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The Corpus Hermeticum: Recent Research on the Magicians' "Bible"

Looking at the source material for the hermetic tradition: the Corpus as well as the Arabic Hermetica, the Tabula smaragdina and other documents.

Hermes Trismegistus, the 'Thrice Great', is the legendary father of magic. The main writing that puts forth his teachings is the Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of texts from late-antique Graeco-Roman Egypt. This lecture will look at the source material for the hermetic tradition: those in the Corpus as well as the Arabic Hermetica, the Tabula smaragdina and other Hermetic documents (bonus! the speaker reveals their little-known Islamic and Byzantine history). He shares the latest scholarly views on questions such as: where did they come from? Why is the concept of the “Hermetic path” a problem? How Egyptian is this tradition? And what about the little-known fact that some texts were excluded and kept unknown, whilst others were included and promoted?

The then tells how the hermetic material became a kind of magical scripture for Western European magicians, and outlines some of the more odd and wonderful ways in which it's been interpreted by occultists down the centuries.

Earl Fontainelle (BA Classics, King's College, London; Mphil, Western Esoteric Tradition, University of Amsterdam) is interested in the history of the ongoing dialogue between Word and Being in the Mediterranean region. He is currently studying Arabic and plays with the Hermetic Country band “Earl Fontainelle and His Pearl of Great Price”.


Earl Fontainelle | talks


Date and Time:

6 May 2009 at 7:15 pm


2 hours



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