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Re: [neoplatonism] Jay Kennedy & "The Plato Code"

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  • Thomas Mether
    Hve you heard of or read McClain The Pythagorean Plato? This was a study in the 80s claiming that some key images and symbols in Plato cited Pythagorean music
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 30, 2010
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      Hve you heard of or read McClain The Pythagorean Plato? This was a study in the 80s claiming that some key images and symbols in Plato cited Pythagorean music theory and dealt with problems in musical tuing theory as symbols for philosophical problems.

      --- On Wed, 6/30/10, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:


      From: Curt Steinmetz <curt@...>
      Subject: [neoplatonism] Jay Kennedy & "The Plato Code"
      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 12:34 PM


       



      I had not heard of Jay Kennedy until just today. He is making something
      of a splash for his claim to have discovered objectively quantifiable
      musical patterns based on Pythagoreanism -- in Plato's dialogs. I have a
      very negative knee-jerk reaction to things like this, especially when I
      find out about through poorly written, poorly conceived, and overly
      hyped media accounts. But I took a look at Kennedy's website, especially
      his "Introduction for Scholars", and to my eye there appears to be
      something to what he is up to:
      http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/jay.kennedy/#Introduction_for_Scholars

      His work is especially relevant to our understanding of the later
      Platonic school (so-called "neo-" Platonism):

      "The distance between 'neo-Platonism' and Platonism has been steadily
      diminishing since the work of Dodds. This work implies that the reports
      among Plato students that he was a Pythagorean in some strong sense were
      correct. This reaffirms the views among some neo-Pythagoreans and
      neo-Platonists. How is the history of the reception of Plato now altered?"

      Curt Steinmetz










      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • chronicneoplatonic
      I haven t yet had a chance to go through Kennedy s findings in depth. However Kennedy is not the first to reason thusly, and there is a fairly mind-blowing
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 1, 2010
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        I haven't yet had a chance to go through Kennedy's findings in depth. However Kennedy is not the first to reason thusly, and there is a fairly mind-blowing article by John Bremer ('Some Arithmetical Patterns in Plato's Republic' Hermathena 169 (Winter 2000) 69-97) where he makes the (much more modest) claim that the Republic is structured among other things, that the dialogue is divided by the episode of the 'divided line' in such a way that the lengths of dialogue before and after this section have a phi ratio vis a vis their lengths. . . . It seems difficult to interpret this as other than a beautiful 'formal pun' (assuming that one recognises that the divided line concerns the phi ratio, as it does according to some interpretations). Bremer's interpretation goes far beyond this, and establishes pretty solidly that the Republic is structured deliberately along mathematical lines. If I find that Kennedy has not credited Bremer I shall be incensed.

        There's no way to assess this new work without getting to grips with the statistics and geometric analysis and such (and control-cases must be made; contemporary works subjected to the same sort of analysis to see if they don't also yield accidental 'secret codes' of their own), but I feel that, taken alongside Bremer's (seemingly ignored) article, it deserves to be addressed properly. IF and only if it is even partially correct (e.g., if we can concretely show that Plato did have some underlying structural principles, whether related to music, esoteric numerology, simply principles of proportion and harmony in dramatic art, whatever) it would change EVERYTHING. Seriously; if it can indeed be applied to all the dialogues, it would show that there IS after all a unity to Plato's work from the beginning. It could help us with editing; in fact, we could theoretically assess emendations quantitatively (that is, as to whether they add up, literally). We would potentially have to re-approach all the data from Aristotle on Plato, and what we know of the Early Academics and their 'Pythagoreanizing'.


        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hve you heard of or read McClain The Pythagorean Plato? This was a study in the 80s claiming that some key images and symbols in Plato cited Pythagorean music theory and dealt with problems in musical tuing theory as symbols for philosophical problems.
        >
        > --- On Wed, 6/30/10, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > From: Curt Steinmetz <curt@...>
        > Subject: [neoplatonism] Jay Kennedy & "The Plato Code"
        > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 12:34 PM
        >
        >
        >  
        >
        >
        >
        > I had not heard of Jay Kennedy until just today. He is making something
        > of a splash for his claim to have discovered objectively quantifiable
        > musical patterns based on Pythagoreanism -- in Plato's dialogs. I have a
        > very negative knee-jerk reaction to things like this, especially when I
        > find out about through poorly written, poorly conceived, and overly
        > hyped media accounts. But I took a look at Kennedy's website, especially
        > his "Introduction for Scholars", and to my eye there appears to be
        > something to what he is up to:
        > http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/jay.kennedy/#Introduction_for_Scholars
        >
        > His work is especially relevant to our understanding of the later
        > Platonic school (so-called "neo-" Platonism):
        >
        > "The distance between 'neo-Platonism' and Platonism has been steadily
        > diminishing since the work of Dodds. This work implies that the reports
        > among Plato students that he was a Pythagorean in some strong sense were
        > correct. This reaffirms the views among some neo-Pythagoreans and
        > neo-Platonists. How is the history of the reception of Plato now altered?"
        >
        > Curt Steinmetz
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • John Dillon
        ... The aspect of this theory that attracts me, I must say, is that it is based on a standard ancient papyrus line of 35-36 characters- the length of an
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 2, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > I haven't yet had a chance to go through Kennedy's findings in depth. However
          > Kennedy is not the first to reason thusly, and there is a fairly mind-blowing
          > article by John Bremer ('Some Arithmetical Patterns in Plato's Republic'
          > Hermathena 169 (Winter 2000) 69-97) where he makes the (much more modest)
          > claim that the Republic is structured among other things, that the dialogue is
          > divided by the episode of the 'divided line' in such a way that the lengths of
          > dialogue before and after this section have a phi ratio vis a vis their
          > lengths. . . . It seems difficult to interpret this as other than a beautiful
          > 'formal pun' (assuming that one recognises that the divided line concerns the
          > phi ratio, as it does according to some interpretations). Bremer's
          > interpretation goes far beyond this, and establishes pretty solidly that the
          > Republic is structured deliberately along mathematical lines. If I find that
          > Kennedy has not credited Bremer I shall be incensed.
          >
          > There's no way to assess this new work without getting to grips with the
          > statistics and geometric analysis and such (and control-cases must be made;
          > contemporary works subjected to the same sort of analysis to see if they don't
          > also yield accidental 'secret codes' of their own), but I feel that, taken
          > alongside Bremer's (seemingly ignored) article, it deserves to be addressed
          > properly. IF and only if it is even partially correct (e.g., if we can
          > concretely show that Plato did have some underlying structural principles,
          > whether related to music, esoteric numerology, simply principles of proportion
          > and harmony in dramatic art, whatever) it would change EVERYTHING. Seriously;
          > if it can indeed be applied to all the dialogues, it would show that there IS
          > after all a unity to Plato's work from the beginning. It could help us with
          > editing; in fact, we could theoretically assess emendations quantitatively
          > (that is, as to whether they add up, literally). We would potentially have to
          > re-approach all the data from Aristotle on Plato, and what we know of the
          > Early Academics and their 'Pythagoreanizing'.
          >
          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ,
          > Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
          >> >
          >> > Hve you heard of or read McClain The Pythagorean Plato? This was a study in
          >> the 80s claiming that some key images and symbols in Plato cited Pythagorean
          >> music theory and dealt with problems in musical tuing theory as symbols for
          >> philosophical problems.
          >> >
          >> > --- On Wed, 6/30/10, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > From: Curt Steinmetz <curt@...>
          >> > Subject: [neoplatonism] Jay Kennedy & "The Plato Code"
          >> > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
          >> > Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 12:34 PM
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >  
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > I had not heard of Jay Kennedy until just today. He is making something
          >> > of a splash for his claim to have discovered objectively quantifiable
          >> > musical patterns based on Pythagoreanism -- in Plato's dialogs. I have a
          >> > very negative knee-jerk reaction to things like this, especially when I
          >> > find out about through poorly written, poorly conceived, and overly
          >> > hyped media accounts. But I took a look at Kennedy's website, especially
          >> > his "Introduction for Scholars", and to my eye there appears to be
          >> > something to what he is up to:
          >> >
          >> http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/jay.kennedy/#Introduction_for_Sch
          >> olars
          >> >
          >> > His work is especially relevant to our understanding of the later
          >> > Platonic school (so-called "neo-" Platonism):
          >> >
          >> > "The distance between 'neo-Platonism' and Platonism has been steadily
          >> > diminishing since the work of Dodds. This work implies that the reports
          >> > among Plato students that he was a Pythagorean in some strong sense were
          >> > correct. This reaffirms the views among some neo-Pythagoreans and
          >> > neo-Platonists. How is the history of the reception of Plato now altered?"
          >> >
          >> > Curt Steinmetz
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >> >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          The aspect of this theory that attracts me, I must say, is that it is based
          on a standard ancient papyrus line of 35-36 characters- the length of an
          hexameter line of poetry, which prose writers would have followed, since
          that would have been the width of the papyrus. It would not then have been
          too complicated to count the lines, and with modern technology we can do so
          too. But the proof of the pudding.... JMD



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Harold Tarrant
          Dear All, I read the paper by Jay some time ago now, and it is certainly based, as John Dillon says, on some based principles about line-lengths and on the
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 4, 2010
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            Dear All,

            I read the paper by Jay some time ago now, and it is certainly based, as John Dillon says, on some based principles about line-lengths and on the frequency with which [standard] lines were used as a measure in antiquity. There is some serious research that has gone into the claims that have been published, but of course by the time the academic gives his version to a journalist and the journalist has his work changed by the editors the claims tend to look a little more extreme than any academic is likely to have made. Since the article is on Jay's personal website at Manchester Uni it is available for all to read, and judge for themselves. If it all holds water, then it does have important ramifications for our understanding of the Platonic corpus, but the results *and their interpretation* need some very careful independent scrutiny before we know exactly what these ramifications are. In particular, I felt that a good case could be made for the analysis of the larger works that were probably in need of principles of composition, but the article was not using the smaller ones as case studies. I'd like to see further work from Jay himself and from others before I go overboard (with the press!), but I am looking forward to it. Even then, whether this means that we need to beef-up our ideas of 'Pythagorean influence' is unclear, since harmonics is well know to be vital in the Timaeus, and it was probably of great fascination to many of Plato's colleagues in the Academy. So alas, we need to do a little waiting before we make up our minds about things.

            Best,

            Harold


            Prof. Harold Tarrant,
            School of Humanities and Social Science,
            University of Newcastle,
            NSW 2308 Australia
            Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
            Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
            *Eu Prattein*
          • John Dillon
            ... Yes, I think the whole thing has been inevitably grossly hyped up by the press. If Jay has hit on something here, as I think he has, it would increase our
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 4, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Dear All,
              >
              > I read the paper by Jay some time ago now, and it is certainly based, as John
              > Dillon says, on some based principles about line-lengths and on the frequency
              > with which [standard] lines were used as a measure in antiquity. There is some
              > serious research that has gone into the claims that have been published, but
              > of course by the time the academic gives his version to a journalist and the
              > journalist has his work changed by the editors the claims tend to look a
              > little more extreme than any academic is likely to have made. Since the
              > article is on Jay's personal website at Manchester Uni it is available for
              > all to read, and judge for themselves. If it all holds water, then it does
              > have important ramifications for our understanding of the Platonic corpus, but
              > the results *and their interpretation* need some very careful independent
              > scrutiny before we know exactly what these ramifications are. In particular, I
              > felt that a good case could be made for the analysis of the larger works that
              > were probably in need of principles of composition, but the article was not
              > using the smaller ones as case studies. I'd like to see further work from Jay
              > himself and from others before I go overboard (with the press!), but I am
              > looking forward to it. Even then, whether this means that we need to beef-up
              > our ideas of 'Pythagorean influence' is unclear, since harmonics is well know
              > to be vital in the Timaeus, and it was probably of great fascination to many
              > of Plato's colleagues in the Academy. So alas, we need to do a little waiting
              > before we make up our minds about things.
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Harold
              >
              > Prof. Harold Tarrant,
              > School of Humanities and Social Science,
              > University of Newcastle,
              > NSW 2308 Australia
              > Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
              > Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
              > *Eu Prattein*
              >
              >
              >
              >

              Yes, I think the whole thing has been inevitably grossly hyped up by the
              press. If Jay has hit on something here, as I think he has, it would
              increase our appreciation of Plato¹s artistry in structuring his dialogues,
              and may help to point us to passages that he wished to be significant ­ if
              we had not noticed them already! ­ but it is all something less than a
              revolution in Plato studies, I think. JMD


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • dgallagher@aol.com
              Incidentally, Slaveva-Griffin convincingly argues for the presence of Neopythagorean numerical symbolism in Porphyry s organization of the Enneads. (Plotinus
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 6, 2010
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                Incidentally, Slaveva-Griffin convincingly argues for the presence of
                Neopythagorean numerical symbolism in Porphyry's organization of the Enneads.
                (Plotinus on Number, 131-140).

                David


                In a message dated 7/4/2010 9:06:45 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                jmdillon@... writes:


                >
                > Dear All,
                >
                > I read the paper by Jay some time ago now, and it is certainly based, as
                John
                > Dillon says, on some based principles about line-lengths and on the
                frequency
                > with which [standard] lines were used as a measure in antiquity. There
                is some
                > serious research that has gone into the claims that have been published,
                but
                > of course by the time the academic gives his version to a journalist and
                the
                > journalist has his work changed by the editors the claims tend to look a
                > little more extreme than any academic is likely to have made. Since the
                > article is on Jay's personal website at Manchester Uni it is available
                for
                > all to read, and judge for themselves. If it all holds water, then it
                does
                > have important ramifications for our understanding of the Platonic
                corpus, but
                > the results *and their interpretation* need some very careful independent
                > scrutiny before we know exactly what these ramifications are. In
                particular, I
                > felt that a good case could be made for the analysis of the larger works
                that
                > were probably in need of principles of composition, but the article was
                not
                > using the smaller ones as case studies. I'd like to see further work
                from Jay
                > himself and from others before I go overboard (with the press!), but I am
                > looking forward to it. Even then, whether this means that we need to
                beef-up
                > our ideas of 'Pythagorean influence' is unclear, since harmonics is well
                know
                > to be vital in the Timaeus, and it was probably of great fascination to
                many
                > of Plato's colleagues in the Academy. So alas, we need to do a little
                waiting
                > before we make up our minds about things.
                >
                > Best,
                >
                > Harold
                >
                > Prof. Harold Tarrant,
                > School of Humanities and Social Science,
                > University of Newcastle,
                > NSW 2308 Australia
                > Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
                > Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
                > *Eu Prattein*
                >
                >
                >
                >

                Yes, I think the whole thing has been inevitably grossly hyped up by the
                press. If Jay has hit on something here, as I think he has, it would
                increase our appreciation of Plato¹s artistry in structuring his dialogues,
                and may help to point us to passages that he wished to be significant
                ­ if
                we had not noticed them already! ­ but it is all something less than a
                revolution in Plato studies, I think. JMD

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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