The deliberate use of obscure, convoluted, or esoteric imagery in various arts.
The Hermetica or Corpus Hermeticum are texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, some of them possibly remains of gnostic traditions, dealing with magic, philosophy, and related concepts. These scriptures were rediscovered and repopularized in Italy during the Renaissance and have had profound influence over alchemy and modern magic, as well as impacting philosophers such as Giordano Bruno and Marsilio Ficino.
In the late Roman Empire and during the Renaissance, these texts were all believed to be of ancient Egyptian origin, some are believed to be even today to date from History of Ancient Egypt. However, by studying the vocabluary of the texts, the classical scholar Isaac Casaubon showed in 1614 that some of the texts (mainly those dealing with philosophy) betrayed a vocabulary too recent to be so old. Recent research suggests some of these texts may be of pharaonic Egyptian origin, although most of the "philosophical" Hermetica can be dated to around 300 A.D. and these texts are generally seen as closely related to Neoplatonism.
Parts of the Hermetica appeared in the gnostic library found in Nag Hammadi.
Contents of the Hermetica