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Headword: *(ermh=s, o( *trisme/gistos
Adler number: epsilon,3038
Translated headword: Hermes the Trismegistos
Vetting Status: high
This man was an Egyptian sage; he flourished before the Pharaoh. He was called Trismegistos ['thrice-great'], because he made a statement about the triad,[1] saying [that] a single deity exists in triadic form thus: "there existed an intellectual light prior to the intellectual light, and there was always a mind enlightening the mind, and its unity was nothing else; and it was a spirit containing everything. Apart from that there did not exist another god, or angel, or essence. Because he is lord and father and god of everything, and everything is under him and within him. For his word being complete and fruitful and creative, and being a child[2] in fruitful nature and fruitful water, he made the water pregnant." And having said these things, he prayed: "I adjure you, sky, wise creation of the great god; I adjure you, voice of the father, the one that he spoke first, when he firmly set the whole world; I adjure you, by his only-begotten word and by the father who contains everything, gracious, be gracious."
Greek Original:
*(ermh=s, o( *trisme/gistos: ou(=tos h)=n *ai)gu/ptios sofo/s: h)/kmaze de\ pro\ tou= *faraw/. e)ke/klhto de\ *trisme/gistos, dio/ti peri\ tria/dos e)fqe/gcato ei)pw/n, e)n tria/di mi/an ei)=nai qeo/thta ou(/tws: h)=n fw=s noero\n pro\ fwto\s noerou=, kai\ h)=n a)ei\ nou=s noo\s fwteino/s, kai\ ou)de\n e(/teron h)=n h( tou/tou e(no/ths: kai\ pneu=ma pa/nta perie/xon. e)kto\s tou/tou ou) qeo/s, ou)k a)/ggelos, ou)k ou)si/a tis a)/llh. pa/ntwn ga\r ku/rios kai\ path\r kai\ qeo/s, kai\ pa/nta u(p' au)to\n kai\ e)n au)tw=| e)stin. o( ga\r lo/gos au)tou= pante/leios w)\n kai\ go/nimos kai\ dhmiourgiko/s, e)n goni/mw| fu/sei pai=s w)\n kai\ goni/mw| u(/dati, e)/gkuon to\ u(/dwr e)poi/hse. kai\ tau=ta ei)rhkw\s hu)/cato le/gwn: o(rki/zw se, ou)rane/, qeou= mega/lou sofo\n e)/rgon: o(rki/zw se fwnh\n patro/s, h(\n e)fqe/gcato prw/thn, h(ni/ka to\n pa/nta ko/smon e)sthri/cato: o(rki/zw se kata\ tou= monogenou=s au)tou= lo/gou kai\ tou= patro/s, tou= perie/xontos pa/nta, i(/lews, i(/lews e)/so.
This entry draws on Malalas, Chronographia 26.10-27.14; cf. Cyril of Alexandria, Contra Julianum 1.46, and Chronicon Paschale 85.8-86.9.
On Hermes Trismegistus, see also tau 1007, alphaiota 77, pi 1500, kappa 1392; ps.-Zonaras s.v. *(ermh=s; and David Potter in OCD(4) s.v.: 'the Hellenistic Hermes, Egyptianized through contact with the Egyptian Thoth. 'Trismegistos' derives from the Egyptian superlative obtained through repetition (Hermes appears as 'Great, Great, Great' on the Rosetta stone), which is later simplified as through the substitution of the prefix tris in the Roman period.' For Thoth, see theta 423, theta 446.
[1] Or, "trinity."
[2] So here, pai=s w)/n, but Malalas and Cyril have pesw/n ('having fallen').
Garth Fowden, The Egyptian Hermes (edn.2, 1993)
Keywords: Christianity; chronology; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; religion
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 12 September 2007@05:43:28.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; added bibliography; tweaks and cosmetics) on 12 September 2007@08:04:15.
Catharine Roth (added cross-references) on 12 September 2007@11:45:11.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, note, keyword) on 4 January 2008@23:22:35.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 28 October 2012@08:32:13.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 3 August 2014@08:26:17.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 3 December 2017@01:44:45.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 22 February 2019@01:19:37.


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