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break/not break bread?

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Printed Date: 19 Oct 2018 at 18:12
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Topic: break/not break bread?
Posted By: franciscosan
Subject: break/not break bread?
Date Posted: 17 Apr 2016 at 19:08
The Judeo-Christian tradition talks about breaking bread.

A Pythagorean symbole (saying) says you should not break bread

Does anyone have any insight about one versus the other?

What does breaking bread mean?  What does the opposite mean?
and why would Judeo-Christians advocate one, while 
the Pythagoreans would advocate the other?



Replies:
Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 19 Apr 2016 at 01:54
Do they have to mean anything? 
Apparently the custom of cutting bread with a knife did not develop until the 1700/1800's.






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It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.


Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 19 Apr 2016 at 12:11
Apparently there ARE different meanings of "Breaking Bread"

http://www.gotquestions.org/breaking-of-bread.html




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   If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.    (Albert Einstein)


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 21 Apr 2016 at 03:34
Yes, toyomotor, they have to mean _something_.  Every thing means something.  What the relevance is, is entirely another question.  But, because there are Christians, and even some people running around calling themselves Pythagoreans, to break or not break is a question, not only for me, but _maybe_ for some others as well:)
What do you mean the custom of cutting bread did not develop until the 1700s, 1800s?.  Are you thinking of the earl of Sandwich? (seriously.)
Thank you Northman, it is interesting that the Christians hold all things in common and cite breaking bread as part of their fellowship.  Pythagoreans are said to hold things in common, but breaking bread is a sign of, shall we say, a miserly spirit who is not generous with his charity.  But maybe there is a distinction of insiders (breaking bread of Christian brotherhood), and outsiders (Pythagorean charity). 


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 21:28
For the Pythagoreans, _not_ breaking bread means don't skimp on charity.  It also means that when you have an investment, live on the earnings, not out of breaking up the principle or the business that is generating those earnings.  The Pythagoreans, like the Christians believed in owning all things in common.

One thing I am glad to learn, is that the Pythagorean "not breaking bread" does not mean the opposite of the Christian "breaking bread," that is, regarding the sayings meanings.  One does not have to interpret such sayings metaphorically, but it is clear that the ancients often did.


Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 23:46
Quote The Pythagoreans, like the Christians believed in
owning all things in common.


Isn't that communism in it's purest form?

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It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2018 at 00:58
Josephus said that the Essenes were Pythagorean.  Of course, what that meant is not necessarily clear, especially since we are not certain about either the Essenes or the Pythagoreans or what they believe, but they definitely had a kind of communal living.

modern communism is a political fantasy turned nightmare.  I mean the violent overthrow of the status quo.  Essenes and Pythagoreans believed in a form of communism for themselves, defining themselves as elite and separating themselves from the rest of society.  It is very different from the stifling embrace of all by a pervasive system, whether the all want it or not.  

But Sir Karl Popper considered Plato as the father of totalitarianism, because of Plato's painting of his ideal society.  And the Pythagoreans are considered by some to be predecessors of Plato.  So, yes, you might lay modern communism at their feet as well (you might).


Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2018 at 02:56
My understanding of communism is that all pigs should be equal, and share equally in the profits of the farm.

Of course modern communism doesn't work that way, the pigs are not all equal, and the profits are shared between the senior pigs only.

So what we end up with is a bastardisation of the capitalised and communist worlds.

-------------
It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2018 at 01:15
As George Orwell said in 'Animal Farm,' "All animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others."  I guess one might say that in such a system, we are all "comrades" it is just that some are more "comrades" than others.  Communism does have its advantages (they leave alone 'primitive' peoples more, and have an interesting way of supporting the arts, despite censorship (or maybe because of it), and capitalism has its disadvantages.  I think socialism is an in-between point.  Of course, socially in the West, nobody thinks about bastards anymore (in derogatory fashion), it doesn't have the same (perlocutionary) force that it used to have.

I am sure in antiquity, some would have considered Plato a bastardization of Pythagoras (or Parmenides).
Parmenides of Elea was by some accounts a Pythagorean, and Plato's characters in the _Sophist_ and _Stateman_, Socrates and the Eleatic stranger, joke about patricide against Parmenides.  Not a joking matter in ancient Greece.  But, now Plato is kind of considered to be the realization of Pythagoras, and authentic Pythagoreanism is made obscure.


Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2018 at 10:58
Frank wrote
Quote The Judeo-Christian tradition talks about breaking bread.

A Pythagorean symbole (saying) says you should not break bread

Does anyone have any insight about one versus the other?

What does breaking bread mean?  What does the opposite mean?
and why would Judeo-Christians advocate one, while 
the Pythagoreans would advocate the other?

I think we've strayed from the OP.

In the Middle East, before conducting business or starting a conversation at someone's house, office etc, it's customary to be offered a drink of tea, and possibly a small bread roll. As they're being consumed, it's usual to discuss things like the health of one's family and so on.

The bread is not cut, but broken. In many customs, it is bad mannered to cut bread.

Breaking bread together is an example of good manners and hospitality.
Did anyone ever accuse the ancient Greeks of such things?


Quote To break bread is to affirm trust, confidence, and comfort with an individual or group
from the Urban Dicionary.




-------------
It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2018 at 03:16
Hi francisosan.
Is this the symbola of Pythagoreans? There were hundreds of these rules for initiates and they really go back to early times don't they? Kind of a zen riddle, symbola or counsels require much thought and the initiate can't ask about the symbola until after 5 years of silence.

Symbola convey information with hidden meanings that would frustrate all those but true seekers. Nazarine Essenes, like Pythagoreans  observed Kabbalah numerology. 
Don't know if you found your answer so -
http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Philosophy/PythagoreanCounsels.html" rel="nofollow - http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Philosophy/PythagoreanCounsels.html
12) Do not break a loaf [because men of ancient times used to pass around a whole loaf among friends, just as the barbarians do nowadays., nor for a person who brings together, to take apart. Some do (this) because of the judgment in Hell, others out of cowardice in battle.. Diogenes Laertius, D. 462-21


Q: Did you say that you didn't think Pythagoras ever studiedwith the Vedas?


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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2018 at 02:04
Yes, it is a symbola which usually is a command to do or not do something, but which is interpreted as having an esoteric meaning, or sometimes several meanings.  There is some question about whether these sayings signified for the early Pythagoreans, esoteric meanings or not.  One finds a few such sayings in Hesiod's _Works_and_Days.  Probably as just sayings of advice.  Supposedly, there were two groups of Pythagoreans, the acusmatici (or auditors) and the mathematics (or mathematicians).  The mathematicians recognized the auditors, but the auditors did not necessarily recognize the mathematicians.  The auditors were taught the sayings, but the mathematicians knew the meanings of the sayings.  Therefore, a mathematician might appear to break the rules of a saying, but be upholding the esoteric meaning of saying.  Mathematician in this case means 'someone who knows,' and what is most known is measurement, geometry and number.

Josephus says that the Essenes were Pythagoreans, I will check the link you have, Vanuatu, especially to see if something might shed light on this. 

Symbole usually refer to sayings, but I think that they do not necessarily refer to sayings, but can be other art work as well.  My writing about the 'Pythagorean' coins is an example.  I am a little leary about comparing symbole to Koans.  Most symbole make perfect sense as far as being mundane commands of permission or prohibition.  The link you give above also lists some saying from oddball places (Aelian, the Suda...).  There are other places that explicitly list symbole, which would be better exemplars for looking at symbole as a phenomena.  In order to understand the sayings in oddball places, one would have to be familiar with the oddball places or in this case authors, which I am not.  I cannot say the poster who implies that symbole are like koans is wrong, but I do think his argument gives off more heat, than it sheds light. 


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2018 at 02:36
I do not know if "breaking bread" originally comes from a Christian tradition.  Breaking bread implies hospitality, but how long ago did that start?  Breaking bread could imply 'take what you need,' whereas cutting bread could imply equal treatment.  Like when you have two children, and you have one cut the cake and the other choose.  The first is _very_ careful to divide the cake evenly.

You know how there is a story of Jesus with the fisherman, reeling in a huge catch.  There is a Pythagorean fish story as well (in Iamblichus VP).



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