Alchemy and Chemistry in the 16th and 17th Centuries / Edition 1

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Overview

The studies of sixteenth and seventeenth-century alchemy published in this volume were first presented as papers at a colloquium on 'Alchemy and Chemistry' held at the Warburg Institute in 1989. The aim of the colloquium was to examine alchemy not as a self-contained tradition, but as an activity intimately connected with chemistry, medicine, philosophy and religion. The wide range of topics discussed by the different contributors shows clearly that a true understanding of alchemical texts demands that they be considered not only as a component of the pre-history of experimental science, but as manifestations of the very different forms of religious belief and philosophical views of nature held by the alchemists. Though alchemy has been widely regarded as the mere precursor of early chemistry, it is evident that the two disciplines in fact coexisted and were in certain cases practised independently. The chemical interpretation of nature is thus seen to occupy a central position in the philosophical and religious, as well as the scientific culture of the early-modern period. It is also essential to an understanding of human physiology and medicine and the early development of the corpuscular philosophy. Such a wide-ranging approach to chemical and alchemical studies aims to place them in their widest possible historical and philosophical context. The chronological and geographical limits of the present investigations were therefore designed to allow an in-depth study of a coherent body of works located within a short time span. The volume will therefore command the interest of both historians of science, as well as of students of intellectual and social history.

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Table of Contents

Preface. 1. Medicina in the Alchemical Writings attributed to Raimond Lull (14th-17th Centuries); M. Pereira. 2. The Visible and the Invisible. From Alchemy to Paracelsus; M.L. Bianchi. 3. 'The Internal Laboratory'. The Chemical Reinterpretation of Medical Spirits in England (1650-1680); A. Clericuzio. 4. Creation in the Thought of J.B. van Helmont and Robert Fludd; N.E. Emerton. 5. Alchemy, Prophecy, and the Rosicrucians: Raphael Eglinus and Mystical Currents of the Early Seventeenth Century; B.T. Moran. 6. 'Author, cui nomen Hermes Malavici'. New Light on the Bio-Bibliography of Michael Maier (1569-1622); K. Figala, U. Neumann. 7. Alchemy and the Virtue of Stones in Muscovy; W.F. Ryan. 8. The Corpuscular Transmutational Theory of Eirenaeus Philalethes; W.R. Newman. 9. Chemistry Teaching at Oxford and Cambridge circa 1700; A. Guerrini. Index.

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