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Paracelsus: Speculative Theory and the Crisis of the Early by Andrew Weeks

By Andrew Weeks

Paracelsus is thought of as one of many nice clinical innovators of all time, as a prototype of Goethe's Faust and as a founding father of German Renaissance nature philosophy. lately, his position within the renowned "radical Reformation" that coincided with yet went past Luther's church reform has been well-known besides. A mythical wanderer and insurgent, he's an writer of undisputed value, but in addition one clouded by means of complicated ambiguities.
Based on a detailed exam and revised relationship of Paracelsus's writings, this booklet rejects convinced myths in regards to the author's medical orientation and event of nature. The genesis of his notion is traced to his responses to sectarian conflicts of the early Reformation. you'll signify Paracelsus's undertaking as that of a thorough theorist who transgressed the limits of disciplines and seized upon the irreducible particularities of his phenomena--the transmuted illness or the unrecognized girl pathology--to problem the status quo and beliefs.

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Additional resources for Paracelsus: Speculative Theory and the Crisis of the Early Reformation (S U N Y Series in Western Esoteric Traditions)

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Even during his Basel sojournin which one could suspect an exclusive medical-philosophical engagementthere is some evidence of a religious activity. A medical tract from Colmar (June 1528) recollects the betrayals of Paracelsus by those in Basel who had "received their religion from me'' (ir religion von mir empfangenI,6:319). What is decisive is not the number of religious or social-ethical works written during the early 1530s, but the conception of his authorial career as a whole. Even if there should have been a phase of religious writing in the early 1530s, the premise of this study would remain intact: Paracelsus's formative period as an author coincided with the turmoils of the early Reformation (which had begun soon after the publication of Luther's Ninety-five theses in 1517).

Another figure of this century was closer to Paracelsus's dual proccupations with religion and medicine: Miguel Servetus (1511-1553). Servetus was the tragic critic of the trinitarian doctrine who was burned at the stake for this heresy in Calvin's Geneva. 49Like Paracelsus, Servetus was an individualist who distanced himself from the Catholic and Protestant camps of his time. Like him, he adhered to the belief in Christ's real presence in the Eucharist. But where Paracelsus insisted on the triadic structure of human being and of nature in the image of the triune Creator, Servetus's skeptical critique of trinitarian doctrine went hand in hand with an innovative study of the inner organic workings of life.

True, their thinking was rife with mystical beliefs. But should one suppose that the thinking of Paracelsus is less so? A thirteenth-century physician, Nicholas of Poland, had long before denounced medieval medical tradition and broken ranks with the medical establishment at the University of Montpellier, to champion specific remedies. Nancy Siraisi has summarized his Paracelsus-like opposition to scholastic authority and advocacy of a natural medicine utilizing latent healing virtues: As a result of his experiences there, Friar Nicholas wrote a poem denouncing the characteristic features of university medical trainingreliance on ancient authorities, scholasticism, and rationalism.

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