The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus: Hermeticism from Ancient to Modern Times Hardcover – May 3, 2007

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$40.32 $28.88

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Editorial Reviews


"Demonstrating mastery of both primary texts and secondary sources, the author has constructed a convincing account of the origin, development, and influence of Hermeticism. . . . In addition to offering this very helpful guide, which includes lapidary synopses of the primary texts, the author is the first to recognize that by the early modern period two distinct subtraditions existed within Hermeticism, one philosophical-theological and the other alchemical. Recommended."—Choice (January 2008)

"Florian Ebeling's The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus should be lauded for its innovative approach to the study of Hermeticism. The text is not only informative about areas of study often left neglected but also provides insight into the ideologies and processes that went into the development of various forms of Hermetic thought."—J. S. Kupperman, Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition (2007)

"Hermeticism is a fascinating but famously difficult subject. Ranging widely in space and time, The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus skillfully introduces the reader to the many gods, philosophers, scholars, and authors who comprise the Hermetic tradition. In this excellent book Florian Ebeling makes accessible a rich chapter of intellectual history, hitherto basically the preserve of a small group of specialists."—Richard Jasnow, The Johns Hopkins University

"The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus will be especially interesting to those studying the various intellectual strains in Western culture from late antiquity into the eighteenth century. Florian Ebeling has ventured something quite original, namely to distinguish the philosophical/theological emphases of the Italians who were interested in the hermetic corpus and the magico-alchemical concerns of the northern European readers of the corpus."—Gerald E. Kadish, Binghamton University (SUNY)

"The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus is a thoroughly investigated work dealing with an otherwise all too seldom researched topic within the field of traditional Egyptology. Although Western culture is widely recognized as being greatly indebted to Judeo-Christian and Graeco-Roman traditions, ancient Egypt's contribution to European intellectual history has often been underestimated. Florian Ebeling's history of Hermeticism from ancient to modern times is a very welcome addition to the field."—Jean Revez, University of Quebec in Montreal

"Hermeticism was one of the major undercurrents in western intellectual and religious history, hard to overestimate and present even there where one would not expect it in the first place. Florian Ebeling's book proves a reliable guide through its long trajectory, combining the virtues of clear analysis and breadth of perspective."—Martin Muslow, Rutgers University

From the Author

Florian Ebeling is Lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. David Lorton, an Egyptologist, is the translator of many books, including Erik Hornung's books The Secret Lore of Egypt and Akhenaten and the Religion of Light, both from Cornell. Jan Assmann is Professor Emeritus of Egyptology at Heidelberg University. His books include The Search for God in Ancient Egypt and Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt, both from Cornell.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (May 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801445469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801445460
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,510,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Example Ingredients

Example Directions

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By J. Buterbaugh on June 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While the traditional discussion of the Corpus Hermeticum begins with Marsilio Ficino's 1471 translation for Cosimo de' Medici, the discussion soon stalls with the centuries' old debate of the text and if the ideas it expresses are truly Egyptian wisdom or are merely a Hellenistic patch-work infused with Egyptian atmosphere.

In The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus: Hermeticism from Ancient to Modern Times, Florian Ebeling takes a fresh approach by focusing on the character/author Hermes Trismegistus within countless literary sources attributed to him from Coptic, European and Arabic sources. Florian, beginning in Antiquity, isolates two distinct traditions and then follows them through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the enlightenment up to the twentieth Century, arguing that Hermes Trismegistus did not spontaneously appear in Italy during the Renaissance but was consistently popular, often referenced in both Europe and in the Middle East since his first appearance over 2000 years ago. Ebeling continues by outlining how Hermes as well as hermetic wisdom was eventually discredited then more recently vindicated by historic, religious and scientific opinion.

This new approach benefits from recent scriptural finds from Nag Hammadi, decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphics, and a greater, more critical understanding of the Hellenistic cultural milieu. By building on recent scholarly works like The Eternal Hermes by Antoine Faivre, The Egyptian Hermes by Garth Fowden and Hermetica by Brian P. Copenhaver, Florian Ebeling, breathes fresh life into the religious tradition of the Thrice Great Hermes allowing these ancient scriptures an increasingly wider audience.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Patrizia Trotta on June 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
but at times a big heavy going, it has to be said. His writing style might not be to everyone's liking. The contents, however, are among the most interesting published on this subject. It would be a pity to miss out on this book if one is passionate about Hermeticism.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Agnes J. Thomas on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love to read about Hermes. I am disappointed in this book because the print is so small that it is very difficult to read. It hurts your eyes, and after awhile, it gives you a headache.
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again