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The Corpus Hermeticum

The Corpus Hermeticum introduces this new way of understanding divinity; it carries and reveals the message of a new way of relying on God in the uncertainties of the daily life. For its contents and the way they are treated, the Corpus certainly is an esoteric work addressed to small groups of “initiates”, people who are able to understand the hidden meaning in the words of revelation. The Poimandres The first treaty (logos) of the Corpus Hermeticum is called Poimandres, this title is commonly translated as “man's shepherd” and indicates the typical figure of the God who intervenes in daily life with the aim of directing, guiding, protecting the flock who, without him, feels lost and at evil's mercy. The Poimandres thus bears the figure of the savior that the people are awaiting: he is the Nous, the Supreme Mind, the Father who spontaneously decides to reveal himself to the people through his intermediary. So why should God feel this need to intervene in human history and stand before His creatures? Because He loves man (Anthropos, the primordial man, the Adam of the Bible, made with His image and resemblance). This is the man who is guilty of a crime that makes him imperfect, the one who has become mortal in his body. This man is offered the opportunity of a new and definitive salvation. He is to obey his shepherd's “word” and so walk the way that will reunite him with his divine Father. At this point, it is very interesting to have a look to the description that Poimandres makes of this God revealing to man. 29 In paragraph 5 we read the following statements: Tò phòs ekèino, egò Noùs o sòs theòs...(The light that I Mind your god... that is the light, I that am the Mind am your god) ò de ek Noòs photeinòs Logos uiòs theù...(the from luminous Intellect Logos son of god... the one [am I] from [the] luminous intellect of 168

Logos, son of god) tò en soi blèpon kai akùon, logos kurìu, ò de Noùs patèr theòs... (what in you observing and seeing, Logos of God, the instead Mind father god... what in you sees and observes is instead the Mind of god father, Logos of God) In § 12 we read: ò dè pànton patèr o Noùs, on zoè kai phòs... (the of all [things] father the Mind being life and light... Mind being life and light [is] the father of all [things] In § 21: ek photòs kai zoès sunèsteken ò patèr tòn òlon... (of light and of life is made the father of all [things]... the father of all [things] is made of light and of life) In § 22 God says of himself: paraghìnomai egò ò Noùs tòis osìois kài agathòis kài katharòis kài eleèmosi, tòis eusebùsi... (am close to I [care for], the Intellect, the saints, the good, the pure ones, the merciful, the pious... I, the Intellect, am close to [care for] the saints, the good, the pure, the merciful, the pious) e parousìa moù ghìnetai boètheia... (the presence mine is support... my presence is support) ùk eàso tà prospìptonta energhèmata tù sòmatos ektelestènai... ([I] will not let the falling forces of the body reach the end... I will not let the falling forces of the body reach the end) In § 28 we find the call to conversion, also present in the Gospels, and it is interesting to note how this concept is a new idea to a world that did not conceive the possibility of achieving immortality through repentance: metanoèsate oi sunodeèusantes te plàne... (convert the [you] walking with [in] the error... you walking in error [must] convert) Paragraph 31 introduces the prayer addressed to God where, among other invocations, one also reads: àghios ò theòs kai patèr ton òlon...(Holy the God and Father of all 169

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