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Corpus Hermeticum

autores varios

The links between Egypt and Greece are strong and far-reaching, and although the zoomorphic gods frightened Herodotus, the fact remains that the two cultures continued to influence each other.

The links between Egypt and Greece are strong and long-standing, and although Herodotus was frightened by the zoomorphic gods, the two cultures continued to influence each other. The god Thoth, the author of religious books according to Egyptian belief, was identified with Hermes, and a new literature, in Greek but drawing on Egyptian fervour, developed under the name of Hermes. These texts, collected under the name Corpus Hermeticum, contain the discourses that Hermes is said to have delivered and serve as a reference for Hermetic mysticism, which is similar in many ways to Orphism. Hermeticism, the mystical thought of the order of revelation, includes cosmogony, anthropology and eschatology, and has produced numerous treatises on astrology.

Our edition brings together the texts relating to the revelation of Poimandres, "We of Absolute Sovereignty". The preface briefly introduces the reader to Hermeticism and links it to Orphism and the Chaldean Oracles. The introduction gives a detailed account of the history of the text of the Corpus Hermeticum and offers a study of the fortunes of this mystical movement which influenced Didymus, Stobaeus, Eusebius and Zozimus, among others. The language, the literary Koinê, is analysed and supplemented by a brief bibliography. Each treatise is preceded by an outline that allows the reader to move easily through the text. Notes accompany the reading and shed light on this sometimes difficult text.Text compiled by A.D. Nock, translated by A.J. Festugière.

Hermetic treatises

  1. Poimandres to Hermes Trismegistus
  2. Hermes to Asclepius: Poimandres
  3. Hermes: A Sacred Discourse
  4. Hermes to Tat: The crater, or the monad
  5. Hermes to his son Tat
  6. Hermes to Asclepius: That good exists in God alone and nowhere else
  7. That the greatest evil among men is ignorance of God
  8. Hermes to Tat: That no being perishes and that changes are wrongly called destruction and death
  9. Hermes to Asclepius: On intellection and sensation. (That the good and beautiful exist in God alone, and nowhere else)
  10. Hermes to Tat: The Key
  11. Nous to Hermes
  12. Hermes to Tat: On the Common Intellect
  13. Hermes to Tat, a secret dialogue on the mountain: On being reborn and the promise of silence
  14. Hermes to Asclepius: Health of the mind
  15. Asclepius to King Ammon: Definitions of God, matter, vice, fate, the sun, intellectual essence, divine essence, humanity, the order of the fullness, the seven stars, and humanity according to the image
  16. Asclepius to King Ammon
  17. Tat to a king: On the soul hindered by the affections of the body


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