Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism

Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism

Walter Burkert

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 0674539184

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For the first English edition of his distinguished study, Weisheit und Wissenschaft: Studien zu Pythagoras, Philoloas und Platon, Mr. Burkert has extensively revised both text and notes, taking into account additional literature that has appeared since 1962.














organization o f his inquiries about first principles (a/>xa 0 in the first two books o f the Metaphysics, the Pythagoreans are not only treated separately, among the “ preSocratics” (985b23ff), but are even more often treated in comparison with Plato.2 Their doctrines are set forth in detail in the discussion o f the difficulties in the Academic number theory (in books M and N ).3 The latter is the real target o f Aristotle’s polemic; Pythagorean material may be cited for its own sake, in order

Pythagoras. 47 Arist. Met. 987a29fF; cf. Dicacarchus fr. 41, Cic. Rep. 1.16, De or. 1.42, Fin. 5.87, Tusc. 5.10, Numenius ap. Euseb. Praep. evang. 14.5.9, Aug. De civ. D. 8.4. 48 Cic. Acad. 2.74, 1.46, Sext. Emp. PH 1.221, Proll. in PL 10. 3-8 (p. 205 Hermann). Cf. Burkert, “ Cicero als Platoniker und Skeptiker,” Gymnasium 72 (1965) 175-200.— The first ps.-Xenophontic letter (Hercher p. 788) is also a polemic o f the “ Socratics” against Plato’s “ Pythagorizing.” The reproach is made against the

people once more come forward to declare themselves Pythagoreans, their most noticeable characteristic is that they are seeking (or even, as for example in the case o f Apollonius o f Tyana, claiming to possess) a superhuman, divine wisdom. And it may be that in this very point— not in details o f doctrine but in the claim to possess divine knowledge— we are most likely to find an element o f its real origin, in the influence o f Pythagoras o f Samos. 63 Philostr. VA 6.22, Marinus V. Prod. 38. 54

(254-264), and once shown to be a source by parallel passages in Porphyry.11 Rohde showed convincingly that two other continuous sections, the speeches o f Pythagoras in Croton12 and his meeting with Phalaris,13 have the same origin. Rohde went on to propose a mechanical two-source theory, according to which Iamblichus drew material exclusively from N icomachus and Apollonius; he tried to assign each chapter to one o f the two, though allowing that Iamblichus may have worked out some individual

in Iamblichus, in context with the Aristotelian material. It is possible that they go back to Aristotle: (k) Pythagoras took from Abaris, the priest o f Apollo from the country o f the Hyperboreans, the arrow with which he traveled, and thus established himself as the Hyperborean Apollo.127 (1) “ They say o f the man who bought Pythagoras’ house and tore it down, that he did not dare tell anyone what he saw, but that as a result o f this crime he was convicted o f sacrilege by the Crotonians and

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