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AbstractAccording to Dicaearchus, metempsychosis was the best known among Pythagoras’ teachings. In this paper, I investigate two features of Pythagorean metempsychosis: its non-retributive character and its epistemological value. I argue that the Pythagoreans did not conceive of reincarnation as a punishment for the wicked and a reward for the virtuous, but rather as a way to gain experience, knowledge and therefore wisdom. This reading enables us to throw light on the puzzling list of Pythagoras’ past lives, which includes Aethalides son of Hermes, Euphorbus the warrior, Pyrrhus the fisherman and even Alco the harlot.
Rhizomata – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 27, 2018
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