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Thrice Greatest Hermes -Vol2- Sermons

Thrice Greatest Hermes -Vol2- Sermons

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Published by: jrod on Feb 18, 2011
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11/12/2013

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The text seems to be

very corrupt, and at one time I

thought it

incomplete ; but it

may very well end with

the reference to the

mighty deeds of the men of old.

The title "

Sacred Sermon "

would lead us to

expect

something of a

special nature, something that would

constitute a basis of doctrine. For we hear of the

"

Sacred Sermon "

of

Orpheus, and of the "

Sacred

Sermon "

of

Pythagoras, and are told that

they formed

the most sacred

deposits of these two

mystic schools

respectively, and were

regarded with

special reverence ;

they thus seem to have been looked

upon in some

fashion as

containing the

groundwork of these

systems.

And this is

precisely what we find with our treatise

;

it is to a

large extent a

summary of the

general ideas

of the

"Shepherd" cosmogony adapted to the needs of

a

simpler formularization.

When, however, Reitzenstein

(p. 193) refers to this

treatise

cursorily as the

preaching of some

prophet or

other which has been transferred to Hermes

by the

Redactor of our

Corpus, he

suggests that we are

dealing

with a doctrine

foreign to the

cosmogonical ideas of

the "

Shepherd." It

is, indeed, true that if we

compare

the data of the two treatises

together, detail

by detail,

we shall find

strong contradictions

;

but the

general

"

feel "

of both is the same, the

general atmosphere is

identical.

THE TRINITY

Prefixed to the

cosmogenesis is a formal

theological

prooem, the

precise meaning of which

escapes me

because of its almost mnemonic nature

; it

is, indeed

THE SACRED SERMON

79

quite in sutra

style. There

appears, however, to be a

distinct trinitarian x

idea

lurking in the first

sentence,

the

trinity consisting of God (o 6eo?) and Godhead

(TO Qelov) and Nature

(fj vo-is). The

Glory or Power

of all

things is this Divine

Trinity. The Source

(or

Beginning), the End and the

Ever-renewing of all

things

are

owing to this Triad. All three seem to be almost

interchangeable terms. The Godhead is the Mind of

God, Godly Nature is the Wisdom of God.

Again, at

the end of the sermon

( 4) we are told that the God-

head

(or that which is

Divine) is "

Nature's

ever-making-

new-again the cosmic mixture." Godhead in

operation is

Nature, while at the same time Nature is co-established

in

Godhead, and both are one in

God, the Source of all.

The

cosmogenesis begins with the

grandiose image :

"

Darkness that knew no bounds was in

Abyss."

We have

already, in

commenting on "

Darkness "

in

the "

Poemandres "

treatise, referred, in

explanation,

to a Gnostic tradition in which the Primal Elements

appear as Water, Darkness, Abyss, and

Chaos, and have

given some reason for

ascribing the form of this tradition

to

Egypt that

is, Archaic

Egypt, a

parallel tradition

to the

Sumerian, both derived from a still more Archaic

source.

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