The idea for Hermes Trismegistus stems from the Egyptian God Thoth
who is frequently written about in connection with the goddess
Maat, embodiment of the order of the cosmos.
Thot was originally personified by the ibis, and millions of
carefully wrapped ibis mummies testify to the worship of this animal
sacred to Thoth.
In spell 167 of the Book of the Dead, where Thoth is said to "pacify"
the eye, we have a reference to his bringing home the Distant Goddess.
A few tausend years later in the later Egyptian periods Thoth then
was transformed into the universal Hermes Trismegistus, the "thrice
A first step was his designation as "twice great" , which he already
bears on a stela, now in Lausanne (Switzerland), which is dated to
year 20 of King Apries, that is, 570 B.C.E., and records a grant of
land by Pharaoh to Thoth, the "twice great," lord of Hermopolis (in
From the same reign comes the title "overseer of the prophets of
Thoth, the twice great, lord of Hermopolis," born by Ankhhor, an
official of Nitocris, God's Wife of Amun in Thebes. The
epithet "twice great" appears written in Dernotic beginning with the
reign of Darius 1, and from the third century B.C.E. on, it is
intensified by means of the adverb wer, "exceedingly," leading to the
development of "thrice great" beginning with the late second century
B.C.E. We even find a "five times great" in the First Story of Setne
and other texts. From the Egyptian form "thrice great, exceedingly"
(the language had no grammatical form for the superlative)
The Tabula Smaragdina , also called "Kybalion," , is the work of an
Arab alchemist of the ninth century, its first western publication,
in the form of a Latin text, was first published in 1541. And
certainly was not of any influence on Plato, but the other way
round , the 9e century "Kybalion," was influenced by neo-Platonism,
that also did not have much to with Plato directly but this movement
at least borrowed his name.
The Sabaeans in Harran, who were without a sacred scripture under
Islam, in order to count as a "people of the Book," elevated the
Corpus Hermeticum into such a holy book in the ninth century, thereby
contributing to the continued existence of Hermetic texts among the
Arab writers. M. Ullmann has published an example of such a tractate,
the Serpent Book of Hermes Trismegistus, a dialogue of Hermes with
Asclepius. In this text, we are informed, among other things, that
his grandfather, the "Hermes of Hermes," built the temples of Egypt
and deposited timeless knowledge in them. Other Arab writers offer
similar accounts; al-ldrisi (d. 1165) stresses that this was Hermes'
way of keeping his knowledge alive after the Flood. In particular, the
temple of Akhn-dm was constructed by Hermes "several years before
the Flood" (Ibn Duqmaq, d. 1407), and on its walls, "all the
Egyptians'knowledge of alchemy, magic, talismans, medicine,
astronomy, and geometry were set down"
And later we have a "the perfectly preserved corpse" of
"Christian Rosenkreutz" bears a close resemblance to the tale given
in the Tabula Smaragdina, in which the Emerald Tablet is said to have
been found in the hands of Hermes as he lay in state in his tomb.
Kaballa as a Christian Science and for ist integration with
Hermeticism came from Pico Della Mirandola (l463-94). And continued
with Agrippa Von Nettesheim, John Dee, Reuchlin, Knorr von Rosenroth.
Blavatsky placed the Corpus Hermetic in early Pharaoh times instead
of during the Hellenistic period, place the Kabbala of the middle ages
in Rabbinistic time periods, and assumed that the Greek mysteries had
similar contents as the cabbalist- neuplatonic ideas. Blavatsky
therefore whas not so interested in Gnosticism as she was in
Hermetism, because for her, Gnosis derived from Hermetism, whereby
today we know it is the other way around.