The Hermes Trismegistus (the thrice greatest Hermes), who set forth the esoteric doctrines of the ancient Egyptian priesthood, recognized the reincarnation of "impious souls" and the achievement of pious souls when they know God and become "all intelligence." Hermes was the name the Greeks gave to the Egyptian god Thoth, the god of wisdom, learning, and literature. To Hermes was given the title "scribe of the gods," and he is said to have authored 42 sacred books, the Hermetic Mysteries, which contained a wide assortment of secret wisdom. These divine documents were divided into six categories. The first dealt with
the education of the priesthood; the second, temple ritual; the third, geographical knowledge; the fourth, astrology; the fifth, hymns in honor of the gods and a guide for the proper behavior of royalty; the sixth, medical commentary. Legend has it that these sacred texts contain all the accumulated wisdom of ancient Egypt, going back in an unbroken tradition to the very earliest time.
As the Hermetic texts continued to influence the growth of European alchemy, astrology, and magic, the author of the books was said to have been Adam's grandson, who built the great pyramids of Egypt; or an Egyptian magician who lived three generations after Moses; or a magus from Babylonia who instructed Pythagoras. The Hermetic text decrees against transmigration, the belief that the souls of humans may enter into animals: "Divine law preserves the human soul from such infamy."