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The Egyptian priest and polymath Imhotep had been deified long after his death and therefore assimilated to Thoth in the classical and Hellenistic periods. This interpretation of poorly understood Mycenaean material is disputed, since Hermes Trismegistus is not referenced in any of the copious sources before he emerges in Hellenistic Egypt. Cicero enumerates several deities referred to as "Hermes": a "fourth Mercury Hermes was the son of the Nile, whose name may not be spoken by the Egyptians"; and "the fifth, who is worshiped by the people of Pheneus [in Arcadia ], is said to have killed Argus Panoptes , and for this reason to have fled to Egypt, and to have given the Egyptians their laws and alphabet: he it is whom the Egyptians call Theyt ".
Both of these early references in Cicero most ancient Trismegistus material is from the early centuries AD corroborate the view that Thrice-Great Hermes originated in Hellenistic Egypt through syncretism between Greek and Egyptian gods the Hermetica refer most often to Thoth and Amun.
This latter tradition has led to the confusion of Hermeticism with Gnosticism , which was developing contemporaneously. Clement of Alexandria was under the impression that the Egyptians had forty-two sacred writings by Hermes, writings that detailed the training of Egyptian priests.
The Hermetica is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. The dialogue called the Asclepius after the Greek god of healing describes the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems, and odors, so that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy.
In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf. Thrice Great[ edit ] Fowden asserts that the first datable occurrences of the epithet "thrice great" are in the Legatio of Athenagoras of Athens and in a fragment from Philo of Byblos , circa AD 64— Some authorities regard him as a contemporary of Abraham , and claim that Abraham acquired a portion of his mystical knowledge from Hermes himself Kybalion.
Many Christian writers, including Lactantius , Augustine , Marsilio Ficino , Campanella , and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola , as well as Giordano Bruno , considered Hermes Trismegistus to be a wise pagan prophet who foresaw the coming of Christianity. It was given by God to man in antiquity   and passed through a series of prophets, which included Zoroaster and Plato. In order to demonstrate the verity of the prisca theologia, Christians appropriated the Hermetic teachings for their own purposes.
By this account, Hermes Trismegistus was either a contemporary of Moses,  or the third in a line of men named Hermes, i. Enoch, Noah, and the Egyptian priest king who is known to us as Hermes Trismegistus  on account of being the greatest priest, philosopher, and king. During the Renaissance , it was accepted that Hermes Trismegistus was a contemporary of Moses. For the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum, see Hermetica.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the Hermetica enjoyed great prestige and were popular among alchemists. The "hermetic tradition" consequently refers to alchemy, magic, astrology, and related subjects. The texts are usually divided into two categories: the philosophical and the technical hermetica. The former deals mainly with philosophy , and the latter with practical magic, potions, and alchemy.
Magic spells to protect objects, for example, are the origin of the expression " hermetically sealed ". In these writings, Hermes Trismegistus is identified as Idris , the infallible Prophet who traveled to outer space from Egypt , and to heaven, whence he brought back a cache of objects from the Eden of Adam and the Black Stone from where he landed on earth in India. Ibn Kathir said, "As for Idris He is in the genealogical chain of the Prophet Muhammad, except according to one genealogist Ibn Ishaq says he was the first who wrote with the Pen.
There was a span of years between him and the life of Adam. Many of the scholars allege that he was the first to speak about this, and they call him Thrice-Great Hermes [Hermes Trismegistus]". Hagiographers and chroniclers of the first centuries of the Islamic Hegira quickly identified Hermes Trismegistus with Idris,  the nabi of surahs Genesis 5.
The first Hermes, comparable to Thoth , was a "civilizing hero", an initiator into the mysteries of the divine science and wisdom that animate the world; he carved the principles of this sacred science in hieroglyphs. The second Hermes, in Babylon , was the initiator of Pythagoras. The third Hermes was the first teacher of alchemy. New Age revival[ edit ] Modern occultists claim that some Hermetic texts may be of Pharaonic origin, and that the legendary "forty-two essential texts" that contain the core Hermetic religious beliefs and philosophy of life, remain hidden in a secret library.
Hermes Trimegisto, Kybalión B/D
EL KYBALION de Hermes Trimegisto