The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius
Inner Traditions, 2000 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 124 pages
A new translation of the great esoteric masterpiece that includes the first English translation of the recently rediscovered Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius.
• The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius provides new insights into the actual workings of the gnostic spiritual path.
• Will be of great interest to scholars and religious seekers alike.
The Corpus Hermeticum, a powerful fusion of Greek and Egyptian thought, is one of the cornerstones of the Western esoteric tradition. A collection of short philosophical treatises, it was written in Greek between the first and third centuries a.d. and translated into Latin during the Renaissance by the great scholar and philosopher Marsilio Ficino. These writings, believed to be the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, were central to the spiritual work of Hermetic societies in late antique Alexandria, aiming to awaken gnosis, the direct realization of the unity of the individual and the Supreme. They are still read as important, inspirational spiritual writings today.
In addition to this new translation of The Corpus Hermeticum, which seeks to reflect the inspirational intent of the original, The Way of Hermes includes the first English translation of the recently rediscovered manuscript of The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, a collection of aphorisms, closely related to parts of The Corpus Hermeticum, used by the hermetic student to strengthen his mind in meditation. With the proper mental orientation, one could achieve a state of pure perception in which the true face of God appears. This document is of enormous value to the contemporary student of gnostic studies for its insights into the actual workings of this spiritual path.
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Hermeticism conjures up a wide variety of images and notions for people and this book goes a long way to dispel any naïve ideas of what Hermeticism is and offer an insight into the original texts that form the Corpus Hermeticum; the body of work composed in Alexandria around the time of Christ. Antoine Faivre, one of the leading scholars in the field of Western esotericism defines Hermetism as directly relating to the Corpus Hermeticum and Hermeticism including that but extending beyond into the realm of alchemy and more modern esoteric thought. This is an important distinction as the two terms are often incorrectly used interchangeably. The Corpus Hermeticum derives its name from Hermes Trismegistus, the supposed author of the Corpus Hermeticum and who until the seventeenth century was believed to be a real historical figure contemporary with Moses. While few still hold to this idea the knowledge contained within the texts is powerful and can be read again and again. The similarity between the description of Christ in the Gospel of John as the Word and the description of Poimandres as Nous in the first book of this work is interesting and points to the popularity of Logos theology in Alexandria at this time. The accusation that the author of the Gospel of John borrowed these terms from Greek philosophy or Hermetism is a contentious one and worth further investigation. Anyway, a great book and while some of the terms are hard to grasp in the beginning it’s worth the effort.
Review: The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to AsclepiusUser Review - Joshua Silverman - Goodreads
I did not like the translation of this version, though it is better than Mead's. Read full review