By Professor Carl A. Huffman
This can be a accomplished, authoritative and cutting edge account of Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism, the most enigmatic and influential philosophies within the West. In twenty-one chapters masking a timespan from the 6th century BC to the 17th century advert, best students build a couple of assorted photos of Pythagoras and his group, assessing present scholarship and supplying new solutions to relevant difficulties. Chapters are dedicated to the early Pythagoreans, and the total breadth of Pythagorean notion is explored together with politics, faith, song idea, technology, arithmetic and magic. Separate chapters think of Pythagoreanism in Plato, Aristotle, the Peripatetics and the later educational culture, whereas others describe Pythagoreanism within the old culture, in Rome and within the pseudo-Pythagorean writings. the 3 nice lives of Pythagoras by means of Diogenes Laertius, Porphyry and Iamblichus also are mentioned intimately, as is the importance of Pythagoras for the center a while and Renaissance.
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Additional resources for A History of Pythagoreanism
Charismatic leaders share the feature that their position depends on their personalities, but the nature of their authority and how they acquired it remain open, even though many of them are religious innovators. We know a good deal about charismatic healers, for instance (studied by Hsu for example in China), and Empedocles shares many of their characteristics. As noted, he certainly announced that he could cure the sick and even bring the dead back to life. But there are bound to be doubts about whether Pythagoras did the same.
Sometimes our sources cite a particular text, but sometimes the presence of Aristotelian material is inferred on the basis that his lost works were the source of later, unacknowledged, borrowings. Second, there is the problem of the slippage between what is ascribed to “Pythagoreans” in general and what to Pythagoras himself, where the temptation to move from the former to the latter reflects the common desire to give increased authority to the ideas in question. Third, we are often in the dark as to the context in which Aristotle cited the views he mentions.
To judge from the latter case, πολυμαθίη does not necessarily involve religious teaching, but conversely nor can it be said to be tied to the kinds of historical, geographical and genealogical investigations we associate with Hecataeus. Given the heterogeneity of the other three characters who are criticized, that might be thought to weaken any case for associating Pythagoras with Hesiodic lore in particular, leaving us with a major question mark over what kind of πολυμαθίη was his. Heraclitus, like Xenophanes, shows that Pythagoras attracted criticism and satire.