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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 - David Beardsley - Goodreads
Who Hermes Trismegistus actually was in a mystery to which we will probably never know the answer. But that is probably just as well--it could well divert the attention from his teachings and ... Read full review