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The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs Paperback – December 26, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek, Latin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Timothy Freke is the author of many books on mystical philosophy, including The Tao Te Ching and, with Peter Gandy, The Complete Guide to World Mysticism. He lives in England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 145 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Original edition (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158542692X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585426928
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. P. Kovacs on August 18, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was wary of this book when I first purchased it, but to my delight it turned out to be the best introduction to the Hermes/Thoth literature available. Beyond the value of its clear and readable presentation of some of the oldest wisdom tracts in the Western World, the authors also briefly touch on the provinence of the works. Because the Hermes Corpus was declared a fraud in the 17th century, the heavy lifting required to point out that they are not is simply beyond the scope of this volume. But any reader who is intrigued by the material can go on and discover for themselves the story of Hermes and make their own judgement. I place the rediscovery of the Hermes Corpus on the same level as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts, so this fine introductory volume should be considered by anyone interested in ancient literature and spirituality.
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Format: Paperback
This book is basically a chop shop version of the Corpus Hermeticum and Asclepius, with translated excerpts taken from various sources including other authors who have been inspired by Hermeticism instead of the original source material itself. If that's what you're interested in, so much the better, but the title is really misleading. It would be more appropriate to say this book is a composite of Hermetic and Hermetically-inspired teachings.

A number of the reviewers on here say they're newcomers to the Hermetica and that they really appreciated this approach, finding it simple and easier to digest. In fairness, I've been studying the Hermetica for years, so perhaps your needs and views will be different from mine. I do have to say, however, that I found this book very deficient. I suppose if you want to study this subject, you could compare this book to fast food.

Pros:

1) The intros are written in clear English that anyone with a high school level education should be able to understand. If you don't give a toss for footnotes, you'll like that.
2) There's a list of sources in the back for further reading, should you wish to take your Hermetic studies further.
3) There's also a list of where this book was excerpted from, which I appreciated. This book is so drastically different from the actual Hermetica that when I first opened it, I did a double-take.

Cons:

1) The most obvious: this is an assortment of excerpts *from* the Hermetica as well as *about* the Hermetica.
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Format: Paperback
This is more a text "inspired by" the Greek and Latin Hermetica, and not a translation. For example, where the latin text has "deus", meaning of course "god", Freke & co. consistently translate as "Atum". Deus/theos in the Hermetica is not a proper name, but an honorific for the supreme principle, which is NEVER identified as the egyptian god Atum in the texts.
Buy instead "Hermetica" by Brian Copenhaver, or "The Way of Hermes" by Clement Salaman et al.
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Format: Paperback
I found this an interesting book. It begins with a history of the Hermetica, which is an ancient Egyptian religious/philosophical work, which gives an insight into the nature of God Man and the Universe. The analogies are very easy to follow and understand and give a new insight into what it's all about, and often fills many blanks left by other religions. The history also relates how the Greeks adopted the teachings and how during the last several thousand years the work has resurfaced from obscurity many times and each time caused a renaissance and advancement of mankind.
The original Hermetica is then presented in a condensed form which is designed to be easily read and accessable. This is a good method as it gives the reader the main ideas and if they like this form of philosophy they can then read the entire book Corpus Hermetica which is the whole teaching.
Despite being Egyptian texts, they predate the Isis/Osiris religion and are monothesist. It is surprising that few people are aware of the Corpus Hermetica which also predates the bible and old testament. Many ideas in more than one religion can be attributed to having roots in Hermetica. It is only beaten into first place as the oldest religious texts by the epic of Gilgamesh. Whilst many occult groups are referred to as being Hermetic, this does no justice to Hermetic thought which is easily compatable with most religions.
5 stars for making Corpus Hermetica easily accessable to the reader.
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I found this book interesting for getting the basic idea of what the Hermetica is.

I guess some reviewers think it's too watered down and doesn't match the voluminous original texts. However I read one such book years ago which was overloaded with footnotes and sections written in the original language which unfortunately for me I am not fluent in. There's something to be said for creating an approachable introduction to such a metaphysical subject.

The statements attributed to Thoth / Hermes in this book are very eloquent and poetic at times. He describes the universe as a goddess named Destiny who governs the stars and the constellations of the Zodiac. The Zodiac in turn governs the affairs of us mortals. On the day we are born the position of the constellations will foretell our destiny during this incarnation.

I would like to find a good book about astrology that shows the connections between the Zodiac and Egyptian mysticism if anyone can think of one. I'm interested in what the 12 signs mean in relation to the effects of the constellations on the affairs of mortals.

Some people see a connection between the Egyptian god Thoth and Christ like Thoth was Christ in another incarnation. Edgar Cayce stated that Thoth was the living embodiment of 'The Word' or something to that effect. The Gospel Of John describes Christ in that same way.

Another possible connection with Christ is the way Thoth explained what the term 'born again' means. Christians use that term often but do they know what it really means ? Perhaps they do know but they usually won't explain it in terms of Egyptian mysticism.
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