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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Thought Made Accessible
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...
Published on Aug. 18 2000 by F. P. Kovacs

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Wisdom of the Pharaohs!
Unfortunately this is a terribly pointless book that splices questionable "translations" of arbitrary excerpts from the corpus hermeticum together to make up a whole new series of poems. The relationship between these poems to the original ideas is left unclear, and you must basically rely on the understanding and synthesis of the ideas by the authors. Given...
Published on June 19 2000


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Thought Made Accessible, Aug. 18 2000
By 
F. P. Kovacs (Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy To Understand Interpretation, Feb. 23 2002
By 
Wendy Schroeder (Englewood, Co United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
The Hermetica at only 160 pages can be read in only one day if the reader chooses to rush through it. Mr. Freke and Mr. Gandy has a casual writing style that makes it possible to do so if the reader desires to just glean the surface of the contents. It's highly inadvisable. This is a book to own and meditate on the deeper meanings of its contents. The works of Hermes were collated in the city of Alexandria in Egypt during the second and third centuries CE. Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city and the citizens were known for their desire for knowledge. But the golden age of Alexandria ended when the Christian 'Holy' Roman Empire came into power and a millennium period came in known as the Dark Ages. The owners of the Hermetic books continually had to find a sanctuary where they could feel safe. One place was the city of Florence, which ended the Dark Ages and started the Renaissance. The main idea in Hermes' teaching is God as Cosmic Consciousness. Similar ideas seems to me to be in other mystic outlooks of other religions.
As a person who has an interest in all religions and spiritual writings and traditions this is a great little book. You can take this book and read just a few pages a day and ponder its meaning on different chapters. Over time, your understanding will increase and deepen. The only part I personally didn't care for is the astrological parts of the writings. This is inherent to the Hermetica and not the fault of Mr. Freke and Mr. Gandy. They are the interpreters. Due to my own personal tastes and beliefs I choose to ignore that part but it is still a beautiful way to explore the meaning of life. I also like to compare religions and I see many other mystical viewpoints in it and it helps expand my understanding of life. I highly recommend buying this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Wisdom of the Pharaohs!, June 19 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
Unfortunately this is a terribly pointless book that splices questionable "translations" of arbitrary excerpts from the corpus hermeticum together to make up a whole new series of poems. The relationship between these poems to the original ideas is left unclear, and you must basically rely on the understanding and synthesis of the ideas by the authors. Given any book and one can splice random segments together to say just about anything, and the qualifications of the authors seem unclear at best. What is unfortunately clear is that they mostly want to sell the book to silly new agers, not to anyone who may have a serious interest in the original ideas and their sources, which are an interesting multi-cultural mishmash of late pagan neoplatonism, Christianity and yes, local but very degenerated Egyptian folk ideas. The arguments about the relationship to very ancient Egyptian ideas is totally feeble, and has no basis is fact. What is clear is there are no sources in the actual (and extensive) ancient Egyptian texts that have survived that give any credence to the hypothesis that real corpus hermeticum is some kind of faithful transmission of ancient Egyptian ideas (especially not from the time of the old kingdom) much less this hopelessly re-edited mishmash. If you want to learn about real ancient Egyptian religious ideas about the cosmos there are plenty of translations of the real thing. If you are interested in the origin of hermetic ideas you would be better off buying another book, either a real translation, or any honest book on the subject.
The shallowness of this book is for me summarized by the silly meaningless hieroglyphics that are included along side of the text, presumably to convince somebody that the poems are a kind of translation of the ancient Egyptian (for example, they stop just where the text of the poems stop). Of course the hieroglyphics are just a decoration, with the same meaningless series of signs repeated over and over again. They haven't even tried to reproduce the actual appearance of real hieroglyphics. The whole book smacks of a deliberate manipulation in favor of something that might sell well to shallow new agers. This books should be called not "The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs" but "The Wisdom of Freke and Gandy", something which clearly has questionable value. They get no points from me for their poem since they so deliberately obscure the actual sources of their composition (not translation!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book actually is worth opening, April 10 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
Contrary to what our reviewer in Houston claims, this book is definitely worth a read, at least for those interested in understanding ancient Egyptian thought. It's the latest in a series of books by the same author which attempts to explain the ideas behind the great wisdom traditions, in plain English. The text is in fact a carefully crafted amalgamation of numerous Hermetic books and fragments, with modernized translations. Each sections begins with a prose introduction. I found the verses stood quite well by themselves, however, and some of the resulting poetry was positively Rumi-esque. I appreciated this poetic yet accessible presentation of ancient Egyptian metaphysics, and look forward to exploring more of the books in this series.

By the way, the Texan's Egyptology skills are apparently as weak as his psychic and critical literary skills. The "cartoon" on the front cover is the Udjat Horus Pectoral found in the wrappings of King Tut's mummy, and currently on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. (Granted, the picture has been printed in mirror image of the original.)
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1.0 out of 5 stars Misinformed, July 3 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
I have not read the book itself, but by reading the description on the back cover it is obvious that the publishers, if not the author himself, are misinformed.
The Hermetica is not an ANCIENT Egyptian text, as the description indicates, but was rather written in late antiquity, in the early centuries AD. That said, it WAS written in Egypt.
The writings were highly influential, and many Renaissance Humanists and Neoplatonists studied them closely--Ranaissance scholars DID believe them to be of Ancient Egyptian origins, however as stated previously, this is not the case.
That said, the book itself might be useful and relevant, but the back cover description error throws the rest of the book into serious question, even as a popular as opposed to scholarly take on the subject.
I would strongly recommend that interested people purchase a different translation--there are a number of translations that come up on the search, any one of them would probably be more accurate and useful than this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the Hermetica, June 20 2000
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This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
Speaking from the perspective of a fundamentalist Christian, this book has a lot of very revealing information concerning one of the most influential collections of literature on early Christian philosophers such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen. It's just one more reason that Christians should avoid philosophy altogether (Col. 2:9). Even so, it's well worth the time to read it. Did the idea of being "born again now" have its origin, in part, in the Hermetica? Possibly. Did the idea of mystic contemplation of the unknowable god, in contradistinction to Jer. 9:23-24, have its origin, in part, in the Hermetica? Again, possibly. This book is a good place to begin such investigative studies.
This book gives only an overview of the material contained in the Hermetica. For more advanced studies, I would recommend "The Egyptian Hermes" by Garth Fowden and "Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition" by Frances Yates. What's annoying is that a bibliography is given at the end of the book, but there are NO FOOTNOTES in the text. Comments such as "The pyramid texts of Saqquara...are over 5000 years old and yet contain doctrines that are identical to those expounded in the Hermetica [which were composed, most likely from pre-existing material, in the 2nd and/or 3rd cent. AD]" may or may not be found in the texts in the bibliography. There's no easy way to tell, other than purchasing and reading the listed titles. It's even more annoying that one of the books in the bibliography is badly misrepresented. The author's name is Lucie Lamy, not Lucy Lamy, and the title is "Egyptian Mysteries: New Light on Ancient Knowledge" not "The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt." This is the one that the aforementioned comment most likely came from, but it took me several weeks to realize the authors' mistake.
Okay, I'm done griping now. Enjoy the read. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Useful insight to source of religious thought, May 24 2000
This review is from: The Hermetica (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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4.0 out of 5 stars More uninformed onesided favortism, Aug. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
If ppl are going to make comments like, Hermetica predates the concepts of osiris(ausar) and isis(auset) then it would help if u show proof! The Egyptian concepts of god self and the material universe of alchemy are older than the Hermeticum which was just a copy of it by the western invaders athens(greeks)or a(hittite)group. There is historical evidence to support this claim, go to Egypt talk with the sufi's or any well known unbias anthropologist, archeologist,geologist, etc and also look at the artifacts which have been carbon dated as preceding the hermetica by 500 or more yrs besides ppls misconception of Egyptians explanation of the neteru as the attributes of one enitity speaks volumes lmao! the Egyptians also taught that everything came from a singular source which could only be known by its attributes and not as the god lmao or the male dominate figure hmmm! very sexist and patriarch tsk tsk. This book is like many other books that reveal the truth, always shot down.
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1.0 out of 5 stars an insipid new age pastiche of the Hermetica, Oct. 12 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
This book really gives very little idea of the majestic scope, philosophic depth and range of authentic Hermeticism: it in effect just provides a watered-down New Age pastiche carefully censoring out those tractates from the original 'Corpus Hermeticum' which teach an uncompromising Iranian-derived Spirit-Matter dualism and pessimist Gnosis concerning the material world or other presently unfashionable ideas.Even those translations of the 'Hermetica' now considered outdated such as those of W.Scott and G.R.S. Mead are vastly preferable and the Scott text published by Shambala is a far better investment and contains the whole 18 complete tractates and Stobaea Hermetica to boot. Avoid this insipid conflation of watered-down extracts and turn instead to the real wisdom-teaching of Hermes Trismegistos.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This little book will shake you awake., June 2 2000
This review is from: The Hermetica (Paperback)
"...I, Thrice-Great Hermes, the first of men to attain All-Knowledge, have inscribed the secrets of the gods, in sacred symbols and holy heiroglyphs, on these stone tablets, which I have concealed for a future world that may seek our sacred wisdom."
Fast-forward 5000 years, to that 'future world'. These sacred writings, among many others, have been returned to us, presented in a poetic manner which invites revisiting again and again. The teachings of Hermes, although ancient, reveal a Divine Order beneath the noise and bustle of our present world.
Get quiet. Put some Space music on. Tuck in to this little book, and let it work on your mind and heart and Awaken you, too.
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The Hermetica by Timothy Freke (Paperback - April 17 2002)
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