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Hermes Trismegistus ( Ancient Greek : Ἑρμῆς ὁ Τρισμέγιστος , "thrice-greatest Hermes"; Latin : Mercurius ter Maximus ) is the purported author of the Hermetic Corpus , a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism . [ edit ] Origin and identity He may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth . [ 1 ] In Hellenistic Egypt, the Greeks recognised the congruence of their god Hermes with Thoth . [ 2 ] Subsequently the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu , which the Greeks called Hermopolis . [ citation needed ]
Hermeticism is a set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces. It claims descent from a prisca theologica , an original untainted, pure set of doctrines, secretive, which were allegedly compiled in ancient times, in Egypt, and whose undiluted purity guarantees their veracity and efficacy. Much of the importance of Hermeticism is due to its connection with the development of science in the Renaissance and 17th century, because the prominence given to the idea of influencing or controlling nature led many scientists to look to magic and its allied arts (astrology, etc.) in celebrating the idea of experiment--of putting Nature "to the test." Consequently, it is the practical aspect of the Hermetic writings that attracted attention after the Renaissance.
An imaginative 17th century depiction of the Emerald Tablet from the work of Heinrich Khunrath , 1606. The Emerald Tablet , also known as the Smaragdine Table , or Tabula Smaragdina , is a compact and cryptic piece of Hermetica reputed to contain the secret of the prima materia and its transmutation . It was highly regarded by European alchemists as the foundation of their art and its Hermetic tradition.