Academic journal article Australian Mathematics Teacher

From Helen Prochazka's Scrapbook

Academic journal article Australian Mathematics Teacher

From Helen Prochazka's Scrapbook

Article excerpt

Mathematikoi

At the age of 56, Pythagoras (ca. 580-500), the charismatic Greek mathematician and spiritual guru, founded his famous philosophical and religious school in Crotona on the east coast of southern Italy. A contemporary of Buddha and Confucius, he had spent the previous 40 years seeking to learn mathematics and esoteric mysteries from the great teachers in the ancient world.

There was an inner circle of followers known as "mathematikoi," meaning "those who studied all." The word was coined by Pythagoras and from it comes the word "mathematics." The mathematikoi lived permanently with the society. They were vegetarians, had no personal possessions and were taught by Pythagoras himself. The "akousmatics" were the outer circle of followers. They lived in their own houses and came to the school during the day.

The Pythagoreans beliefs included:

* reality at its deepest level is mathematical

* spiritual purification could be achieved through philosophy

* certain symbols have a mystical significance.

Women were permitted to become members of the society, both as teachers and students. …

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