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Why 153 Fish in
John 21:11 ?
Church Fathers : Sts. Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Cyril A.
No Reason ?
Why Church Fathersí Answers Could Not Be Johnís
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
Calculating the Measure of the Fish
Why Church Fathers Did Not (could not?) Give Johnís Idea
Why Church Fathers Did Not
(could not?) Give Johnís Idea
There remains a very important question.
If Johnís reference to ď153 fishĒ was a sure
reference to the wisdom of the Greeks as exemplified by Archimedes, then
why do the early Church Fathers not recognize
and state this connection ?
And a second question.
Is there a reasonable likelihood that the Greeks of
Ephesus at the time of Johnís writing would have had
knowledge of Archimedes new method for
calculating the value of π in his Measurement of a Circle,
In response to the first question there are two
Fathers do not deny the conclusions stated here in this article. They
just do not affirm them. Perhaps they recognized this connection in
regards to the Greeks, but also wanted to explain another polyvalent
meaning that was perhaps more relevant to the non-Greeks that they were
A second, and more probably answer is that
Archimedesí actual work was probably not available to them. Surely, the
fathers would have known about Archimedes conclusions for the value of
Pi, but they may have not had his actual text in front of them. Without
the actual text of Archimedes, and by not living in a Greek culture that
esteemed in the highest way Greek mathematics, wisdom and philosophy,
they would not have seen or known about the prominent and special place
that the number 153 had in his work. And so without that greater
context they would not have seen the connection John was making.
The inclusion of this
detail of 153 seems too specific for it not to have had a special
purpose. The number 153 seems to imply something, and the Church
Fathers seemed united on that point. They just disagreed what it
meant. All the other possible explanations that have been offered to
explain its meaning fail to meet the basic requirements
listed above in regards to what John could
have expected his readers to understand. The explanation offered by
Father Bob is the only one offered that works.
The Church Fathers were separated from
John by time and space and cultural influences. So, it is easy to see
how they might not have had access to Archimedesí actual text. Their
lack of familiarity with this context would have made them unable to see
the connection John was making.
When you look at Archimedesí work you can
see why some of it would have been passed on readily and more thoroughly
than other parts of his work. The value of Pi was more important to
most people than how it was calculated.
This would also explain why the fathers
all offered explanation that differed from each other. They had lost the key.
Secondly, what we know of the Greeks and
the culture of that time also suggests that these Greeks in Ephesus,
Ionia would have been strongly motivated to have
Archimedesí actual text.
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and the Greeks.
Archimedesí importance and
connection to the other Greeks.
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And how easily the Greeks at the time of John, in Ephesus, would have
easily made the connection between John's use of 153 and the allusion to