Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Nature of the Evidence

The obstacles to an appraisal of classical Pythagoreanism are formidable. There exists no Pythagorean literature before Plato, and it was said that little had been written, owing to a rule of secrecy. Information from the Christian era is abundant but highly suspect. Pythagoras himself, though a fully historical figure, underwent a kind of canonization. His life was quickly obscured by legend, and piety attributed all the school's teaching to him personally. Moreover, the dispersion of the school inevitably led to divergences of doctrine in the various groups. Aristotle makes it clear that by the late fifth century some Pythagoreans were teaching one thing and some another. A further reason for division was that the universal genius of Pythagoras, for whom religion and science were two aspects of the same integrated worldview, was beyond the scope of lesser men. Some naturally inclined more to...

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This section contains 2,795 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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