How did Plato hear about reincarnation?

Anybody know?

Dancing bannana? :banana-dance:

A mystic walking down the road to Corinth?

I’d say from Pythagoras.

That’s very quite possible.

Yes, the evidence shows that Pythagoras was an important influence on Plato in many respects, not only just in the area of thanatology and metempsychosis in the Phaedo and other books, but also in the geometry informing the supposedly esoteric Timaeus. However, there do appear to be other influences as well, such as the Orphic mysteries, and I believe there have been arguments made for an Egyptian influence. It does not appear that Plato represented just the one Pythagorean view in his books. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say on Plato and reincarnation:

According to Wiki, “Plato taught that “all learning is but recollection” because we have innate knowledge of universal ideas and we need only recall our buried memories.” It’s fascinating to consider what that would mean for us humans if true. One question would be: what is stopping any one person from getting access to all those memories? Another would be: what would it mean for a human to get a hold of all their memories, and what is the implication for the age of souls, so to speak? Would there be such a thing as someone brand new to the world who has no former life memories, and what does it mean for society if people have different levels of memories, some more and some less, due to the number of lives they have lived? Also, how would a person assimilate and integrate new memories with the old?

There also seems to be some conflict over whether Socrates believed in reincarnation. Wiki continues on to say:

Plato and Pythagoras both appeared to have spent some time in Egpt. As for Plato and Egypt, it is said that after the death of Socrates, Plato left for Egypt and learned a great deal there. According to this link http://www.philipcoppens.com/egyptgreece.html,

There is also an argument that Plato was influence by Mosaic learning which informed his idea of God and monotheism. This article http://www.varchive.org/ce/orbit/plato.htm says:

I would approach some of these ideas with a healthy grain of salt, though.

Thanks! I guess the consensus is that it wasn’t native to the Greeks. I think Plato referred to as coming from the “ancients” or something along those lines.

So now I’m curious about whether reincarnation has a specific source.

I think Plato’s recollection is a useful idea. But it seems it implies an original person who had knowledge without having had a previous life. And if that can happen once, why couldn’t it happen regularly?

Other than Egyptian influences, some Greeks might have learned about Indian philosophy (with reincarnation and all the things), too.

Please read my previous post and the links provided. It is possible that far-eastern religious views made their way to the Greeks through various routes. I’m not sure that there is evidence for a direct influence, though. If there is, I’d be grateful for a link. TIA

I haven’t read all your post, yet. (I knew vaguely about his Egyptian contact)
I was just guessing, since Alexander went to the east, why not others before him?
Merchants are known for making long long journeys (for fun, and money), and “seeker” type of people are known for going anywhere to get a piece of information they want, and ships are known for arriving the other end of oceans (with or without intention of the captain…).

Yeah, that makes some sense. I would love to have been a fly on a donkey’s back when people were having those traderoute conversations.