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Some Readings on Paracelsus

Although much of the work of Paracelsus and his followers has appeared in German, there are a number of important studies in English. Essential for background material is Owsei Temkin's Galenism: Rise and Decline of a Medical Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972). Allen G. Debus has prepared a short general introduction to Renaissance science and medicine in his Man and Nature in the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 1978).

An enjoyable introduction to the life and work of Paracelsus is Henry Pachter, Paracelsus: Magic Into Science (New York: Henry Schumann, 1951). However, for those who would go beyond this, a far more authoritative work is that of Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance (Basel: Karger, 1968; second edition, 1982). Several texts, including the work on the diseases of miners, have been translated in Four Treatises of Theophrastus von Hohenheim Called Paracelsus, edited, with a preface by Henry E. Sigerist (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1941). Selections from his writings may also be found in Nicholas Goodrick- Clarke, Paracelsus: Essential Readings (Wellingborough: Crucible, 1990) and in Paracelsus: Selected Writings, edited with an introduction by Jolande Jacobi, translated by Norbert Guterman (New York: Pantheon Books, 1951). A number of the alchemical and chemical works were translated by Arthur Edward Waite in The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Phillippus Theophrastus Bombast, of Hoheneim, Called Paracelsus the Great (2 vols., London Elliott and Co., 1894).

The reader will Walter Pagel's The Smiling Spleen: Paracelsianism in Storm and Stress (Basel et al: Karger, 1984) useful for many specific aspects of the Paracelsian tradition. Allen G. Debus has discussed the English and the French scenes in The English Paracelsians (London: Old- bourne, 1965) and in The French Paracelsians: The Chemical Challenge to Medical and Scientific Tradition in Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press, 1991). In The Chemical Philosophy: Paracelsian Science and Medicine in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (2 vols., New York: Science History Publcations, 1977) Debus discussed the Paracelsian tradition up to Robert Boyle. Of considerable interest for detailing the opposed views of the Paracelsian, Oswald Croll and his adversary, Andreas Libavius, is Owen Hannaway's The Chemists and the Word: The Didactic Origins of Chemistry (Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins Press, 1975). Bruce T. Moran has uncovered much new material related to the teaching of chemistry and chemical medicine at Marburg in The Alchemical World of the German Court: Occult Philosophy and Chemical Medicine in the Circle of Moritz of Hessen (1572-1632), Sudhoffs Archiv, Beiheft 29 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1991). A.D.