The Pythagorean Way of Life in Clement of Alexandria and Iamblichus
Iamblichus and the Foundation of Late Platonism, edited by E. Afonasin, J. Dillon and J. Finamore. Leiden, Brill, pp. 13–36
25 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 3, 2012
Eugene Afonasin highlights the wealth of information on Pythagoras and his tradition preserved in Clement of Alexandria’s Stromateis and presents them against the background of Later Platonic philosophy. He first outlines what Clement knew about the Pythagoreans, and then what he made of the Pythagorean ideal and how he reinterpreted it for his own purposes. Clement clearly occupies an intermediate position between the Neopythagorean biographical tradition, firmly based on Nicomachus, and that more or less vague and diffuse literary situation which preceded the later developments, and in this respect is a very good source, worth studying for its own sake and as supplementary material which can help to understand the great Pythagorean synthesis attempted by Iamblichus. Developing their variants of the “exhortation to philosophy” (protreptikoi logoi), these men were much concerned with the educational value of the Pythagorean way of life rather then biographical circumstances, designed to place the ancient sage in the proper cultural context.
Keywords: Pythagoreans, doxography, ancient philosophy
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