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Published Ithaca, N. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 5. Uniform Title Geheimnis des Hermes Trismegistos. English Also Titled Hermeticism from ancient to modern times. Assmann, Jan. Subjects Hermes, Trismegistus. Hermetism -- History. Hermetism - History Hermes, Trismegistus Summary Hermes Trismegistus, "thrice-great Hermes," emerged from the amalgamation of the wisdom gods Hermes and Thoth and is one of the most enigmatic figures of intellectual history.

Since antiquity, the legendary "wise Egyptian" has been considered the creator of several mystical and magical writings on such topics as alchemy, astrology, medicine, and the transcendence of God.

The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus

Philosophers of the Renaissance celebrated Hermes Trismegistus as the founder of philosophy, Freemasons called him their forefather, and Enlightenment thinkers championed religious tolerance in his name. To this day, Hermes Trismegistus is one of the central figures of the occult--his name is synonymous with the esoteric. Prehistory and Early History of a Phantasm 1. What Are Hermetic Texts? The Hermetic Texts of Late Antiquity 3.

Hermes as Preacher of Theology and Philosophy 4. Hermes: Astrologer, Magus, and Alchemist 5. What Was Ancient Hermeticism? Christian Hermeticism 2. Arab Hermeticism 3.

Hermes Trismegistus - Wikipedia

Hermes Latinus 4. Renaissance: Primeval Wisdom for a New World 1. Tradition or Rediscovery? Enoch, Noah, and the Egyptian priest king who is known to us as Hermes Trismegistus [19] on account of being the greatest priest, philosopher, and king. This last account of how Hermes Trismegistus received that epithet is derived from statements in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus , that he knows the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe.

Another explanation, in the Suda 10th century , is that "He was called Trismegistus on account of his praise of the trinity, saying there is one divine nature in the trinity. The Asclepius and the Corpus Hermeticum are the most important of the Hermetica , the surviving writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.

During the Renaissance , it was accepted that Hermes Trismegistus was a contemporary of Moses. However, after Casaubon's dating of the Hermetic writings as being no earlier than the second or third century AD, the whole of Renaissance Hermeticism collapsed. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the Hermetica enjoyed great prestige and were popular among alchemists. The "hermetic tradition" consequently refers to alchemy, magic, astrology, and related subjects. The texts are usually divided into two categories: the philosophical and the technical hermetica.

The former deals mainly with philosophy , and the latter with practical magic, potions, and alchemy. Magic spells to protect objects, for example, are the origin of the expression " hermetically sealed ". The classical scholar Isaac Casaubon , in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI , showed, through an analysis of the Greek language used in the texts, that those texts believed to be of ancient origin were in fact much more recent: most of the philosophical Corpus Hermeticum can be dated to around AD However, the 17th century scholar Ralph Cudworth argued that Casaubon's allegation of forgery could only be applied to three of the seventeen treatises contained within the Corpus Hermeticum.


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Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin has pointed out that early Christian and Islamic traditions call Hermes Trismegistus the builder of the Pyramids of Giza [26] and has a major place in Islamic tradition. He writes, "Hermes Trismegistus is mentioned in the Quran in verse 19 ' Mention, in the Book, Idris, that he was truthful, a prophet. We took him up to a high place ' ". Thus, for the Abbasid 's and the Alid 's, the writings of Hermes Trismegistus were considered sacred, as an inheritance from the Ahl al-Bayt and the Prophets.

Thoth Hermes Trismegistus The Most Mysterious Figure in History

In these writings, Hermes Trismegistus is identified as Idris, the infallible Prophet who traveled to outer space from Egypt , and to heaven, whence he brought back a cache of objects from the Eden of Adam and the Black Stone from where he landed on earth in India. According to ancient Arab genealogists, the Prophet Muhammad , who is also believed to have traveled to the heavens on the night of Isra and Mi'raj , is a direct descendant of Hermes Trismegistus.

Ibn Kathir said, "As for Idris He is in the genealogical chain of the Prophet Muhammad, except according to one genealogist Ibn Ishaq says he was the first who wrote with the Pen. There was a span of years between him and the life of Adam.


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  • Many of the scholars allege that he was the first to speak about this, and they call him Thrice-Great Hermes [Hermes Trismegistus]". A late Arabic writer wrote of the Sabaeans that their religion had a sect of star worshipers who held their doctrine to come from Hermes Trismegistus through the prophet Adimun. Antoine Faivre , in The Eternal Hermes , has pointed out that Hermes Trismegistus has a place in the Islamic tradition, although the name Hermes does not appear in the Qur'an. Hagiographers and chroniclers of the first centuries of the Islamic Hegira quickly identified Hermes Trismegistus with Idris, [31] the nabi of surahs Genesis 5.

    The first Hermes, comparable to Thoth , was a "civilizing hero", an initiator into the mysteries of the divine science and wisdom that animate the world; he carved the principles of this sacred science in hieroglyphs. The second Hermes, in Babylon , was the initiator of Pythagoras. The third Hermes was the first teacher of alchemy. Modern occultists suggest that some Hermetic texts may be of Pharaonic origin, and that the legendary "forty-two essential texts" that contain the core Hermetic religious beliefs and philosophy of life, remain hidden in a secret library.

    Within the occult tradition, Hermes Trismegistus is associated with several wives, and more than one son who took his name, as well as more than one grandson. Walter Corpus Hermeticum , A. Walter Scott - - Philosophical Review 36 6 Oxford: Clarendon Press, Price 30s.

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