(6th. century BCE) is credited with being the "father of
philosophy". He is said to have been born on Samos, an island off the
coast of Turkey, and to have spent a large part of his life learning
esoteric traditions in the Orient and Egypt. There are even traditions
that he may have met Hebrew prophets. The details of his life and
influence are remote, and it is difficult to disentangle fact from
fiction and legend, but the following traditions associated with him
ideas were more fully developed by Plato and his followers, and for a
thousand years the Pythagorean and Platonic traditions were so
intertwined they are difficult to tease apart - for example, the
influential Neoplatonist Iamblichus
wrote a biography of Pythagoras, a book on the theology of numbers, and
a collection of Pythagorean doctrines.
- that mathematics reveals a realm of eternal
- the mysticism of numbers.
- that the universe is rationally comprehensible,
and that the rational faculty in human kind is akin to godliness.
- that by cultivating the intellectual faculty,
one is transferring awareness into that part of the soul most close to
The idea that a realm of absolute truth is accessible to the
intellectual faculty (nous),
and that intellectual contemplation is a way to approach the divine is
an amazing idea - that godliness is less about cultic practices, it
is a matter of cognition.
(~40 - 120 CE) for details of a wonder-working Pythagorean mystic who
was contemporary with the first generation of Christians.
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