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JAY KENNEDY is an American with degrees in mathematics and computing from Princeton and in philosophy from Stanford. He has held academic positions at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Cambridge, and now teaches at the University of Manchester in the UK. His personal biography provides a first-person detective-story angle to the book: among other things, for example, he worked in Baghdad training Saddam Hussein’s army and in Tokyo on advanced computers. Further information about his work on Plato can be found in links on his university webpage

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The Secret Life Behind the Ancient World's Greatest Mystery


A revolutionary discovery in the history of ancient science that promises to rank in importance with the discoveries of the Archimedes palimpsest and the Antikythera mechanism.


Plato, the great philosopher-scientist of classical Athens, was generally believed – from antiquity through the Renaissance – to be a Pythagorean who in the brilliant conversations portrayed in his books used symbols to conceal his real philosophy. This view has been rejected by modern scholars. They say that Pythagoras is hardly mentioned by Plato and that there is no evidence of symbolism in Plato’s writings.

Yet Jay Kennedy, a specialist in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Manchester, has long been convinced that secrets lay within Plato’s work. Drawing on modern techniques of literary analysis and computation, he has finally cracked the code that has remained undetected for millennia, revealing a system of embedded musical and mathematical patterns and messages that Plato had inherited from Pythagoras a century before.

In THE PLATO CODE, Dr Kennedy provides a popular revisionist biography of the ancient world’s greatest philosopher set against the backdrop of this revolutionary discovery. Now that we know Plato was a Pythagorean, we must completely change our view of him. The Pythagoreans were the terrorists, communists and leading secret society of the classical era. In this new account of his life and times we learn of their persecution, their violent rise to power in Italy, Plato’s visits to and friendship with their leaders, and the great battle where they defeated Sparta. Plato is radically transformed from genteel don to fellow traveller and activist.


We also see Plato as the surprising initiator of Western mysticism as well as the mathematical and scientific traditions. For behind his code are his true beliefs about the nature of the universe. His cryptic philosophy anticipates the scientific revolution by some 2,000 years and even suggests a novel way in which science and religion may be reconciled.

What Plato left in his code was his greatest untold legacy. What other radical ideas has he left for us to uncover? It may take some time to assess the code in the thousands upon thousands of pages of his works and evaluate all the implications, but the findings are already beginning to transform our thoughts about the origins of Western civilization. As THE PLATO CODE shows, modern philosophy may well continue to be a series of footnotes to Plato.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (UK)

Pub Date: Autumn 2014

Length: 80,000 words


All rights available excluding:

UK & Commonwealth, US, Italy (Rizzoli), Japan (Hayakawa), Netherlands (Nieuw Amsterdam), Portugal (Bertrand/Temas e Debates)