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Egyptian Hermes A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind

ISBN-10: 0691024987
ISBN-13: 9780691024981
Edition: 1993 (Revised)
Authors: Garth Fowden
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $45.00
Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 6/21/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

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.

Garth Fowden is Research Director at the Institute of Historical Research, National Research Foundation, Athens, and Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths at the University of Cambridge. His books include "The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind" and "Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity" (both Princeton).

Abbreviations
Preface to the 1993 edition
Preface (1986)
Introduction: The texts
Modes of Cultural Interaction
The durability of Egypt
The gods of Egypt
Hermes Trismegistus
The Hermetica
Translation and interpretation
Aretalogies of Isis and Asclepius
Manetho and Chaeremon
Books of Thoth and technical Hermetica
Instructions and philosophical Hermetica
The Way of Hermes
Magister omnium physicorum
Sympatheia
Magic
Occult properties and alchemy
Astrology
Religio mentis
The philosophical paideia
Gnosis
Towards a via universalis
Technique and philosophy: interactions
Zosimus of Panopolis
Pre-Iamblichan theurgy
Iamblichus of Apamea
Hermetism and theurgy
The role and understanding of ritual
Bitys
The Milieu of Hermetism
Hermetism in Egypt
The evidence of the Hermetica
First-century Alexandria - and beyond
Temples and priests
Upper Egypt
Late antique Alexandria
The milieu of Hermetism: a socio-intellectual description
Aegypti sacra deportata
Conclusion
Earliest testimonies to the name 'Hermes Trismegistus'
Bibliography
Index

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