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The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus: From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World Paperback – May 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Floris Books (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086315798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863157981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'This book provides a very readable introduction to the history of Western Esotericism. However, the most exciting aspect of the book is Lachman's thesis that Hermeticism is grounded in a common spiritual or religious experience and that this experience can be grounded in recent neuropsychological research. This fascinating hypothesis invites further ... investigation.' -- De Numine 'Truly great individuals are discussed for centuries after their existence. "The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus: From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World" discusses this figure of ancient Alexandria who is an icon of ancient science and philosophy, as the two were closely related in ancient times. Analyzing history and the mindset of the times, author Gary Lachman hopes to explain this figure to modern reader s to give them greater insight into a time long past. "The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus" is an excellent addition to any history collection, highly recommended.' -- Midwest Book Review, May 2011 'It is a bewildering tale which has many twists and turns which Lachman considers not only in its historical but also cultural and philosophical connections across time. He also helps us unravel the development of hermecticism, Gnosticism, and connections across the ages to such seminal and initiatory characters as Rudolf Steiner, G.I. Gurdjeff, Giordano Bruno, Marcilio Ficino, Pico Mirandolla, Cornelius Agrippa, Robert Fludd, Dr John Dee, and Athansius Kircher.' -- Stephen Cox Trust, 2011 'Gary Lachman offers us a fascinating history of the myth of Hermes Trismegistus and the translation of the Corpus Hermeticum ... This is a comprehensive book covering all aspects of the tradition of Hermes, from the early periods through to modern explorations of Hermetic science as it resonates with altered states of consciousness. Lachman is an easy to read author yet has a near encyclopaedic knowledge of esotericism and is hence able to offer many different perspectives on the subject at hand. From the Egyptian influence on Greek philosophy to Islam and the Renaissance, Freemasons and the Rosicrucians this is a truly informative journey through all aspects of Hermes Trismegistus.' -- Living Traditions Magazine 'Immensely erudite and continuing the work of GRS Mead and Frances Yates, the book traces the influence of hermetic thinking through different areas of the Western tradition drawing on a wide range of scholarship. It gives the reader quite a different flavour of the development of Western philosophy than would be found in any standard textbook.' --David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review 'Here is an entertaining, mostly historical introduction to a body of religious knowledge that has a deep influence on the course of Western philosophy - Hermeticism...This is a concise and interesting introduction. Lachman covers much historical ground from Alexandria, via the Italian Renaissance and the Order of the Golden Dawn, to today.' -- Northern Earth 'Lachman's [book] at times is quite a deep study of the philosophy and psychology of esoteric sprituality.' --David V Barrett, Fortean Times.

About the Author

Gary Lachman is the author of several books about the links between consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition, including Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work; Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung's Life and Teachings: In Search of P.D Ouspensky; and A Secret History of Consciousness. He is a regular contributor to newspaper columns and radio programmes. A founder member of the rock group Blondie, in 2006 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He lives in London.

More About the Author

Gary Lachman (1955- ) was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, but has lived in London, England since 1996. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, he is now a full time writer with more than a dozen books to his name, on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness and the western esoteric tradition, to literature and suicide, and the history of popular culture. Lachman writes frequently for many journals in the US and UK, and lectures on his work in the US, UK, and Europe.His work has been translated into several languages. His website is http://garylachman.co.uk/

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This is a well written book that deserves a read.
christopher herring
I like Lachman's style and, having a serious interest in the subject of Hermetism, I found it to be among those books that simply cannot be missed.
Patrizia Trotta
This goal, given many names, is an essential theme that runs throughout the book.
Thom F. Cavalli PhD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thom F. Cavalli PhD on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While Gary Lachman latest book is less of a quest than a fascinating stroll through the Hermetic library, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Much of it involved familiar names - Plato, Pythagoras, Petrarch, Ficino, Pico, Bruno, John Dee, G.R.S. Mead - but to his credit Lackman does a great job of adding less familiar magi (Casaubon, Suhrawardi, Mavronmatis) in making for a compelling narrative. I appreciated his commentary, historical corrections, occasional insights and explanations of Hermeticism, keeping to the story line even when we headed down some dark corridors. This is above all a history book, one that could have been tedious, but Lachman's writing kept my interest. I especially liked the emphasis put on ancient Egypt and how Hermeticism naturally flows from the waters of the Nile, permeating everything in its wake from the Alexandrian Hermeticists to Freemasons to Bruno to Gurdjieff to Rudolf Steiner to Rilke ... I also very much appreciated his crediting Jeremy Naydler's reworking of Plato's instruction to "practice dying" and how it raises the likelihood that texts like the Book of the Dead were not simply used for funerary purposes, but as a vehicle for connecting the microcosm and macrocosm. This goal, given many names, is an essential theme that runs throughout the book. Lackman does a great job in describing the two paths of knowledge, gnosis and epistme, and he points to some exciting new possibilities, but the 'third path' is one that can only be experienced by someone willing to "interiorize" the world for themselves. Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. Eenthere Dunnit on April 5, 2013
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I am a writer and a musician as Lachman. I first came across his literary output some ten years ago when I read his Turn Off Your Mind, which is a book about the sixties spiritual revival. The book was thorough but left me with a sense of disappointment which was hard to nail down. Having been what I like to think of as an ardent student of esoterica from my teens I somehow felt I had met one more disappointed reductionist who wanted to scythe down every new sprout of genuine insight that might be found in the overflowing dirtpot that was the counter-culture sixties spirituality. I felt that he had missed the essence of what the self-nominated followers of Gurdjieff, Castaneda, La Vey, Crowley, Timothy Leary et al. were all about. Then I came across his Quest for Hermes Trismegistus and found out just how wrong I had been about his true colors. This book is a delight. It is well constructed with impeccable research and scrupulous notation. The style Lachman has acquired during the years is almost dazzlingly amicable, sensible, yet fearless. He tackles his humunguous subject matter with grace and swift eloquence worthy of the less than tangible intellectual thicket he covers. The book tells no more, no less than the story of a great, now submerged network of potent ideologies with twists and turns to make it a bit like a detective story sprinkled with romance. And even more, he takes a stance which is for the re-enchantment of the world, and proposes an integratory curriculum for our tormented age. A rare voice, a fine scholar, a mighty storyteller, this book is a joy to read and offers spiritual nourishment for days, weeks and years to come. (And I definitely am going to read his other books on the occult too. Already started the one about Madame Blavatsky.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JackFaust77 on February 21, 2013
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Well, if you are looking at this boob on Amazon, you already know a bit about Hermetic Thought and Philosphy. Lachman's book is OUTSTANDING: informative, wonderfully written, clear, speculative, precise, inspiring, amazing - gives a real boost to the brain heart and spirit.

One of my favorite books of 2012 (and on beyond).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Brown on March 31, 2013
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A very engaging, accessible history of Hermes Trismegistus with a direct application to people today. You can enjoy this book from a historical or self growth or just well-written pose angle.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maggy A. Anthony on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Once again, Gary Lachman has provided his readers with a cogent and well-thought out book, this time on the history of the hermetic tradition. As always, he provides us with a bibliography to take facets of our interest further.He blazes a trail for us to follow as far as we wish after finally putting down his book. And his sources are always impeccable. Actually, the whole book was so intriguing, it set me off on a quest for Hermes on my own, starting with Lachman's sources. Thanks, Gary!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By peter on August 11, 2012
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What is Gnosis ? to quote from a interview with C.G. Jung when asked " do you believe in god? i know god he said i don't need to believe" and that's basically the discourse of western spirituality one of belief. but there is something deeper , more profound there is gnosis.
Gary lachman is a engaging writer and this book proves it. a fun ride i could not put down. the best book on Hermes trismegistus ever written in my opnion. out side of the hermetica its self with deep insight.
but this is nothing new. gnosis you may have heard of it in modern currentcy known as "the secret" ( Rhonda Byrne) the now " ekheart tolle " jesus called it the "kingdom of god . Muhammad as the "remembrance of god" Zoroaster talks of it, as does Siddhartha Gautama and hermes/thoth called it the All .
Its a parade of some of my favorite spiritual writers who are not normally associated with Hermes , and there own experiances of gnosis.
such as Huxley ( doors of perception) bucke ( comsic consciouness ) who was a good freind to walt Whitman. Iamblichus makes a appearance the great writer on Egyptian mysteries and a initiate of the mystery's also the we meet a old friend elphas levi.
but we are met with so many un answered questions .
like the very mysterious bembine tablet and its relations to the tarot. ( is it part of the book of thoth)?
did hermes/thoth write the book of going forth by day?
is the struggle of Osiris and his brother a deeper metaphor for gnosis? matter and nous fighting than becoming one from dualism to "the one?"

in this book he touches on one of two foremost scholors on hermes who others seem to ignore. Athanasius Kircher and manley p hall both of which held the belif there were two ways to read hyrogyphs one of the the common way.
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