Hermetica

Summary

The Hermetica are texts attributed to the legendary Hellenistic figure Hermes Trismegistus, a syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.[1] These texts may vary widely in content and purpose, but are usually subdivided into two main categories:

  • The "technical" Hermetica: this category contains a broad variety of treatises dealing with astrology, medicine and pharmacology, alchemy, and magic, the oldest of which were written in Greek and may go back as far as the second or third century BCE.[2] Many of the texts belonging in this category were later translated into Arabic and Latin, often being extensively revised and expanded throughout the centuries. Some of them were also originally written in Arabic, though in many cases their status as an original work or translation remains unclear.[3] These Arabic and Latin Hermetic texts were widely copied throughout the Middle Ages (the most famous example being the Emerald Tablet).
  • The "religio-philosophical" Hermetica: this category contains a relatively coherent set of religio-philosophical treatises which were mostly written in the second and third centuries CE, though the very earliest one of them, the Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, may go back to the first century CE.[4] They are chiefly focused on the relationship between human beings, the cosmos, and God (thus combining philosophical anthropology, cosmology, and theology). Many of them are also moral exhortations calling for a way of life (the "way of Hermes") leading to spiritual rebirth, and eventually to divinization in the form of a heavenly ascent.[5] The treatises in this category were probably all originally written in Greek, even though some of them only survive in Coptic, Armenian, or Latin translations.[6] During the Middle Ages, most of them were only accessible to Byzantine scholars (an important exception being the Asclepius, which mainly survives in an early Latin translation), until a compilation of Greek Hermetic treatises known as the Corpus Hermeticum was translated into Latin by the Renaissance scholars Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447–1500).[7]

Though strongly influenced by Greek and Hellenistic philosophy (especially Platonism and Stoicism),[8] and to a lesser extent also by Jewish ideas,[9] many of the early Greek Hermetic treatises do contain distinctly Egyptian elements, most notably in their affinity with the traditional Egyptian wisdom literature.[10] This used to be the subject of much doubt,[11] but it is now generally admitted that the Hermetica as such did in fact originate in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt,[12] even if most of the later Hermetic writings (which continued to be composed at least until the twelfth century CE) clearly did not.[13] It may even be the case that the great bulk of the early Greek Hermetica were written by Hellenizing members of the Egyptian priestly class, whose intellectual activity was centred in the environment of the Egyptian temples.[14]

Technical Hermetica

Greek

Greek astrological Hermetica

The oldest known texts associated with Hermes Trismegistus are a number of astrological works which may go back as far as the second or third century BCE:

  • The Salmeschoiniaka (the "Wandering of the Influences"), perhaps composed in Alexandria in the second or third century BCE, deals with the configurations of the stars.[15]
  • The Nechepsos-Petosiris texts are a number of anonymous works dating to the second century BCE which were falsely attributed to the Egyptian king Necho II (610–595 BCE, referred to in the texts as Nechepsos) and his legendary priest Petese (referred to in the texts as Petosiris). These texts, only fragments of which survive, ascribe the astrological knowledge they convey to the authority of Hermes.[16]
  • The Art of Eudoxus is a treatise on astronomy which was preserved in a second-century BCE papyrus and which mentions Hermes as an authority.[17]
  • The Liber Hermetis ("The Book of Hermes") is an important work on astrology laying out the names of the decans (a distinctly Egyptian system that divided the zodiac into 36 parts). It survives only in an early (fourth- or fifth-century CE) Latin translation,[18] but contains elements that may be traced to the second or third century BCE.[19]

Other early Greek Hermetic works on astrology include:

  • The Brontologion: a treatise on the various effects of thunder in different months.[20]
  • The Peri seismōn ("On earthquakes"): a treatise on the relation between earthquakes and astrological signs.[21]
  • The Book of Asclepius Called Myriogenesis: a treatise on astrological medicine.[22]
  • The Holy Book of Hermes to Asclepius: a treatise on astrological botany describing the relationships between various plants and the decans.[23]
  • The Fifteen Stars, Stones, Plants and Images: a treatise on astrological mineralogy and botany dealing with the effect of the stars on the pharmaceutical powers of minerals and plants.[24]

Greek alchemical Hermetica

Starting in the first century BCE, a number of Greek works on alchemy were attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These are now all lost, except for a number of fragments (one of the larger of which is called Isis the Prophetess to Her Son Horus) preserved in later alchemical works dating to the second and third centuries CE. Especially important is the use made of them by the Egyptian alchemist Zosimus of Panopolis (fl. c. 300 CE), who also seems to have been familiar with the religio-philosophical Hermetica.[25] Hermes' name would become more firmly associated with alchemy in the medieval Arabic sources (see below), of which it is not yet clear to what extent they drew on the earlier Greek literature.[26]

Greek magical Hermetica

  • The Cyranides is a work on healing magic which treats of the magical powers and healing properties of minerals, plants and animals, for which it regularly cites Hermes as a source.[27] It was independently translated both into Arabic and Latin.[28]
  • The Greek Magical Papyri are a modern collection of papyri dating from various periods between the second century BCE and the fifth century CE. They mainly contain practical instructions for spells and incantations, some of which cite Hermes as a source.[29]

Arabic

Many Arabic works attributed to Hermes Trismegistus still exist today, although the great majority of them have not yet been published and studied by modern scholars.[30] For this reason too, it is often not clear to what extent they drew on earlier Greek sources. The following is a very incomplete list of known works:

Arabic astrological Hermetica

Some of the earliest attested Arabic Hermetic texts deal with astrology:

  • The Qaḍīb al-dhahab ("The Rod of Gold"), or the Kitāb Hirmis fī taḥwīl sinī l-mawālīd ("The Book of Hermes on the Revolutions of the Years of the Nativities") is an Arabic astrological work translated from Middle Persian by ʿUmar ibn al-Farrukhān al-Ṭabarī (d. 816 CE), who was the court astrologer of the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur (r. 754–775).[31]
  • The Carmen astrologicum is an astrological work originally written by the first-century CE astrologer Dorotheus of Sidon. It is lost in Greek, but survives in an Arabic translation, which was in turn based upon a Middle Persian intermediary. It was also translated by ʿUmar ibn al-Farrukhān al-Ṭabarī. The extant Arabic text refers to two Hermeses, and cites a book of Hermes on the positions of the planets.[32]
  • The Kitāb Asrār an-nujūm ("The Book of the Secrets of the Stars", later translated into Latin as the Liber de stellis beibeniis) is a treatise describing the influences of the brightest fixed stars on personal characteristics. The Arabic work was translated from a Middle Persian version which can be shown to date from before c. 500 CE, and which shared a source with the Byzantine astrologer Rhetorius (fl. c. 600 CE).[33]
  • The Kitāb ʿArḍ Miftāḥ al-Nujūm ("The Book of the Exposition of the Key to the Stars") is an Arabic astrological treatise attributed to Hermes which claims to have been translated in 743 CE, but which in reality was probably translated in the circles of Abu Ma'shar (787–886 CE).[34]

Arabic alchemical Hermetica

  • The Sirr al-khalīqa wa-ṣanʿat al-ṭabīʿa ("The Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature"), also known as the Kitāb al-ʿilal ("The Book of Causes") is an encyclopedic work on natural philosophy falsely attributed to Apollonius of Tyana (c. 15–100, Arabic: Balīnūs or Balīnās).[35] It was compiled in Arabic in the late eighth or early ninth century,[36] but was most likely based on (much) older Greek and/or Syriac sources.[37] It contains the earliest known version of the sulfur-mercury theory of metals (according to which metals are composed of various proportions of sulfur and mercury),[38] which lay at the foundation of all theories of metallic composition until the eighteenth century.[39] In the frame story of the Sirr al-khalīqa, Balīnūs tells his readers that he discovered the text in a vault below a statue of Hermes in Tyana, and that, inside the vault, an old corpse on a golden throne held the Emerald Tablet.[40] It was translated into Latin by Hugo of Santalla in the twelfth century.[41]
  • The Emerald Tablet: a compact and cryptic text first attested in the Sirr al-khalīqa wa-ṣanʿat al-ṭabīʿa (late eighth or early ninth century).[42] There are several other, slightly different Arabic versions (among them one quoted in a text attributed to Jabir ibn Hayyan, and one found in the longer version of the pseudo-Aristotelian Sirr al-asrār or "Secret of Secrets"), but these are all likely to date from a later period.[43] It was translated several times into Latin in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,[44] and was widely regarded by medieval and early modern alchemists as the foundation of their art.[45] Isaac Newton (1642–1726) still used it as a source of inspiration.[46]
  • The Risālat al-Sirr ("The Epistle of the Secret") is an Arabic alchemical treatise probably composed in tenth-century Fatimid Egypt.[47]
  • The Risālat al-Falakiyya al-kubrā ("The Great Treatise of the Spheres") is an Arabic alchemical treatise composed in the tenth or eleventh century. Perhaps inspired by the Emerald Tablet, it describes the author's (Hermes') attainment of secret knowledge through his ascension of the seven heavenly spheres.[48]
  • The Kitāb dhakhīrat al-Iskandar ("The Treasure of Alexander"): a work dealing with alchemy, talismans, and specific properties, which cites Hermes as its ultimate source.[49]
  • The Liber Hermetis de alchemia ("The Book of Hermes on Alchemy"), also known as the Liber dabessi or the Liber rebis, is a collection of commentaries on the Emerald Tablet. Translated from the Arabic, it is only extant in Latin. It is this Latin translation of the Emerald Tablet on which all later versions are based.[50]

Arabic magical Hermetica

14th-century Arabic manuscript of the Cyranides
  • The Kitāb al-Isṭamākhīs, Kitāb al-Isṭamāṭīs, Kitāb al-Usṭuwwaṭās, Kitāb al-Madīṭīs, and Kitāb al-Hādīṭūs, dubbed by Kevin van Bladel the Talismanic Pseudo-Aristotelian Hermetica, are a number of closely related and partially overlapping texts. Purporting to be written by Aristotle in order to teach his pupil Alexander the Great the secrets of Hermes, they deal with the names and powers of the planetary spirits, the making of talismans, and the concept of a personal "perfect nature".[51] Extracts from them appear in pseudo-Apollonius of Tyana's Sirr al-khalīqa wa-ṣanʿat al-ṭabīʿa ("The Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature", c. 750–850, see above),[52] in the Epistles of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ ("The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity", c. 900–1000),[53] in Maslama al-Qurṭubī's Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm ("The Aim of the Sage", 960, better known under its Latin title as Picatrix),[54] and in the works of the Persian philosopher Suhrawardī (1154–1191).[55] One of them was translated into Latin in the twelfth or thirteenth century under the title Liber Antimaquis.[56]
  • The Cyranides is a Greek work on healing magic which treats of the magical powers and healing properties of minerals, plants and animals, for which it regularly cites Hermes as a source. It was translated into Arabic in the ninth century, but in this translation all references to Hermes seem to have disappeared.[57]
  • The Sharḥ Kitāb Hirmis al-Ḥakīm fī Maʿrifat Ṣifat al-Ḥayyāt wa-l-ʿAqārib ("The Commentary on the Book of the Wise Hermes on the Properties of Snakes and Scorpions"): a treatise on the venom of snakes an other poisonous animals.[58]
  • The Dāʾirat al-aḥruf al-abjadiyya (The Circle of Letters of the Alphabet"): a practical treatise on letter magic attributed to Hermes.[59]

Religio-philosophical Hermetica

Contrary to the "technical" Hermetica, whose writing began in the early Hellenistic period and continued deep into the Middle Ages, the extant religio-philosophical Hermetica were for the most part produced in a relatively short period of time, i.e., between c. 100 and c. 300 CE.[60] They regularly take the form of dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and his disciples Tat, Asclepius, and Ammon, and mostly deal with philosophical anthropology, cosmology, and theology.[61] The following is a list of all known works in this category:

Corpus Hermeticum

First Latin edition of the Corpus Hermeticum, translated by Marsilio Ficino, 1471 CE.

Undoubtedly the most famous among the religio-philosophical Hermetica is the Corpus Hermeticum, a selection of seventeen Greek treatises that was first compiled by Byzantine editors, and translated into Latin in the fifteenth century by Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447–1500).[62] Ficino translated the first fourteen treatises (I–XIV), while Lazzarelli translated the remaining three (XVI–XVIII).[63] The name of this collection is somewhat misleading, since it contains only a very small selection of extant Hermetic texts (whereas the word corpus is usually reserved for the entire body of extant writings related to some author or subject). Its individual treatises were quoted by many early authors from the second and third centuries on, but the compilation as such is first attested only in the writings of the Byzantine philosopher Michael Psellus (c. 1017–1078).[64]

The most well known among the treatises contained in this compilation is its opening treatise, which is called the Poimandres. However, at least until the nineteenth century, this name (under various forms, such Pimander or Pymander) was also commonly used to designate the compilation as a whole.[65]

In 1462 Ficino was working on a Latin translation of the collected works of Plato for his patron Cosimo de' Medici, but when a manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum became available, he immediately interrupted his work on Plato in order to start translating the works of Hermes, which were thought to be much more ancient, and therefore much more authoritative, than those of Plato.[66] This translation provided a seminal impetus in the development of Renaissance thought and culture, having a profound impact on the flourishing of alchemy and magic in early modern Europe, as well as influencing philosophers such as Ficino's student Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494), Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), Francesco Patrizi (1529–1597), Robert Fludd (1574–1637), and many others.[67]

Asclepius

The Asclepius (also known as the Perfect Discourse, from Greek Logos teleios) mainly survives in a Latin translation, though some Greek and Coptic fragments are also extant.[68] It is the only Hermetic treatise belonging to the religio-philosophical category that remained available to Latin readers throughout the Middle Ages.[69]

Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius

The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius is a collection of aphorisms that has mainly been preserved in a sixth-century CE Armenian translation, but which likely goes back to the first century CE.[70] The main argument for this early dating is the fact that some of its aphorisms are cited in multiple independent Greek Hermetic works. According to Jean-Pierre Mahé, these aphorisms contain the core of the teachings which are found in the later Greek religio-philosophical Hermetica.[71]

Stobaean excerpts

In fifth-century Macedonia, Joannes Stobaeus or "John of Stobi" compiled a huge Anthology of Greek poetical, rhetorical, historical, and philosophical literature in order to educate his son Septimius. Though epitomized by later Byzantine copyists, it still remains a treasure trove of information about ancient philosophy and literature which would otherwise be entirely lost.[72] Among the excerpts of ancient philosophical literature preserved by Stobaeus are also a significant number of discourses and dialogues attributed to Hermes.[73] While mostly related to the religio-philosophical treatises as found in the Corpus Hermeticum, they also contain some material that is of a rather more "technical" nature. Perhaps the most famous of the Stobaean excerpts, and also the longest, is the Korē kosmou ("The Daughter of the Cosmos" or "The Pupil [of the eye] of the Cosmos").[74]

The Hermetic excerpts appear in the following chapters of Stobaeus's Anthology (which is organized by subject matter, and contains in the same chapters many excerpts and doctrines attributed to others):[75]

  • In the chapter "God is Craftsman of Existing Things and Pervades the Universe with his Design of Providence": 1.1.29a
  • In the chapter "On Justice, Punisher of Errors, Arrayed alongside God to Oversee Human Deeds on Earth": 1.3.52
  • In the chapter "On (Divine) Necessity, by which things Planned by God Inevitably Occur": 1.4.7b, 1.4.8
  • In the chapter "On Fate and the Good Ordering of Events": 1.5.14, 1.5.16, 1.5.20
  • In the chapter "On the Nature and Divisions of Time, and the Extent of its Causation": 1.8.41
  • In the chapter "On Matter": 1.11.2
  • In the chapter "On the Cosmos: Whether it Has a Soul, is Administered by Providence, the Location of its Ruling Faculty, and its Source of Nourishment": 1.21.9
  • In the chapter "On Nature and its Derived Causes": 1.41.1, 1.41.4, 1.41.6, 1.41.7, 1.41.8, 1.41.11
  • In the chapter "How Resemblances from Parents and Ancestors Are Transmitted": 1.42.7
  • In the chapter "On the Soul": 1.49.3, 1.49.4, 1.49.5, 1.49.6, 1.49.44 (= the Korē Kosmou excerpt), 1.49.45, 1.49.46, 1.49.47
  • In the chapter "On the Interpreters of Divine Matters and How the Truth concerning the Essence of Intelligible Realities is Incomprehensible to Human Beings": 2.1.26
  • In the chapter "On What is in Our Power" ("Free Will"): 2.8.31
  • In the chapter "On Truth": 3.11.31
  • In the chapter "On Bold Speech": 3.13.65

Hermes among the Nag Hammadi findings

Among the Coptic treatises which were found in 1945 in the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, there are also three treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Like all documents found in Nag Hammadi, these were translated from the Greek.[76] They consist of some fragments from the Asclepius (VI,8; mainly preserved in Latin, see above), The Prayer of Thanksgiving (VI,7) with an accompanying scribal note (VI,7a), and an important new text called The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (VI,6).[77]

Oxford and Vienna fragments

The Oxford Hermetica consists of a number of short fragments from some otherwise unknown Hermetic works. The fragments are preserved in pages 79-82 of Codex Clarkianus gr. II, a 13th- or 14th-century manuscript held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The texts, anthologized from much earlier materials, deal with the soul, the senses, law, psychology, and embryology.[78]

The Vienna Hermetica consists of four short fragments from what once was a collection of ten Hermetic treatises, one of which was called On Energies. The fragments are preserved on the back sides of two papyri, P. Graec. Vindob. 29546 recto and 29828 recto, now housed in Vienna. The front sides of the papyri contain fragments of Jannes and Jambres, a Jewish romance.[79]

Book of the Rebuke of the Soul

Written in Arabic and probably dating from the twelfth century, the Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs ("The Book of the Rebuke of the Soul") is one of the few later Hermetic treatises belonging to the category of religio-philosophical writings.[80]

Fragments and testimonies

Fragments of otherwise lost Hermetic works have survived through their quotation by various historical authors. The following is a list of authors in whose works such literal fragments have been preserved:[81]

Apart from literal fragments from Hermetic works, testimonies concerning the ideas of Hermes (likely deriving from Hermetic works but not quoted literally) have also been preserved in the works of various historical authors:[83]

History of scholarship on the Hermetica

During the Renaissance, all texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus were still generally believed to be of ancient Egyptian origin (i.e., to date from before the time of Moses, or even from before the biblical flood). In the early seventeenth century, the classical scholar Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614) demonstrated that some of the Greek texts betrayed too recent a vocabulary, and must rather date from the late Hellenistic or early Christian period.[84] This conclusion was reaffirmed in the early twentieth century by the work of scholars like C. H. Dodd.[85] More recent research, while reaffirming the dating of the earliest Greek treatises in the period of syncretic cultural ferment in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, suggests more continuity with the culture of ancient Egypt than had previously been believed.[86] The earliest Greek Hermetic treatises contain many parallels with Egyptian prophecies and hymns to the gods, and close comparisons can be found with Egyptian wisdom literature, which (like many of the early Greek Hermetica) was characteristically couched in words of advice from a "father" to a "son".[87] It has also been shown that some Demotic (late Egyptian) papyri contain substantial sections of a dialogue of the Hermetic type between Thoth and a disciple.[88]

In contradistinction to the early Greek religio-philosophical Hermetica, which have been studied from a scholarly perspective since the early seventeenth century, the "technical" Hermetica (both the early Greek treatises and the later Arabic and Latin works) remain largely unexplored by modern scholarship.[89]

See also

References

  1. ^ A survey of the literary and archaeological evidence for the background of Hermes Trismegistus in the Greek Hermes and the Egyptian Thoth is found in Bull 2018, pp. 33–96.
  2. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii; Bull 2018, pp. 2–3. Garth Fowden is somewhat more cautious, noting that our earliest testimonies date to the first century BCE (see Fowden 1986, p. 3, note 11).
  3. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 17.
  4. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xliv; Bull 2018, p. 32. The sole exception to the general dating of c. 100–300 CE is The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, which may date to the first century CE (see Bull 2018, p. 9, referring to Mahé 1978–1982, vol. II, p. 278; cf. Mahé 1999, p. 101). Earlier dates have been suggested, most notably by Flinders Petrie (500–200 BCE) and Bruno H. Stricker (c. 300 BCE), but these suggestions have been rejected by most other scholars (see Bull 2018, p. 6, note 23).
  5. ^ Bull 2018, p. 3.
  6. ^ E.g., The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (Coptic; preserved in the Nag Hammadi library, which consists entirely of works translated from Greek into Coptic; see Robinson 1990, pp. 12–13), the Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius (Armenian; see Bull 2018, p. 9), and the Asclepius (also known as the Perfect Discourse, Latin; see Copenhaver 1992, pp. xliii–xliv).
  7. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xl–xliii; Hanegraaff 2006, p. 680.
  8. ^ Bull 2018, p. 2.
  9. ^ See, e.g., Pearson 1981, and the copious references in Bull 2018, p. 29, note 118.
  10. ^ Mahé 1978–1982. Mahé also demonstrated numerous other Egyptian influences on the Hermetica (cf. Bull 2018, pp. 9–10).
  11. ^ Following the weighty authority of Festugière 1944–1954; Festugière 1967.
  12. ^ See Mahé 1978–1982; Fowden 1986; cf. Copenhaver 1992, pp. xlv, lviii.
  13. ^ For example, the Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs ("The Book of the Rebuke of the Soul"; edited by Bardenhewer 1873 and by Badawi 1955, pp. 53–116; English translation of Bardenhewer's Latin translation in Scott 1924–1936, vol. IV, pp. 277-352), the only Arabic Hermetic text that is rather "religio-philosophical" than "technical" in nature, is commonly thought to date from the twelfth century; see Van Bladel 2009, p. 226.
  14. ^ This is the central thesis of Bull 2018; see 12ff.
  15. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii; Bull 2018, pp. 387–388.
  16. ^ Bull 2018, pp. 163–174; cf. Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii. On the identification of Nechepsos with Necho II and of Petosiris with Petese, see the references in Bull 2018, p. 163, note 295.
  17. ^ Bull 2018, pp. 167–168.
  18. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xlv.
  19. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii; Bull 2018, pp. 385–386.
  20. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii; Bull 2018, p. 168.
  21. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii.
  22. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiii.
  23. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiv.
  24. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiv.
  25. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxiv.
  26. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 17.
  27. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xxxiv–xxxv. The Greek text was edited by Kaimakis 1976. English translation of the first book in Waegeman 1987.
  28. ^ The Arabic translation of the first book was edited by Toral-Niehoff 2004. The Arabic fragments of the other books were edited by Ullmann 2020. The Latin translation was edited by Delatte 1942.
  29. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xxxv–xxxvi.
  30. ^ According to Van Bladel 2009, p. 17, note 42, there are least twenty Arabic Hermetica extant.
  31. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 28.
  32. ^ Van Bladel 2009, pp. 28–29.
  33. ^ Van Bladel 2009, pp. 27–28. The Arabic text and its Latin translation were edited by Kunitzsch 2001. See also Kunitzsch 2004.
  34. ^ Bausani 1983; Bausani 1986. On the dating, see Ullmann 1994, pp. 7–8.
  35. ^ Edited by Weisser 1979.
  36. ^ Kraus 1942–1943, vol. II, pp. 274-275 (c. 813–833); Weisser 1980, p. 54 (c. 750–800).
  37. ^ Kraus 1942–1943, vol. II, pp. 270-303; Weisser 1980, pp. 52–53.
  38. ^ Kraus 1942–1943, vol. II, p. 1, note 1; Weisser 1980, p. 199.
  39. ^ Norris 2006.
  40. ^ Ebeling 2007, pp. 46–47.
  41. ^ Edited by Hudry 1997–1999.
  42. ^ Edited by Weisser 1979.
  43. ^ Weisser 1980, p. 46.
  44. ^ See Hudry 1997–1999, p. 152 (as part of the Latin translation of the Sirr al-khalīqa; English translation in Litwa 2018, p. 316); Steele 1920, pp. 115–117 (as part of the Latin translation of the Sirr al-asrār); Steele & Singer 1928 (as part of the Latin translation of the Liber dabessi, a collection of commentaries on the Tablet).
  45. ^ Principe 2013, p. 31.
  46. ^ Newman 2019, pp. 145, 166, 183.
  47. ^ Edited by Vereno 1992, pp. 136–159.
  48. ^ Van Bladel 2009, pp. 181-183 (cf. p. 171, note 25). Edited by Vereno 1992, pp. 160–181.
  49. ^ Ruska 1926, pp. 68–107.
  50. ^ Edited by Steele & Singer 1928.
  51. ^ Van Bladel 2009, pp. 101-102, 114, 224. A small fragment from the Kitāb al-Isṭamākhīs was published by Badawi 1947, pp. 179–183.
  52. ^ Weisser 1980, pp. 68–69.
  53. ^ Plessner 1954, p. 58.
  54. ^ Van Bladel 2009, pp. 101–102.
  55. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 224.
  56. ^ Edited by Burnett 2001.
  57. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 17, note 45, p. 21, note 60. The Arabic version of the first book was edited by Toral-Niehoff 2004. The Arabic fragments of the other books were edited by Ullmann 2020.
  58. ^ Ullmann 1994; cf. Van Bladel 2009, p. 17.
  59. ^ Bonmariage & Moureau 2016.
  60. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xliv; Bull 2018, p. 32. The sole exception is The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, which may date to the first century CE (see Bull 2018, p. 9, referring to Mahé 1978–1982, vol. II, p. 278; cf. Mahé 1999, p. 101). Earlier dates have been suggested, most notably by Flinders Petrie (500–200 BCE) and Bruno H. Stricker (c. 300 BCE), but these suggestions have been rejected by most other scholars (see Bull 2018, p. 6, note 23). Some Hermetic treatises of a generally religio-philosophical nature were written in later periods (e.g., the Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs or "The Book of the Rebuke of the Soul", dating from the twelfth century; edited by Bardenhewer 1873 and by Badawi 1955, pp. 53–116; English translation of Bardenhewer's Latin translation in Scott 1924–1936, vol. IV, pp. 277-352), but these appear to be rather rare, and it is not clear whether they bear any relation to the early Greek treatises; see Van Bladel 2009, p. 226.
  61. ^ Bull 2018, p. 3.
  62. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xl–xliii.
  63. ^ See Hanegraaff 2006, p. 680. The Chapter no. XV of early modern editions was once filled with an entry from the Suda (a tenth-century Byzantine encyclopedia) and three excerpts from Hermetic works preserved by Joannes Stobaeus (fl. fifth century, see below), but this chapter was left out in later editions, which therefore contain no chapter XV (see Copenhaver 1992, p. xlix).
  64. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xlii.
  65. ^ See, e.g., the English translation by Everard, John 1650. The Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. London.
  66. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xlvii–xlviii.
  67. ^ Ebeling 2007, pp. 68–70.
  68. ^ Copenhaver 1992, pp. xliii–xliv.
  69. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xlvii.
  70. ^ Armenian text edited by Mahé 1978–1982; English translation in Mahé 1999.
  71. ^ Mahé 1999, pp. 101–108; cf. Bull 2018, p. 9.
  72. ^ Litwa 2018, p. 19.
  73. ^ Translated by Litwa 2018, pp. 27–159.
  74. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xxxviii; cf. Bull 2018, pp. 101–111.
  75. ^ As listed by Litwa 2018.
  76. ^ Robinson 1990, pp. 12–13.
  77. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. xliv. These were all translated by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse and Douglas M. Parrott in: Robinson 1990, pp. 321–338.
  78. ^ Paramelle & Mahé 1991. Translated by Litwa 2018, pp. 161–169.
  79. ^ Mahé 1984. Translated by Litwa 2018, pp. 171–174.
  80. ^ Van Bladel 2009, p. 226. Edited by Bardenhewer 1873 and by Badawi 1955, pp. 53–116; English translation of Bardenhewer's Latin translation in Scott 1924–1936, vol. IV, pp. 277-352.
  81. ^ These are listed and translated by Litwa 2018, pp. 175–256 (Greek originals of the majority of Litwa's fragments in Nock & Festugière 1945–1954, vol. IV, pp. 101–150), except Ibn Umayl, whose Hermetic fragments have been collected and translated by Stapleton, Lewis & Taylor 1949 (Arabic originals in Turāb ʿAlī, Stapleton & Hidāyat Ḥusain 1933).
  82. ^ Collected and translated by Stapleton, Lewis & Taylor 1949. Arabic originals in Turāb ʿAlī, Stapleton & Hidāyat Ḥusain 1933.
  83. ^ These are listed and translated by Litwa 2018, pp. 257–339.
  84. ^ Copenhaver 1992, p. l.
  85. ^ In his Dodd 1935; see Copenhaver 1992, pp. l, lvii.
  86. ^ Mahé 1978–1982; Fowden 1986; Bull 2018.
  87. ^ Mahé 1996, 358f..
  88. ^ See Jasnow & Zauzich 1998; Jasnow 2016.
  89. ^ Cf. Van Bladel 2009, p. 17.

Bibliography

English translations of Hermetic texts

Some pieces of Hermetica have been translated into English multiple times by modern Hermeticists. However, the following list is strictly limited to scholarly translations:

  • Brashler, James; Dirkse, Peter A.; Parrott, Douglas M. (1990). "The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth VI,6". In Robinson, James M. (ed.). The Nag Hammadi Library in English (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins. pp. 321–327. ISBN 978-0060669355.
  • Brashler, James; Dirkse, Peter A.; Parrott, Douglas M. (1990). "Prayer of Thanksgiving (VI,7) and Scribal Note (VI,7a)". In Robinson, James M. (ed.). The Nag Hammadi Library in English (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins. pp. 328–329. ISBN 978-0060669355.
  • Brashler, James; Dirkse, Peter A.; Parrott, Douglas M. (1990). "Asclepius 21–29 VI,8". In Robinson, James M. (ed.). The Nag Hammadi Library in English (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins. pp. 330–338. ISBN 978-0060669355.
  • Copenhaver, Brian P. (1992). Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42543-3.
  • Litwa, M. David, ed. (2018). Hermetica II: The Excerpts of Stobaeus, Papyrus Fragments, and Ancient Testimonies in an English Translation with Notes and Introductions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316856567. ISBN 978-1-107-18253-0.
  • Mahé, Jean-Pierre (1999). "The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius". In Salaman, Clement; van Oyen, Dorine; Wharton, William D.; Mahé, Jean-Pierre (eds.). The Way of Hermes. London: Duckworth Books. pp. 99–122. ISBN 9780892811861.
  • Scott, Walter (1924–1936). Hermetica: The Ancient Greek and Latin Writings Which Contain Religious or Philosophic Teachings Ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. Vol. I–IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 601704008. |volume= has extra text (help) (older edition and translation of the Corpus Hermeticum, the Asclepius, the Stobaean excerpts, and various testimonia; vol. IV [pp. 277–352] also contains an English translation of Bardenhewer's Latin translation of the Arabic Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs or "Book of the Rebuke of the Soul")
  • Stapleton, Henry E.; Lewis, G. L.; Taylor, F. Sherwood (1949). "The sayings of Hermes quoted in the Māʾ al-waraqī of Ibn Umail". Ambix. 3 (3–4): 69–90. doi:10.1179/amb.1949.3.3-4.69. (contains Hermetic fragments with, a.o., a commentary on the Emerald Tablet)
  • Waegeman, Maryse (1987). Amulet and Alphabet: Magical Amulets in the First Book of Cyranides. Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben. ISBN 90-70265-80-X. OCLC 17009220.

Secondary literature

  • Bausani, Alessandro (1983). "Il Kitāb ʿArḍ Miftāḥ al-Nujūm attribuito a Hermes: Prima traduzione araba di un testo astrologico?". Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Memorie. Classe di Scienze Morali, Storiche e Filologiche. 8/27 (2): 84–140. OCLC 718412090.
  • Bausani, Alessandro (1986). "Il Kitāb ʿArḍ Miftāḥ al-Nujūm attribuito a Hermes". Actas do XI Congresso da UEAI (Evora 1982): 371ff.
  • Bull, Christian H. (2018). The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus: The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom. Religions in the Graeco-Roman World: 186. Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/9789004370845. ISBN 978-90-04-37084-5.
  • Dodd, Charles H. (1935). The Bible and the Greeks. London: Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 362655.
  • Ebeling, Florian (2007). The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus: Hermeticism from Ancient to Modern Times. Translated by Lorton, David. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4546-0. JSTOR 10.7591/j.ctt1ffjptt.
  • Festugière, André-Jean (1944–1954). La Révélation d'Hermès Trismégiste. Vol. I-IV. Paris: Gabalda. ISBN 9782251326740. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Festugière, André-Jean (1967). Hermétisme et mystique païenne. Paris: Aubier Montaigne. ISBN 978-2700735529.
  • Fowden, Garth (1986). The Egyptian Hermes: a Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-32583-8. OCLC 13333446.
  • Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (2006). "Lazzarelli, Lodovico". In Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (ed.). Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism. Leiden: Brill. pp. 679–683. ISBN 9789004152311.
  • Jasnow, Richard; Zauzich, Karl-Theodor (1998). "A Book of Thoth?". In Eyre, Christopher (ed.). Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Egyptologists, Cambridge, 3-9 September 1995. Leuven: Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-0014-1.
  • Jasnow, Richard (2016), "Between Two Waters: The Book of Thoth and the Problem of Greco-Egyptian Interaction", in Rutherford, Ian (ed.), Greco-Egyptian Interactions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 317–356, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656127.003.0013, ISBN 978-0-19-965612-7
  • Kraus, Paul (1942–1943). Jâbir ibn Hayyân: Contribution à l'histoire des idées scientifiques dans l'Islam. I. Le corpus des écrits jâbiriens. II. Jâbir et la science grecque. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale. ISBN 9783487091150. OCLC 468740510. (vol. II, pp. 270–303 about pseudo-Apollonius of Tyana's Sirr al-khalīqa or "The Secret of Creation")
  • Kunitzsch, Paul (2004). "Origin and History of Liber de stellis beibeniis". In Lucentini, P.; Parri, I.; Perrone Compagni, V. (eds.). La tradizione ermetica dal mondo tardo-antico all'umanesimo. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi, Napoli, 20–24 novembre 2001 [Hermetism from Late Antiquity to Humanism]. Instrumenta Patristica et Mediaevalia, 40. 40. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 449–460. doi:10.1484/m.ipm-eb.5.112150. ISBN 978-2-503-51616-5.
  • Lucentini, P.; Parri, I.; Perrone Compagni, V., eds. (2004). La tradizione ermetica dal mondo tardo-antico all'umanesimo. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi, Napoli, 20–24 novembre 2001 [Hermetism from Late Antiquity to Humanism]. Instrumenta Patristica et Mediaevalia, 40 (in Italian). 40. Turnhout: Brepols. doi:10.1484/m.ipm-eb.5.112150. ISBN 978-2-503-51616-5.
  • Mahé, Jean-Pierre (1978–1982). Hermès en Haute-Egypte. Vol. I–II. Quebec: Presses de l'Université Laval. ISBN 9780774668170. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Mahé, Jean-Pierre (1996). "Preliminary Remarks on the Demotic "Book of Thoth" and the Greek Hermetica". Vigiliae Christianae. 50 (4): 353–363. doi:10.2307/1584313. JSTOR 1584313.
  • Newman, William R. (2019). Newton the Alchemist: Science, Enigma, and the Quest for Nature's Secret Fire. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691174877.
  • Norris, John (2006). "The Mineral Exhalation Theory of Metallogenesis in Pre-Modern Mineral Science". Ambix. 53 (1): 43–65. doi:10.1179/174582306X93183. S2CID 97109455.
  • Pearson, Birger A. (1981), "Jewish elements in Corpus Hermeticum I", in Vermaseren, M. J.; van den Broek, Roel B. (eds.), Studies in Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions Presented to Gilles Quispel on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, Brill, pp. 336–348, doi:10.1163/9789004295698_020, ISBN 978-90-04-06376-1
  • Plessner, Martin (1954). "Hermes Trismegistus and Arab Science". Studia Islamica. 2 (2): 45–59. doi:10.2307/1595141. JSTOR 1595141.
  • Principe, Lawrence M. (2013). The Secrets of Alchemy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226103792.
  • Robinson, James M. (1990). The Nag Hammadi Library in English. 3th, revised edition. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0060669355.
  • Ruska, Julius (1926). Tabula Smaragdina. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der hermetischen Literatur. Heidelberg: Winter. OCLC 6751465.
  • Van Bladel, Kevin (2009). The Arabic Hermes: From Pagan Sage to Prophet of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195376135.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-537613-5.
  • Vereno, Ingolf (1992). Studien zum ältesten alchemistischen Schrifttum. Auf der Grundlage zweier erstmals edierter arabischer Hermetica. Islamkundliche Untersuchungen, band 155. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag. ISBN 978-3879972067.
  • Weisser, Ursula (1980). Das "Buch über das Geheimnis der Schöpfung" von Pseudo-Apollonios von Tyana. Berlin: De Gruyter. doi:10.1515/9783110866933. ISBN 978-3-11-086693-3.

Editions of Hermetic texts

Greek

  • Kaimakis, Dimitris (1976). Die Kyraniden. Meisenheim am Glan: Hain. ISBN 9783445013347. (Greek text of the Cyranides)
  • Mahé, Jean-Pierre (1984). "Fragments hermétiques dans les papyri Vindobonenses graecae 29456r et 29828r". In Lucchesi, Enzo; Saffrey, Henri Dominique (eds.). Mémorial André-Jean Festugière: Antiquité païenne et chrétienne. Geneva: Cramer. pp. 51–64. OCLC 610335292. (Vienna fragments)
  • Nock, Arthur Darby; Festugière, André-Jean (1945–1954). Corpus Hermeticum. Vol. I–IV. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. ISBN 9782251001371. |volume= has extra text (help) (Greek text of the Corpus Hermeticum and of the Stobaean excerpts, various fragments and testimonies)
  • Paramelle, Joseph; Mahé, Jean-Pierre (1991). "Extraits hermétiques inédits dans un manuscrit d'Oxford". Revue des Études Grecques. 104 (495/496): 109–139. doi:10.3406/reg.1991.2504. JSTOR 44264627. (Oxford fragments)

Armenian

Arabic

  • Badawi, Abdurrahman (1947). al-Insāniyya wa-l-wujūdiyya fī l-fikr al-'Arabī. Beirut: Dār al-Qalam. OCLC 163528808. (pp. 179–183 contain a small fragment from the Kitāb al-Isṭamākhīs)
  • Badawi, Abdurrahman (1955). al-Aflāṭūniyyah al-muḥdatha ʿinda al-ʿarab. Dirāsāt islāmiyya, 19. Cairo: Maktabat al-nahḍa al-miṣriyya. OCLC 976547332. (pp. 53–116 contain an edition of the Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs)
  • Bardenhewer, Otto (1873). Hermetis Trismegisti qui apud Arabes fertur De castigatione animae libellum. Bonn: Marcus. (Arabic text of the Kitāb fi zajr al-nafs with a Latin translation by Bardenhewer)
  • Bonmariage, Cécile; Moureau, Sébastien (2016). Le Cercle des lettres de l'alphabet (Dā'irat al-aḥruf al-abjadiyya): Un traité pratique de magie des lettres attribué à Hermès. Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/9789004321540_001. ISBN 978-90-04-31584-6. (Arabic text and French translation)
  • Kunitzsch, Paul (2001). "Liber de stellis beibeniis". In Bos, Gerrit; Burnett, Charles; Lucentini, Paolo (eds.). Hermetis Trismegisti Astrologica et Divinatoria. Corpus Christianorum, CXLIV. Hermes Latinus, IV.IV. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 7–81. ISBN 978-2-503-04447-7. (Arabic and Latin text of the Liber de stellis beibeniis)
  • Turāb ʿAlī, M.; Stapleton, H. E.; Hidāyat Ḥusain, M. (1933). "Three Arabic Treatises on Alchemy by Muḥammad bin Umail (10th century A.D.)". Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 12 (1): 1–213. OCLC 29062383. (contains Hermetic fragments with, a.o., a commentary on the Emerald Tablet; translated in Stapleton, Lewis & Taylor 1949)
  • Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (2004). Kitab Giranis. Die arabische Übersetzung der ersten Kyranis des Hermes Trismegistos und die griechischen Parallelen. München: Herbert Utz. ISBN 3-8316-0413-4. (Arabic translation of the first book of the Cyranides)
  • Ullmann, Manfred (1994). Das Schlangenbuch des Hermes Trismegistos. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3447035231. (Arabic text of the Book of the Wise Hermes on the Properties of Snakes and Scorpions)
  • Ullmann, Manfred (2020). "Die arabischen Fragmente der Bücher II bis IV der Kyraniden". Studia graeco-arabica. 10: 49–58. (Arabic translation of fragments from books 2–4 of the Cyranides)
  • Weisser, Ursula (1979). Buch über das Geheimnis der Schöpfung und die Darstellung der Natur (Buch der Ursachen) von Pseudo-Apollonios von Tyana. Sources and Studies in the History of Arabic-Islamic Science. Aleppo: Institute for the History of Arabic Science. OCLC 13597803. (Arabic text of the Sirr al-khalīqa, including a version of the Emerald Tablet)

Latin

  • Burnett, Charles (2001). "Aristoteles/Hermes: Liber Antimaquis". In Bos, Gerrit; Burnett, Charles; Lucentini, Paolo (eds.). Hermetis Trismegisti Astrologica et Divinatoria. Corpus Christianorum, CXLIV. Hermes Latinus, IV.IV. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 177–221. ISBN 978-2-503-04447-7. (Latin text of the Liber Antimaquis, a translation from the Arabic Kitāb al-Isṭamākhīs)
  • Delatte, Louis (1942). Textes latins et vieux français relatifs aux Cyranides. Paris: Droz. OCLC 901714095. (Latin translation of the Cyranides)
  • Hudry, Françoise (1997–1999). "Le De secretis nature du Ps. Apollonius de Tyane, traduction latine par Hugues de Santalla du Kitæb sirr al-halîqa". Chrysopoeia. 6: 1–154. (Latin translation of the Sirr al-khalīqa, including a version of the Emerald Tablet)
  • Kunitzsch, Paul (2001). "Liber de stellis beibeniis". In Bos, Gerrit; Burnett, Charles; Lucentini, Paolo (eds.). Hermetis Trismegisti Astrologica et Divinatoria. Corpus Christianorum, CXLIV. Hermes Latinus, IV.IV. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 7–81. ISBN 978-2-503-04447-7. (Arabic and Latin text of the Liber de stellis beibeniis)
  • Nock, Arthur Darby; Festugière, André-Jean (1945–1954). Corpus Hermeticum. Vol. I–IV. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. ISBN 9782251001371. |volume= has extra text (help) (Latin text of the Asclepius)
  • Steele, Robert (1920). Secretum secretorum cum glossis et notulis. Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi, vol. V. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 493365693. (Latin translation of the Sirr al-asrār; pp. 115–117 contain a version of the Emerald Tablet)
  • Steele, Robert; Singer, Dorothea Waley (1928). "The Emerald Table". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 21 (3): 41–57/485–501. doi:10.1177/003591572802100361. PMC 2101974. PMID 19986273. (contains Latin translation of the Emerald Tablet as it occurs in the Liber dabessi)

External links

  • The Gnostic Society Library hosts translations of the Corpus Hermeticum, the Asclepius, the Stobaean excerpts, and some ancient testimonies on Hermes (all taken from Mead, George R. S. 1906. Thrice Greatest Hermes: Studies in Hellenistic Theosophy and Gnosis. Vols. 2-3. London: Theosophical Publishing Society; note that these translations are outdated and were written by a member of the Theosophical Society; modern scholarly translations are found above), as well as translations of the three Hermetic treatises in the Nag Hammadi findings (reproduced with permission from the translations prepared by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse and Douglas M. Parrott as originally published in: Robinson, James M. 1978. The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Leiden: Brill).