Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism

Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism

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For this first English edition of his distinguished study of Pythagoreanism, Weisheit und Wissenschajt: Studien zu Pythagoras, Philolaos, und Platon, Walter Burkert has carefully revised text and notes, taking account of additional literature on the subject which appeared between 1962 and 1969. By a thorough critical sifting of all the available evidence, the author lays a new foundation for the understanding of ancient Pythagoreanism and in particular of the relationship within it of "lore" and "science." He shows that in the twilight zone when the Greeks were discovering the rational interpretation of the world and quantitative natural science, Pythagoras represented not the origin of the new, but the survival or revival of ancient, pre-scientific lore or wisdom, based on superhuman authority and expressed in ritual obligation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 544 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 38.1mm | 921g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English, German
  • none
  • 0674539184
  • 9780674539181
  • 802,467

Table of contents

* Introduction I. Platonic and Pythagorean Number Theory * The Platonic Theory of Ideal Numbers * The Philosophy of the Pythagoreans according to Aristotle * The Later Non-Aristotelian Tradition and Its Sources, Speusippus, Xenocrates, and Heraclides Ponticus * Pythagoreanism in Plato and the Origin in Platonism of the Pythagorean Tradition II. Pythagoras in the Earliest Tradition * Source Problems * Historical Background * Metempsychosis and "Shamanism" Acusmata Acusmatici and Mat hematici * Early Evidence for Pythagoras as a Scientist? III. Philolaus * The Special Position of Philolaus' Book in the Pythagorean Tradition * The Spurious and the Genuine in the Philolaus Fragments * Reflections of Pythagorean Philosophy in the Fifth Century B.C.? IV. Astronomy and Pythagoreanism * The Structure of the World and the Planetary System * The Theory of Planetary Movements * The Cosmos of Philolaus * Harmony of the Spheres and Astral Immortality V. Pythagorean Musical Theory * Speculation, Experimentation, and Fiction * Number Symbolism and Calculation of Proportions in Philolaus VI. Pythagorean Number Theory and Greek Mathematics * Did the Pythagoreans Lay the Foundations of Greek Mathematics? * Pythagorean Arithmetic * Pythagorean Geometry and Mathematical Secrets * Number and Cosmos * Abbreviations * Bibliography * Greek Words Discussed * Index of Passages * General Index
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About Walter Burkert

Walter Burkert was Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Zurich.
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