31 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is basically a chop shop version of the Corpus Hermeticum and Asclepius, with translated excerpts taken from various sources including other authors who have been inspired by Hermeticism instead of the original source material itself. If that's what you're interested in, so much the better, but the title is really misleading. It would be more appropriate to say this book is a composite of Hermetic and Hermetically-inspired teachings.
A number of the reviewers on here say they're newcomers to the Hermetica and that they really appreciated this approach, finding it simple and easier to digest. In fairness, I've been studying the Hermetica for years, so perhaps your needs and views will be different from mine. I do have to say, however, that I found this book very deficient. I suppose if you want to study this subject, you could compare this book to fast food.
1) The intros are written in clear English that anyone with a high school level education should be able to understand. If you don't give a toss for footnotes, you'll like that.
2) There's a list of sources in the back for further reading, should you wish to take your Hermetic studies further.
3) There's also a list of where this book was excerpted from, which I appreciated. This book is so drastically different from the actual Hermetica that when I first opened it, I did a double-take.
1) The most obvious: this is an assortment of excerpts *from* the Hermetica as well as *about* the Hermetica. It appears that the chapters are created by subject matter, which means Freke and Gandy pulled excerpts from various sources instead of keeping them in their original order (and in complete form instead of pulling excerpts and adding in stuff from other ancient authors). A glance at the source material in the back of the book confirmed this suspicion. I can't reiterate enough how much wisdom is lost in this version. It's a completely different document. In this book, you see what looks like poetry. The actual Hermetica is a series of conversations between Hermes and a god-being named Poimandres in a series of question-and-answer sessions, as well as between Hermes and his own students.
2) The decision to compile this book from a number of sources makes me question the translation, honestly, including the decision to refer to God as Atum. The authors claim it's because the concept of God is loaded in our society with certain conceptions that they wanted to avoid, but their word choice is poor. It's hard to explain if you haven't read the actual Hermetica, but basically Atum still misses the mark of fully encapsulating everything that Hermes Trismegistus was trying to say.
I can't hate on this book, because at least it's gotten people's appetites whetted for Hermeticism - which sounds like the original goal of Freke and Gandy. I love the Hermetica, but I'll be the first to say that it can be dense reading when you first open it. What Freke and Gandy have created is, in essence, a weak Cliff's Notes overview, and of course such a thing will always be lacking to the original. Evidently a number of reviewers have found value in this, so I can't dismiss that. But if you're looking for something with the original wisdom intact, or you've already read the actual Hermetica, you may find this book useless.
If you're interested in the genuine article, you should check out Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction. It's the best English language translation available today. The original writings are only 90 pages, with the rest of the book composed of a history and footnotes.
I prefer going straight to the source when studying something rather than having an author chop things up and take translation and editorial liberties on my behalf as Freke and Gandy have, but that's me. Obviously many reviewers here have appreciated their approach, so whether you like this book will probably depend on which approach you prefer.
I do hope, though, that even if you read Freke and Gandy's book, you will continue on to the original source material with Copenhaver's translation. There is so much in there that is missing in Freke and Gandy's book; if you think their book blew your mind, go to the source! In fact, I suggest that if and when you read Compenhaver's book, do so with a pen in hand and underline passages that particularly interest you, as well as take notes and jot down questions as you go. Believe me, you'll have a lot of them.