Hermetic books, ancient metaphysical works dealing essentially with the idea of the complete community of all beings and objects. Authorship of the books was attributed to the Egyptian god of wisdom, Thoth, whose name was sometimes translated into Greek as Hermes Trismegistus [Thoth the thrice great] and was therefore equated with the Greek god Hermes. The books treat of a variety of subjects, including magic, astrology, and alchemy, and were particularly influential in the 3d cent. with the Neoplatonists and in France and England in the 17th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.