A History of Pythagoreanism by Professor Carl A. Huffman

By Professor Carl A. Huffman

This can be a finished, authoritative and cutting edge account of Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism, probably the most enigmatic and influential philosophies within the West. In twenty-one chapters overlaying a timespan from the 6th century BC to the 17th century advert, best students build a few diversified photographs of Pythagoras and his neighborhood, assessing present scholarship and delivering new solutions to principal difficulties. Chapters are dedicated to the early Pythagoreans, and the whole breadth of Pythagorean suggestion is explored together with politics, faith, track idea, technological know-how, arithmetic and magic. Separate chapters contemplate Pythagoreanism in Plato, Aristotle, the Peripatetics and the later educational culture, whereas others describe Pythagoreanism within the historic culture, in Rome and within the pseudo-Pythagorean writings. the 3 nice lives of Pythagoras by way of Diogenes Laertius, Porphyry and Iamblichus also are mentioned intimately, as is the importance of Pythagoras for the center a long time and Renaissance.

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The latter did not rate as proper religion, though again there were unexamined assumptions at work as to why that was so, and on whether or how far the contrast was valid. To turn from Guthrie to Burkert is to enter a very different world. A contrast is attested in late sources between two groups of Pythagoreans, the acusmatici and the mathematici, with two corresponding sets of interests, the first including many pithy sayings with ritual or symbolic significance, the second centering around “mathematics,” especially number theory.

The proposition stated that similar circles have the same ratios as the squares on their bases; and this Hippocrates “proved” by showing that the squares on the diameters have the same ratios as the circles (though Simplicius does not elaborate on the nature of that proof ). That would not necessarily suggest that Hippocrates had no clear notion of an axiom in the sense of a primary self-evident premise, but that suspicion gains some support from what we find in Plato. ), he states that the geometers take certain starting-points for granted and give no account of them.

Our final witness is Ion of Chios who is twice quoted in Diogenes Laertius.  Pythagoras is said to have ascribed some of his own poems to Orpheus. ). Ion is quoted as saying that “if indeed Pythagoras, wise in all things, truly knew and understood the minds of all men,” then even in death a good and modest man (that is Pherecydes) lives a delightful life. As in the Salmoxis story, as reported by Herodotus, this brand of immortality makes no mention of reincarnation. There is clearly some convergence in some of this evidence.

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