DISCOURSE ON THE EIGHTH AND NINTH (NHC VI, 6)
An initiatory Hermetic tractate featuring a dialogue between Hermes Trismegistus as mystagogue and his “son” (Tat) as initiate. The tractate lacks a title; the one now in use has been editorially assigned on the basis of content. The “eighth” and the “ninth” refer to the spheres above the planetary cosmos wherein the initiate might approach the transcendent divine realm, presumably located at the 10th level. Extant only in Coptic, Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth was originally composed in Greek, and is closely related to other texts in which the god “thrice-greatest Hermes” reveals gnosis to his initiates, such as might have been used in a Hermetic conventicle. It was certainly composed in Egypt, possibly as early as the second century.