Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Ancient Hermetism and Esotericism

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Aries

The Hermetic treatises have played a considerable role in the history of Western Esotericism. However, according to the influential definition of Antoine Faivre, Western Esotericism is a historical phenomenon originating from the fifteenth century, when Marsilio Ficino translated the Greek Corpus Hermeticum into Latin. The question, then, is if the term “esotericism” has any utility for understanding the original context of the Hermetic treatises, in the first centuries of the Common Era. The present contribution aims to give a summary account of research into ancient Hermetism, and consider the Hermetic treatises in light of the six elements of Faivre’s conception of Western Esotericism. These six elements can serve as heuristic tools to single out certain salient features of the treatises, but do not really help us gain a deeper understanding of them or the greater phenomenon of Hermetism. However, recalling the work of Hugh Urban, it will be suggested that we should use “esotericism” as an analytical term designating a social strategy, characterized by the creation of a closed social space, a claim to possess a superior faculty of knowledge, and rites of initiation to obtain this faculty and become a new human. The advantage of this second approach is that it permits us to compare the social strategies operative in the Hermetic treatises with those of other esoteric traditions, including those that do not have any historical affiliations with Hermetism.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oslo Christian.Bull@teologi.uio.no

10.1163/15700593-01501008
/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01501008
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
10
5
Loading
Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01501008
Loading

Data & Media loading...

http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01501008
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01501008
2015-01-01
2018-07-18

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    Aries — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation