Why is the number seven lucky - even holy - in almost every culture? Why do we speak of the four corners of the earth? Why do cats have nine lives (except in Iran, where they have seven)? From literature to folklore to private superstitions, numbers play a conspicuous role in our daily lives. In The Mystery of Numbers Annemarie Schimmel conducts an illuminating tour of the mysteries attributed to numbers over the centuries. She covers the origins of numbers, the symbolism of numbers, the source of this symbolism, and examines individual numbers from one to ten thousand. Using examples ranging from the Bible to Shakespeare, this engaging account uncovers the roots of a phenomenon we all feel every Friday the thirteenth.
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A delightful, cross-cultural romp, through the history of number mysticism... * The New York Times Book Review *
About Annemarie Schimmel
Annemarie Schimmel is Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture at Harvard University. A widely-respected scholar of the Near East, she has written numerous books on Islamic literature, religion, and culture.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Number and number systems; The heritage of the Pythagoreans; Gnosis and Cabala; Islamic mysticism; Medieval and baroque number symbolism; Superstitions; Number games and magic squares; Little dictionary of numbers; Bibliography; Illustration credits.
The Mystery of Numbers by Annemarie Schimmel
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