And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:10-12).
Supposed Founder of
Earlier articles in this blog have often focused upon problems
with the teachings of C. S. Lewis and the other Inklings, but in this, the second part of our Hermeticist Next Door series, we will look deeply
at the historical stream of which he and the influences surrounding him were a
part. As we understand their philosophical, religious, and literary roots,
their true nature will become clearer.
Lewis is deeply rooted in what is known as the Western Esoteric Traditions (or
Tradition). This term describes a number of important movements and practices
that have occurred over many centuries—powerful influences that have been very significant
in the history of Christianity, right down to our present age. Yet sometimes these
influences have gone completely unnoticed by the majority of Christians.
What exactly are the Western Esoteric Traditions?
The Western esoteric traditions
have their roots in a religious way of thinking, which reaches back to
Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism in the Hellenistic world during the
first centuries A.D. In the Renaissance, the rediscovery of ancient texts led
to the scholarly revival of magic, astrology, alchemy, and Kabbalah. Following
the Reformation, this spiritual current gave rise to theosophy, Rosicrucianism,
and Freemasonry, and the modern occult revival extends from nineteenth-century
spiritualism, H. P. Blavatsky’s Theosophy, and ceremonial magic orders to
twentieth-century esotericists such as Rudolf Steiner, Alice A. Bailey, and
George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, and the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.
[The Western Esoteric Traditions: A
Historical Introduction by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Introduction. Oxford
University Press, 2008. Kindle edition location 62,]
The book Western
Esotericism by Antoine Faivre and Christine Rhone offers four definitions
of esotericism, but we’ll just go with the first and most common one:
Five Meanings of the Term
1. Meaning 1: A Disparate
In this meaning, which is the most
current, esotericism appears, for example, as the title of sections in
bookshops and in much media discourse to refer to almost everything that exudes
a scent of mystery. Oriental wisdom traditions, yoga, mysterious Egypt,
ufology, astrology and all sorts of divinatory arts, parapsychology, various
“Kabbalahs,” alchemy, practical magic, Freemasonry, Tarot, New Age, New
Religious Movements, and channeling are found thus placed side by side (in
English, the label used in the bookshops is often Occult or Metaphysics).
This nebula often includes all sorts of images, themes, and motifs, such as
ontological androgyny [the belief that man was originally made a hermaphrodite],
the Philosopher’s Stone, the lost Word, the Soul of the World, sacred
geography, the magic book, and so on. [Western
Esotericism by Antoine Faivre and Christine Rhone. (Suny Series in Western
Esoteric Traditions). State University of New York Press, 2010. Kindle edition
The Romantic Movement, which I have written about extensively in this blog, is just one element in the much
greater movement of the Western Esoteric Traditions.
To study the Western Esoteric Traditions as they manifest among
non-Christians is strange, but not nearly as strange as seeing how people
calling themselves Christians have played a major part in these traditions and
have defended them as a valid part of Christianity. After Christ rescued me out
of my involvement in that esotericism (and I definitely did not consider myself
as a Christian until after my rescue), I found to my surprise that people were
accepting aspects of it as totally valid and very positive for Christians to
participate in. This was very difficult for me with my life experience to cope
For example, when I was a new Christian and waiting in a
church lobby to see a pastor, I got into a conversation with a lady who was
also waiting. She began sharing about her involvement with a well-known
occultic figure named Rudolf Steiner. She said that she didn’t talk about it
with most other Christians because they always thought Steiner was very weird and
condemned her. (Steiner created a type of subdivision of Theosophy called
Anthroposophy.) At the time I had been reading a book by C. S. Lewis in which
he said there were some positive aspects about Anthroposophy, so, therefore, I
didn’t become alarmed about what this woman was telling me. Later, I learned
that Anthroposophy was actually just like the evil non-Christian occultism I
had left behind. But because C. S. Lewis had approved of it, I didn’t warn this
woman of the danger she was in.
Another time I got into a conversation with another student at
the University of Oregon. I was sharing with him how positive I thought C. S.
Lewis was and that I’d been reading his space trilogy, especially the last book
called That Hideous Strength. I said
quite innocently that I was a little disturbed because its ending scene
reminded me of my previous occult involvement. In the scene, a group of Anglicans prayed for help against evil forces and through their prayer raised up Merlin the
Magician from a long sleep. Merlin then led animals—bears and such—to attack
the evil people. The other student was very shocked and annoyed that I’d think
something was wrong with the occult. He was an avid reader of C. S. Lewis, and I
believe he considered himself a Christian.
After years of studying historically the role of the Western
Esoteric Traditions in Germany, Great Britain, and other countries, I have come
to see how intricately all of these strange ideas and practices are connected with certain
types of literature that many people consider Christian; and, furthermore, how more
and more often this literature is being considered Christian by Evangelicals who used
to be wary of literature but are now experiencing a literary renaissance with
an explosion of fantasy writing under the label of “Christian fiction.”
These are just a few examples of why I am so disturbed about
what is happening among Evangelicals today and feel compelled to keep speaking
I do think it can be positive that Evangelicals are more
open to historical and cultural influences, but there must be discernment
because some of these influences definitely are evil, and to look upon them
without discernment is very dangerous. Church history has proven what a stumbling block for
Christian thinking and living that pagan thinking and fantasy can be.
Furthermore, there is a massive occult explosion happening
right now all around us, and many Christians—and especially young
Christians—are being swept into tremendous bondage by these forces and
influences. Perhaps one of the worst aspects of this explosion and its effects
on the Church is the lack of discernment by some major Evangelical leaders and
the influence they exert on their followers.
Undiscerning Evangelical Leaders
And Their Influence
This is an age in which many Evangelicals are caught up in
certain aspects of the Western Esoteric Traditions while thinking they are really
good, desirable, and innocent, and enable us to be alive in Christ.
One major influence comes from the Inklings and the support
of the Inklings given by some Evangelical leaders.
John Piper. The
most popular example is John Piper, who is currently giving lengthy and
enthusiastic apologetics for Lewis, and encouraging people to read all of Lewis’s
works. The bizarre nature of Piper’s approach is evident in his online video, “Lessons
from an Inconsolable Soul.” He first lists the many problems and dangers
with Lewis’s thinking and then extols his work as wonderful for Christians. He
even subtitles the video, “Seems I Shouldn’t Find Lewis so Helpful.” Indeed.
Montgomery. Another modern example of a supposed Christian leader
introducing Hermeticism to Christians is John Warwick Montgomery, who as an
apologist for the Inklings in his defense of Charles Williams, made appalling
statements about the “usefulness” of Tarot cards for Christians.
In his book, Principalities and Powers (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship,
1973), Montgomery claims that writers “such as T. S. Eliot (The Waste Land) and
Charles Williams (The Greater Trumps)
have employed its [the Tarot] imagery so effectively both in describing the
lostness of the human condition and the Christian redemptive solution” (p.
131). He states, “Because the cards are so potent symbolically, they are also
most dangerous when misused or perverted.” Misused? Perverted? They are essentially already
dangerous occult techniques of divination and should never be used at all.
Montgomery also described Arthur Edward Waite as a
Christian. Waite was a co-creator of a Tarot deck, wrote many occultic books, and
was in the hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in England.
Temple of the Rosy Cross
Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618
Montgomery wrote his Ph.D. thesis defending the man who
wrote the basic documents of Rosicrucianism,
trying to dismiss them as just a joke. (See his Cross and Crucible: Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), phoenix of the theologians, Volume 1.) (Founded
in the 1600s by Christian Rosenkreuz, Rosicrucianism is an occult philosophy
and part of the Western Esoteric Traditions.)
Basically, Montgomery has been introducing Hermeticism to Christians.
Regent College, a
graduate school in the Anglican tradition located in Vancouver, B.C. (where J.
I. Packer has taught for years), has been republishing the works
of Charles Williams, an open hermeticist.
Speaking of Regent College evokes
memories of our trip there around 20 years ago when we were exploring the
possibility of attending. What we experienced was like a scene out of a novel.
First we met with a professor and his wife whose office was like a cave out of The Hobbit. Then we met with the
founder, John Huston, who treated us as though we were generic ciphers and who,
after we had explained our ministry of many years, dismissed it and said that
what we really needed was spiritual
formation (his big focus). Then we met J. I. Packer, who staunchly defended
psychology as a means of sanctification. So it’s not surprising that Regent is
republishing the works of Charles Williams. (We decided not to attend.)
George MacDonald. Because
C. S. Lewis has so greatly extolled George MacDonald, his writing has emerged
from obscurity and become mainline Protestant literature. Lewis called
MacDonald his “master” and stated
that through reading MacDonald’s works, he experienced a “baptism” of his
imagination. MacDonald, while appearing seemingly innocent, is actually very
deceptive. MacDonald had been a Scot Calvinist preacher, but when he was removed from the pulpit for unorthodox doctrines, he began writing stories.
MacDonald was strongly influenced by Novalis,
a 19th century hermeticist who was part of the Romantic Movement. (Novalis
was his pen name; his real name was Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg.)MacDonald translated some of Novalis’ works into English and quoted him
in some of his own books. (See my article, “’Christian’
Romanticism, the Inklings, and the Elevation of Mythology” for more
details; also, the book Romantic Religion: A Study of
Barfield, Lewis, Williams, and Tolkien by R. J. Reilly. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1972.)
A Historical Perspective
A good way to grasp what the Western Esoteric Traditions are all about is to look at the historical figure of Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), who influenced Charles Williams.
was a leading Protestant mystic and a member of a Lutheran church in a region
in Germany rich in Hermetic tradition. He presented an esoteric psychology
based on alchemy, Kabbalah, and astrology, which placed him firmly within the
Western Esoteric Traditions. This weird mixture is typical of the ways esotericism
has been combined with Christian practice. Orthodox pastors rebuked him and
forbade him to write, but he wrote secretly and gained many followers. (See The Western Esoteric Traditions: A
Historical Introduction by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Oxford University
Press, 2008, Kindle edition, location 1712.)
There’s a direct connection between Boehme’s “theosophy” and
Charles Williams in that William Law, a disciple of Boehme’s teachings, was
very influential upon Charles Williams, who then was very influential upon C.
S. Lewis. This is one example of how these occultic traditions have been passed
along. In fact, Lewis considered Williams [a Hermeticist] as one of the holiest
men he’d ever met. (See other posts in
this blog discussing the problems with Williams.) Williams was also a
Neoplatonist. Lewis apparently confused holiness with mysticism.
C. S. Lewis and the
Lewis’s fascination with the occult is apparent in that he
wanted to write his doctoral thesis on Henry More, a known alchemist and one of
the most important of the Cambridge Platonists (1600s), but he decided to go
into literature instead of philosophy so he changed the focus of his thesis.
As I showed in my earlier post, “The
Hidden War,” Lewis actually was a Platonist and was teaching Platonism in
his children’s stories.Frederick W.
Baue, in his article, “It’s All in
Plato: An Examination of C. S. Lewis’s Worldview,” revealed how strongly
Platonism and Neo-platonism influenced Lewis’s worldview right up to his death.
As I pointed out in that article, and believe it is important to stress, Lewis’s work has become so accepted that
there is a universal blindness to the philosophy embedded in it.
The Cambridge Platonists were professors at Cambridge
University who, though considering themselves Christians, incorporated
Hermeticism and Neoplatonism with their Christian practices and thinking. And,
of course, these practices and philosophies are contradictory to the teachings
of the Bible, which warns against vain philosophies and witchcraft.
See to it that no one takes you
captive to hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition
and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have
sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and
the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Today the resurgence of Hermeticism
and its blind promotion by many Christians is shaping modern Evangelicalism in
powerful and disturbing ways. This article is a mere beginning in showing
how very strong and alive the spiritual battle is of the temptation to be a
“magical” Christian and how very destructive it is of a solid Christian life.
It is also a strong warning to be careful about whose
writings we are following and ingesting into our thinking. Having our minds
shaped by Biblical teaching is of the greatest importance. The Bible does not
have to be the only book we should ever read, but it should be the canon—the measuring rod—of what we are
reading and hearing. It is the very unique Word of Truth.
Dan Brown’s popular novel The Da Vinci Code has created a storm of controversy. Many seem to
believe it’s completely true, some dismiss it, and yet others find it difficult
to separate fact from fiction. Discernment can be difficult, not only with Dan Brown’s tangled work but
with history in general.
What I have to say may seem more like a novel than history,
but recorded writings and historical descriptions exist that confirm what I am
about to say. It is a historical tale of deception in the Church that is not
only stranger than fiction but is actually true.
Proceed at your own risk because facing disguised demonic
teachings that pass for Christian—both past and present—can be disturbing,
shocking, and nearly unbelievable.
Origen is the Origin
is the origin of this story, which begins around 200 A.D. Some call this famous
Greek Church Father a great mystical Christian theologian; others call him a
Origen was a man of extremes and imbalances, whose father
was martyred in a great persecution. As a youth, Origen fervently wanted to
join his father in martyrdom, but his mother hid his clothes so he couldn’t
throw himself into the clutches of the persecutors. He was extremely brilliant—probably
the most educated man of the time—and he wrote many books on the Holy
Scriptures and philosophy. But, in his fervency to put Matthew 19:12 literally
into practice, he also castrated himself.
Origen ranged far beyond Christian orthodoxy[i],
and, as a matter of fact, he was partially educated under a pagan philosopher—a
man named Ammonius Saccus (named Saccus
because he moved sacks as a laborer). Saccus is considered the Father of Neoplatonism
in Alexandria, Egypt, one of the great metropolises of the ancient world that
became a center of Christianity. A fellow student of Origen was a pagan named
Plotinus, known for propagating Neoplatonism.
background, Origen came up with some rather strange ideas. These included the
pre-existence of the soul; the eventual reunification of all creation into a god-figure
that was not the Christian Trinity; and that the devil and the fallen angels
and animals would all be saved, i.e., incorporated back into the “One.” For this
last idea especially, he was condemned as a heretic after he died.
What is Neoplatonism?
Neoplatonismwas a new version of the teaching
of the Greek philosopher Plato. It was a mixture of Egyptian religion,
Platonism, and Greek and other non-Christian and Eastern philosophies. It also
included magical practices, with an emphasis on demons. It is truly a doctrine
of demons that has endured throughout the centuries and has exerted
considerable influence within the Christian Church.
Augustine was a
Neoplatonist before his conversion under the influence of the Christian
Neoplatonist Ambrose of Milan. After becoming a Christian he became somewhat critical
of Neoplatonism, especially about following demons, and the fact that the
system didn’t have any place for Christ. However, he continued to hold some
Neoplatonist attitudes, though not necessarily consciously. For example, he
continued to view marriage as a lower state than celibacy (asceticism).
Neoplatonism was a
little different than Gnosticism, mainly in that the Gnostics tended to view
the world as evil, whereas the Neoplatonists tended to view it as just very low
on the totem pole. But both the Gnostics and the Neoplatonists viewed achieving
salvation as going up a spiritual “ladder,” attaining more and more knowledge
and holiness until they finally returned to the godhead they supposedly came
from. It definitely wasn’t salvation through faith by grace as taught in the
Scriptures (see Ephesians 2).
What most people
think of as Gnosticism in the early Church is what is called “negative”
Gnosticism, but Neoplatonism could be described as a “positive” Gnosticism. Positive
gnosis is very much like that view held by Neoplatonists and, in modern times,
by people like C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams.[ii]
The kinds of
teachings that Origen favored have persisted all throughout church history, and
they are still influential today. They all fit under the general category of
Hermeticism, Dan Brown, and Harry Potter
To date, I have
written extensively about Romanticism(see
previous posts). Due to my continuing research, however, I have come to view
Romanticism as the more general movement (or tradition) of an ancient tradition known as Hermeticism.
We can view Neoplatonism
as the philosophical arm of Hermeticism, but Hermeticism also includes
the practice of magic and alchemy.
essentially just an umbrella for a wide variety of occult teachings and practices.[iii]
It is basically Egyptian mythology and theology, which gathered pagan teachings
from many different cultures under the name of a mystical figure: Hermes Trismegistus
(“thrice graced”). Hermes was considered a great prophet, a great priest, and a
great king. (Sound familiar?—like
The Egyptian name
for Hermes Trismegistus was Thoth (the Egyptian god of wisdom and
magic). The Romans called him Mercury, and the Greeks called him Hermes, which
gives us the word hermetic, i.e., hidden or sealed.
As we will see, as Hermeticism
developed, some of its practitioners were considered Christians. They attempted
to integrate it with true Christianity—and even to replace true Christianity
with it. A long history of these teachings exists woven into the development of
the Christian Church, especially among Roman Catholic and Orthodox monks.
A highly honored manual
of Neoplatonism written by someone called ‘Pseudo-Dionysus’[iv]
appeared in the 5th or early 6th century. Pseudo-Dionysus
almost apostolic authority” among Christians (see here).[v] (The Pseudo—meaning “false”—comes from
the fact that the man who wrote it was not the real Dionysus, who was an
associate of St. Paul.)
The book brought
this type of teaching into monastic thinking where it continues today,
especially within Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church. Accepting these
teachings as Christian is a harmful fraud; they are actually disguised
paganism. One of the evil results of these teachings is the diminishing of the
importance of family and the very creation itself, that God made man male and
female and created marriage. Asceticism distorts the Word of the Lord and is
anti-family. (The Book of Colossians warns about this false mysticism and
This influence has continued up until today
and is rapidly growing in the Christian Church. Amazingly, many contemporary Protestants
continue this view. It partakes of the double view of paganism that the body is
both something to be worshipped, through sex, and something to be rejected.Later blog posts and articles will go
into this influence and discuss some of its practitioners in the Church in
Fast-forward now to
the Renaissance in the 1400s and to a very influential family in Florence
called the Medicis.
Lorenzo de Medici
(called “Lorenzo the Magnificent”) was a major Renaissance leader who had two
talents: making money and sponsoring art and literature on the model of ancient
Greece. Under his influence, a scholar named Facino translated some manuscripts
from Greek into Latin (read in Italy at the time by the educated classes). These teachings, a set of books called
The Corpus Hermeticum, became well
known by scholars in the Renaissance and influenced many of the Church leaders.
During this period,
an idea developed about gathering all religions together as one, in a way very
similar to what is happening today through the World Council of Churches and
other syncretistic[vi] movements. These
hermetic teachings were the unifying factor.
Amazingly, at the
same time, the teachings of the mystical Jewish books called The Cabbala were enthusiastically
incorporated into this scheme. They taught many things similar to Hermeticism,
and their promoters even called them “The Christian Cabbala.” This tradition
still exists today. (Cabbala is spelled many different ways.) The main
difference between Hermeticism and the Cabbala was the Cabbala’s emphasis upon divination
through the Hebrew words and letters of the Old Testament. The currently
popular book, The Harbinger, is
another version of Cabbalism.
A lot of these
writings incorporated mythological stories and themes, as well as secret
writings, mystical imagery, and symbols. While Hermeticism was becoming
popular, it was still treated as a mystery religion, suitable only for the
initiated—the wealthy and educated.
Hermeticism in the heart of the Protestant Reformation
One aspect of this strange
history that is very difficult for me to cope with is that this strong Hermetic
influence was not confined to Roman Catholicism. In fact, there was an explosion
of interest in Hermeticism among Protestants. And, the center of this
“Christian” Hermeticism ended up actually being in Germany shortly after the Reformation.
After the upsurge of so-called “Christian” Hermeticism in Germany, similar
upsurges occurred in Great Britain and other European countries.
Following are a few examples.
Sebastian Franck was a former Roman Catholic priest who became a Reform preacher in the
1500s. He was also a major supporter of Hermeticism. The following quote exposes
his real teaching:
“Franck derived his image of Hermes, as he acknowledges, largely from
Ficino, though he clearly assigns a distinctly earlier date to Hermes: he was a
contemporary of Abraham and thus clearly antedated Moses. Franck’s
interpretation of Hermeticism was far more radical, however, in that he
considered the Hermetic writings to be a pagan replacement for Christianity and
for Judeo-Christian revelation. The Pimander
contained ‘all that is necessary for a Christian to know.’”[vii]
[The Pimander was a name for The Corpus Hermeticum mentioned
This is just an
example of how highly regarded Hermeticism was, even in the heart of the Protestant
Reformation. The young Luther tended to look favorably upon some of these
Hermetic and mystical writings, but later in his life he called Hermeticism
Hermeticism in the Service of Promoting Tolerance
Christian apologetics had used Hermeticism to demonstrate that the
Christian religion was consistent with the philosophy and theology of the
ancient world. By the sixteenth century, however, circumstances had changed,
and Christianity had become the cultural matrix, but, even then, Hermeticism
served to indicate the compatibility of various cultures and religions. Indeed,
once again Hermeticism served Christian apologetics.” (Same article, Kindle
location: 1763, my bolding]
[Note: This same practice occurs
in the 20th century in the apologetic works of C. S. Lewis and his
fellow “Inkling,” Charles Williams.]
Jacob Bohme. Bohme
was a strange man—a sixteenth century shoemaker who started having visions. He represents
a turning point of the influence of Hermetic philosophy because he tried to
make it an acceptable aspect of Lutheranism.
“Bohme is a turning point in the history of Hermetic philosophy.
Hermeticism and Christianity had always been strange bedfellows, and as we have
seen, much of Hermetic thought—such as its conception of the divine or semi-divine
status of man—is heretical by Christian standards. [Giordano] Bruno [a
Dominican priest] even went so far as to advocate the abandonment of
Christianity and the return to a Hermetic, ‘Egyptian’ religion. Bohme, in
effect, acted to prevent the self-destruction of Hermetic philosophy in the
face of its clear conflict with the dominant, orthodox faith. David walsh
writes that ‘For the new occult philosophy to work, the old Christian
philosophy must be redirected. The individual with the theoretical genius to
effect their reconciliation and, thereby, become the transmitter of the new
symbolism to the modern world was Jakob Bohme.’”[viii]
Bohme used Christian
terminology but changed the real meanings. For instance, he used the word
trinity, but definitely not in a Biblical sense. His influence extended even to
England where he was quite popular. The English mystic William Law promoted his
writings, which even influenced John and Charles Wesley for a while.
Fortunately, they later turned away from Law’s influence.
Contemporary Examples of Hermeticism
Some obvious examples
of contemporary Hermeticism in English literature can be seen in Dan Brown’s
books, especially The Da Vinci Code
and Angels and Demons, as well as the
immense popularity of imaginative, magical literature. This genre includes
Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as his
lesser-known Silmarillion, along with
the fiction of C. S. Lewis. More recently, there is the popularity of the Harry Potter series and Phillip
Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, which
includes The Golden Compass.
In summary, the
above facts give but a taste of the pervasive, corrupting influence of Hermetic
thought and practice upon the Christian Church historically. Unfortunately, this
influence has never died away, and today it is expanding with great speed
within the Church. In coming posts, we will see that it is alive and spreading unconsciously
through the teachings of many well-known Christian leaders.
encountered confusion about the term orthodoxy. One pastor I knew actually said
orthodoxy means when a pastor wears a suit,
but in reality it’s the solid core of biblical theology, included in the main
Christian creeds and in the teachings of the Apostles: the Virgin birth, the
Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Second Coming; and
including justification by faith in Christ alone through grace alone.
concept of positive and negative gnosis is described in Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition by Frances Yates.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, 22.
[iii] Also known
as the Western Esoteric Tradition. It basically views humanity as on a
spiritual path to return to unity with the Divine.
[iv] Although Wikipedia
states that the works of Pseudo-Dionysus
were “mystical and show strong Neo-Platonist influence,” it still calls him a
“Christian theologian and philosopher.” You can see the confusion I mentioned
Pseudo-Dionysius represented himself as St. Dionysius the Areopagite, an
Athenian member of the judicial council, the Areopagus, who was converted
instantly by St. Paul, his work, strictly speaking, might be regarded as a
successful ‘forgery’, providing him with impeccable Christian credentials that
conveniently antedated Plotinus by over two hundred years. So successful was
this stratagem that Dionysius acquired almost apostolic authority, giving his
writings enormous influence in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance…” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
is the uniting of religious ideas that conflict with one another.
[vii]The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus:
Hermeticism from Ancient to Modern Times by Florian Ebeling. Cornell
University Press, November 11, 2011. Kindle Edition. Location: 1735.
[viii]Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition by
Glenn Alexander Magee. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2001. The quote at
the end of the quote comes from footnote 60: David Walsh, “A Mythology of