Asclepius: The Perfect Discourse of Hermes Trismegistus

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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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About the author (2007)

Clement Salaman is a lecturer and retired teacher, and editor of a seven-volume translation of the letters of Marsilio Ficino.

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