Review From User :
Copenhaver's introduction to the Hermetic corpus approaches the historical origins of Hermetism and Hermeticism from, seemingly, all angles-at once dispelling the mythic history that surrounded Hermes Trismegistus and clarifying the texts' rightful place in the greater context of Hellenistic philosophy and theology. The most valuable aspect, I found, of his introductory essay was the exploration of Hermetism as an ultimately syncretic religious movement that exemplified the concurrent cultural syncretism of first and second century Alexandria. As a complement to older introductory works to the same subject, Copenhaver modernizes the broader view of Hermetism by taking into account the recently discovered collection of Coptic Gnostic and Hermetic texts at Nag Hammadi. This allows for a better understanding of the relationship between Gnostic metaphysics and the theoretical Hermetica, dispelling notions of a rigid divide between the two systems. Introduction aside, the translation itself is wonderfully put together and is extrapolated upon by one hundred and sixty-seven pages of etymological, historical and philosophical notes on the text of the corpus. All of this combines to make Copenhaver one of the definitive modern sources on early Hermetism.
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