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Dating the Hermetica thru Cornelius Labeo, 1st C AD??

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 1:30 pm
by billd89
To follow the logic here: Suetonius (d.120 AD) used an older writer, Cornelius Labeo who was familiar with the Hermetica. The period of Labeo's lifetime is unknown, but at least as far back as the First Century AD (reasonably) if known to Suetonius c.120 AD. A known author's work circulated a generation or more before it became popular enough to be cited, and if Labeo wrote c.90 AD and he knew of the Hermetica, so the Hermetica must be older still.

Is this correct??

1) Duncan Greenlees, The Gospel Of Hermes [1949] p.xxiii
"Cornelius Labeo, as we are told by Bousset and Ferguson, based some of his beliefs on these [Hermetic] writings, and he died before A.D. 120."

Also, Scott [1935], p.xvi: "Benno Boehm advanced the hypothesis about Labeo's date, and Bousset used it to elucidate the early history of Hermetism."

2) For this information, Bousset [1912] p.16 cites Benno Boehm, De Cornelii Labeonis aetate [1913]
Reitzenstein is still correct in his attempt to trace this literature in its foundations and oldest component parts back into the First Century AD. I hope to be able to carry the investigation even further on this point. Here we may only say that with the foundations of the Hermetic literature we find ourselves in the early age of Gnosticism. Here, indeed, for those who have relied entirely too much on the hitherto acknowledged terminus ad quem for this literature, every day can bring fresh surprises which will compel them to do some re-learning. In this connection I refer only to the fact that recently a Latin author whose name often appears in connection with this mystical literature and whom most students were accustomed to dating in the Neo-Platonist age, Cornelius Labeo, has definitely assured his place, it appears to me, in the First Century AD, through the evidence that he was used by Suetonius {c.115 AD}.

3) Benno Boehm, De Cornelii Labeonis aetate PhD diss [1913] pp.71-2

Apologies for this quick and dirty DeepL Trans., pp.71-2
But the question is further, whether Suetonius found Labeo's name in Licinianus, or, in addition to Labeo's book written on the calendar, he also checked for the book of Licinianus of the same kind. Although I confess that I have made no certainty about this matter, yet, as I think that Suetonius has drawn from the very books of Labeo, I am induced to begin with this matter, because Suetonius mentioned similar things in this place and elsewhere (Macr. 113, 3; 113, 6, about these places below p. 74 and 72 words) he seems to have inspected Labeo's writings, where there is no proof that Licinianus was compiled by him. Moreover, Suetonius seems to turn to the words 'the diligent reader will find praise' because he has visited another author besides Labeo.

Suetonius, therefore, when he had endeavored to write a book about the year of the Romans by the statements of the former, also applied to the commentary of Cornelius Labeo, the subject of the calendar. But it could easily have been that Suetonius did not apply Labeo in this one place of the book of the year that was written. Wherefore it remains, that we may inquire whether Suetonius suppressed the remains of Labeo in other places as well...

Re: Dating the Hermetica thru Cornelius Labeo, 1st C AD??

Posted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:19 am
by andrewcriddle
Cornelius Labeo probably dates from the 3rd century CE see for example ... frontcover ... frontcover

Andrew Criddle

Re: Cornelius Labeo, 1st C AD??

Posted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:04 am
by billd89
[box=White]He has been dated "plausibly but not probably" to the 3rd century AD.[/box]

wiki's verdict is the consensus; it seems clear to me instead Labeo's date is "Unknown." His obscure work is too fragmentary in others' later citations.

But a not highly regarded Drake Univ. Prof. Geo. McCracken (1949) dismissed the [url=]Labeo Myth[/url] with great hostilty on the basis of a 1934 German PhD which I have not carefully examined. There's that.

Generally (I would say), the 1st C AD dating is NOT accepted, by near unanimous omission.