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The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 3

by G.R.S. Mead

p. 61



(Patrizzi (p. 38) gives no title, but only the heading: “To the Same Ammon (Αμμωνα).”

Text: Stob., Phys., v. 16, under sub-heading: “Of the Whole Economy,” followed by: “Of Hermes from the [Sermons] to Ammon (Ἀμοῦν 1)”; G. p. 68; M. i. 47; W. i. 79, 80.

Ménard, Livre IV., No. i. of “Fragments of the Books of Hermes to Ammon”).

Now what supporteth the whole World, 2 is Providence; what holdeth it together and encircleth it about, is [called] Necessity; what drives all on and drives them round, 3 is Fate, bringing Necessity to bear on them (for that its nature is the bringing into play of [this] Necessity); [it 4 is] the cause of birth and death 5 of life.

So, then, the Cosmos is beneath the sway of

p. 62

[paragraph continues] Providence 1 (for ’tis the first to meet with it); but Providence [itself] 2 extends itself to Heaven.

For which cause, 3 too, the Gods revolve, and speed round [Heaven], 4 possessed of tireless, never-ceasing motion.

But Fate [extends itself in Cosmos]; for which cause, too, Necessity [encompasses the Cosmos]. 5

And Providence foreknows; but Fate’s the reason of the disposition of the Stars. 6

Such is the law that no one can escape, by which all things are ordered. 7


61:1 The only place in which this form occurs in Stobæus; cf. v. 20, and xxxv. 4, 7, 8.

61:2 Or Cosmos.

61:3 Or makes them to revolve

61:4 Fate—εἱμαρμένη.

61:5 Or destruction.

62:1 Lit. “first has Providence.” The following words in parentheses seem to be the gloss of a scribe who was puzzled by the sentence. Usener, however, would detect a lacuna after the parentheses and the beginning of a new excerpt after that, and Wachsmuth agrees with him. This seems to me to be unnecessary.

62:2 That is, pure Providence unmixed with Necessity and Fate.

62:3 That is, because of Providence, the law of heaven.

62:4 αὐτόν.

62:5 The text is hopeless, being simply: εἱμαρμένη δὲ, διότι καὶ ἀνάγκη.

62:6 That is, the Seven Spheres.

62:7 Cf. Exx. x., xi., xii.

Next: Excerpt XIV. Of Soul, I.