Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.12.13

Ramelli on Afonasin on Ilaria Ramelli, Corpus Hermeticum.   Response to 2007.11.13

Response by Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan (

I am very grateful to the reviewer and happy for his appreciation.

As for his criticisms, most of them in fact concern the format of the series and aspects that did not depend on my decision. (Although I may say that, since Nock's critical apparatus is already available in the critical edition and was neither altered here nor needs a translation, its omission in the new edition does not seem a fault.) He does mention my supposed confusion between the Gospel of Thomas and the Book of Thomas the Contender, which, I would like to remark, is ruled out first of all by my listing each one in Codex II (p. 1270): "Libro di Tommaso il Contenditore" and "Vangelo di Tommaso." Moreover, I always distinguish the Gospel and the Book of the Contender, and I quote them separately in my essay, namely on pp. 1270 (also before the list itself), 1273, 1303 (where I also give the precise location of the Book of Thomas the Contender in NHC II), 1341, 1370 note 26, 1406 note 366 (where I cite both, making a clear distinction between the Contender and the Gospel), 1456 (again with precise location within NHC II), 1488 (again with precise location and quotation), and 1501 (idem), 1518 (idem), 1522 (idem), 1536 (idem).

Similarly, my awareness of the existence of the Tripartite Treatise is well demonstrated by the fact that I cite it as belonging to NHC Ion p. 1343, on p. 1367 note 13, and on p. 1457. Of course "Cod. VIIf" is a misprint for "Cod. VII." And I cite the Coptic translation of Plato's Republic in NHC VI four times in my essay: on pp. 1351-1352, in the context of a detailed analysis of the contents of NHC VI, including this Platonic fragment which I lengthily describe as the fifth text in the Codex: on p. 1367 note 9, on p. 1400 note 342, and on p. 1401 note 357.

On p. 1462 the reference to Hippolytus, whose relevance escaped the reviewer, is connected to Mahe's observation that the perfect man can recognize the nature of his interlocutors (Hippolytus says: "he knew the nature of each one of his disciples...").

As for my supposed ignorance concerning the attribution of the Didaskalikos to Alcinous, please see pp. 1286, 1292, and 1296, where I repeatedly refer to the Middle Platonist Alcinous as the author of the Didaskalikos, and notes 102 and 122, where I explain the question of the attribution of the treatise, with documentation on both Alcinous and Albinus.

As for the only bibliographical omission that is criticized, that of the edition of De Mysteriis by Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell (2004), of course it was not available to me when I gave my book to the publisher.

But, apart from these small and necessary explanations, I agree with the reviewer, I am very glad of his favorable impression, and I thank him heartily for his appreciation and his attentive reading.

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