Douglas Hedley: Pythagoras’ Cave in Samos
Podcast 1st March 2023
Douglas Hedley is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Cambridge. He is the Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism and co-chair of the Platonism and Neoplatonism section of the American Academy of Religion. Professor Hedley’s work centers on concepts of imagination, violence, and the sublime, and he has published widely, from early modern philosophy—particularly the Cambridge Platonists—to Coleridge.
Ralston College presents a lecture by University of Cambridge Professor Douglas Hedley on the influential and mysterious pre-Socratic philosopher Pythagoras.
Given in the very cave in Samos in which Pythagoras taught, the brief lecture touches on the philosopher’s influence on the Western tradition and the importance of the cave as an imaginative motif. Professor Hedley explores this recurring symbol as a place of birth and rebirth, of contemplation and illumination, and of tremendous inspiration to later thinkers such as Plato and the early Christian scholars.
The lecture took place during the first term of Ralston College's inaugural MA in the Humanities in autumn of 2022.
Authors, Ideas, and Works Mentioned in this Episode
Lloyd P. Gerson
Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos
Links of Possible Interest
Douglas Hedley’s Cambridge Profile
Living Forms of the Imagination
Dr Stephen Blackwood
Ralston College Short Courses
Ralston College Humanities MA
0:00 – Introduction
3:26 – Professor Douglas Hedley’s Lecture
7:25 – Introduction to Pythagoras
9:42 – The importance of the cave as a symbol
12:29 – Cave in Christianity and the ancient world
17:13 – Q & A: Plato’s and Pythagoras’ appeal to numbers as example of non-material realities
20:50 – Influence of Pythagoras on Plato
24:20 – The realness of number and mathematics
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