Sunday, 22 March 2015

Johan Thom: Pythagorean sayings material in Iamblichus' Protrepticus

Iamblichus' Protrepticus was the second volume of his comprehensive work On Pythagoreanism, in which Iamblichus lays out the basic elements of his Pythagoreanizing philosophical program. According to Dominic O'Meara, the Protrepticus contains a progressive protreptic "accomplished ... in three stages: a protreptic to philosophy in general, not restricted to a specific system (chapters 2-3); an intermediate protreptic mixing in the general with the Pythagorean (chapters 4-20); a final protreptic to the technical demonstrations of the Pythagoreans (chapter 21)." Two very different types of sayings are used in the first and third stages to illustrate this protreptic: in chapter 3 Iamblichus discusses the Pythagorean Golden Verses and in chapter 21 the Pythagorean akousmata. My paper will examine the paraenetic and protreptic uses of theses sayings in the Protrepticus and elsewhere.

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