Christ and Pythagoras
DOI link for Christ and Pythagoras
Christ and Pythagoras book
The chapter examines the evolution of Augustine’s philosophy of number from the early works to De libero arbitrio 2. In order to clarify what is meant by philosophy of number, the chapter first contrasts number in the Biblical and the philosophical tradition. The claim that number organises the universe is eminently a Pythagorean idea which had become widespread in the philosophical and religious movements in Late Antiquity, although Augustine did find Scriptural proof-texts for the claim. Second, the chapter examines the origins of the intellectual problems that prompted Augustine’s interest in number. Through a comparison with the lost treatise De pulchro et apto, Janby shows how a new concept of number emerged in the early works. Adopting Neoplatonic philosophy, Augustine held the multiplicity of the universe to be explained by reference to a primary principle of multiplicity, intelligible number. Finally, the chapter analyses De libero arbitrio 2, which illustrates some of the limitations of Augustine’s engagement with number at the threshold between his early works and his office as presbyter in Hippo Regius.