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The Egyptian Hermes : A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind - Garth Fowden

The Egyptian Hermes

A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind

Paperback Published: 21st June 1993
ISBN: 9780691024981
Number Of Pages: 272

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Sage, scientist, and sorcerer, Hermes Trismegistus was the culture-hero of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. A human (according to some) who had lived about the time of Moses, but now indisputably a god, he was credited with the authorship of numerous books on magic and the supernatural, alchemy, astrology, theology, and philosophy. Until the early seventeenth century, few doubted the attribution. Even when unmasked, Hermes remained a byword for the arcane. Historians of ancient philosophy have puzzled much over the origins of his mystical teachings; but this is the first investigation of the Hermetic milieu by a social historian.

Starting from the complex fusions and tensions that molded Graeco-Egyptian culture, and in particular Hermetism, during the centuries after Alexander, Garth Fowden goes on to argue that the technical and philosophical Hermetica, apparently so different, might be seen as aspects of a single "way of Hermes." This assumption that philosophy and religion, even cult, bring one eventually to the same goal was typically late antique, and guaranteed the Hermetica a far-flung readership, even among Christians. The focus and conclusion of this study is an assault on the problem of the social milieu of Hermetism.

"[T]he books ascribed to Hermes ... fall into two divisions, the technical and the philosophical, which Fowden treats separately... [His] scholarly survery makes an excellent foundation for further study of points of detail and of paganism in general."--Shadow

Preface to the 1993 edition
Preface (1986)
Introduction: The textsp. 1
Modes of Cultural Interaction
The durability of Egyptp. 13
The gods of Egyptp. 14
Hermes Trismegistusp. 22
The Hermeticap. 31
Translation and interpretationp. 45
Aretalogies of Isis and Asclepiusp. 45
Manetho and Chaeremonp. 52
Books of Thoth and technical Hermeticap. 57
Instructions and philosophical Hermeticap. 68
The Way of Hermes
Magister omnium physicorump. 75
Sympatheiap. 75
Magicp. 79
Occult properties and alchemyp. 87
Astrologyp. 91
Religio mentisp. 95
The philosophical paideiap. 97
Gnosisp. 104
Towards a via universalisp. 116
Technique and philosophy: interactionsp. 116
Zosimus of Panopolisp. 120
Pre-Iamblichan theurgyp. 126
Iamblichus of Apameap. 131
Hermetism and theurgyp. 142
The role and understanding of ritualp. 142
Bitysp. 150
The Milieu of Hermetism
Hermetism in Egyptp. 155
The evidence of the Hermeticap. 156
First-century Alexandria - and beyondp. 161
Temples and priestsp. 166
Upper Egyptp. 168
Late antique Alexandriap. 177
The milieu of Hermetism: a socio-intellectual descriptionp. 186
Aegypti sacra deportatap. 196
Conclusionp. 213
Earliest testimonies to the name 'Hermes Trismegistus'p. 216
Bibliographyp. 218
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691024981
ISBN-10: 0691024987
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 21st June 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Type: Revised