The First Book of Adam and Eve

The First Book of Adam and Eve

Chapter I

The crystal sea, God commands Adam, expelled from Eden, to live in the Cave of Treasures.

ON THE THIRD DAY, God planted the garden in the east of the earth, on the border of the world eastward, beyond which, towards the sun-rising, one finds nothing but water, that encompasses the whole world, and reaches to the borders of heaven.

2 And to the north of the garden there is a sea of water, clear and pure to the taste, unlike anything else; so that, through the clearness thereof, one may look into the depths of the earth.

3 And when a man washes himself in it, he becomes clean of the cleanness thereof, and white of its whiteness—even if he were dark.

4 And God created that sea of his own good pleasure, for He knew what would come of the man He would make; so that after he had left the garden, on account of his transgression, men should be born in the earth. Among them are righteous ones who will die, whose souls God would raise at the last day; when all of them will return to their flesh, bathe in the water of that sea, and repent of their sins.

5 But when God made Adam go out of the garden, He did not place him on the border of it northward. This was so that he and Eve would not be able to go near to the sea of water where they could wash themselves in it, be cleansed from their sins, erase the transgression they had committed, and be no longer reminded of it in the thought of their punishment.

The Second Book of Adam and Eve

The Second Book of Adam and Eve

Chapter I.
The grief stricken family. Cain marries Luluwa and they move away.

WHEN LULUWA HEARD CAIN’S WORDS, she wept and went to call her father and mother, and told them how that Cain had killed his brother Abel.

2 Then they all cried aloud and lifted up their voices, and slapped their faces, and threw dust upon their heads, and rent asunder their garments, and went out and came to the place where Abel was killed.

3 And they found him lying on the earth, killed, and beasts around him; while they wept and cried because of this just one. From his body, by reason of its purity, went forth a smell of sweet spices.

4 And Adam carried him, his tears streaming down his face; and went to the Cave of Treasures, where he laid him, and wound him up with sweet spices and myrrh.

5 And Adam and Eve continued by the burial of him in great grief a hundred
and forty days. Abel was fifteen and a half years old, and Cain seventeen years and a half.

6 As for Cain, when the mourning for his brother was ended, he took his sister Luluwa and married her, without leave from his father and mother; for they could not keep him from her, by reason of their heavy heart.

Apocalypsis Mosis

Apocalypsis Mosis

Scanned and Edited by Joshua Williams 1995, from The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament Website

Chapter I

1 This is the story of Adam and Eve after they had gone out of Paradise. And Adam knew his wife

2 Eve and went upwards to the sun-rising and abode there eighteen years and two months. And

3 Eve conceived and bare two sons; Adiaphotos, who is called Cain and Amilabes who is called Abel.

Chapter II

1 And after this, Adam and Eve were with one another and while they were sleeping, Eve said to Adam her lord: My lord, Adam, behold,

2 I have seen in a dream this night the blood of my son Amilabes who is styled Abel being poured into the mouth of Cain his brother and he went on drinking it without pity. But he begged him to leave him a little of it. Yet he hearkened

3 not to him, but gulped down the whole; nor did it stay in his stomach, but came out of his mouth. And Adam said, ‘Let us arise and go

4 and see what has happened to them. (I fear) lest the adversary may be assailing them somewhere.’

The Corpus Hermeticum V Though Unmanifest God is Most Manifest 

The Corpus Hermeticum V Though Unmanifest God is Most Manifest 

G. R. S. Mead

THIS SERMON IS A FAIRLY STRAIGHTFORWARD HERMETIC VERSION of the “argument by design”, a standard approach since ancient times to a proof of the existence of God. Typically, for a Hermetic tractate, its choice of evidence includes a paean on the beauty and perfection of the human form. – G R M

1. I will recount to thee this sermon (logos) too, O Tat, that thou may’st cease to be without the mysteries of the God beyond all name. And mark thou well how that which to the many seems un-manifest, will grow most manifest for thee.

Now were it manifest, it would not be. For all that is made manifest is subject to becoming, for it hath been made manifest. But the Unmanifest for ever is, for It doth not desire to be made manifest. It ever is, and maketh manifest all other things.

Being Himself un-manifest, as ever being and ever making-manifest, Himself is not made manifest. God is not made Himself; by thinking-manifest (i.e., thinking into manifestation), He thinketh all things manifest.
Now “thinking-manifest” deals with things made alone, for thinking-manifest is nothing else than making.

2. He, then, alone who is not made, ’tis clear, is both beyond all power of thinking-manifest, and is un-manifest.

The Corpus Hermeticum IV The Cup or Monad

The Corpus Hermeticum IV The Cup or Monad

G. R. S. Mead

THIS SHORT TEXT GIVES AN UNUSUALLY LUCID OVERVIEW OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF HERMETIC THOUGHT. The stress on rejection of the body and its pleasures, and on the division of humanity into those with Mind and those without, are reminiscent of some of the so-called “Gnostic” writings of the same period. The idea that the division is a matter of choice, on the other hand, is a pleasant variation on the almost Calvinist flavour of writings such as the Apocalypse of Adam.

<Mead speculates that the imagery of the Cup in this text may have a distant connection, by way of unorthodox ideas about Communion, with the legends of the Holy Grail. – J M G

1. Hermes: With Reason (Logos), not with hands, did the World-maker make the universal World; so that thou shouldst think of him as everywhere and ever-being, the Author of all things, and One and Only, who by His Will all beings hath created.

This Body of Him is a thing no man can touch, or see, or measure, a body inextensible, like to no other frame. ‘Tis neither Fire nor Water, Air nor Breath; yet all of them come from it. Now being Good he willed to consecrate this [Body] to Himself alone, and set its Earth in order and adorn it.

2. So down [to Earth] He sent the Cosmos of this Frame Divine – man, a life that cannot die, and yet a life that dies. And o’er [all other] lives and over Cosmos [too], did man excel by reason of the Reason (Logos) and the Mind. For contemplator of God’s works did man become; he marvelled and did strive to know their Author.

 The Corpus Hermeticum III The Sacred Sermon

 The Corpus Hermeticum III The Sacred Sermon

THIS BRIEF AND APPARENTLY SOMEWHAT GARBLED TEXT RECOUNTS THE CREATION AND NATURE OF THE WORLD in terms much like those of the Poemandres. The major theme is the renewal of all things in a cyclic universe, with the seven planetary rulers again playing a major role. – J M G

1. The Glory of all things is God, Godhead and Godly Nature. Source of the things that are is God, who is both Mind and Nature – yea Matter, the Wisdom that reveals all things. Source [too] is Godhead – yea Nature, Energy, Necessity, and End, and Making-new-again. Darkness that knew no bounds was in Abyss, and Water [too] and subtle Breath intelligent; these were by Power of God in Chaos.

Then Holy Light arose; and there collected ‘neath Dry Space (literally: “sand”) from out Moist Essence Elements; and all the Gods do separate things out from fecund Nature.

2. All things being undefined and yet unwrought, the light things were assigned unto the height, the heavy ones had their foundations laid down underneath the moist part of Dry Space, the universal things being bounded off by Fire and hanged in Breath to keep them up.

And Heaven was seen in seven circles; its Gods were visible in forms of stars with all their signs; while Nature had her members made articulate together with the Gods in her. And [Heaven’s] periphery revolved in cyclic course, borne on by Breath of God.

3. And every God by his own proper power brought forth what was appointed him. Thus there arose four-footed beasts, and creeping things, and those that in the water dwell, and things with wings, and everything that beareth seed, and grass, and shoot of every flower, all having in themselves seed of again-becoming.

The Corpus Hermeticum An Introduction

The Corpus Hermeticum An Introduction

By John Michael Greer

THE FIFTEEN TRACTATES OF THE CORPUS HERMETICUM, along with the Perfect Sermon or Asclepius, are the foundation documents of the Hermetic tradition. Written by unknown authors in Egypt sometime before the end of the third century C.E., they were part of a once substantial literature attributed to the mythic figure of Hermes Trismegistus, a Hellenistic fusion of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

This literature came out of the same religious and philosophical ferment that produced Neoplatonism, Christianity, and the diverse collection of teachings usually lumped together under the label “Gnosticism”: a ferment which had its roots in the impact of Platonic thought on the older traditions of the Hellenized East. There are obvious connections and common themes linking each of these traditions, although each had its own answer to the major questions of the time.

The treatises we now call the Corpus Hermeticum were collected into a single volume in Byzantine times, and a copy of this volume survived to come into the hands of Lorenzo de Medici’s agents in the fifteenth century. Marsilio Ficino, the head of the Florentine Academy, was pulled off the task of translating the dialogues of Plato in order to put the Corpus Hermeticum into Latin first. His translation saw print in 1463, and was reprinted at least twenty-two times over the next century and a half.

The Corpus Hermeticum II To Asclepius

The Corpus Hermeticum II To Asclepius

G. R. S. Mead

THIS DIALOGUE SETS FORTH THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL AND METAPHYSICAL WORLDS in the context of Greek natural philosophy. Some of the language is fairly technical: the “errant spheres” of sections 6 and 7 are the celestial spheres carrying the planets, while the “inerrant sphere” is that of the fixed stars. It’s useful to keep in mind, also, that “air” and “spirit” are interchangeable concepts in Greek thought, and that the concept of the Good has a range of implications which don’t come across in the English word: one is that the good of any being, in Greek thought, was also that being’s necessary goal.

The criticism of childlessness in section 17 should probably be read as a response to the Christian ideal of celibacy, which horrified many people in the ancient world. – J M G

1. Hermes: All that is moved, Asclepius, is it not moved in something and by something?

Asclepius: Assuredly.

H: And must not that in which it’s moved be greater than the moved?

A: It must.

H: Mover, again, has greater power than moved?

A: It has, of course.

H: The nature, furthermore, of that in which it’s moved must be quite other from the nature of the moved?

The Apocalypse of Baruch

The Apocalypse of Baruch

1—4. Announcement of the coming Destruction of Jerusalem to Baruch

Chapter 1 1 And it came to pass in the twenty-fifth year of Jeconiah, king of Judah, that the word of the Lord came to Baruch, the son of Neriah, and said to him:

2 ‘Have you seen all that this people are doing to Me, that the evils which these two tribes which remained have done are greater than (those of) the ten tribes which were carried away captive? 3 For the former tribes were forced by their kings to commit sin, but these two of themselves have been forcing and compelling their kings to commit sin. 4 For this reason, behold I bring evil upon this city, and upon its inhabitants, and it shall be removed from before Me for a time, and I will scatter this people among the Gentiles that they may do good to the Gentiles. And My people shall be chastened, and the time shall come when they will seek for the prosperity of their times.

Chapter 2 1 For I have said these things to you that you may bid Jeremiah, and all those that are like you, to retire from this city.

2 For your works are to this city as a firm pillar, And your prayers as a strong wall.’

The Corpus Hermeticum Poemandres the Shepherd of Men

The Corpus Hermeticum Poemandres the Shepherd of Men

THIS IS THE MOST FAMOUS OF THE HERMETIC DOCUMENTS, a revelation account describing a vision of the creation of the universe and the nature and fate of humanity. Authors from the Renaissance onward have been struck by the way in which its creation myth seems partly inspired by Genesis, partly reacting against it. The Fall has here become the descent of the Primal Man through the spheres of the planets to the world of Nature, a descent caused not by disobedience but by love, and done with the blessing of God.

The seven rulers of fate discussed in sections 9, 14 and 25 are the archons of the seven planets, which also appear in Plato’s Timaeus and in a number of the ancient writings usually lumped together as “Gnostic”. Their role here is an oddly ambivalent one, powers of Harmony who are nonetheless the sources of humanity’s tendencies to evil. – JMG

1. It chanced once on a time my mind was meditating on the things that are, my thought was raised to a great height, the senses of my body being held back – just as men who are weighed down with sleep after a fill of food, or from fatigue of body.

Methought a Being more than vast, in size beyond all bounds, called out my name and saith: What wouldst thou hear and see, and what hast thou in mind to learn and know?

2. And I do say: Who art thou?

He saith: I am Man-Shepherd (Poemandres), Mind of all-masterhood; I know what thou desirest and I’m with thee everywhere.

3. [And] I reply: I long to learn the things that are, and comprehend their nature, and know God. This is, I said, what I desire to hear.