Hermeticism and Gnosticism

Two of the spiritual movements that challenged Catholicism

Joshua Hehe
6 min readAug 27, 2021


In Classical Antiquity, amid the birth of the Western occult tradition, during the 1st century, in an age of radical religious revolutions in Roman-occupied Egypt, both Hermeticism and Gnosticism emerged alongside what was becoming Catholicism. Since then, the two spiritual movements have often been thought of as being the same thing, although they have very different approaches to life. Nonetheless, both Hermetic Christians and Gnostic Christians were seen as heretics by Catholic Christians. This was because, both spiritual movements held that humanity was originally divine and that people had become trapped in the material world, as slaves to their own passions — distracted from their true nature.


After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, a bilingual and bicultural society emerged along the banks of the Nile. As a result of that, a number of important scholars emerged, such as Chaeremon of Alexandria, who was a famous Stoic philosopher and Egyptian priest. As the Head of the Alexandrian School of Grammarians and a rather influential author, he would have associated with many other writers at the Ancient Library of Alexandria. The thing was that, just as ancient Egyptian…