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Real or Fake? New Light on the Paracelsian De natura rerum


Gantenbein, Urs Leo (2020). Real or Fake? New Light on the Paracelsian De natura rerum. Ambix, 67(1):4-29.

Abstract

So far it has never been clearly decided whether the treatise De natura rerum constitutes an authentic work by the physician and natural philosopher Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493/94–1541) This article outlines the manuscript and printing traditions of De natura rerum, in which a recently discovered manuscript from 1571 is identified as the earliest source. The watermarks of this manuscript refer to the Tyrolean Inn Valley, where great alchemical expertise was available due to silver mining. A detailed examination of the content and style of the preface and the nine chapters indicates the involvement of at least three different authors. Some of these parts are definitely forgeries, while others cannot be judged with certainty as to their authenticity. On the other hand, three chapters, those on death, resuscitation and the signature of natural things, are most likely real writings of Paracelsus.

Abstract

So far it has never been clearly decided whether the treatise De natura rerum constitutes an authentic work by the physician and natural philosopher Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493/94–1541) This article outlines the manuscript and printing traditions of De natura rerum, in which a recently discovered manuscript from 1571 is identified as the earliest source. The watermarks of this manuscript refer to the Tyrolean Inn Valley, where great alchemical expertise was available due to silver mining. A detailed examination of the content and style of the preface and the nine chapters indicates the involvement of at least three different authors. Some of these parts are definitely forgeries, while others cannot be judged with certainty as to their authenticity. On the other hand, three chapters, those on death, resuscitation and the signature of natural things, are most likely real writings of Paracelsus.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Chemistry (miscellaneous)
Social Sciences & Humanities > History and Philosophy of Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:History and Philosophy of Science, Chemistry (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:2 January 2020
Deposited On:11 Mar 2020 14:09
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:50
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0002-6980
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00026980.2020.1720339

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