The Mystery of Numbers
Since the earliest times, numbers have exercised a special hold on the human imagination. In this fascinating book, the author, one of the world's foremost authorities on Sufism and Islamic mysticism, explores the symbolism of numbers through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia up to contemporary European folk cultures. We learn why a particular number has been assigned its symbolic value in a religious or philosophical tradition, and how that symbolism has been expressed in superstitions, proverbs, and figures of speech. The book begins with a historical and thematic overview of the development of counting systems and mathematics and their role in various philosophical and religious systems. After a brief chapter on historical number puzzles, Schimmel proceeds from one symbolic number to the next. The text is enlivened throughout by illustrations showing how numeric symbolism has been represented in art and architecture.
- Hardback | 324 pages
- 144.78 x 210.82 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
- 25 Feb 1993
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- halftones, line drawings
Table of contents
Introduction; Number and number systems; The heritage of the Pythagoreans; Gnosis and Cabala; Islamic mysticism; Medieval and baroque number symbolism; Superstitions; Number games and magic squares; Little dictionary of numbers; Bibliography; Illustration credits.
About Annemarie Schimmel
About the Author: Annemarie Schimmel is Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture at Harvard University. A widely-respected scholar of the Near East, she has written numerous books on Islamic literature, religion, and culture.