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Pythagoras [Paperback]

Thomas Stanley , James Wasserman , J. Daniel Gunther
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: £21.00
Price: £18.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Nicolas Hays Inc (25 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892541601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892541607
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,235,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Pythagoras The timeless brilliance of this exhaustive survey of the best classical writers of antiquity on Pythagoras was first published in 1687 in Thomas Stanleys massive tome, The History of Philosophy. It remains as contemporary today as it was over three hundred years ago. The text of the 1687 book has been reset and modernized to make it more accessible to the modern reader. Spelling has been regulariz Full description

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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for students of Greek philosophy 12 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
While the true history of the Pythagorean movement is hidden in legend, this book is interesting as a rather thorough classical or traditional introduction to that legend. One gets most of the rumours and legend about Pythagoras, succinctly presented, where modern works, attempting to find THE historical truth behind the legends, become just as subjective due to the mostly very late sources of antiquity. This work seems to have been rather lovingly transcribed from the original to modern readability, and I have found it a great complement to later works. It is, after all, myth, legend, rumours, intrigue - and my own desire to find out what in the Pythagorean tradition derives from Plato, and what not, is not answered, nor will it, I suppose, ever be. But the Pythagorean mythos is powerful enough. So - the book is recommended to students of the subject. There are, after all, ample footnotes and references too. The thread goes to the Timaeus, and to Kepler of course.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ANCIENT GENIUS REVEALED 6 Jun 2010
By Theresa Welsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Who was Pythagoras and what did he teach? He lived from 570 to 495 BC, born on the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, and is best known for the "Pythagorean Theorem" which is about the sum of the square of two sides of a right triangle equaling the square of the hypotenuse. Such discovery of the ways of numbers was central to Pythagoras' teachings, as mathematics, geometry and theology blended in what he called "philosophy" - a first use of the term, which adds to the word "sophos" meaning wisdom. Phythagoras went beyond wisdom to seeking an understanding of the universe and everything in it.

This book is a modern edited edition of a book first published in 1687 by Thomas Stanley, and it is a collection of information from a number of sources, including a biography of Pythagoras. What stands out for me is that Pythagoras founded a school of sorts that was also a bit of a cult. Full members of the school gave all their possessions to the organization and devoted themselves to study. According to sources in this book, initiates had to spend five years in silence. Pythagoras also had other disciples who studied, but did not devote their lives and money to the school. But why the influence down through the ages? First, Pythagoras was extremely well esteemed during his lifetime and many regarded him as a god because his wisdom and knowledge went so far beyond that of ordinary people. Second, the Pythagorean schools (they spread to other parts of the ancient world) lasted for many generations, and those who were called "Pythagoreans" played important roles in the governing of the power centers of the ancient world over a long period of time.

What impressed me in reading this material was both the spiritual content of his teachings and how much of the science he actually got right. Pythagoras believed in the preexistence of and immortality of the soul. Yes, his religion centers on the gods of the world of his time, but he adopted a policy of peaceful friendship among all people, he did not accept bloody sacrifice, and he revered plant and animal life as well. In one story, he told some strangers on the bank of a river how many fish they would catch. When their catch was exactly as he had foretold, they were amazed, but Pythagoras asked them to return the fish to the waters so they could live and he paid them the value of their catch. From these ancient sources, it appears that Pythagoreans were vegetarians who did not think killing animals honored the gods.

It also appears that Pythagoras taught that the earth and planets go round the sun and that the sun consists of fire. He taught that there were other worlds like the earth and that the universe is infinite. His work on geometry, mathematics, and music is amazing and full of insights into the nature of things. To Pythagoras, everything had numbers behind it. All existence derived from the Monad, the One. Each type of number has significance, not just for counting things, but intrinsically. Numbers as abstractions is the very stuff of the universe.

Much of the Pythagorean teachings are clouded by the passage of thousands of years and the inevitable reformulating and misunderstanding of what he taught. The concepts are sometimes difficult to grasp and, even with the editing for a modern audience, much of the content here is steeped in the worldviews of both the middle ages when Thomas Stanley was writing and that of 500 BC when Pythagoras lived. But if you make your way slowly through this material, you will find instances of interesting insights into the world we inhabit and how we ought to live. The concepts of Pythagoras still have something to teach us. Here are two examples of sayings attributed to Pythagoras:

--- "We ought to be slient or speak things that are better than silence."

--- "Comprehend not few things in many words, but many things in few words."

Pythagoras taught his disciples to live a life of moderation in all things, to value the unseen over what can be seen and felt and to understand the invisible numbers and geometry behind everything. For an easier reading explanation of how numbers construct everything, I recommend A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science by Michael S. Schneider. This book is full of illustrations and information about the mathematics and geometry of our world, much of which mirrors the Pythagorean teachings. You might also try another interesting and somewhat unorthodox book, Quantum Pythagoreans by Mike Ivsin.

Modern thinkers continue to seek out the true teachings of Pythagoras, and this book -- "A Compendium of Classical Sources" -- is a good addition to that effort.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Tome 21 May 2010
By Wholly_Cats - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interested in Pythagoras, get this book, but be prepared for old school writing about one of the very old schools. As common with rhetorical writing, there's a lot of effort to feature the logic of the postulations.

In my humble opinion, as one who is not reading this for scholarly reasons, but for personal growth, the bottom line is whether and how much the Pythagorean take on the nature of it all rings true to me. I wanted to take an esoteric trip that could reveal "new" ways of seeing. This book definitely delivers copious amounts on a mysterious genius about whom I had been most curious.

It's a celebration and exercise of the mind in full, which is very much in keeping with Pythagoras' point and so many others, that the mind makes our place unique, and thus closer to God.

This remarkable book covers a lot of bases about Pythagoras' philosophy, the school he founded, his life, his world view, and a fascinating subject it is.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A key read and addition to any history or biography collection, highly recommended 13 May 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the great mathematicians and philosophers, the life of Pythagoras serves as a history of classical thinking. "Pythagoras: His Life and Teachings" looks at the man who is most known for his work in the fields of mathematics and philosophy, but did much in many other intellectuals fields of the time. From religion to nutrition, Pythagoras pursued anything his mind drifted too and much of his discoveries still hold true to this day. "Pythagoras" is a key read and addition to any history or biography collection, highly recommended.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star 19 Oct 2014
By Joseph Pinot Aleskoy Zhouli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This, fathers "Manly, Thomas, and, Manly" is perhaps presented by a sodomite sect.
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most un-readable books in print. 30 Jun 2013
By Peter Kendrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Find this information elsewhere. The author never uses one word where a convoluted phrase will work. I am sorry I spent the money on this.
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