Magic comes closest to philosophy, perhaps, in the famous "god-making" passages of the Asclepius , which shows that material objects can be manipulated to draw a god down into a statue and thus ensoul it. The writings of Zosimus, like the contrary advice of the Kore kosmou , show that categories roughly to modern usage of such terms as "magic," "philosophy" and "religion" were available to the very people who so frequently mixed them.
Mixed aims and methods are evident in the sixth tractate of the sixth Nag Hammadi Codex , the "Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth.
NHC VI. The describe various lower stages in the progress toward wisdom that the initiate must acquire before enjoying the rebirth offered in C. If the preliminary states of spiritual growth differed from one another, the changes among them may explain a striking feature of the Corpus , the apparently great divergences in doctrine between its component treatises and even within an individual logos. Scholars have taken pains to analyze and schematize parts of the Corpus as monist or dualist, optimist or pessimist, but Fowden proposes to see such variations as sequential rather than contradictory.
- The Corpus Hermeticum.
- Hermetic writings | Greek texts | anacuvebeh.tk.
- Poimandres—Corpus Hermeticum I | The Matheson Trust.
Thus, a positive view of the cosmos as good and worth understanding would suit an earlier stage of the initiate's labors and, hence, a treatise focusing on a time when the body's needs were still great, while a negative treatment of the world as evil and unworthy of thought might befit a farther station in the spirit's journey and a different treatise on topics closer to the culmination of gnosis , which entailed liberation from the body. In any event, the texts themselves show that the Hermetic authors felt no obligation to respect the boundaries drawn around their writings by modern critics.
In the second such passage, the initiate says,. I give thanks by singing a hymn to you. For I have received life from you, when you made me wise.
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I praise you. You are the one who exists with the spirit. I sing a hymn to you reverently. Hermes, the mystagogue, then directs his "son to write this book for the temple at Diospolis in hieroglyphic characters, entitling it 'The Eighth Reveals the Ninth. They recommend rising up through priestly theurgy toward the higher and more universal levels above fate, to the god and craftsman, and without material attachment or any other help at all except observing the proper time.
Hermes also gave instruction in this way, which Bitus the prophet translated for King Ammon after finding it carved in hieroglyphic letters in shrines of Sais in Egypt. Although Iamblichus seems to exclude any "material attachment" from Hermetic theurgy, the same cannot be said of the Asclepius , which in its "art of making gods" permitted "a comformable power arising from the nature of matter" and even mentioned "a mixture of plants, stones and spices, in describing the nature of the gods called down to animate their statues. PGM IV. I may gaze upon the immortal.
The Corpus Hermeticum and Hermetic Tradition
When A. Nock edited the Corpus , he used twenty-eight manuscripts dating from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries, but fifteen of them contain only the first fourteen treatises, or in some cases, even fewer. Two manuscripts that include all seventeen logoi also preserve a comment on C.
Finding the words of the biblical Genesis in this heathen cosmogony, Psellus remarked of its author that "this wizard seems to have had more than a passing acquaintance with holy writ. Making an eager go of it, he tries his hand at the creation of the world, not scrupling to record the cherished Mosaic expressions themselves. Passages on astrology and magic in the theoretical Hermetica are even scarcer in C.
Could it be, then, that what we call the Corpus Hermeticum took shape just as a consequence of the abhorrence of magic expressed by Psellus? If so, it is worth noting the likelihood that he shared this pious loathing with other Byzantine scholars who transmitted the Corpus from his time to the fourteenth century, when the earliest extant manuscripts were written. Byzantine editors and copyists, then, may have immortalized their prejudices by selecting and redacting our Corpus from a larger body of Hermetica that certainly gave much attention to the occultism that is so inconspicuous in the theoretical treatises, especially the first fourteen.
Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius
For Christian readers f the Latin West and Greek East alike, a Corpus purged of magic would better befit the authorship of the pagan sage described in the Suda around the year "Hermes Trismegistus He was called Trismegistus on account of his praise of the trinity, saying that there is one divine nature in the trinity. Their supposed author, a mythical figure named Hermes Trismegistus, was thought to be a contemporary of Moses.
The Hermetic philosophy was regarded as an ancient theology, parallel to the revealed wisdom of the Bible, supporting Biblical revelation and culminating in the Platonic philosophical tradition. This new translation is the only English version based on reliable texts, and Professor Copenhaver's introduction and notes make this accessible and up-to-date edition an indispensable resource to scholars.
Here is an essential digest of This text had a certain importance in the first centuries of the Church and it was popular until the Middle Ages, having inspired hermetic writings which started to bloom at that time. In the end of the 17th century, some writers stated that this text was a fake. This hypothesis had to be totally denied when Corpus Hermeticum manuscripts were found in in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in Coptic.
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