Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and the Quran

Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and the Quran

Ibn Sab’in is often called a Neoplatonic philosopher. Although he himself would have denied that. Hermeticism is also often called a Neoplatonic philosophy. But although Hermeticism borrows a lot of terminology from Neoplatonism its view of God, the Cosmos and reality is more in line with the Qurʾān than with Neoplatonism. (Allah,) The Originator of the heavens…

The Way of Hermes and its relationship to both philosophy and mysticism in Islam

The Way of Hermes and its relationship to both philosophy and mysticism in Islam

Ibn Sab’in can be seen as a Hermetist who used formal logic and mystical discourse to transcend the limits of philosophy and Sufism alike. To make such an assertion, however, it is first necessary to re-examine the issue of Hermetism and its relationship to both philosophy and mysticism in Islam. The very name of Hermes…

Was Ibn Sab’in a follower of the Way of Hermes?

Was Ibn Sab’in a follower of the Way of Hermes?

In Christian Spain, Hermeticism diffused outward from the city of Toledo after its reconquest in 1085. It was especially influential in the region of Saragossa, which fell to Christian forces in 1118. Important translators of Hermetic works included Bishop Michael of Tarazona (present-day Tudela, d. 1151) and Hugh of Santalla, who discovered several Arabic works…

The Corpus Hermeticum and Ibn Sab’in

The Corpus Hermeticum and Ibn Sab’in

What exposure might Ibn Sab’in have had to the so-called Corpus Hermeticum, or collection of revelatory and philosophical texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus? In the Fihrist of al-Nadim (d. 380/ 991) several tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum are noted as having been translated into Arabic. Among these are Hirmis ila ibnihi (Hermes to His Son) and Hirmis ila Tat (Hermes to…

Zosimos, Dhul Nun al-Misri and the continuation of Hermetic wisdom

Zosimos, Dhul Nun al-Misri and the continuation of Hermetic wisdom

The Sufi Dhul Nun al-Misri is a very interesting figure. His full name was Abu’l Faiz Thauban ibn Ibrahim al-Misri (c.791/796-c.860 CE). He was born at Akhmim (Ikhmim) in Upper Egypt. He was also described as an Alchemist and a Hermetist. Akhmim came later to be known as Panopolis. The same city another famous hermetist…

The Sābians of Harrān

The Sābians of Harrān

Their is much debate, without clear evidence to any of the hypotheses, about who “the Sābians” of the Quran were. The word “Sābian” in Arabic (Sābi’a/ as-Sabi’ūn) translates to “pagan” in English. The Sābians of Harrān who existed from the seventh century up until the late-eleventh or the early-twelfth century were, essentially, a star-worshipping group…

Are there angels and demons on the Way of Hermes?

Are there angels and demons on the Way of Hermes?

Angels are never mentioned in the hermetic texts. The original Greek term just means “messenger”, and was a title of several gods. Contrary to the term “angel”, the term ‘demon” is often found in the hermetic texts. But what are these demons and are they similar to demons and devils in Christianity, Judaism or Islam?…

What is the Way of Hermes?

What is the Way of Hermes?

The Way of Hermes or “Hermeticism” can be understood as the religious, spiritual, philosophical, and magical movement or milieu (if not quite a tradition properly, and not exactly a centralized or standardized thing) initiated by Hellenistic (or Hellenically-conversant) Egyptian priests operating in a Hellenistic context and attributed to the mythological figure Hermēs Trismegistos, which produced…