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Thread: The Corpus Hermeticum

  1. #1
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    The Corpus Hermeticum

    The Corpus Hermeticum

    (downloadable as PDF and other formats)

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    Thank you Andro.

    Looks like a good night for a read.

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    Thanks, Andro! I wanted to read Zosimos by now, but I think Corpus Hermeticum is even better to start with. I found different translations of the first chapter (Poimandres) and compared them to the ancient greek text (https://www.themathesontrust.org/lib...s-hermeticum-i). I think, this translation of Mead is not the best, but having it as epub is really great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uambra View Post
    Thanks, Andro! I wanted to read Zosimos by now, but I think Corpus Hermeticum is even better to start with. I found different translations of the first chapter (Poimandres) and compared them to the ancient greek text (https://www.themathesontrust.org/lib...s-hermeticum-i). I think, this translation of Mead is not the best, but having it as epub is really great.
    Mead was a Theosophist, so.. grain of salt. He wrote a number of books revolving around Hermeticism and Gnosticism, most of which are available on Archive. He is more of a "popular" writer than "academic", and his writings are mention to be accessible to the common man, lacking any specialized knowledge, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Like any translated text, it falls under the realm of "due diligence" to at least browse more than one translation if available. I'm pretty sure there are multiple versions of the Corpus Hermeticum on Archive as well.

    But why I'm really replying is Zosimos.. Assuming you are a native english speaker, did you have any sources in mind for your study? I accidentally bumped into him in January. I was downloading manuscripts from MBK (Kassel), and I thought I had randomly stumbled upon the source for the "Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra". It turns out what I found was an almost exact copy of the real source, the Marciana manuscript. I then found out that one was available for download, and started researching it.

    This Marciana manuscript seems to the source of almost everything that is known of Zosimos in the West. I searched in vain for any kind of comprehensive bibliographic information on the manuscript. I finally found a barebones chart breaking down the different included texts. I would say easily more than half are attributed to Zosimos, and a citation to 'Berthelot'.

    Berthelot translated most if not all the Zosimos works to French as 'Les oeuvres de Zosime' in his "Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs". These seem to machine translate to English pretty well.

    But I did find a recent book on his 'Muṣḥaf aṣ-ṣuwar' (Book of Pictures), based on an Arabic manuscript from a museum in Turkey. It doesn't offer a full translation of it. It contains the images from teh manuscript, but no complete translation. I haven't read it, but browsed it a bit. It's probably too Jungian for most, and I've spied them taking a shit on Berthelot in the text. I've really only gone as far as extracting the images, as I can't find any references to the Ms. on the internet, or at the museum in question. I've noticed sections suggesting The Book of Pictures influence on the Turba Philosophorum and Rosarium Philosophorum.

    In general, there seems to be more and more Zosimos material being identified closer to the source, in Arabic works. Which makes sense, considering how Islam absorbed Greek knowledge during it's Golden Age.

    The copy manuscript I mentioned turned out to be more interesting than I thought.. I had only downloaded the second half where I had noticed images. When I figured out what it was, I went and retrieved the first half.. where on the cover it records the manuscripts sale to Dr. John Dee.

    And a weird coincidence - in this Zosimos folder of mine that has been stalled since January, I seem to have Mead's "The Thrice Greatest Hermes", so I guess there must be references to Zosimos in there.

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    Hi Greg, actually I am German. I didn't have any specific sources in mind yet. I am new to Alchemy (I know quite a lot or at least more then 'normal' people about magick, religious, esoteric and psychological topics) and I just try to find an approach to primary alchemic literature somehow. So I thought it to be a good idea to follow the paths of history as long as there isn't a special topic or an alchemist to whom I feel drawn. Right now I want to search for sources in German libraries, hoping to get access to them. Unfortunately I can't read French well, I doubt I would understand Berthelot.

    Concernig Jung I don't have any problems with him. I have his book on Alchemy, but only read the first part so far (which is more about religion and the archetype of god than about Alchemy).

    There's just too much to read, I don't know where to start. *sigh* Right now I am yearning more for primary sources, so yeah, I read the Corpus Hermeticum now and then want to dive into Zosimos. Do you have any links to what you've found so far?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uambra View Post
    Hi Greg, actually I am German. I didn't have any specific sources in mind yet. I am new to Alchemy (I know quite a lot or at least more then 'normal' people about magick, religious, esoteric and psychological topics)
    [snip]
    Unfortunately I can't read French well, I doubt I would understand Berthelot.
    I don't really know anything about alchemy. I've pretty much told you everything I know about Zosimos at this point. I wasn't really ready to talk about it at all, as I haven't done any due diligence. I *believe* that most or everything that is known about Zosimos stems from "Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Cod. Marc. gr. 299".

    I only speak and read english... there are only a few diagrams in that very large greek manuscript, and I've been able to find almost nothing about it. Here's at least a breakdown of the texts and authors:

    https://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/cote/69770/


    You'll notice all the "Cf. Berthelot" under the "commentary" column, often in combination with "Zosimus alchemista". Those are references to his "Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs", volume 2, which contains his "Les oeuvres de Zosime". Those are all the texts from the manuscript that he has translated.

    His books are well out of copyright, and the full text is on the web here:

    http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/alchimie/alchimieIII.htm

    It's pretty modern french, so it translates pretty well, which is an automatic option for me in Chrome. I'm not sure how it translates to German, but you could always try.

    The "hook" that drew me into this was finding "Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra". quickly cobbled together from wikipedia:

    "She is credited with the invention of the alembic.[7] Also trying to quantify alchemy and its experiments, Cleopatra worked with weights and measures. Three alchemical texts related to Cleopatra survive. The text titled A Dialogue of Cleopatra and the Philosophers exists, but cannot be attributed to her.

    "On Weights and Measures"
    "Gold Making of Cleopatra"
    "A Dialogue of the Philosophers and Cleopatra"

    Cleopatra is most noted for the Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra (Greek: Χρυσοποιία Κλεοπάτρας), a single sheet document which contains only symbols, drawings and captions (all of which are pictured below). It is first found on a single leaf in a tenth-to-eleventh century manuscript in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice, MS Marciana gr. Z. 299."
    You'll notice in that chart of bibliographic information that there are texts attributed to Cleopatra, but where the Chyrsopoeia exists in in Zosimos's "De Organis Et Caminis", without any mention of her (in the bibliographic info at least, it must exist in the Greek). To be honest my focus has always been on the ouroborous.. It's only very recently I noticed the islamic alchemical apparatus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uambra View Post
    Concernig Jung I don't have any problems with him. I have his book on Alchemy, but only read the first part so far (which is more about religion and the archetype of god than about Alchemy).

    There's just too much to read, I don't know where to start. *sigh* Right now I am yearning more for primary sources, so yeah, I read the Corpus Hermeticum now and then want to dive into Zosimos. Do you have any links to what you've found so far?
    I just don't know enough at that point to know if this is really what Zosimos was about, and how much the authors are trying to make it fit. It's right in my wheelhouse. A little too "on the nose" and perfect. I'm sure I saw a blurb on "man of light" in relation to all this, but this is the best quote I could find in a hurry, to represent the narrative they are laying down:

    This triune figure is Hermes-Mercurius, as becomes evident from the pictures of the «7lh Book about the Mercuries». He is obviously able to handle on the one hand the light and uncoloured spiritual-humans and on the other hand the dark black-red animal-humans. Hermes symbolizes a spiritual entity that goes beyond Christ, who was—as he declared—not of this world and had nothing to do with what Christianity labeled evil. Our figure here is clearly a representation of the guide of alchemy, the one that can separate and hold together the light and the dark side, the lower animal realm and the upper divine aspect of the human existence. He is the evasive spirit of the unconscious with different appearances uterius capax, capable of both. He is not only good but can also be evil: «He is good with the good and evil with the evil» as some alchemists said, depending on the attitude of the humans.51 He is a representation of the anthropos, that symbol of the entire human, including also his or her dark bodily side. But here this figure is experienced first in its hideous aspect, depicting a real possession by the archetype of the daemonic or divine greater human.

    The picture represents the beginning state of the work, where Zosimos and Theosebeia are seen hopelessly gripped by a force much greater than they are. The two, Zosimos and Theosebeia, are now kept in suspension; they cannot move freely and are at the mercy of this divine or demonic spirit who reminds us, e.g., of the three-headed Shiva in Hindu mythology. It is not the devil but rather a figure like Lucifer-Prometheus.52 This anthropos-figure that starts the process is what we would call today with C. G. Jung the principium individuationis. We have in this figure a symbol of the greater inner human that is still unconscious. The fact that Zosimos and Theosebeia in the left hand are represented with a sun and a moon on their heads shows that the archetype of the male and the female, symbolized by sun and moon, has entered the realm of the two humans, while the animal shape of the body of the two to the left (in the right hand of the Hermes figure)
    Corpus Alchemicum Arabicum
    Volume II. 1
    (CALA II. 1)
    The Book of Pictures
    Mushaf as-suwar
    Zosimos of Panopolis
    Facsimile with an Introduction
    by Theodor Abt
    Living Human Heritage Publications, Zurich
    2007

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing everyone. Was trying to find more translations of Zosimos, thanks Greg. For anyone interested in other translations of Corpus Hermeticum here are some but I don't know which is the most accurate.

    1650 The Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus, in XVII. Books translated by Doctor Everard
    https://archive.org/details/HermesTr...ePymander1650/

    1657 The Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus, in 17 Books translated by Doctor Everard
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...page&q&f=false

    1906 Thrice Greatest Hermes Vol II translated by G.R.S. Mead
    https://archive.org/details/MeadGRST...II1906/page/n1

    1925 Hermetica Vol Two translated by Walter Scott
    https://archive.org/details/ScottHermeticaVolTwo

    1992 Hermetica translated by Brian P. Copenhaver
    ISBN: 0521361443

    2000 The Way of Hermes translated by Clement Salaman, Dorine van Oyen, William D. Wharton, Jean-Pierre Mahe
    ISBN: 0892818174

    2017 Hermes Trismegistus Corpus Hermeticum translated by Juan and Maria Balboa
    https://archive.org/details/corpus-h...balboa/page/n1

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