Hermetic texts from Nag Hammadi. The tradition and its writings date to at least the first century B. The surviving writings of the tradition, known as the Corpus Hermeticum the "Hermetic body of writings" were lost to the Latin West after classical times, but survived in eastern Byzantine libraries. Their rediscovery and translation into Latin during the late-fifteenth century by the Italian Renaissance court of Cosimo de Medici, provided a seminal force in the development of Renaissance thought and culture. These eighteen tracts of the Corpus Hermeticum, along with the Perfect Sermon also called the Asclepius , are the foundational documents of the Hermetic tradition.

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I will, accordingly, offer my analysis of both and post this review for both versions. Occasionally one or the other offers a better translation. This is either due to a better grasp of the text or a better source. I have not verified that this was the case. But, I can say, that often Everard provides a more fluid and less cumbersome translation. The dispositions of both are manifest here and there in their respective translations.

I think both attempted to translate the text honestly but some bias is probable in both cases. Everard has an edge, not only because of the above factor, but he also includes four additional Hermetic treatises that Mead does not include in his version or at least in this edition. As for the Hermetica itself: these represent the earliest Hermetic corpus, but, that being said, these writings probably go back to the late first or early second century and no earlier. They are very similar to texts one finds in the Nag Hammadi library.

This really does indicate a common provenance and locale; i. Egypt, and probably Alexandria. I have held the opinion for a while that certain texts in the Nag Hammadi corpus are far closer to a form of Christian Hermeticism than a Christian Gnosticism; some examples include the Thomasine texts, and sundry others like the Apocryphon of James and the Sophia of Jesus Christ. It is clear though that the Hermetica is post Christian and was influenced by Christianity, as well as by Platonism and Greek philosophy in general.

It does have great philosophical value as an example of Middle Platonism and as a precursor to Neo-Platonism. For that alone it is worth reading. I am often torn in rating ancient texts. For a book like this 3 and a half stars takes into account both I think.


Brian Copenhaver

Scholarship[ edit ] Copenhaver studies magic and related beliefs and practices — astrology, [5] demonology, divination, Kabbalah [6] — as parts of normative philosophy and science as they were a few centuries ago. His research shows that magic [7] [8] [9] [10] and other "occult" beliefs and practices were supported primarily by the philosophy and science of Aristotle and Aristotelian scholasticism, which dominated European culture from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries. He also studies the ancient Greek and Latin Hermetica , [11] writings from late antiquity ascribed by Renaissance scholars [12] to an ancient Egyptian god, Thoth , whose Greek name is Hermes Trismegistus. Although this legendary Hermes has often been identified as a divine patron of magic, Copenhaver has shown that the Greek Hermetic texts recovered in the fifteenth century by Marsilio Ficino [13] [14] are not about magic: their topic is a religious practice aiming at personal salvation.







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