A History of Pythagoreanism by Professor Carl A. Huffman

By Professor Carl A. Huffman

It is a entire, authoritative and cutting edge account of Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism, the most enigmatic and influential philosophies within the West. In twenty-one chapters protecting a timespan from the 6th century BC to the 17th century advert, best students build a few varied photographs of Pythagoras and his group, assessing present scholarship and delivering new solutions to significant difficulties. Chapters are dedicated to the early Pythagoreans, and the whole breadth of Pythagorean proposal is explored together with politics, faith, track thought, technology, arithmetic and magic. Separate chapters ponder 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 via 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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There and elsewhere communities that were labeled Pythagoreans came to be established.  Certainly they are reported as being the subject of some violent anti-Pythagorean reactions in Croton in particular, though quite what the issues were is unclear. Nor can we be certain of Pythagoras’ own personal involvement in these political upheavals, nor even where his own political inclinations lay, though it is generally assumed that (unlike his follower Empedocles, let alone the remarkable statesman-leader Archytas) he was no democrat.

There are parallels in the evidence for certain religious sects. That applies to certain dietary proscriptions, proscriptions against bathing, wearing ornaments and the like. Some of the dietary rules are in any case far from confined to Pythagoreanism, however broadly construed, since they figure also in Greek medical texts. ) who helpfully distinguishes those sources that purport to refer to Pythagoras himself from those that allude rather to Pythagoreans in general. Huffman’s chapter in this volume (Chapter , “The Peripatetics on the Pythagoreans”) carefully sifts the evidence for the Peripatetic reception, pointing out that Dicaearchus and Aristoxenus agree on a focus on the Pythagorean way of life but otherwise diverge sharply in their evaluations.

These are Nicomachus, Theon of Smyrna, Gaudentius, Censorinus, Iamblichus, Macrobius, Boethius and Chalcidius. The two types of tests that could reveal the relations are those with bronze disks (associated with Hippasus) and with lengths of pipe or string. See Lloyd, G. E. R.  Geoffrey Lloyd undertaking an empirical test, and indeed varying the conditions of the trial; yet none undertook those tests (at least) themselves. Of course eventually sophisticated analyses of harmonic relations are attributed to Philolaus (B) and to Archytas (A, A, B), and earlier, Hippasus did some work in this area.

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