To Asclepius translated by G. Mead This dialogue sets forth the difference between the physical and metaphysical worlds in the context of Greek natural philosophy. The criticism of childlessness in section 17 should probably be read as a response to the Christian ideal of celibacy, which horrified many people in the ancient world. Hermes: All that is moved, Asclepius, is it not moved in something and by something?
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I will, accordingly, offer my analysis of both and post this review for both versions. Occasionally one or the other offers a better translation. This is either due to a better grasp of the text or a better source. I have not verified that this was the case. But, I can say, that often Everard provides a more fluid and less cumbersome translation. The dispositions of both are manifest here and there in their respective translations.
I think both attempted to translate the text honestly but some bias is probable in both cases. Everard has an edge, not only because of the above factor, but he also includes four additional Hermetic treatises that Mead does not include in his version or at least in this edition.
As for the Hermetica itself: these represent the earliest Hermetic corpus, but, that being said, these writings probably go back to the late first or early second century and no earlier. They are very similar to texts one finds in the Nag Hammadi library.
This really does indicate a common provenance and locale; i. Egypt, and probably Alexandria. I have held the opinion for a while that certain texts in the Nag Hammadi corpus are far closer to a form of Christian Hermeticism than a Christian Gnosticism; some examples include the Thomasine texts, and sundry others like the Apocryphon of James and the Sophia of Jesus Christ.
It is clear though that the Hermetica is post Christian and was influenced by Christianity, as well as by Platonism and Greek philosophy in general. It does have great philosophical value as an example of Middle Platonism and as a precursor to Neo-Platonism. For that alone it is worth reading. I am often torn in rating ancient texts. For a book like this 3 and a half stars takes into account both I think.
Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius
I will, accordingly, offer my analysis of both and post this review for both versions. Occasionally one or the other offers a better translation. This is either due to a better grasp of the text or a better source. I have not verified that this was the case.
The Corpus Hermeticum
Extensive quotes of similar material are found in classical authors such as Joannes Stobaeus. Parts of the Hermetica appeared in the 2nd-century Gnostic library found in Nag Hammadi. Other works in Syriac , Arabic , Coptic and other languages may also be termed Hermetica — another famous tract is the Emerald Tablet , which teaches the doctrine "as above, so below". For a long time, it was thought that these are themselves remnants of a more extensive literature, part of the syncretic cultural movement that also included the Neoplatonic philosophy of the Greco-Roman mysteries and late Orphic and Pythagorean literature and influenced Gnostic forms of the Abrahamic religions.
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