The Info List - Neopythagorean

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(or Neo-Pythagoreanism) was a school of Hellenistic philosophy which revived Pythagorean doctrines. Neopythagoreanism
was influenced by Middle Platonism
Middle Platonism
and in turn influenced Neoplatonism. It originated in the 1st century BCE and flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. The 1911 Britannica
1911 Britannica
describes Neopythagoreanism
as "a link in the chain between the old and the new" within Hellenistic philosophy. As such, it contributed to the doctrine of monotheism as it emerged during Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
(among other things influencing early Christianity). Central to Neopythagorean thought was the concept of a soul and its inherent desire for a unio mystica with the divine.[1] The word "Neopythagoreanism" is a modern (19th century) term,[2] coined as a parallel of "Neoplatonism".


1 History 2 See also 3 Notes 4 Bibliography

History[edit] In the 1st century BCE Cicero's friend Nigidius Figulus
Nigidius Figulus
made an attempt to revive Pythagorean doctrines, but the most important members of the school were Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana
and Moderatus of Gades in the 1st century CE. Other important Neopythagoreans include the mathematician Nicomachus of Gerasa (fl. 150 CE), who wrote about the mystical properties of numbers. In the 2nd century, Numenius of Apamea sought to fuse additional elements of Platonism
into Neopythagoreanism, prefiguring the rise of Neoplatonism. (Iamblichus, in particular, was especially influenced by Neopythagoreanism). Neopythagoreanism
was an attempt to re-introduce a mystical religious element into Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy
(dominated by the Stoics) in place of what had come to be regarded as an arid formalism. The founders of the school sought to invest their doctrines with the halo of tradition by ascribing them to Pythagoras
and Plato. They went back to the later period of Plato's thought, the period when Plato
endeavoured to combine his doctrine of Ideas with Pythagorean number theory, and identified the Good with the Monad (which would give rise to the Neoplatonic concept of the One), the source of the duality of the Infinite and the Measured with the resultant scale of realities from the One down to the objects of the material world. They emphasized the fundamental distinction between the soul and the body. God
must be worshipped spiritually by prayer and the will to be good, not in outward action. The soul must be freed from its material surrounding, the "muddy vesture of decay," by an ascetic habit of life. Bodily pleasures and all sensuous impulses must be abandoned as detrimental to the spiritual purity of the soul. God
is the principle of good, Matter
the groundwork of Evil. In this system can be distinguished not only the asceticism of Pythagoras
and the later mysticism of Plato, but also the influence of the Orphic mysteries and of Oriental philosophy. The Ideas of Plato
are no longer self-subsistent entities but are the elements which constitute the content of spiritual activity. The non-material universe is regarded as the sphere of mind or spirit. The Porta Maggiore Basilica
Porta Maggiore Basilica
where Neopythagoreans held their meetings in the 1st century, believed to have been constructed by the Statilus family [3] was found near Porta Maggiore
Porta Maggiore
on Via Praenestina
Via Praenestina
in Rome (discovered 1915).[4][5][6] See also[edit]

School of the Sextii Allegorical interpretations of Plato


^ Calvin J. Roetzel, The World That Shaped the New Testament, 2002, p. 68. ^ Definition of Neo-pythagoreanism by Merriam-Webster ^ The Family of Statilius Taurus, Herbert W. Benario, The Classical World, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Nov., 1970), pp. 73-76 ^ Secret pagan basilica in Rome
emerges from the shadows after 2,000 years, Nick Squires, The Telegraph, 19 Nov 2015 ^ The Neopythagoreans at the Porta Maggiore
Porta Maggiore
in Rome, Lisa Spencer, Rosicrucian Digest No. 1 2009. p36-44 ^ Underground basilica of Porta Maggiore
Porta Maggiore


Charles H. Kahn, Pythagoras
and the Pythagoreans: A Brief History, Indianapolis: Hackett 2001 ISBN 0-87220-575-4 ISBN 978-0872205758  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Neopythagoreanism". Encyclop√¶dia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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Ancient Greek schools of philosophy



Atomism Eleatics Ionian

Ephesian Milesian

Pluralism Pythagoreanism Sophistic


Anaxagoras Anaximander Anaximenes Democritus Empedocles Heraclitus Leucippus Melissus Parmenides Protagoras Pythagoras Thales Zeno of Elea



Cynicism Cyrenaics Eretrian school Megarian school Peripateticism Platonism


Antisthenes Aristippus Aristotle Diogenes
of Sinope Euclid of Megara Phaedo of Elis Plato Socrates



Epicureanism Neoplatonism Neopythagoreanism Pyrrhonism Stoicism


Apollonius of Tyana Augustine Epictetus Epicurus John Philoponus Lucretius Plotinus Proclus Pyrrho Sextus Empiricus Ze