1. Every man has a notion of God: for if he is a man, he also knows God. Every man, by the very fact that he has got a notion of God, is a man, (123) for it is not given to every man to have such a notion. Man and the gods and all things exist by God and because of man. God is everything (124) and there is nothing outside God, even that which does not exist: since as to God, there is no such thing, even one single <that he is not himself>. (125) Man comes from another man, the gods exist because of God. (126) Man exists because of God; everything because of man. (127) God rules over man; man over the whole. (128)
2. The exterior things are understood by the external organs: the eye sees the exterior things, and Nous the interior. (129) The exterior things would not exist, if there were not the interior ones. (130) Wherever Nous is, there is light; for Nous is light and light is Nous. (131) Whoever has Nous is enlightened, (132) and whoever has not Nous is deprived of light.
3. Whoever knows God, does not fear God; (133) whoever does not know God fears God. Whoever knows none of the beings fears everyone; whoever knows all of them fears none. (134)
4. Soul’s illness: sadness and joy; (135) soul’s passions: desire and opinion. (136) Bodies are similar to souls when they are seen: none is ugly if it is good, none is evil if it is honest. Everything is visible to one who has Nous; whoever thinks of himself in Nous knows himself and whoever knows himself knows everything. (137) Everything is within man.
5. Whoever behaves well towards his body, behaves badly towards himself. (138) Just as the body, without a soul, is a corpse, likewise soul, without Nous, is inert. Once a soul has entered the body, it – soul – will acquire Nous. (139) That which does not acquire it, goes out such as it had entered. For every soul, before entering the body, is deprived of Nous; then Nous joins it from the body, so that eventually the soul becomes endowed with Nous. (140) That soul which has gone out of the human body has got an ill memory: for soul, even covered with the body, is forced to remember its soul’s unforgetfulness. One change is unforgetful and another change brings about forgetfulness.
6. Wherever man is, also is God. God does not appear to anybody but man. (141) Because of man God changes and turns into the form of man. (142) God is man-loving and man is God-loving. There is an affinity between God and man. God listen’s only to man, and man to God. (143) God is worthy of worship, man is worthy of admiration. (144) God does not appear without man; man is desirable to God and God to man, because desire comes from nowhere, but from man and God.
7. Humans work the land, (145) and stars adorn heaven. (146) The gods have heaven; humans, heaven, (147) earth and sea; but the air is common to gods and humans.
– – – – –
1. Every man has a notion of God: for if he is a man, he also knows God. Every man, by the very fact that he has got a notion of God, is a man, (123: CH 4.2 “So he sent the man below, an adornment of the divine body, mortal life from life immortal. And if the cosmos prevailed over living things as something ever-living, the man prevailed even over the cosmos through reason and mind. The man became a spectator of god’s work. He looked at it in astonishment and recognized its maker.“) for it is not given to every man to have such a notion. Man and the gods and all things exist by God and because of man. God is everything (124: CH 10.22 “Therefore, my child, one who gives thanks to god must pray to acquire a good mind. The soul can then pass over into something greater but not into any lesser thing. There is a community of souls: the souls of the gods commune with souls of humans, those of humans with souls of unreasoning things. The greater take charge of the lesser: gods of humans, humans of living things without reason, and god takes charge of them all. For he is greater than all of them, and all are less than he. Thus, the cosmos is subject to god, mankind to the cosmos and unreasoning things to mankind. God stands above all things and watches over them. And energies are like rays from god, natural forces like rays from the cosmos, arts and learning like rays from mankind. Energies work through the cosmos and upon mankind through the natural rays of the cosmos, but natural forces work through the elements, and humans work through the arts and through learning.”) and there is nothing outside God, even that which does not exist: since as to God, there is no such thing, even one single <that he is not himself>. (125: CH 5.9 “If you force me to say something still more daring, it is his essence to be pregnant with all things and to make them. As it is impossible for anything to be produced without a maker, so also is it impossible for this maker not to exist always unless he is always making everything in heaven, in the air, on earth, in the deep, in every part of the cosmos, in every part of the universe, in what is and in what is not. For there is nothing in all the cosmos that he is not. He is himself the things that are and those that are not. Those that are he has made visible; those that are not he holds within him.“; Paramelle-Mahé 1990-91 p.127:
) Man comes from another man, the gods exist because of God. (126: OH 5.12 “A generic form is the pattern of the figure. Through the generic form and figure, Nature acts as an artificer. She works in this way: when human sperm collects in the brain and floats on top of it, it becomes a foam having in itself the power of generation.”) Man exists because of God; everything because of man. (127: SH 11.2 “Every body is changeable, but not everybody can be broken down. [Some bodies can be broken down]”; SH 11.7 “The cosmos is made for humanity, and humanity for God.”) God rules over man; man over the whole. (128: AH 10 “Asclepius, I want you to grasp the theory that follows, not only through thoughtful concentration but also with an energetic attitude. The theory seems incredible to most, but holier minds should grasp it as sound and true. Now let me begin. The master of eternity is the first god, the world is second, mankind is third. God is maker of the world and all it contains, governing all things along with mankind, who governs what is composite. Taking responsibility for the whole of this – the proper concern of his attentiveness – mankind brings it about that he and the world are ornaments to one another so that, on account of mankind’s divine composition, it seems right to call him a well-ordered world, though kosmos in Greek would be better. Mankind knows himself and knows the world: thus, it follows that he is mindful of what his role is and of what is useful to him; also, that he recognizes what interests he should serve, giving greatest thanks and praise to god and honoring his image but not ignoring that he, too, is the second image of god, who has two images, world and mankind. Whence, though mankind is an integral construction, it happens that in the part that makes him divine, he seems able to rise up to heaven, as if from higher elements – soul and consciousness, spirit and reason. But in his material part – consisting of fire and earth, water and air – he remains fixed on the ground, a mortal, lest he disregard all the terms of his charge as void and empty. Thus, humankind is divine in one part, in another part mortal, residing in a body.”)
2. The exterior things are understood by the external organs: the eye sees the exterior things, and Nous the interior. (129: SH 1.2 “The intervening distance dims the vision of the Beautiful. Bodies are seen by eyes, and sights are spoken by the tongue. But what is bodiless, invisible, without shape, and not consisting of matter cannot be grasped by our senses… What cannot be expressed – this is God.”; CH 7.2 “Surely you will not sink in this great flood? Those of you who can will take the ebb and gain the haven of deliverance and anchor there. Then, seek a guide to take you by the hand and lead you to the portals of knowledge. There shines the light cleansed of darkness. There no one is drunk. All are sober and gaze with the heart toward one who wishes to be seen, who is neither heard nor spoken of, who is seen not with the eyes but with mind and heart. But first you must rip off the tunic that you wear, the garment of ignorance, the foundation of vice, the bonds of corruption, the dark cage, the living death, the sentient corpse, the portable tomb, the resident thief, the onewho hates through what he loves and envies through what he hates.”; CH 10.5 “Those able to drink somewhat more deeply of the vision often fall asleep, moving out of the body toward a sight most fair, just as it happened to Ouranos and Kronos, our ancestors… But we are still too weak now for this sight; we are not yet strong enough to open our mind’s eyes and look on the incorruptible, incomprehensible beauty of that good. In the moment when you have nothing to say about it, you will see it, for the knowledge of it is divine silence and suppression of all the senses.“) The exterior things would not exist, if there were not the interior ones. (130: DH 6.1 “Just as the gods are God’s possession, so is man too; and man’s possession is the world: if there were nobody to see it, what would be seen would not even exist. Only man understands the intelligible things and sees the visible, for they are no aliens to him. Man has at once the two natures, the mortal and the immortal one. Man has the three essences, namely the intelligible, the animated and the material one.”) Wherever Nous is, there is light; for Nous is light and light is Nous. (131: CH 1.17 “As I said, then, the birth of the seven was as follows. Earth was the female. Water did the fertilizing. Fire was the maturing force. Nature took spirit from the ether and brought forth bodies in the shape of the man. From life and light the man became soul and mind; from life came soul, from light came mind, and all things in the cosmos of the senses remained thus until a cycle ended and kinds of things began to be.”) Whoever has Nous is enlightened, (132: CH 12.3 “Mind displays its own splendor to those souls that it commands, and it opposes their predilections. As a good physician, using the cautery and the knife, causes pain to the body overtaken by disease, in the same way mind causes pain to the soul, withdrawing it from the pleasure that gives rise to every disease of the soul. A great disease of the soul is godlessness, and next is mere opinion; from them follow all evils and nothing good. Therefore, the mind that opposes this disease secures good for the soul, just as the physician secures health for the body.”) and whoever has not Nous is deprived of light.
3. Whoever knows God, does not fear God; (133: CH 11.21 “But if you shut your soul up in the body and abase it and say, ‘I understand nothing, I can do nothing; I fear the sea, I cannot go up to heaven; I do not know what I was, I do not know what I will be,’ then what have you to do with god? While you are evil and a lover of the body, you can understand none of the things that are beautiful and good. To be ignorant of the divine is the ultimate vice, but to be able to know, to will and to hope is the straight and easy way leading to the good. As you journey, the good will meet you everywhere and will be seen everywhere, where and when you least expect it, as you lie awake, as you fall asleep, sailing or walking, by night or by day, as you speak or keep silent, for there is nothing that it is not.”) whoever does not know God fears God. Whoever knows none of the beings fears everyone; whoever knows all of them fears none. (134: CH 10.8 “ And this is soul’s most perfect glory. But if a soul that has entered into humans remains vicious, it neither tastes immortality nor shares in the good but turns back and rushes down the road toward the snakes, and this is the sentence pronounced against a vicious soul. The vice of soul is ignorance. For the soul, when it is blind and discerns none of the things that are nor their nature nor the good, is shaken by the bodily passions, and the”wretched thing becomes – in ignorance of itself – a slave to vile and monstrous bodies, bearing the body like a burden, not ruling but being ruled. This is the vice of soul.”)
4. Soul’s illness: sadness and joy; (135: SH 4.22 “Pain and pleasure, as bodily entities, are stirred up by the irrational parts of the soul. Therefore I call both harmful. The reason is this: though joy provides a pleasurable sensation, it becomes he source of much harm to the one who experiences it. Pain, likewise, affords sufferings and powerful sorrows. So logically both are harmful.”) soul’s passions: desire and opinion. (136: CH 12.3 “Mind displays its own splendor to those souls that it commands, and it opposes their predilections. As a good physician, using the cautery and the knife, causes pain to the body overtaken by disease, in the same way mind causes pain to the soul, withdrawing it from the pleasure that gives rise to every disease of the soul. A great disease of the soul is godlessness, and next is mere opinion; from them follow all evils and nothing good. Therefore, the mind that opposes this disease secures good for the soul, just as the physician secures health for the body.”; NH 6.67, 10-12 “Since God has given matter a place equal to spirit in creation, there are passions in it, and they flow over a person’s body… It is also inevitable that inappropriate desires, which cause harm, come to be within such a person.”) Bodies are similar to souls when they are seen: none is ugly if it is good, none is evil if it is honest. Everything is visible to one who has Nous; whoever thinks of himself in Nous knows himself and whoever knows himself knows everything. (137: or ‘the whole’; CH 1.18 “Hear the rest, the word you yearn to hear. When the cycle was completed, the bond among all things was sundered by the counsel of god. All living things, which had been androgyne, were sundered into two parts – humans along with them – and part of them became male, part likewise female. But god immediately spoke a holy speech: ‘Increase in increasing and multiply in multitude, all you creatures and craftworks, and let him who is mindful recognize that he is immortal, that desire is the cause of death, and let him recognize all that exists.’”) Everything is within man.
5. Whoever behaves well towards his body, behaves badly towards himself. (138: CH 4.6 “Hermēs: ‘This, Tat, is the way to learn about mind, to resolve perplexities in divinity and to understand god. For the mixing bowl is divine.’ Tat: ‘I too wish to be immersed, my father.’ Hermēs: ‘Unless you first hate your body, my child, you cannot love yourself, but when you have loved yourself, you will possess mind, and if you have mind, you will also have a share in the way to learn.’ Tat: ‘What do you mean by this, father?’ Hermēs: ‘My child, it is impossible to be engaged in both realms, the mortal and the divine. Since there are two kinds of entities, corporeal and incorporeal, corresponding to mortal and divine, one is left to choose one or the other, if choice is desired. One cannot have both together when one is left to choose, but lessening the one reveals the activity of the other.’”; AH 12 “Asclepius: ‘What you say is right and true, Trismegistus.’ Hermēs: ‘Yes, this is the payment for those who live faithfully under god, who live attentively with the world. For the unfaithful it goes differently: return to heaven is denied them, and a vile migration unworthy of a holy soul puts them in other bodies.’ Asclepius: ‘As the pattern of your discourse has developed, Trismegistus, it seems that souls run a great risk in this earthly life regarding hope of eternity to come.’ Hermēs: ‘Of course, but some find this incredible, others fictitious, others laughable perhaps. For in this bodily life the pleasure one takes from possessions is a delight, but this delight, as they say, is a noose round the soul’s neck that keeps mankind tied to the part that makes him mortal, nor does the malice that begrudges immortality let him acknowledge the part of divinity in him. Speaking as a prophet, I will tell you that after us will remain none of that simple regard for philosophy found only in the continuing reflection and holy reverence by which one must recognize divinity. The many make philosophy obscure in the multiplicity of their reasoning.’ Asclepius: ‘What is it that the many do to make philosophy incomprehensible? How do they obscure it in the multiplicity of their reasoning?’”) Just as the body, without a soul, is a corpse, likewise soul, without Nous, is inert. Once a soul has entered the body, it soul will acquire Nous. (139: CH 4.3 “Hermēs: ‘God shared reason among all people, O Tat, but not mind, though he begrudged it to none. Grudging envy comes not from on high; it forms below in the souls of people who do not possess mind.’ Tat: ‘For what reason, then, did god not share mind with all of them, my father?’ Hermēs: ‘He wanted it put between souls, my child, as a prize for them to contest.’”) That which does not acquire it, goes out such as it had entered. For every soul, before entering the body, is deprived of Nous; then Nous joins it from the body, so that eventually the soul becomes endowed with Nous. (140: CH 10.9 “Hermēs: ‘The virtue of soul, by contrast, is knowledge; for one who knows is good and reverent and already divine.’ Tat: ‘Who is this person, father?’ Hermēs: ‘One who says little and hears little. He fights with shadows, my son, who wastes time on talking and listening to talk. One neither speaks nor hears of god the father and the good. This being so – that there are senses in all things that are because they cannot exist without them – yet knowledge differs greatly from sensation; for sensation comes when the object prevails, while knowledge is the goal of learning, and learning is a gift from god.’”) That soul which has gone out of the human body has got an ill memory: for soul, even covered with the body, is forced to remember its soul’s unforgetfulness. One change is unforgetful and another change brings about forgetfulness.
6. Wherever man is, also is God. God does not appear to anybody but man. (141: CH 12.19 “Through mind, then, every living thing is immortal, but most of all mankind, who is capable of receiving god and fit to keep company with him. With this living thing alone does god converse, at night through dreams and through omens by day, and through all of them he foretells the future, through birds, through entrails, through inspiration, through the oak tree, whereby mankind also professes to know what has been, what is at hand and what will be.”) Because of man God changes and turns into the form of man. (142: FH 21:
) God is man-loving and man is God-loving. There is an affinity between God and man. God listen’s only to man, and man to God. (143: NH 6.68, 6-12 “(~)People are related to the gods, and they know about each other with certainty. The gods know the concerns of people and people, know the concerns of gods… Understand what people can do. For just as the Father, the Lord of the universe creates gods, so too people – mortal, earthly living things, who are not like God – create gods.”; AH 22 “The reverent are not many, in any case, no more than a few whose number in the world can be counted, whence it happens that evil remains in the many because they lack wisdom and knowledge of all the things that are. Scorn for the vices of the whole world – and a cure for those vices – comes from understanding the divine plan upon which all things have been based. But when ignorance and folly persist, all vices thrive and wound the soul with incurable disorders. Tainted and corrupted by them, the soul grows inflamed as if poisoned – except the souls of those who have the sovereign remedy of learning and understanding. Therefore, since my help is only for the few, it will be worthwhile to follow and finish this treatise, which tells why divinity deigned to impart its understanding and learning to humans alone. Hear me, then. God, the father and master, made gods first and then humans, taking equal portions from the more corrupt part of matter and from the divine; thus it happened that the vices of matter remained coupled with bodies, along with other vices caused by the foods and sustenance that we are obliged to share with all living things. Hence it is inevitable that the longings of desire and the other vices of mind sink into human souls. Even though immortality and unaging vigor were wisdom and learning enough for the gods, who were made of nature’s cleanest part and had no need of help from reason and learning, nonetheless, because god’s plan was a unity, he established in eternal law an order of necessity framed in law, which stood in place of learning and understanding lest the gods be detached from them, for among all living things god recognized mankind by the unique reason and learning through which humans could banish and spurn the vices of bodies, and he made them reach for immortality as their hope and intention. In short, god made mankind good and capable of immortality through his two natures, divine and mortal, and so god willed the arrangement whereby mankind was ordained to be better than the gods, who were formed only from the immortal nature, and better than all other mortals as well. Consequently, since he is conjoined to them in kinship, mankind honors the gods with reverent and holy mind; the gods also show concern for all things human and watch over them in faithful affection.”) God is worthy of worship, man is worthy of admiration. (144: AH 6 “Because of this, Asclepius, a human being is a great wonder, a living thing to be worshipped and honored: for he changes his nature into a god’s, as if he were a god; he knows the demonic kind inasmuch as he recognizes that he originated among them; he despises the part of him that is human nature, having put his trust in the divinity of his other part. How much happier is the blend of human nature! Conjoined to the gods by a kindred divinity, he despises inwardly that part of him in which he is earthly. All others he draws close to him in a bond of affection, recognizing his relation to them by heaven’s disposition. He looks up to heaven. He has been put in the happier place of middle status so that he might cherish those beneath him and be cherished by those above him. He cultivates the earth; he swiftly mixes into the elements; he plumbs the depths of the sea in the keenness of his mind. Everything is permitted him: heaven itself seems not too high, for he measures it in his clever thinking as if it were nearby. No misty air dims the concentration of his thought; no thick earth obstructs his work; no abysmal deep of water blocks his lofty view. He is everything, and he is everywhere. Of all these kinds, the ensouled have roots reaching them from on high to below, but living things without soul branch from a root that grows from beneath to above. Some things are nourished on composite food, others on simple food. The types of food are two: one for the soul, the other for the body – the two substances of which living things consist. Soul feeds on the ever restless stirring of the world. Bodies grow on water and earth, foods of the lower world. The spirit that fills all mixes with everything and enlivens everything. And in humans consciousness is added to understanding: only this fifth part, granted to humanity, comes from the aether. Of all living things, consciousness equips only the human, exalts it, raises it up to understand the divine plan. But since I am reminded to speak about consciousness, I shall also set forth an account of it for you a little later. It is a great subject and very holy, no less than an account of divinity itself…”) God does not appear without man; man is desirable to God and God to man, because desire comes from nowhere, but from man and God.
7. Humans work the land, (145: AH 8 “Listen, then, Asclepius. When the master and shaper of all things, whom rightly we call god, made a god next after himself who can be seen and sensed (I call this second god sensible not because he senses but because he impinges on the senses of those who see him; at another time we shall discuss whether he senses or not), then, having made this god as his first production and second after himself, it seemed beautiful to him since it was entirely full of the goodness of everything, and he loved it as the progeny of his own divinity. Then, so great and good was he that he wanted there to be another to admire the one he had made from himself, and straightaway he made mankind, imitator of his reason and attentiveness. God’s will is itself perfect achievement since willing and achievement are complete for him at one and the same moment of time. After he (had made) mankind ousiodes and noticed that he could not take care of everything unless he was covered over with a material wrapping, god covered him with a bodily dwelling and commanded that all humans be like this, mingling and combining the two natures into one in their just proportions. Thus god shapes mankind from the nature of soul and of body, from the eternal and the mortal, in other words, so that the living being so shaped can prove adequate to both its beginnings, wondering at heavenly beings and worshipping them, tending earthly beings and governing them. Just now, in speaking about mortal things, I mean to speak not about water and earth, those two of the four elements that nature has made subject to humans, but about what humans make of those elements or in them – agriculture, pasturage, building, harbors, navigation, social intercourse, reciprocal exchange – the strongest bond among humans or between humanity and the parts of the world that are water and earth. Learning the arts and sciences and using them preserves this earthly part of the world; god willed it that the world would be incomplete without them. Necessity follows god’s pleasure; result attends upon his will. That anything agreed by god should become disagreeable to him is incredible since he would have known long before that he would agree and that it was to be.”; CH 3.3-4 “ Through his own power, each god sent forth what was assigned to him. And the beasts came to be – four-footed, crawling, water-dwelling, winged – and every germinating seed and grass and every flowering plant; within them they had the seed of rebirth. The gods sowed the generations of humans to know the works of god; to be a working witness to nature; to increase the number of mankind; to master all things under heaven; to discern the things that are good; to increase by increasing and multiply by multiplying. And through the wonder-working course of the cycling gods they created every soul incarnate to contemplate heaven, the course of the heavenly gods, the works of god and the working of nature; to examine things that are good; to know divine power; to know the whirling changes of fair and foul; and to discover every means of working skillfully with things that are good.  For them this is the beginning of the virtuous life and of wise thinking as far as the course of the cycling gods destines it, and it is also the beginning of their release to what will remain of them after they have left great monuments on earth in works of industry. In the fame of seasons they will become dim, and, from every birth of ensouled flesh, from the sowing of crops and from every work of industry, what is diminished will be renewed by necessity and by the renewal that comes from the gods and by the course of nature’s measured cycle. For the divine is the entire combination of cosmic influence renewed by nature, and nature has been established in the divine.”) and stars adorn heaven. (146: SH 6.12 “As the decans move, in heaven they engender heavenly bodies as assistants, which they have as servants and soldiers. These servants, mixed by the decans, are borne aloft in the Esther, filling up its whole space so that no place above is void of heavenly bodies. Together, they adorn the universe, each possessing its own energy, an energy in subjection to the energy of the thirty-six decans. They cause destruction of other ensouled animals and they cause the swarms of animals that decimate heavens.”) The gods have heaven; humans, heaven, (147: CH 10.25 “For none of the heavenly gods will go down to earth, leaving behind the bounds of heaven, yet the human rises up to heaven and takes its measure and knows what is in its heights and its depths, and he understands all else exactly and – greater than all of this – he comes to be on high without leaving earth behind, so enormous is his range. Therefore, we must dare to say that the human on earth is a mortal god but that god in heaven is an immortal human. Through these two, then, cosmos and human, all things exist, but they all exist by action of the one.”; DH 7.1 “But now, what is man? What else if neither body nor soul? Aye, dear Asclepius, who ever is not soul, is neither Nous nor body. For one thing is what becomes the body of man, and another thing what comes in addition to man. Then, what should be called truly a man, O Asclepius, and what is man? The immortal species of everyman.”) earth and sea; but the air is common to gods and humans.
– – – – –
-Footnoted quotes from the CH, AH, SH, OH, FH and NH are by Copenhaver, Litwa, and Meyer unless specified. Quotes from the DH are by Mahé.
(~) – indicates that I am quoting from NH, but I don’t have numbered verses so I can only make a guess based on content and context.