By Clement Salaman
The Asclepius is considered one of philosophical books ascribed to the mythical sage of historic Egypt, Hermes Trismegistus, who used to be believed in classical and renaissance instances to have lived almost immediately after Moses. The Greek unique, misplaced due to the fact that classical occasions, is assumed up to now from the second or third century advert. although, a Latin model survived, of which this quantity is a translation. Like its significant other, the Corpus Hermeticum (or the best way of Hermes), the Asclepius describes the main profound philosophical questions within the kind of a talk approximately secrets and techniques: the character of the only, the position of the gods, and the stature of the individual. not just does this paintings supply non secular tips, however it can be a worthwhile perception into the minds and feelings of the Egyptians in historic and classical instances. a few of the perspectives expressed additionally replicate Gnostic ideals which handed into early Christianity.
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Extra resources for Asclepius: A Secret Discourse of Hermes Trismegistus
These divisions have been indicated in the translation that follows by bold numbers in square brackets. I have added headings to indicate the main subject of the section. Some words are difficult to translate, especially where the Latin word has no exact English equivalent. Mundus, for instance, has generally been translated as ‘cosmos’, but this does not always convey the best sense. It has sometimes therefore been translated differently. Where this is so, mundus has been added after the translation in square brackets.
What do we experience on this journey? ’57 These words might have been taken from The Cloud of Unknowing, composed many centuries later. Like Hermes, Dionysius describes the cosmos as governed by a hierarchy, but Dionysius is more orderly and precise in his enumeration and description of the heavenly host. It is grouped into three orders of three: Seraphim (burns what separates man from God), Cherubim (fullness of knowledge), Thrones (established in divine service); Dominions (order and justice), Virtues (bestow grace and valour), Powers (overcome fetters to the earth); Principalities (Divine Lordship and service), Archangels (imprint on everything the divine seal and impart to the soul spiritual light), Angels (minister to all men and Nature, purifying and uplifting them).
It is the ignorance leading to desire for possessions that has to be removed. 44 In the Corpus Hermes gives an allegorical account of Man wishing to create and receiving the assent, though not the command, of the Supreme. He does create; but seeing his reflection in Nature, mistakes it for himself and uniting with Nature in love falls into all manner of suffering. In Poimandres (the title of the first book in the Corpus) the Nous of the supreme rescues the soul from such ignorance. The accounts of the origin of evil by the Gnostic leaders Basilides and Valentinus are quite similar in imagery.