You are here: » ancient writings » ancient wisdom

Ancient Writings


  World Religions
  By Region
  By Subject
  Fuente Magna
  Phaistos Disk
  Ancient Wisdom
  Catalan Atlas
  Sacred Symbols
  Sacred Temples

Ancient Wisdom:
The Bible

Ancient Writings

Secret Wisdom

The Bible

Prophets Philosophers Miscellaneous
Corpus Hermeticum Bibliography Links

The Bible - Wisdom is Supreme

Click to enlarge

... darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God
was hovering over the waters"                                 [ Genesis ]


Proverbs 1:6-7

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-
for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Proverbs 4: 5-9

5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
   do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
   love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
   Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
   embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will set a garland of grace on your head
   and present you with a crown of splendor."

Proverbs 8: 1-36

  1. Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
  2. On the heights along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
  3. beside the gates leading into the city,
    at the entrances, she cries aloud:
  4. "To you, O men, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
  5. You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, gain understanding.
  6. Listen, for I have worthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
  7. My mouth speaks what is true,
    for my lips detest wickedness.
  8. All the words of my mouth are just;
    none of them is crooked or perverse.
  9. To the discerning all of them are right;
    they are faultless to those who have knowledge.
  10. Choose my instruction instead of silver,
    knowledge rather than choice gold,
  11. for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
  12. "I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
    I possess knowledge and discretion.
  13. To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.
  14. Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
    I have understanding and power.
  15. By me kings reign
    and rulers make laws that are just;
  16. by me princes govern,
    and all nobles who rule on earth. [1]
  17. I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
  18. With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
  19. My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
  20. I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
  21. bestowing wealth on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.
  22. "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, [2] , [3]
    before his deeds of old;
  23. I was appointed [4] from eternity,
    from the beginning, before the world began.
  24. When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water;
  25. before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
  26. before he made the earth or its fields
    or any of the dust of the world.
  27. I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
  28. when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
  29. when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
    and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
  30. Then I was the craftsman at his side.
    I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
  31. rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.
  32. "Now then, my sons, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
  33. Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not ignore it.
  34. Blessed is the man who listens to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
  35. For whoever finds me finds life
    and receives favor from the LORD .
  36. But whoever fails to find me harms himself;
    all who hate me love death."

Source: The Bible, New Living Translation (NLT)


The Book of Wisdom Chapter 7: 1-30

  1. I too am a mortal man, the same as all the rest,
    and a descendant of the first man formed on earth.
    And in my mother's womb I was molded into flesh
  2. in a ten-months' period-body and blood,
    from the seed of man, and the pleasure that accompanies marriage.
  3. And I too, when born, inhaled the common air,
    and fell upon the kindred earth;
    wailing, I uttered that first sound common to all.
  4. In swaddling clothes and with constant care I was nurtured.
  5. For no king has any different origin or birth,
  6. but one is the entry into life for all;
    and in one same way they leave it.
  7. Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me;
    I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
  8. I preferred her to scepter and throne,
    And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
  9. nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
    Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
    and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
  10. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
    And I chose to have her rather than the light,
    because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
  11. Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
    and countless riches at her hands;
  12. And I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader,
    though I had not known that she is the mother of these.
  13. Simply I learned about her, and ungrudgingly do I share
    - her riches I do not hide away;
  14. For to men she is an unfailing treasure;
    those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God,
    to whom the gifts they have from discipline commend them.
  15. Now God grant I speak suitably and value these endowments at their worth:
    For he is the guide of Wisdom and the director of the wise.
  16. For both we and our words are in his hand,
    as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.
  17. For he gave me sound knowledge of existing things,
    that I might know the organization of the universe and the force of its elements,
  18. The beginning and the end and the midpoint of times,
    the changes in the sun's course and the variations of the seasons.
  19. Cycles of years, positions of the stars,
  20. natures of animals, tempers of beasts,
    Powers of the winds and thoughts of men, uses of plants and virtues of roots -
  21. Such things as are hidden I learned and such as are plain;
  22. for Wisdom, the artificer of all, taught me.
    For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique,
    Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain,
    Not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent,
  23. kindly, Firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing,
    And pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
  24. For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
    and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
  25. For she is an aura of the might of God
    and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
    therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
  26. For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
    the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness.
  27. And she, who is one, can do all things,
    and renews everything while herself perduring;
    And passing into holy souls from age to age,
    she produces friends of God and prophets.
  28. For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
  29. For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
    Compared to light, she takes precedence;
  30. for that, indeed, night supplants, but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.


Source: The New American Bible


Ecclesiastes 1: 2-18

Everything Is Meaningless

2 "Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher, "utterly meaningless!"
3 What do people get for all their hard work? 
4 Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. 
5 The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. 
6 The wind blows south and north, here and there, 
   twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. 
7 The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. 
   Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. 
8 Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, 
   we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. 
   Nothing under the sun is truly new. 
10 What can you point to that is new? 
     How do you know it didn't already exist long ago? 
11 We don't remember what happened in those former times. 
     And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

The Futility of Wisdom

12  I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 
13  I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom     
      everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a 
      tragic existence to the human race. 
14  Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind. 
15  What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered.
16  I said to myself, "Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in 
      Jerusalem before me. 
      I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them." 
17  So I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. 
      But now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. 
18  For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. 
      To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15

A Time for Everything

  1. There is a time for everything,
    a season for every activity under heaven.
  2. A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
  3. A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.
  4. A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
  5. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
  6. A time to search and a time to lose.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
  7. A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
  8. A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
  9. What do people really get for all their hard work? 
  10. I have thought about this in connection with the various kinds of work God has given people to do. 
  11. God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. 
  12. So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can. 
  13. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
  14. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God's purpose in this is that people should fear him. 
  15. Whatever exists today and whatever will exist in the future has already existed in the past. For God calls each event back in its turn.[1]

Source: The Bible, New International Version (NIV)


Psalm 104 

  1. Praise the LORD , O my soul.O LORD my God, 
    you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

  2. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; 
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent 

  3. and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. 
    He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.

  4. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

  5. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

  6. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; 
    the waters stood above the mountains.

  7. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder 
    they took to flight;

  8. they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, 
    to the place you assigned for them.

  9. You set a boundary they cannot cross; 
    never again will they cover the earth.

  10. He makes springs pour water into the ravines; 
    it flows between the mountains.

  11. They give water to all the beasts of the field; 
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

  12. The birds of the air nest by the waters; 
    they sing among the branches.

  13. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; 
    the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

  14. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man 
    to cultivate bringing forth food from the earth:

  15. wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, 
    and bread that sustains his heart.

  16. The trees of the LORD are well watered, 
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

  17. There the birds make their nests; 
    the stork has its home in the pine trees.

  18. The high mountains belong to the wild goats; 
    the crags are a refuge for the coneys.

  19. The moon marks off the seasons, 
    and the sun knows when to go down.

  20. You bring darkness, it becomes night, 
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

  21. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.

  22. The sun rises, and they steal away; 
    they return and lie down in their dens.

  23. Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.

  24. How many are your works, O LORD !
    In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

  25. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures 
    beyond number living things both large and small.

  26. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, 
    which you formed to frolic there.

  27. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.

  28. When you give it to them, they gather it up; 
    when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied with good things.

  29. When you hide your face, they are terrified; 
    when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

  30. When you send your Spirit, they are created, 
    and you renew the face of the earth.

  31. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; 
    may the LORD rejoice in his works

  32. he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, 
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

  33. I will sing to the LORD all my life; 
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

  34. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.

  35. But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. 
    Praise the LORD , O my soul. Praise the LORD.

Source: The Bible, Psalm 104, New International Version (NIV)


You can purchase online 
Internet Sacred Text Archive CD-ROM
by John B. Hare

The Internet Sacred Text Archive has the full text of over 500 ebooks on Religion, Mythology, Folklore, Traditions and the Esoteric. It includes all major religions' scriptures in English and the original languages, and hundreds of other books. Includes many texts scanned from rare books no longer in print. Ideal for schools, libraries and students. Books include: the Bible in English, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the Qur'an in English and Arabic, the Vedas and Upanishads, Homer, Virgil, Dante, the Eddas, the Kalavala and even the complete works of Shakespeare. Topics include the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, I Ching, Taoism, Confucianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Shamanism, Traditions of Australia, Polynesia, Africa and Native America; Ancient Near East, Egypt, Classics of Rome and Greece, Sagas and Legends, Wicca, Grimoires, Alchemy, Atlantis, Tarot, Atheism, Philosophy and much more.

Plato: Republic
by Plato, C. D. C. Reeve, G. M. Grube (Translator)

Plato (c. 427-347 b.c.) founded the Academy in Athens, the prototype of all Western universities, and wrote more than twenty philosophical dialogues.

Book Description
The central work of one of the West's greatest philosophers, The Republic of Plato is a masterpiece of insight and feeling, the finest of the Socratic dialogues, and one of the great books of Western culture. Now Robin Waterfield offers a new translation of The Republic, one that captures the dramatic realism, poetic beauty, intellectual vitality, and emotional power of Plato at his height. Deftly weaving three main strands of argument into an artistic whole--the ethical and political, the aesthetic and mystical, and the metaphysical--Plato explores in The Republic the elements of the ideal community, where morality can be achieved in a balance of wisdom, courage, and restraint. But of course the dialogue is as much about our internal life as about social morality, for these vital elements must likewise work together to create harmonious human beings. Equally important, Plato achieves more than a philosophical dialogue of lasting fame and importance: The Republic is a literary masterpiece as well, presenting the philosophy with poetic power, with strikingly memorable images (the simile of the cave being the best known of Plato's unforgettable images of the human condition), carrying the reader along by the wit and intensity of the language. BOX "Waterfield's is certainly the best translation of the Republic available. It is accurate and informed by deep philosophical understanding of the text; unlike other translations it combines these virtues with an impressive ability to render Plato into English that is an varied and expressive as is Plato's Greek."

NOTE: "The Republic" by Plato contains much more than most critics are able to see...

Roger Bacon's Philosophy of Nature- A Critical Edition, With English Translation, Introduction, and Notes, of De Multiplicatione Specierum and De Speculis Comburentibus

"The name David Lindberg is certainly not new to the study of medieval science in general or of medieval optics in particular. . . . But without any doubt we have in hand now the man's masterwork, a truly first-rate book, done with consummate skill, complete in every detail. . . .
"The translations . . . are the best ever for the two Latin works . . . . And to continue with what may seem to be an advertising blurb, the notes, which are appended at the end of the explanations to the translations, are everything that one could expect from good historical study. . . .

"This is truly a beautiful book, carefully wrought to the last detail. Even the printing is exquisite. The ultimate test, to my way of thinking, for this kind of book is how parallel the Latin and English facing pages are. The English translation, in fact, is never behind the Latin text as one turns the page by more than half a line. That is perfection itself."

George March, O.F.M., Speculum

The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius

by Clement Salaman (Translator), Dorine Van Oyen, William D. Wharton (Translator), Jean-Pierre Mahe (Translator)

Book Description

A new translation of the great esoteric masterpiece that includes the first English translation of the recently rediscovered Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius.

* The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius provides new insights into the actual workings of the gnostic spiritual path.

* Will be of great interest to scholars and religious seekers alike.

The Corpus Hermeticum, a powerful fusion of Greek and Egyptian thought, is one of the cornerstones of the Western esoteric tradition. A collection of short philosophical treatises, it was written in Greek between the first and third centuries a.d. and translated into Latin during the Renaissance by the great scholar and philosopher Marsilio Ficino. These writings, believed to be the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, were central to the spiritual work of Hermetic societies in late antique Alexandria, aiming to awaken gnosis, the direct realization of the unity of the individual and the Supreme. They are still read as important, inspirational spiritual writings today.

In addition to this new translation of The Corpus Hermeticum, which seeks to reflect the inspirational intent of the original, The Way of Hermes includes the first English translation of the recently rediscovered manuscript of The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, a collection of aphorisms, closely related to parts of The Corpus Hermeticum, used by the hermetic student to strengthen his mind in meditation. With the proper mental orientation, one could achieve a state of pure perception in which the true face of God appears. This document is of enormous value to the contemporary student of gnostic studies for its insights into the actual workings of this spiritual path.

The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharohs
by Timothy Freke

Religious and philosophic teachings ascribed to the Egyptian sage (god) Hermes Trismegistus.

This is a book to own and meditate on the deeper meanings of its contents.

The Hermetica is an ancient Egyptian wisdom, and not Greek. 
Hermes is a Greek god equated to Tehuti: Tehuti (Egyptian) is the author of the "Hermetica", who is also called Thoth, or Hermes.

The works of Hermes were collated in the city of Alexandria in Egypt during the second and third centuries CE. The main idea in Hermes' teaching is God as Cosmic Consciousness. Similar ideas seems to me to be in other mystic outlooks of other religions.

This is a great little book for a person who has an interest in all religions and spiritual writings and traditions You can take this book and read just a few pages a day and ponder its meaning on different chapters. Over time, your understanding will increase and deepen. 

More Hermetica related books:

Related Links


  • Note: If you are aware of an inspiring ancient text, please  let us know.

Visitors since March 21, 2004