Alphanumeric Cosmology From Greek into Arabic.
The Idea of Stoicheia Through the Medieval Mediterranean

Acevedo J.

Juan Acevedo embarks on a semantic journey to track the origin and adventures of the Greek term stoicheion, which for at least eighteen centuries, from Pythagoras to Fibonacci, simultaneously meant »element«, »letter«, and »numeral«. Focusing on this triple meaning and on how it was translated and interpreted in Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic – especially in key texts of the Abrahamic faiths- a metaphysical study takes shape. With touches of alchemy and theology, it reveals how a shared fundamental alphanumeric cosmology underlay many basic paradigms of science and faith around the Mediterranean until the advent of the Indo-Arabic numerals broke the »marriage« of letter and numeral. Careful readings of Plato, Philolaos, Nicomachus and Philo, of Genesis and the Sefer Yetsira, of the Qur’ān, the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, and Ibn ’Arabī are all woven together into a synthesis full of implications for many disciplines.