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John David Chambers - The Theological And Philosophical Works Of Hermes Trismegistus (20.6 MB)

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THE IMercurius or Hermes Trismegistus of legend was a personage, an Egyptian sage or succession of sages, who, since the time of Plato, has been identified with the Thoth (the name of the month September) of that people. This Thoth is the reputed author of the "Kitual of the Dead," or, as styled in Egyptian phraseology, the "Manifestation of Light" to the Soul, who through it declared the will of the Gods and the mysterious nature of Divine things to Man. 1 Dr Pietschmann, in his work on Hermes, which exhaustively treats of ... More >>>
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Author:      John David Chambers
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THE IMercurius or Hermes Trismegistus of legend was a personage, an Egyptian sage or succession of sages, who, since the time of Plato, has been identified with the Thoth (the name of the month September) of that people. This Thoth is the reputed author of the "Kitual of the Dead," or, as styled in Egyptian phraseology, the "Manifestation of Light" to the Soul, who through it declared the

will of the Gods and the mysterious nature of Divine things to Man. 1 Dr Pietschmann, in his work on Hermes, which exhaustively treats of this subject, 2 gives a list of authorities for these facts, ranging from Plato down to Syncellus, circa A.D. 790. He states, however (p. 33), that by the time that the so-called Hermeneutical writings were collected together, the identity of Hermes with Thoth was

forgotten, and Thoth became his son Tat, and Asclepius his disciple, both of whom he instructs in the writings now translated. Subsequently Pietschmann informs us, quoting Letronne, 3 that the epithet " Trismegistus " appears first in the second century of the Christian era, and that, before that period, Hermes was designated by the repetition of the " peyas, ft'eyas, neya " only, as on the Eosetta

Stone.

Both Thoth and Hermes were gods of writing and of magic in their respective cultures. Thus, the Greek god of interpretive communication was combined with the Egyptian god of wisdom as a patron of astrology and alchemy. In addition, both gods were psychopomps guiding souls to the afterlife. And there is also a connection with the Egyptian Priest and Polymath Imhotep[citation needed].

AMycenaean Greek reference found on a Linear B clay tablet at Pylos[3] to a deity or semi-deity called TI-RI-SE-RO-E, Trisheros (the "thrice or triple hero[4]") could be connected to the later epithet "thrice wise" "Trismegistus", applied to Hermes/Thoth. On the same Tn 316 tablet as well as other Linear B tablets, found in Pylos and Knossos, appears the name of the deity "Hermes" as E-MA-A, but not in any apparent connection with the "Trisheros". This interpretation of poorly understood Mycenaean material is disputed, since Hermes Trismegistus is not referenced in any of the copious sources before he emerges in Hellenistic Egypt.

The majority of Greeks, and later Romans, did not accept Hermes Trismegistus in the place of Hermes[citation needed]. The two gods remained distinct from one another. Cicero noted several individuals referred to as "Hermes": "the fifth, who is worshipped by the people of Pheneus [in Arcadia], is said to have killed Argus, and for this reason to have fled to Egypt, and to have given the Egyptians their laws and alphabet: he it is whom the Egyptians call Theyt."[5] In the same place, Cicero mentions a "fourth Mercury (Hermes) was the son of the Nile, whose name may not be spoken by the Egyptians." The most likely interpretation of this passage is as two variants on the same syncretism of Greek Hermes and Egyptian Thoth (or sometimes other gods) the one viewed from the Greek-Arcadian perspective (the fifth, who went from Greece to Egypt), the other viewed from the Egyptian perspective (the fourth, where Hermes turns out "actually" to have been a "son of the Nile," i.e. a native god). Both these very good early references in Cicero (most ancient Trismegistus material is from early centuries CE) corroborate the view that Thrice-Great Hermes originated in Hellenistic Egypt through syncretism with Egyptian gods (the Hermetica refer most often to Thoth and Amun)



About Author:

David John Chambers (born 1930) is an English bibliographer, printing historian, printer and book-collector.[1] Throughout a career in insurance, latterly as a non-marine underwriter for AS Harrison Syndicate 56 at Lloyd's of London, and more recently in retirement, Chambers has studied books and ephemera relating to printing, typography, book-illustration, private presses, the book-arts, English art and literature, and has published books and articles on a wide range of related subjects. Since 1979 he has edited, or co-edited, The Private Library, the quarterly journal of the Private Libraries Association, a bibliophile society of which he has been Chairman since the 1970s, and a Council member from the late 1950s.

Chambers has also compiled volumes of the Association's annual bibliography of Private press books, and has designed some of the publications of the Private Libraries Association and of the Bibliographical Society of London. His major work of recent years is a history and bibliography of British private presses before Kelmscott, being chiefly the privately-run and amateur printing offices of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This work is currently in progress.

As a printer, Chambers has operated the Cuckoo Hill Press since the late 1950s, having made his first press himself. He printed a number of significant illustrated books in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but since that period has mostly confined his printing to ephemera and Christmas greetings. He has collected printing equipment and archives since the 1950s, with a special interest in wood-engraved blocks.


Select bibliography

*
o Chambers, David (editor). Charles Holtzapfel's Printing apparatus for the use of amateurs. Edited with James Mosley. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 1971.
o Chambers, David (editor). Caracteres de l'imprimerie, nouvellement graves par S. P. Fournier le jeune. London: Printing Historical Society, 1975.
o Chambers, David. Cock-a-hoop: a sequel to Chanticleer, Pertelote and Cockalorum, being a bibliography of the Golden Cockerel Press, September 1949-December 1961. Written with Christopher Sandford. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 1976.
o Chambers, David. Lucien Pissarro: notes on a selection of wood-blocks held at the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1980.
o Chambers, David. "The Boar's Head and Golden Hours Presses" in The Private Library. Third series, 8:1, Spring 1985, pp. 2-34.
o Chambers, David. Joan Hassall: engravings and drawings. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 1985.
o Chambers, David. Gogmagog: Morris Cox & the Gogmagog Press. Written with Colin Franklin and Alan Tucker. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 1991.
o Chambers, David (editor). A modest collection: Private Libraries Association 1956-2006. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 2006.
o Chambers, David. English country book shops. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 2009.

Select Cuckoo Hill Press bibliography

*
o Chambers, David. The office press. 1961.
o Chambers, David. Elizabeth II numismata. 1964.
o Bewick, Thomas. Engravings on wood by Thomas Bewick and his pupils. 1971.
o Potocki de Montalk, Count Geoffrey. Meillerie. 1972.
o Chambers, David. On printing by hand. 1977.
o Shirley Smith, Richard. Wood engravings: a selection, 1960 to 1977 ... with a foreword by Laurence Whistler. 1983.
o Kalashnikov, Anatoli. Anglo-Russian relations: an essay in wood-engraving ... with a commentary by W. E. Butler. 1983.


1. ^ "David Chambers: early private printing" in A modest collection: Private Libraries Association 1956-2006 (Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 2007, pp. [144]-146).