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The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 3

by G.R.S. Mead

p. 84



(Patrizzi (p. 42) runs this on to Ex. xix. without a break.

Text: Stob., Ethica, vii. 31, under heading: “Of Hermes”; G. (ii.) pp. 654, 655; M. ii. 100, 101; W. ii. 160, 161.

Ménard, Livre IV., No. i. of “Fragments Divers,” pp. 271, 272.)

There is, then, essence, reason, thought, 1 perception. 2

Opinion and sensation move towards perception; reason directs itself towards essence; and thought sends itself forth through its own self.

And thought is interwoven with perception, and entering into one another they become one form,—which is that of the Soul [itself].

Opinion and sensation move towards the Soul’s perception; but they do not remain in the same state. Hence is there excess, and falling short, and difference with them.

p. 85

When they are drawn away from the perception, they deteriorate; but when they follow it and are obedient, they share in the perceptive reason through the sciences. 1

2. We have the power to choose; it is within our power to choose the better, and in like way [to choose] the worse, according to our will. 2

And if [our] choice clings to the evil things, it doth consort with the corporeal nature; [and] for this cause Fate rules o’er him who makes this choice.

Since, then, the intellectual essence 3 in us is absolutely free,—[namely] the reason that embraces all in thought,—and that it ever is a law unto itself and self-identical, on this account Fate does not reach it. 4

Thus furnishing it first from the First God, it 5 sent forth the perceptive reason, and the whole reason which Nature hath appointed unto them that come to birth.

With these the Soul consorting, consorteth with their fates, though [in herself] she hath no part [or lot] in their fates’ nature.

p. 86

(Patrizzi (p. 42) adds the following to the preceding; it is not found in Stobæus, and appears to be a scholium.)

What is necessitated by the interwoven harmony 1 of [all] the parts, in no way differs from that which is fated.


I have supplied a temporary heading for the sake of uniformity. Our extract, however, seems to be taken from a lengthy treatise, and was probably one of the Sermons to Tat.


84:1 νόημα.

84:2 διάνοια.

85:1 διὰ τῶν μαθημἄτων.

85:2 Reading ἑκουσίως for the meaningless ἀκουσίως of the text.

85:3 Reading νοηματικὴ with Patrizzi, instead of σωματικὴ as with G. W. prefers ἀσώματος (incorporal).

85:4 Sc. the reason.

85:5 The Soul, or intellectual essence. The text is very obscure, and Wachsmuth does not seem to have improved it. Cf. C. H., xii. (xiii.) 8.

86:1 Lit. interweaving.

Next: Excerpt XXI. Of Isis to Horus