GNOSTICISM AND HERMETICISM
Ways of Ascent
For scholars who use the term in the broadest sense, Hermetic works are sometimes included in the larger category of Gnosticism, and classical Hermeticism does indeed display a good deal in common with its contemporary ancient Gnostic traditions. Both movements flourished in the same geographic regions over roughly the same time period, likely drawing members from the same social classes, and in turn being influenced by many of the same older sources. Gnosticism and Hermeticism existed side by side in cities such as Alexandria for centuries, with both movements likely being well aware of each other (evidenced by traces of mutual influence in their respected bodies of literature). During this time it is entirely conceivable that individuals may have gone from one group to the other, or indeed been influenced by both (see the works of Zosimus of Panopolis). So lets take a look at some the things that set Gnosticism and Hermeticism apart and some of the things they hold in common.