Asclepius: The Perfect Discourse of Hermes Trismegistus
The Asclepius is one of two philosophical books ascribed to the legendary sage of Ancient Egypt, Hermes Trismegistus, who was believed in classical and renaissance times to have lived shortly after Moses. The Greek original, lost since classical times, is thought to date from the second or third century AD. A Latin version survived, however, of which this volume is a translation.
Like its companion, the Corpus Hermeticum (also published by Duckworth as The Way of Hermes), the Asclepius describes the most profound philosophical questions in the form of a conversation: the nature of the One, the role of the gods, the stature of the human being. Hermes is said to have categorised his talks as either 'open' or 'secret'. To the latter evidently very few were admitted; in the case of the Asclepius only three close disciples. Hermes is adamant that this teaching should remain secret lest 'a conversation worthy of such reverence' be profaned by the presence of many people.
Not only does the Asclepius offer spiritual guidance, but it is also a valuable insight into the minds and emotions of the Egyptians in ancient and classical times. Many of the views expressed also reflect Gnostic beliefs which passed into early Christianity.
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Ancient Egypt appear archetype Asclepius become bestowed birth born called celestial Christian Church comes Corpus Hermeticum cosmos created creation creatures daemons death deity Destiny Dionysius discourse divine consciousness divine nature earth Egyptian elements essence Eternity everlasting everything evil exist Ficino Frances Yates Giovanni di Stefano gives gnosis Gnostic Gospel of Thomas Greek Hammon heaven Hermes Trismegistus Hermetic texts Hermetic writing Hermetica Hermetists holy human Iamblichus Ibid immortal individual forms Jeremy Naydler Khaemweset Latin light living Maat matter means Middle Ages mortal Moses moved movement mundus mystery Nag Hammadi Library necessity Nicholas of Cusa nourishes philosophy Picatrix Plato praise principle pure mind realisation reason religion reverence ruler sacred scholars seems senses Siena Cathedral similar soul speak sphere spirit St Augustine Supreme terrestrial gods things Thoth tion totally tradition translation Trismeg true truth vices void word world mundo worship