Pythagoras mentioned in Vedas?-A simpler explanalation

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Jun 14 22:00:39 UTC 1999

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen wrote:

> Thank you for the help.  I know of Seidenberg's work.  His ideas are
> very interesting and he has many good points.  Are you aware of
> any references to reactions to his ideas from more conservative
> scholars?  Jens Hoyrup (an authority on Babylonian mathematics)
> told me to be very careful with Seidenberg.

You should be. Boyer in his History of Mathematics rejects his theories. However,
Seidenberg is not a bad scholar, and because of that, you can extract valuable
information from his work without subscribing to his main conclusions. The problem is
that his reconstruction of the early history of maths is quite speculative in some
respects, not unlike some of the reconstructions you see based on linguistic or
archaeological material. What I think he shows rather convincingly is that some of the
maths that are described in the Shulbasutras were known already in the Brahmana period.
This is not an unreasonable conclusion. What is dubious, is his insistence that
Babylonian and Greek maths were derived from "Vedic" mathematics. Influences may have
gone either way, and one should also reckon with the possibility that some mathematical
principles were discovered independently. But if you read him with a critical mind, you
may find many interesting observations.

> Regarding "Agni" then I ordered it via the Royal Library here in
> Copenhagen, but for some reasons they never got back to me.  I
> will try and contact them again.  I get the impression that "Agni" is
> a very important work.

It certainly is, and it is rather bulky: two big volumes. But you may find it valuable.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

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