HELLENIC STUDIES SERIES
Cover: The Theology of Arithmetic: Number Symbolism in Platonism and Early Christianity, from Harvard University PressCover: The Theology of Arithmetic in PAPERBACK

Hellenic Studies Series 59

The Theology of Arithmetic

Number Symbolism in Platonism and Early Christianity

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$22.95 • £18.95 • €20.50

ISBN 9780674073302

Publication Date: 05/06/2013

Text

242 pages

6 x 9 inches

6 line illustrations, 1 halftone

Center for Hellenic Studies > Hellenic Studies Series

World, subsidiary rights restricted

In the second century, Valentinians and other gnosticizing Christians used numerical structures and symbols to describe God, interpret the Bible, and frame the universe. In this study of the controversy that resulted, Joel Kalvesmaki shows how earlier neo-Pythagorean and Platonist number symbolism provided the impetus for this theology of arithmetic, and describes the ways in which gnosticizing groups attempted to engage both the Platonist and Christian traditions. He explores the rich variety of number symbolism then in use, among both gnosticizing groups and their orthodox critics, demonstrating how those critics developed an alternative approach to number symbolism that would set the pattern for centuries to come. Arguing that the early dispute influenced the very tradition that inspired it, Kalvesmaki explains how, in the late third and early fourth centuries, numbers became increasingly important to Platonists, who engaged in arithmological constructions and disputes that mirrored the earlier Christian ones.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Graphic: Golden yellow stylized sun

HUP ReadUP: Summer Reads

We asked our colleagues, “What is one word you would use to describe an ideal summer read?” Their answers range across all the summer feels, from those easygoing lazy hazy days to that voltage of energy that fires up a reawakening. What’s more, their responses include book recommendations sure to help you breeze through the sunny season—from our own library as well as those of fellow university presses.