a simple 3, indicates that ancient builders had a functional grasp of circular geometry rather than a precise mathematical understanding. The notion of pi as a constant with an infinite, non-repeating decimal representation is a much later mathematical advancement.

Tony acknowledged the impressive geometric understanding of ancient civilizations, citing notable figures such as Euclid and Pythagoras. He asked about Thales of Miletus and his contributions.

ChatGPT-4 explained that Thales, a significant figure in early Greek philosophy and mathematics, lived in the 6th century BCE and is recognized for foundational ideas in geometry, including the theorem concerning angles in circles.

Tony inquired about the specifics of Thales’ theorem, which states that if A, B, and C are points on a circle with line segment BC as the diameter, then angle BAC is a right angle.

The conversation shifted to the influence of Thales on religious texts. While Thales lived centuries before the New Testament was written, there’s no evidence of direct contact with biblical authors. His contributions were primarily in philosophy and mathematics, influencing later thinkers rather than theology.

Tony was interested in the earliest known approximations of pi across various cultures, to which ChatGPT-4 provided several significant historical references:

**Babylonians (circa 2000 BCE)**: They approximated pi as 3.125.**Ancient Egyptians (circa 2000–1650 BCE)**: An estimated value of about 3.1605 was inferred from the Great Pyramid's dimensions.**Archimedes of Syracuse (circa 287–212 BCE)**: Archimedes used polygons to approximate pi between 3.1408 and 3.1429.**Zu Chongzhi (429–500 CE)**: He calculated pi to seven decimal places (approximately 3.1415927).**Ancient Indians (circa 500 CE)**: Aryabhata provided a value of 3.1416 in his work.

The discourse continued with Tony asking who first proved pi was transcendental. ChatGPT-4 responded that Ferdinand von Lindemann achieved this in 1882, establishing pi as a transcendental number and solving the long-standing problem of squaring the circle.

Tony noted that this proof came after the Enlightenment, a time of significant mathematical development. He then referred to the historical tale of Hippasus, who discovered that the square root of two was irrational and faced dire consequences from the Pythagorean community.

ChatGPT-4 explained that while the story of Hippasus is fascinating, it stems from historical lore, and the details are not well documented.

Tony questioned whether Pythagoras had any understanding of pi, to which ChatGPT-4 replied that there’s no substantial evidence to support that claim. The precise understanding of pi as an irrational and transcendental number emerged much later.

Tony then asked for Ramanujan's formula for pi. ChatGPT-4 provided a rapidly converging series developed by Ramanujan that significantly enhanced the calculations of pi.

Tony concluded the discussion by reflecting on the lack of mathematical guidance in ancient religious texts, particularly regarding pi. He pointed out that instead of offering profound mathematical knowledge, these texts focus on various societal norms, which he found lacking in comparison to the advancement of human understanding through mathematics.

In a bonus question, Tony asked about using Ramanujan’s approximation to calculate the Earth’s orbital length, leading to a discussion on the accuracy of mathematical formulations compared to ancient texts.

The conversation highlighted the vast applications of pi in mathematics and its significance across various fields, emphasizing the ongoing journey of mathematical discovery and the absence of similar insights in religious texts.