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His Life, Teaching, and Influence
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One of the most important mathematical theorems is named after Pythagoras of Samos, but this semi-mythical Greek sage has more to offer than formulas. He is said to have discovered the numerical nature of the basic consonances and transposed the musical proportions to the cosmos, postulating a "harmony of the spheres." He may have coined the words "cosmos" and "philosophy." He is also believed to have taught the doctrine of transmigration of souls and therefore to have advised a vegetarian diet. Ancient legends have Pythagoras conversing with dogs, bears, and bulls. A distinctly Pythagorean way of life, including detailed ritual regulations, was observed by his disciples, who were organized as a secret society. Later, Pythagorean and Platonic teachings became fused. In this Platonized form, Pythagoreanism has remained influential through medieval Christianity and the Renaissance down to the present.
Preface ix
1. Fiction and Truth: Ancient Stories about Pythagoras 1
Pythagoras' Appearance 0
Biographical Information 0
Pythagoras as a Teacher 00
2. In Search of the Historical Pythagoras 00
The Cultural-Historical and Intellectual Environment 00
The Oldest Testimonies 00
Guru and Scholar 000
Did Pythagoras Invent the Word Philosophy? 000
3. The Pythagorean Secret Society 000
Were the Pythagoreans an Ancient "Sect"? 000
The Pythagoreans in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C.E. 000
4. Thinkers Influenced by Pythagoras and His Pupils 000
Pre-Platonic Thinkers
Plato and the Old Academy 000
Hellenistic "Forgeries" and Neo-Pythagoreanism 000
Pythagoras as an Idea in the Middle Ages and Modernity
A Prospect 000
Chronology 000
Abbreviations 000
Notes 000
Bibliography 000
Index 000

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