I am aware that approximately two years ago a question was posted on the existence of Pythagoras. After two years, I want to gain more incite on the thought of those on this site.

I was drawn to the idea of Pythagoras ever even existing from Simon Critchley, in his book The Book of Dead Philosophers, where he writes, "Sadly, it is now almost universally assumed by classical scholars that Pythagoras never existed. It seems that there was a group of people in southern Italy called Pythagoreans who invented a "Founder" for their beliefs who, accordingly, lived and died in a manner consistent with those beliefs."

Since reading this I have dove deeply into the history of Pythagoras. I have read through Wikipedia for sources and have read and reread their quote, "No primary sources about Pythagoras have survived. This article describes the classical interpretation of Pythagoras, which is based on a small set of texts written between 150 AD and 450 AD. As these texts were written 600 to 1000 years after Pythagoras is said to have lived, their accuracy is uncertain. It is postulated that the classical Pythagoras did not exist prior to these biographies: many of the discoveries and life details they attributed to Pythagoras may have been those of other Pythagoreans, if not fiction."

I have read all of the sources listed on the other Pythagoras question on this site. Are there any other resources out there that can help prove (or disprove) the existence of Pythagoras? I feel like we keep looking at the same stories that were written years after Pythagoras' death and with no written records, how can anything be accurately assumed about him, his life, and his findings? Did those authors have anything concrete to write from? Anything more than a conversation that was had with Pythagoras? OR a story of something he did told by someone who may have been told by someone else?

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    $\begingroup$ Reading all the sources on Pythagoras is no mean feat but perhaps you could also look at the methodological side, see e.g. how the "homeric question'' or the ''historical Jesus''; have been discussed. $\endgroup$
    – sand1
    Sep 8, 2018 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ See the post Pythagoras vs the idea of Pythagoras $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2018 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ See The Pythagorean Question : "the only reliable approach to answering the Pythagorean question is to start with the earliest evidence, which is independent of the later attempts to glorify Pythagoras, and to use the picture of Pythagoras which emerges from this early evidence as the standard against which to evaluate what can be accepted and what must be rejected in the later tradition. 1/2 $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2018 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ Following such an approach, Walter Burkert, in his epoch-making book (1972), revolutionized our understanding of the Pythagorean question, and all modern scholarship on Pythagoras, including this article, stands on his shoulders." 2/2 $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2018 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ SEP has a convenient chronological chart of sources. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Sep 16, 2018 at 20:57

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