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Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part III

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C.H. XI is a mind-blowing cosmology and anthropology which introduces us to the Hermetic Aiôn and changes everything we thought we knew about the Hermetic world. C.H. XVIII is a weird rhetorical piece praising kings that seems to have wandered into the collection by mistake. There’s a whole lot of other Hermetic goodness between these two extremes, if that is what they are.

We finish our read-through of one of the most important antique documents for the western esoteric traditions.

Works Cited in this Episode:

  • Festugière on the Aiôn: Révélation IV, pp. 152-99.
  • Fowden believes that the Nous who addresses Hermes in CH XI is actually Poimandres: Garth Fowden. The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986, p. 33.

Recommended Reading:

  • Dylan Burns. Did God Care?: Providence, Dualism, and Will in Later Greek and Early Christian Philosophy. Brill, Leiden, 2020.
  • Richard Sorabji. Time, Creation, and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Duckworth, London, 1983.

On the Aiôn:

  • Wilhelm Bousset. ‘Der Gott Aion’, pp. 192–230 in Religionsgeschichtliche Studien: Aufsätze zur Religionsgeschichte des hellenistischen Zeitalters. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 50. Leiden, Brill, 1979.
  • Christian H. Bull. The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus: the Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom. Brill, Leiden, 2018 [On becoming Aiôn see 5.4, pp. 282-284 and n. 270 on p. 283 for further references].
  • Festugière (cited above).
  • C. Lackeit. Aion: Zeit und Ewigkeit in Sprache und Religion der Griechen, I Teil: Sprache. PhD thesis, Königsberg, 1916.
  • Martin West. The Orphic Poems. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1983 [pp. 219-20, 230-1 for Aiôn in the Orphic literature].