In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (Studia Praesocratica, Volume 4)
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The history of Pythagoreanism is littered with different and incompatible interpretations, to the point that Kahn (1974) suggested that, instead of another thesis on Pythagoreanism, it would be preferable to assess traditions with the aim of producing a good historiographical presentation. This almost fourty-year-old observation by Kahn, directs the author of this book towards a fundamentally historiographical rather than philological brand of work, that is, one neither exclusively devoted to the exegesis of sources such as Philolaus, Archytas or even of one of the Hellenistic Lives nor even to the theoretical approach of one of the themes that received specific contributions from Pythagoreanism, such as mathematics, cosmology, politics or theories of the soul. Instead, this monograph sets out to reconstruct the way in which the tradition established Pythagoreanism’s image, facing one of the central problems that characterizes Pythagoreanism more than other ancient philosophical movements: the drastically shifting terrain of the criticism of the sources. The goal of this historiographical approach is to embrace Pythagoreanism in its entirety, through - and not in spite of its complex articulation across more than a millennium.
Vol. 1: Gemelli, Laura: Democrito e l'Accademia (2007)
Vol. 2: Marcinkowska-Rosól, Maria: Die Konzeption des "noein" bei Parmenides von Elea (2010)
Vol. 3: Schwab, Andreas: Thales von Milet in der frühen christlichen Literatur (2011)
Vol. 4: Cornelli, Gabriele: In Search of Pythagoreanism (2013)
Vol. 5: On Pythagoreanism (2013) Ed. by Cornelli, Gabriele / McKirahan, Richard / Macris, Constantinos
Vol. 6: Marcinkowska-Rosol, Maria: Die Prinzipienlehre der Milesier (2014)
Diels, Hermann: Prolegomena to the "Doxographi Graeci" (2016) Ed. by Primavesi, Oliver
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scheme is (b). Huffman himself, though on different grounds, ends up recognizing that the application of these “rigorous” criteria still produces a long list of Pythagoreans. However, this would not be more than a 149 For an annotated collection of writings attributed to Pythagorean women, primarily based on Thesleff 1965, see the recent Montepaone 2011. 150 Huffman 1993: 11. 151 The same idea was already present in Huffman 1993: 74. The issue will receive the attention it surely deserves in the
reality. For example, Iamblichus’ testimony (Iambl. VP: 229 – 230; VP: 69 – 70) lists the six aspects of philía taught by Pythagoras: of gods towards men, of the doctrines among themselves, of the soul with the body, of men among themselves and with animals, and of the mortal body towards itself.¹⁸⁰As a proverbial element of Pythagoreanism, this notion of philía has attracted various stories that border on the legen178 For this tradition see also Iambl. VP: 88. Just because of the revelation of
latter and the Orphic culture of its time. For, in itself, the theory of transmigration of the immortal soul assumes the theory of the universal kinship referred to in Porphyry’s summary.³⁶⁶ This theory is also implied by Empedocles fragment 129 and is not only a logical consequence of the very 366 See Delatte 1992: 175 for the quotes of this doctrine within ancient literature. 136 3 Immortality of the soul and metempsýchōsis theory of metempsýchōsis, but represents a general law of how the
a material conception of archḗ (such as fire, see 18 B 7 DK) far from the Aristotelian doxography of the Metaphysics. With these arguments in mind, Zhmud admits only two possible explanations for Aristotle’s testimony: either the expression “all is number” belongs to an ancient and secret teaching of the “divine” Pythagoras, which must have been directly revealed to Aristotle and first published by him, or that the expression “all is number” was not actually a Pythagorean doctrine.⁴⁰⁹ This second
assume that revelations are absolutely true would suggest a Platonic influence on the dogmatic readings of the Jewish-Christian-Islamic matrix, that is, the so-called “religions of the Book.”⁴⁷² A revelation, on the contrary, could be understood like something of noble origin which must be continued: as a commitment to follow through in the future with something given, rather than being something static or dogmatic.⁴⁷³ However, the assertion of divine origin seems to be a direct reference to