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Brief Summary**
**Why 153
Fish in John 21:11 ?**
**Sections :**
**
Introduction**
Church Fathers : Sts. Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Cyril A.
No Reason ?
Why Church Fathers’ Answers Could Not Be John’s
Problems with Square Root of 3 Answer
Context Points to the Answer : An Explanation That Works
Archimedes : Context of Time and Place
Greeks and Wisdom
Fish
Calculating the Measure of the Fish
John’s Purpose
Why Church Fathers Did Not (could not?) Give John’s Idea
Conclusion
**Recognition**
Would the Greeks have recognized the number
153 as being connected to Archimedes’ work? Yes, and easily so.
In the later part of the twentieth century if a writer used the
phrase,
"**That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.**"
in the United States of America it could not help but cause the reader
to think about their national hero **
Neil Armstrong** and his achievement of walking on the moon.
And if a writer used the sequence
mc^{2}
many readers would automatically think of Albert Einstein regardless of
whether the writer was intending to allude to him or not.
Similarly if a person used the sequence of 3.14 many modern readers
would automatically think of the mathematical concept of Pi. They
may not be able to give an accurate definition Pi, but the average
reader would at least recognize that this number was an important number
they had studied in school.
And similarly for St. John, his readers would not have to know the
details of Archimedes work on Pi, they would only just have to recognize
that “153” was an important number somehow associated with their
cultural hero Archimedes and his work in order for St. John to
successfully communicate his idea.
**Since the average Greek man in the street of
Ephesus would have made the connection between 153 and their cultural
hero Archimedes then we can safely reason that St. John would also have
seen the connection. And if John was not intending to make that
connection then he probably should have pointed out that he was NOT
intending what would have seemed as an obvious connection to his
readers. And remember the strong argument that because John
offered no explanation, unlike the Church Fathers, as to what 153 meant,
then we can reasonably conclude that St. John knew his meaning was
already obvious to his readers.**
Would the Greeks have remembered more
details of Archimedes use of 153 when they read John’s Gospel ?
Sadly, I have to admit that I tend to get lazy as I
get more spoiled. If the batteries are weak in my remote control I will
spend five minutes pushing the buttons to change the TV channel before I
will get up from my comfortable couch to walk over to the TV to change
it. Also, I have to admit that before I had a cell phone I used to know
by heart a lot more 7 digit phone numbers than what I can currently
recall.
Since the 12^{th} century the West has had
the advantage of the decimal system (using the decimal point in America)
to denote portions of numbers in between whole numbers. Before this
time a person had to use fractions. Although fractions are harder to
remember he would have done so, as person tends to step up to the
demands set before him. A person does what he needs to do. Remembering
six digits is not that hard. It might seem that way to us now only
because those digits are unfamiliar to us today.
Remembering 6 digit fractions seems difficult to us
today because we are spoiled with the decimal system that makes it
unnecessary. We should not be surprised that people in ages past
memorized a lot better than we do today.
It is reasonable to assume that an older and wiser
Greek individual would want to explain to younger Greek individual the
accomplishments of one of their national heroes. By national I do not
mean someone who lives within a confined space, but rather someone who
shares the common language and culture. He would naturally want to speak
about Pythagoras, and Euclid, but he would also and especially want to
talk about Archimedes who was “considered the greatest mathematician of
antiquity.”
He would want to talk about his great
accomplishment in finding a new and much better method for calculating
the value of Pi. The younger person would be curious and want to hear or
read an explanation of that method. Archimedes begins his calculations
with the value of the square root of 3.
It is doubtful that a conversation would end with
the answer
“Archimedes used the square root of 3.”
The √3
is a too uncommon number to not arouse at
least some curiosity in the young person who is wants to learn about his
national and cultural hero. It seems inescapable that an interested
younger person would respond with the question, “What is the square root
of 3?” Because this number is an **
irrational number** only a rational approximation can be offered
and substituted in order to make mathematical calculations that result
in practical and rational answers. Between the time from Archimedes
up to the time of the adoption of the decimal
system in the West in the 12^{th} century, the most practical
way to express the mathematical values of the square root of 3, as best
as it could be expressed in small whole numbers, is to use the fraction
265/153.
So, even a very basic
explanation of Archimedes accomplishment and his new method and
how he determined the measure of the perimeters of the polygons that he
inscribed within the circle would need to include this number of 153
since it was so prominent in his calculations. |