Alchemy Academy archive
March 2004

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Subject: Recent problems with email
From: Adam McLean
Date: 13 Mar 2004

The alchemy academy email discussion group has been
experiencing some problems with email recently.

This has been caused by a massive increase in spam
email. I now get about 200 a day just on the alchemy-academy
email account. I installed a spam filter to attempt to deal
with this. Unfortunately it often put legitimate emails into the
junk box. So I may have lost some incoming mail. I have now
replaced this with Norton's spam filter which should be a bit
more professional.

Other subscribers are, no doubt, in the same situation.
This means that when I send out mails using the BCC field
their spam filter may intercept them and put them in a junk box.
My ISP had now imposed a limit of 200 addresses in the BCC
field. This is also a problem.

The recent massive increase in spam is severly impacting on
email communication. Eventually the ISP's will have to find some
way of dealing with this, otherwise confidence will be entirely
lost in email communication, as one is now entirely unsure whether
an email one sends ever gets to the recipient.

I will struggle on with this system for a while, but I may have to
change the email address, then I will probably be free of the
spam for a few months !

I am determined to keep this discussion group alive.

With best wishes,

Adam McLean

Subject: A Giorgione's painting reading
From: Marisa Addomine
Date: 13 Mar 2004

Together with a friend, we were discussing the symbolic reading of a
well-known painting by Giorgione.

The painting is known as "The three philosophers". I attach here a
light copy of the image. Best copies (at hi-res) can be easiliy found
in the web.

Can anyone help me in understanding the meaning of the painting?

Thank you very much, I will appreciate any help.

Marisa Addomine


Subject: von Bernus
Date: 13 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Academy,

Has anyone seen this catalogue?

Die Alchemiebibliothek Alexander von Bernus in der Badischen
Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe : Katalog der Drucke und Handschriften
Annelies Stöckinger ; Joachim Telle.
Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1997

I wonder if it may be helpful in the same way as Ferguson
and Duveen? In other words, does it contain mostly pre-1800
books or rather modern works? Joachim Telle is an eminent
scholar and Harrassowitz a top shelf scholarly publisher,
so I would presume it is a valuable resource. On the other hand,
the on-line listings of the Badisches Landesbibliothek
seem to contain rather few old-prints:

http://www.blb-karlsruhe.de/blb/blbhtml/besondere-bestaende/nachlaesse/bernus.html

The links are at the bottom of the page.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: The tiled stove from Winterthur
From: Adam McLean
Date: 13 Mar 2004

I wonder if anyone has information about the tiled stove or oven
made by the pottery workshop of David II Pfau (1644-1702), which
I understand is in the Heimatmuseum Lindengut in Winterthur,
Switzerland.

This is an elaborately decorated oven with large tin-glazed tiles, some
with various emblems. It was suggested in the book

Jacob [ J.J. Boucart]. Esquisse hermetique du tout universel, Zurich 1896,

that these images were of alchemical significance.

Recently Jean-Marc Savary published

Le four alchimique de Winterthur, Liber mirabilis, 2000

in which this alchemical interpretation is pursued in depth with
good quality illustrations of the images.

I have puzzled over these for some time but I find little alchemical
significance to them. The emblems seem instead conventional
images such as one finds in emblem books of the period.

Has anyone any insight into these emblems, and can convince
me of its alchemical significance? The Savary book is not a
reliable account of the stove.

A similar oven can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/view1.asp?dep=12&item=06.968.2

Here the imagery of the tiles is Biblical.

Adam McLean

Subject: The tiled stove from Winterthur
From: Nicole
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 1994

Dear Adam,

I have no intention to convince you of any alchemical significance but
I can easily drive to Winterthur and visit the Lindengut Heimatmuseum.
I shall see if I can find alchemical emblems on the tiles and let you
know. Unfortunately they publish many puzzling books about alchemy
here and the recommended literature for the students at the universities
here can be genius as well as making me feeling strange in the stomach
in the same book.

With best wishes,
Nicole

Subject: The tiled stove from Winterthur
From: Adam McLean
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 1994

Dear Nicole

>I can easily drive to Winterthur and visit the Lindengut Heimatmuseum.
>I shall see if I can find alchemical emblems on the tiles and let you
>know.

Well I don't think it is as easy as merely visiting the museum
and looking at the imagery. We already have quite good quality
pictures in the Savary book.

What I am looking for is some kind of assessment as to whether
the emblems on the tiles can be contextualised in alchemy rather
than just in the general emblematic material of that period (the
first decades of the 18th century). This requires some specialist
knowledge of emblem literature.

The Savary book, following a kind of 'Fulcanelli' methodology,
seems to take a positive and uncritical view of the alchemical
context. Having looked at these emblems I am not so sure this
is so, and need some convincing.

We have all noticed, I expect, the recent rush of books, particularly in
French, linking buildings, architectural features, gardens and
paintings to alchemy. Much of this, I believe, is totally spurious. I
like my alchemy to be the real thing and not some imaginative journey
of some modern writer who has not really deeply studied alchemy,
but rushes to some speculative conclusions.

With best wishes,

Adam McLean

Subject: Question on Theophilus Schweighart
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004
From: Claude Gagnon

I have read in the alchemy web site informations on Daniel Moegling
alias Theophilus Schweighart. It seems that everybody refers to the
edition of 1618 for the Speculum Sophicum.

But, I have found on the web a frontispiece dated of 1604 of the same
treatise. Is this possible?

http://www.gnosis.art.pl/iluminatornia/alkimija/theophilus_schweighart_speculum_sophicum02.htm

The text would have been published as soon as 1604?
I really do not know anything about Moegling.

Can you help me?

Claude Gagnon

Subject: Question on Theophilus Schweighart
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Claude,

> http://www.gnosis.art.pl/iluminatornia/alkimija/theophilus_schweighart_speculum_sophicum02.htm
>
> The text would have been published as soon as 1604?
> I really do not know anything about Moegling.

This is an obvious error. You can find a good biographic entry
on Moegling here (in German):

http://www.bautz.de/bbkl/m/moegling.shtml

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: Question on Theophilus Schweighart
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004

Dear Claude,

1604 was the date of the opening of the tomb of Christian
Rosenkreutz, not the Speculum's publication date. When you
look at the title page of the Speculum, you can see that the
figure behind the date represents the constellation Serpens.
Behind the constellation you can see a large star with a fiery tail -
in his 'De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii' Johannes Kepler
describes the star (a supernova known today as SN1604) observed
by his assistant in Serpens on the 27th of September, 1604 of
the old calendar as multi-coloured and flickering with astonishing
rapidity, which gave it the appearance of a multi-sided adamantine
in sunlight.

On the other side of the picture you can see the 'new star'
(known today as P Cygni) in the constellation of Cygnus, the
Swan, which was discovered on August the 8th, 1600 by a
Dutch astronomer, Willem Blauew. Kepler's star was visible
to the naked eye for 18 months, the supernova in Cygnus
for a number of years.

Both are mentioned by the Confessio Fraternitatis: "yea, the
Lord God hath already sent before certain messengers, which
should testify his will, to wit, some new stars, which do appear
and are seen in the firmament in Serpentario and Cygno, which
signify and give themselves known to everyone, that they are
powerful Signacula of great weighty matters." Those 'great
weighty matters' include the reemergence of arcane knowledge
in the world via the opening of the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz.

I wrote a little on Daniel Mögling, aka "Theophilus Schweighardt",
aka "Florentinus de Valentia", aka "C. V. A. I. B. F.", in my work on
Maier - Schick argued that he composed the Colloquium
Rhodo-Stauroticum, which I analysed there.

As for the Speculum title page, you can see the true date of
publication on the scroll above the castle.

cheers

Hereward Tilton

Subject: Renaissance Birth Tray
From: Janet Muff
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004

Dear Academy,

While pursuing the alchemical significance of coral, I have
taken an unexpected detour (wild goose chase?) with the
discovery of a "birth tray," painted by Bartolomeo di Fruosino
in 1428, and on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The front of the tray depicts a typical birth scene: the mother
is attended by maidservants who bring refreshments, other
women care for the newborn, and well-wishers arrive at the door.

The reverse of the tray - which caught my attention - is painted
with the image of a boy, wearing a coral amulet and holding a
hobby horse and pinwheel, seated on a rock in the middle of
a river or lake, urinating streams of silver and gold. The coral
amulet, which initially caught my eye, was a common apotropaic
device, particularly with respect to childbirth and maternal/infant
health. It appears in numerous Renaissance paintings of the
Virgin and Child.

The inscription around the perimeter of the tray, which is partially
effaced, reads:

"FACCIA IDDIO SANA OGNI DONNA CHFFIGLIA EPADRI
LORO . . . RO . . . ERNATO SIA SANZA NOIA ORICHDIA
* ISONO * VNBANBOLIN * CHESUL [ROCCIA/] DIMORO *
FO * LAPISCIA* DARIENT [O] * EDORO,"

which is translated as: "May God grant health to every woman
who gives birth and to their father . . . may [the child] be born
without fatigue or peril. I am an infant who lives on a [rock?] and
I make urine of silver and gold."
(The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Summer 1980.)

Various authors have suggested that the silver and gold urine
might signify "future prosperity," "a pun," and an allusion to the
goldsmithing occupation of the birth family. It is believed that
the damaged coat of arms on the tray may have belonged to the
Montauri family of Siena. There is also some speculation that
the tray was commissioned in celebration of the birth of Paolo di
Tommaso Montauri, who later became a goldsmith and served
on the board of governors of the Bicherna (Exchequer) in 1480.
His father, Tommaso di Paolo Montauri also had been a prominent
goldsmith. (Kanter, Lawrence et al. Painting and Illumination in
Early Renaissance Florence 1300-1450, New York, Harry N. Abrams,
1994.)

I am wondering whether the birth-tray child, who 'lives on a rock'
and makes 'urine of silver and gold,' may point to an alchemical
significance. Can anyone shed light on possible alchemical
connections with respect to the artist (Bartolomeo di Fruosino)
or the Montauri family? Are there similar, posibly related, images
in "civilian" art? I would welcome any thoughts on the iconography.

Thank you.

Janet Muff

Subject: von Bernus
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004

Dear Rafal,

I checked this catalogue several years ago. It is a regular
catalogue of library holdings. Useful, but no match to Ferguson
or Duveen or Bolton.

There are few items that might be of interest to you like:
"Lucerna Salis Philosophorum", Sendivogius' Chemische Schriften,
and his Briefe.

Best,

Eugene Beshenkovsky

Subject: Maier's 'Arcana Arcanissima'
From: Aaron Crim
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004

This is probably a very dumb question, but has this work ever been
translated into English? If so, is it readily available, or am I missing
something?

Thanks in advance,

Aaron

Subject: A Giorgione's painting reading
From: Janet Muff
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Dear Marisa Addomine:

I am not sure whether he is correct or not, but Antoine Faivre discusses
Giorgione's "The Three Philosophers" (in his book The Eternal
Hermes - From Greek God to Alchemical Magus) in conjunction
with a discussion of the engraving of Hermes Trismegistus from
the Siena Cathedral, attributed to Giovanni di Maestro Stephano.




About the Siena work, Faivre concludes that Hermes Trismegistus
is indeed the prominent figure, who has a long forked beard and
wears a pointed hat or miter. He suggests that the turbaned man
is Plato, and the younger man who is dressed as a monk might be
Marsilio Ficino.

Faivre goes on to discuss the Giorgione painting as follows:

"Should we recognize Trismegistus as one of the three figures of
the famous painting by Giorgione - one of the masters of the
Venetian school - dating around 1500 and now in the Vienna
Staatsgalerie? Here again, we have an old bearded man, holding a
manuscript and accompanied by two personages: a turbaned
Oriental, and a young, pensive European equipped with square
and compasses. The green costume and charming looks of the
latter suggest Saint John the Evangelist (compare the illustration
by Jean Fouquet in Etienne Chevalier's Book of Hours). The
Oriental resembles a picture of an alchemist by Durer. An X-ray
examination of the Giorgione painting has shown that the old man
on the right originally wore a diadem with rays, decorated with
plumes, such as the ancient Egyptians attributed to the divine
scribe, Thoth - here transformed into a mere astrologer. On this
painting, see G. F. Hartlaub, "L'esoterisme de Giorgione
(sur un tableau de la Wiener Staatsgalerie)," in La Tour Saint-Jacques,
no. 15 (May-June 1958), pp. 13-18. Mirko Sladek is preparing a
thorough study of this painting." (Faivre, p. 133.)

Regards,

Janet Muff

Subject: Alchemy and pottery
From: Giulio Vada
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004

I am currently working on the relationship between alchemy and pottery.
I need to collect material for my research project.
I wonder if anyone has any additional information in the form of
pointers to texts, articles, images,ecc.

Any help would be really appreciated.

Best regards,

Giulio Vada

Subject: Maier's 'Arcana Arcanissima'
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Dear Aaron,

To my knowledge the Arcana Arcanissima does not exist in
English translation (or in German or French, for that matter);
you'll find a good English summary of the work's contents in
the Reverend Craven's work on Michael Maier, and there's
also some information in my own work on him. As the first
clear formulation of Maier's hermeneutic, it's a central work
of the mythoalchemical tradition, and would surely be worth
translating, if you're thinking of doing it yourself.

Cheers

Hereward Tilton

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Julie Hollingsworth
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004

I am presently working on the history of alchemy. If anyone has
suggestions on articles, papers, authors, or images, I would
greatly appreciate the information.

Julie Hollingsworth


Subject: Alchemy and pottery
From: Adam McLean
Date: 17 Mar 2004

Two names immediately come to my mind - Bernard Palissy the
16th century potter, and Boettger the 18th century alchemist
and inventor of porcelain (in Europe that is).

Bernard PALISSY
Discours admirables, de la nature des eaux et fonteines...
des metaux, des sels & salines, des pierres, des terres, du feu & des emaux...
Paris 1580.

Here is a short description I found of this book.

"The second book, Discours admirables, probably incorporates
Palissy's Paris lectures. It deals with an impressive array of
subjects: agriculture, alchemy, botany, ceramics, embalming,
engineering, geology, hydrology, medicine, metallurgy, meteorology,
mineralogy, paleontology, philosophy, physics, toxicology, and zoology.
The book is divided into several chapters, the first and longest of
which is concerned with water. The others take up metals and their
nature and generation; drugs; ice; different types of salts and their
nature, effects, and methods of generation; characteristics of
common and precious stones; clay and marl; and the potter's art..."

Kirsop, Wallace. 'The legend of Bernard Palissy' Ambix 9 (3)
Oct 1961, p136-154.

http://www.sogang.ac.kr/~anthony/daniel/Daniel1.htm

John Frederick Boettger

There are many mentions of him on web sites, lots of articles
and even an entertaining novel -

Gleeson, Janet. The Arcanum. The extraordinary true story of the
invention of European Porcelain. 1998.

Adam McLean

Subject: Azogue e-journal's Book of the Year
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004

Dear Collegues:

The e-journal "Azogue" offers since 1998 the Book of the Year Award for the
best publication in the history of alchemy. It does not include a monetary
reward. The prize is designed especially to define standards for people
learning in history of alchemy and related fields. The book selected could
be a model for students and new researchers. It will be aiming to a better
and more positive interpretation of alchemy as historical subject.

It is clear that a statement of basic criteria for adequacy will be helpful.
The study of alchemy, hermeticism, rosacrucianism, paracelsism, etc., had
now become part of academic research. But, in mainstream accademic
discussions up to the present we can find the validity of various specific
approaches which had been developed in some cases as polar opposites.

Researchers could find methodological references and analytical strategies
in the book selected. It could provide disciplinary orientation in
historical methods and introduce students to the theoretical and practical
problems in our field. It could help students begin to think about the
theme, "history of alchemy" to analyze and think critically about a topic's
significance in history in relation to the theme, and to develop a new
analysis through further research.

%%%%%%%%%Vote%%%%%%%%%

People who want to elect the Book of the Year must meet at least one of the
following criteria:

1. Hold an affiliated academic position (national or federal research
institutions, universities and colleges).
2. Hold membership in a recognized association or society of independent
scholars.
3. Have a demonstrated record of scholarly publications.

You can send your vote to: revista_azogue@hotmail.com

The last year we received 84 votes from 11 countries and we try to increase
this number.

%%%%%%%%%Terms and conditions%%%%%%%%%

The standards used to award the prize should be: originality, well-crafted
sources and solid scholarship.

The entry must had been published in 2003 (see ISBN).

The deadline for vote submission is April 20.

The Prize is to be awarded at the Azogue web site in May 1.
< http://idd00dnu.eresmas.net/premios.htm >

We thank your collaboration.

Toledo (Spain), 17-3-2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Azogue. Revista Electrónica Dedicada al Estudio Histórico-Crítico de la
Alquimia.
ISSN: 1575-8184
URL: http://www.come.to/azogue
e-mail: revista_azogue@hotmail.com

Subject: Maier's 'Arcana Arcanissima'
From: Aaron Crim
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004

Hereward,

Thank you for the confirmation. I'm a bit surprised this one hasn't been
Englished yet. I'd love to do it...if only my Latin was up to par! I'll be
keeping an eye out, that's for sure. Someone will do it eventually, or
perhaps my Latin will improve and then I'll do it.

Aaron

Subject: Question on Theophilus Schweighart
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Claude,

> http://www.gnosis.art.pl/iluminatornia/alkimija/theophilus_schweighart_speculum_sophicum02.htm
>
> The text would have been published as soon as 1604?

Just for the record; I have traced the source of that error.
It is _Alchemy & Mysticism_ by Alexander Roob, where
on p. 333 there is that frontispiece with the publication
year 1604.

It appears that most of the pictures on the site have been
scanned from that book! The site is that of the Polish
journal called _Gnosis_ - with strong Jungian and Steinerian
profile.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004

Dear Julie,

That's a very broad field! If you can read German, I would
recommend Hans-Werner Schütt, Auf der Suche nach dem
Stein der Weisen, and Helmut Gebelein, Alchemie. In English
good introductions are Holmyard, Alchemy, and Read, Prelude
to Chemistry. They're a bit outdated, but useful nonetheless.
I always found Partington's History of Chemistry very useful too.
And Thorndyke's History of Magic and Experimental Science.

Can you be more specific about your needs?

Hereward Tilton

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004

Dear Julie,

This is a very difficult area. Hereward has suggested
some of the standard English works. It is rather depressing to
note that they were written before the second World War.

There has not been a comprehensive history of alchemy
written in recent times, and on the contrary the mass of
popular format books are totally misleading, full of errors
and lack any depth of insight. Indeed many of these writers
just rework the texts of popular writers before them. They
have obviously never spent any time looking at original
material.

Another problem that confounds this area is that many writers on
alchemy seem to adopt an agenda. Few have any interest in
alchemy as a subject in itself, but instead want to present it
through the filter of their own preconceptions.

But one need not despair. There are many hundreds of
insightful articles on the history. These usually focus on one
period, a single alchemists work, or some idea that surfaced
in alchemy at some time, so one has to read widely through these.

I have a list on the web site of some of the articles in my own
collection and this could be a start.

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/articles_proj.html

Unfortunately I haven't had time to update this for years. Like
others, I suspect, I have quite a few ever-growing piles of
photocopies of articles cluttering up my home

Also Alan Pritchard's 'Alchemy: a bibliography of English-language
writings' is an invaluable source. As noted recently he is now adding
items to his bibliography through an online resource.

http://www.cix.co.uk/~apritchard/bibliog.htm

Also Claudia Kren's book

Alchemy in Europe: A guide to research.

I think that to get a handle on the flow of alchemical history
one really must read as widely as possible and not rely on any
single authority. Articles can provide closely focussed
views into the subject. It would be marvellous if someone
without some preconceived agenda could draw on this material
and provide a three or more volume work on the history of alchemy.
I am sure it would need 1500-2000 pages to present even the
bare bones.

Adam McLean

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004

>I am presently working on the history of alchemy. If anyone has
>suggestions on articles, papers, authors, or images, I would
>greatly appreciate the information.

Dear Julie:

It is a really extensive field. As mentioned by Hereward Tilton you should
be more specific (Middle Ages?, Renaissance?, Greek Alchemy?, Yabirian
texts?, Paracelsianism?, Rosacrucianism?, etc.).
If you are looking for a general introduction I think it could be a useful
tool:

- R. HALLEUX, (1979), "Les textes alchimiques", Brepols Publishers,
Turnhout.

The bibliographical background is a bit outdated but can complete it with
the next works:

- BERNARD JOLY, (1996), "Bibliographie", in: "Revue d'histoire des
sciences", 49, pp. 345-354.

- ANDREA SCOTTI, (2003), "Ipotesi per la Creazione di un Repertorio Digitale
Relativo ale Ricette Mediche e Alchemiche", in: Chiara Crisciani & Agostino
Paravicini Bagliani (eds.) "Alchimia e Medicina nel Medioevo", Brepols
Publishers, Turnhout, pp. 337-370, cf. pp. 350-370

Regards,

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Jean Debord
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004

The book "Histoire de la chimie", by Ferdinand Hoefer (1866) may be of
interest. It has been reprinted by Gutenberg Reprints. See for instance:

http://www.contrepoints.com/gutenberg/pages/hoefer2.htm

Best regards,

Jean Debord

Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Jean Debord wrote:

> The book "Histoire de la chimie", by Ferdinand Hoefer (1866) may be of
> interest. It has been reprinted by Gutenberg Reprints. See for instance:

There is also a digital version on Gallica (not very good reproduction,
however):

vol. 1: http://gallica.bnf.fr/document?O=N062358
vol. 2: http://gallica.bnf.fr/document?O=N062359

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004
From: Julie Hollingsworth

Thank you all so much for your responses to my inquiry. I was
able to locate some of the books that were suggested and
appreciate your help and feedback.

I am writing a dissertation on the subject of alchemy and
how the stages of alchemy relate to the stages of recovery
(12-Step recovery, etc.) and waking from the unconsciousness
of life in our present world into consciousness. The history of
alchemy is my introduction and as some of you have mentioned,
there are many directions to choose from.

If there are any other suggestions they will be greatly
appreciated.

Peace and Love,
Julie

Subject: Question on Theophilus Schweighart
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004
From: Claude Gagnon

Dear Rafal,

Thank you so much for the reference expaining the typographical
error. I shall deposit your information in my edition of a Vatican
latin ms. attributed to Flamel (should be published in the next
volume of the Chrisopoeia Studies).

Amitié

Claude

Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004
From: Adam McLean

Dear Julie,

> I am writing a dissertation on the subject of alchemy and
> how the stages of alchemy relate to the stages of recovery
> (12-Step recovery, etc.) and waking from the unconsciousness
> of life in our present world into consciousness. The history of
> alchemy is my introduction and as some of you have mentioned,
> there are many directions to choose from.

I wonder if investigating the history of alchemy can throw
any light upon the subject of your dissertation. When you say
"waking from the unconsciousness of life in our present world
into consciousness", I feel this implies that you have some
underlying agenda, a depth psychology or spiritual one
perhaps. I am not sure I, for one, really feel "unconscious" in my
present life and I do not expect to "wake up" in the near future,
indeed I fully expect the opposite.

If one wants to interpret alchemy in this way it is probably best
to take an a-historical approach. I cannot see how the
correct dating say of an engraving (as we noted in the thread
on Schweighardt) can have much relevance to "stages of
recovery" and "waking from the unconsciousness" both of
which terms do not, as far as I understand, appear in alchemical
texts but are a product of the 20th Century. Is the "12-Step
recovery" not something to do with recovering from
alcholism ? I doubt even whether alcholism was recognised as a
condition until relatively modern times. I don't recall any alchemical
work that addressed recovering from alcholism.

I cannot see how studying the historical development of alchemy in
the distant past can contribute much to a dissertation which is
predicated on some modern belief system. You should perhaps
merely study the evolving of esoteric, Freudian, Jungian,
and New Age ideas in the twentieth century, as that will be
the main area from which you can draw any meaningful
connections.

All the delightful and intricate problems in the articulation
of a coherent history of alchemy, most of which still lie unsolved,
seem to me totally irrelevant to your study. If I was you I would
give this a miss and concentrate on the true sources of the ideas
at the root of your thesis - modern depth psychology. All will be
revealed there.

Adam McLean
Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004
From: Joel Tetard

Dear Julie,

If you read French, you can download many interesting sources from
http://gallica.bnf.fr

Above, I send you a quick list of references and links which could be of
some interest for you.

Best regards.

Joël Tetard "Pierre Stibia"

Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Berthelot, Marcellin
Titre(s) : Introduction à l'étude de la chimie des anciens et du
Moyen-âge [Document électronique] / par M. Berthelot,...
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : XII-330 p. : fig., tabl.
Note(s) : Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Bruxelles : Culture et
civilisation, 1983. 24 cmFac-sim. de l'éd. de Paris : G. Steinheil, 1889
Sujet(s) : Alchimie
Chimie -- Jusqu'à 1500
Sciences anciennes
Sciences médiévales

Notice n° : FRBNF37245231
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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Figuier, Louis
Titre(s) : L'alchimie et les alchimistes [Document électronique] :
essai historique et critique sur la philosophie hermétique / par Louis
Figuier
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : 420 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : L. Hachette, 1860
Essai historique et critique sur la philosophie hermétique -
Sujet(s) : Alchimie
Alchimistes

Notice n° : FRBNF37264159
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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Tiffereau, Cyprien-Théodore (1819-19..)
Titre(s) : L'or et la transmutation des métaux [Document électronique]
: mémoires et conférences / par G. [sic] Théodore Tiffereau,
l'alchimiste du XIXème siècle. précédées de Paracelse et l'alchimie au
XVIème siècle / par M. Franck,...
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : IX-183 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : H. Chacornac, 1889
(Collection d'ouvrages relatifs aux sciences hermétiques). In-16
Sujet(s) : Paracelse (1493-1541 ) -- Et l'alchimie
Philosophes hermétiques
Métallurgie extractive
Or -- Alliages

Notice n° : FRBNF37258712
Type : document électronique, notice analytique

Auteur(s) : Franck, Adolphe. Auteur du texte
Titre(s) : Paracelse et l'alchimie au XVIème siècle [Document
électronique]

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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Tiffereau, Cyprien-Théodore (1819-19.. )
Titre(s) : Les métaux sont des corps composés [Document électronique]
: mémoires présentés à l'Académie des sciences / par C.-Théodore
Tiffereau,.... suivi de Paracelse et l'alchimie au XVIe siècle / par M.
Franck,...
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : XXII-134 p.
Note(s) : Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : A. Choisnet, 1857
Sujet(s) : Paracelse (1493-1541 ) -- Et l'alchimie -- 16e siècle
Métallurgie extractive -- 19e siècle

Notice n° : FRBNF37257230
Type : document électronique, notice analytique

Auteur(s) : Franck, Adolphe. Auteur du texte
Titre(s) : Paracelse et l'alchimie au XVIe siècle [Document électronique]

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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Gilbert, Émile
Titre(s) : La pharmacie à travers les siècles [Document électronique]
: Antiquité, Moyen âge, Temps modernes / par Émile Gilbert,...
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : 455 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Toulouse : Impr. Vialelle, 1886
Sujet(s) : Pharmacie -- Histoire

Notice n° : FRBNF37275996
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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Jollivet-Castelot, François (1874-19..)
Titre(s) : Le grand-oeuvre alchimique [Document électronique] :
brochure de propagande de la société alchimique / F. Jollivet Castelot,...
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : 44 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : Ed. de l'Hyperchimie, 1901
Sujet(s) : Alchimie

Notice n° : FRBNF37266684
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Auteur(s) : Hoefer, Ferdinand (1811-1878)
Titre(s) : Histoire de la physique et de la chimie depuis les temps
les plus reculés jusqu'à nos jours [Texte imprimé] / par Ferdinand Hoefer
Publication : Paris : Hachette, 1872
Description matérielle : 560 p. : fig. ; in-16
Collection : Histoire universelle ; 31
Sujet(s) : Physique -- Histoire
Chimie -- Histoire

Notice n° : FRBNF33994075
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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Hoefer, Ferdinand
Titre(s) : Histoire de la chimie depuis les temps les plus reculés
jusqu'à notre époque [Document électronique]. Tome premier / par le Dr
Ferd. Hoefer
Lien au titre d'ensemble : Histoire de la chimie depuis les temps les
plus reculés jusqu'à notre époque
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : XI-51 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : L. Hachette, 1842

Notice n° : FRBNF37295418

Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Hoefer, Ferdinand
Titre(s) : Histoire de la chimie depuis les temps les plus reculés
jusqu'à notre époque [Document électronique]. Tome deuxième / par le Dr
Ferd. Hoefer
Lien au titre d'ensemble : Histoire de la chimie depuis les temps les
plus reculés jusqu'à notre époque
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : VIII-51 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : L. Hachette, 1843

Notice n° : FRBNF37295423
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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Kopp, Hermann
Titre(s) : Die Alchemie bis zum letzten Viertel des 18. Jahrhunderts
[Document électronique] / Hermann Kopp
Titre d'ensemble : Die Alchemie in älterer und neuerer Zeit ; 1
Lien au titre d'ensemble : Die Alchemie in älterer und neuerer Zeit
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : XVII-260 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Hildesheim ; New York : G. Olms,
1971. 21 cm. ISBN 3-487-04077-8Fac-sim. de l'éd. de Heidelberg : [s.n.],
1886
Sujet(s) : Alchimie -- Histoire

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Type : texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s) : Jagnaux, Raoul
Titre(s) : Histoire de la chimie [Document électronique]. Tome
premier, Histoire des grandes lois chimiques. Histoire des métalloïdes
et de leurs principaux composés / par Raoul Jagnaux,...
Lien au titre d'ensemble : Histoire de la chimie
Type de ressource électronique : Données textuelles
Publication : 1995
Description matérielle : 728 p.
Reproduction : Num. BNF de l'éd. de Paris : librairie polytechnique
Baudry, 1891
Histoire des métalloïdes et de leurs principaux composés
Sujet(s) : Chimie -- Histoire

Notice n° : FRBNF37263878
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Subject: Les Alchimistes Grecs
From: Shannon Grimes
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004

Greetings,

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Religion Department at Syracuse
University, New York, working on a dissertation on Zosimos of Panopolis.

My question is regarding the Bude series, _Les Alchimistes Grecs_,
published by Les Belles Lettres, Paris. Only three of the twelve
projected volumes have been published since 1981. Has anyone
heard news regarding the status of this series, and whether more
books are indeed in the works? The volumes by Halleux and
Mertens are excellent, and I hope the series will continue.

Shannon Grimes

Subject: Les Alchimistes Grecs
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2004

Dear Shannon Grimes,

The Bude series _Les Alchimistes Grecs_ has been directed by Henri Dominique
Saffrey (1968-) in collaboration with Robert Halleux (1978-). Probably you
should ask to Prof. Halleux. Here you can find his job address:

http://cfwb.otil.org/servlet/Fiche?FORM=FICHE_CONTACT&ID=233

There are several researchers in recent years, many of whom have published
scattered works related to the Greek corpus.

- Andree Collinet (_Le travail des quatre éléments_ datation and
introduction).

- Cristina Viano (1. Olympiodorus' _Commentaries on Zosimus_ partial
edition. 2 . Aristotle and Plato on Greek alchemy. 3. Zosimus' divine
water).

- Jean Letrouit (1. Zosimus' _Letter Omega _ revision and tentative edition
in a critical analysis of Mertens work. 2. Chronological study of Greek
alchemy).

- Maria Papathanassiou (Stephanos of Alexandria alchemical lections,
tentative edition and critical introduction in a non-edited Ph.D.
dissertation).

- Michèle Mertens (_Isis Letter addressed to Horus_ tentative edition in a
non-edited Ph.D. dissertation).

- Roberto Romano (on Stephanos of Alexandria).

I can send you a bibliographical references if you want.

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: von Bernus
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Eugene,

Thank a lot for the information - and apologies for thanking
you so late!

> I checked this catalogue several years ago. It is a regular
> catalogue of library holdings. Useful, but no match to Ferguson
> or Duveen or Bolton.
>
> There are few items that might be of interest to you like:
> "Lucerna Salis Philosophorum", Sendivogius' Chemische Schriften,
> and his Briefe.

Do you still have easy access to it? I would be interested
in item/page references for the titles you mention.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Adam,

> I think that to get a handle on the flow of alchemical history
> one really must read as widely as possible and not rely on any
> single authority. Articles can provide closely focussed
> views into the subject. It would be marvellous if someone
> without some preconceived agenda could draw on this material
> and provide a three or more volume work on the history of alchemy.
> I am sure it would need 1500-2000 pages to present even the
> bare bones.

I think it is a very important - and equally controversial -
statement, worthy of further discussion here. As you say,
the amount of partial in-depth studies is growing fast
and may soon reach the state of [here I wanted to use a nice
chemical term for a solution that cannot absorb more but
cannot find it in my dictionary! :-)] when someone will
inevitably produce a full-length history of alchemy.
But what can it look like? You say it should be done
without a "preconceived agenda" - and I just can't see
how it can be done. Every author has some view of his own,
some idea on what alchemy is/was, some (re)construction
of its history, some perspective from which (s)he approaches
the topic, some theories of history, science, philosophy
and art (even if these are not articulated), etc.

Recent historiography of alchemy presents a whole array
of different approaches, from traditional positivist
(Sartonian) history of science to structuralist/postmodern
semiotic/phenomenological attempts, viewed through the lenses
of art historians, literary critics (poetry, rhetoric),
gender studies, investigation of the esoteric currents,
plain chemistry, etc. etc. (not to mention the obvious
Jungian and Eliadean examples, which are already classical).

Many of those approaches are (or at least seem) mutually
exclusive. So, I dare say, there is no such thing as
an "objective" history of alchemy. There are many
histories of alchemy waiting to be written by representatives
of different schools of thought. It is not so much different
from other areas of historical investigation - but more
difficult because it was neglected for so long and there
is hardly an accepted (or acceptable) starting point
or "received vision".

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Arlene Kahn
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004

What about Jack Lindsay's "The Origins of Alchemy in
Graeco-Roman Egypt " -- seems a pretty objective historical
account. Maybe it just doesn't go far enough.

Arlene

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 23 Mar 2004

Dear Rafal,

>But what can it look like? You say it should be done
>without a "preconceived agenda" - and I just can't see
>how it can be done. Every author has some view of his own,
>some idea on what alchemy is/was, some (re)construction
>of its history, some perspective from which (s)he approaches
>the topic, some theories of history, science, philosophy
>and art (even if these are not articulated), etc....

Well I suppose in an absolute sense you are right in this.
I just lament the fact that no substantial 'history of alchemy'
has been written in recent times, despite the work of many
scholars writing articles providing many references to
source material that was previously unknown.

While total objectivity is an ideal, of course, that is only
approachable and never achievable, it does seem to me that
the subject of alchemy in our era struggles without some
definite historical description. People write to me all the time
through my alchemy web site asking questions or making
remarks which betray just how ignorant they are of the way
in which alchemy appeared in history.

I suspect what I want is not so much a smoothly polished
historical perspective, but rather a sourcebook of the history
of our subject, pointing out the source material, books and
manuscripts through which we can arrive at biographies of
individual alchemists and trace the links and influences that
shaped their works. In a way that is what I was attempting in an
unintegrated, imperfect and messy organic way through the
creation of the alchemy web site. Perhaps what is needed is
more in the form of a 'wikipedia' where many people contribute
to the body of knowledge within a structured historical perspective.

Alchemy is perhaps more susceptible to the author's personal
perspective than many other subjects, as the readership often
does not have enough information on which to pass a judgement
and therefore must rely on much of which the author presents to us.

In other areas of study, say just for example, the work of Leonardo
da Vinci, there are many in-depth studies where one can get
close to the facts and be able to make some assessment of a
study of his work.

This body of studies does not exist in alchemy yet, so we are
at the mercy of each writer as they present us with what they
claim as historical facts, and their interpretation of these facts.

Adam McLean

Subject: History of Alchemy
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004

A few years ago I read in Ambix (Vol. XLI, nº 3, p. 161) that
the period for writing general books on the subject of history
of alchemy has passed. I think it is true. Now that an increasing
amount of scholarly activity (informed by historical sensitivity and
method) is being directed towards alchemy, we can see that the
subject has a breadth, depth, and richness which could not be
expounded in general treatises. I predicated on the idea that a
full understanding of the character and cultural significance of
alchemy requires an interdisciplinary approach involving training
in science along with scholarship in the humanities and social
sciences. Investigating the major issues of alchemy demands
reference to many academic disciplines, especially history of
science, medicine, chemistry, religion, philosophy, philology, art
history, iconography...

Moreover alchemy requires other reseach tools more than
general histories.

Halleux's "Les Textes Alchimiques" will be a useful research
guide in a methodological sense but we need more specific essays.
Students usually ask about specialized reference sources to begin
their research: glossaries, annotated bibliographies (primary as
well as secondary sources), comprehensive encyclopedias,
periodical indexes, timelines, chronologies or critical guides to
research sources. What about dictionaries? Priesner and Figala's
"Lexicon" may be a first experimental step. What about academic
journals? We can compare among about 500 journals in medieval
studies, 700 chemistry, 1000 in medicine and... 2 or 3 in history
of alchemy.

It is necesary to concentrate on making available in critical
editions some of the thousands of texts on alchemy, on explaining
them in terms of the culture that produced them, and on exploring
the ways in which other fields (religion, philosophy, chemistry,
medicine...) and alchemy interact.
It is true that we can find transcriptions or tentative editions and
these are useful tools, but production of critical editions in that
field is really poor (I think no more than 35 or 40 treatises).

At the same time it is necesary to establish some academical
structures like the "Sociéte d'Étude de l'Histoire de l'Alchimie"
(CNRS France), the "Society for the History of Alchemy and
Chemistry" (SHAC), and the two chairs of western esotericism
(Paris and Amsterdam). This institutions should offers students
an opportunity to conduct such research, within a professional
training structure of directed reading and disciplined writing.

The "alchemy academy" is a good example of research tools.
This list edited by Adam allows to share information about
teaching and research and to participate in conversations about
matters of common interest.

I think we try to develop these research tools more than a
general book of alchemy that will be inevitably outdated.

Regards,

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: Johannes Walch
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004

I am recalling information about the alchemical compendia
entitled "Dyas chymica tripartita". It was compiled by Hermannus
Condeesyanus in1625.

Herzog August Bibliothek OPAC reports it was edited by
Johannes Walch and Johann Grasshoff. I suppose the second
name is a mistake. I read in some standard bibliographies
(Ferguson, British Museum Catalogue, Wellcome Library,
Duveen, etc.) that Hermannus Condeesyanus was a pseudonym
of Johann Grasshoff. However Carlos Gilly has suggested it
seems to be a pseudonym of Johannes Rhenanus, a member of
Moritz's scientific entourage in the court of Kassel.

- C. GILLY, (1994), Adam Halsmayr, p. 150.

- C. GILLY, (1995), Cimelia Rhodostaurotica, p. 73, 74, 95.

My question is: Does anyone knows who was Johannes Walch (?-1623)?

Thanks in advance,

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: Johannes Walch
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear José,

> My question is: Does anyone knows who was Johannes Walch (?-1623)?

Adam's list of Ferguson Manuscripts at:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/f101-150.html

has this entry:

MS. 137.
99 folios. 144x94mm. 17th Century. In German, but with titles in Latin.
f1 De Generatione Metallorum Commentarii Walchii Schorndorffii.
[Johannes Walch of Schondorff.]
[See Johann Grasshof, Der kleine Bauer, Strasbourg, 1619
(Ferguson I, 338) with the Commentary of Walchius.]

Not much - but at least closer identification through
his place of origin.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: Johannes Walch
From: Adam McLean
Date: 24 Mar 2004

Following up on Rafal's posting there is also the entry in my manuscripts
listing

Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek MS. 1779.
M. Joh. Walchii Schorndorffensis [teacher of Isaac Habrecht
in the alchemical art] Epistola rem chymicam et praecipue opus
lapidis Philosophorum concernentes, ad Dullossium Metensem
Med. Doctor 1619-20.
Testament Chymic. Joh. Walchi descript. 1617.
Epistola [Walchi] ad Jac. Azamum eleemosynarium levis
armaturae Regis Galliae.

Subject: Johannes Walch
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

>Following up on Rafal's posting there is also the entry in my
>manuscripts listing

And following Adam's information, I have found another item
which contains autobiographical information on Walch.
It is included in an interesting microfilm collection
of German Baroque literature, the inventory of which can
be found here:

http://microformguides.gale.com/Data/Download/2025000R.pdf

and I enclose a GIF image of the Walch book entry.



Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear José,

> A few years ago I read in Ambix (Vol. XLI, nº 3, p. 161) that
> the period for writing general books on the subject of history
> of alchemy has passed. I think it is true. Now that an increasing
> amount of scholarly activity (informed by historical sensitivity and
> method) is being directed towards alchemy, we can see that the
> subject has a breadth, depth, and richness which could not be
> expounded in general treatises.

Well, I would still argue that syntheses are an important and
necessary element crowning every period of particular studies
and increased research activity. That is why monumental
publications for various sub-fields of history (or any other
area) appear every couple of decades. I do not think that
alchemy is deeper or more complicated than, say, history of
philosophy or religion. So I do not agree the time for
general books on alchemy has passed - perhaps it has not
come yet.

> I predicated on the idea that a
> full understanding of the character and cultural significance of
> alchemy requires an interdisciplinary approach involving training
> in science along with scholarship in the humanities and social
> sciences. Investigating the major issues of alchemy demands
> reference to many academic disciplines, especially history of
> science, medicine, chemistry, religion, philosophy, philology, art
> history, iconography...

This is certainly true - but it is equally true about
other areas of cultural and intellectual history,
especially in the pre-modern era, when the scope of interests
of intellectuals was very broad, encompassing all the modern
desciplines you mention (and usually a number of others).
So the objection you raise should not prevent scholars
to attempt a synthesis on alchemy when the time is ripe.

> Moreover alchemy requires other reseach tools more than
> general histories.
>
> Halleux's "Les Textes Alchimiques" will be a useful research
> guide in a methodological sense but we need more specific essays.
> Students usually ask about specialized reference sources to begin
> their research: glossaries, annotated bibliographies (primary as
> well as secondary sources), comprehensive encyclopedias,
> periodical indexes, timelines, chronologies or critical guides to
> research sources.

Yes, I think what is especially needed now would be a "map"
of influences, as a skeleton and guidelines for further
developments. I would envision this as a higher level,
structured version of timeline/chronology, showing who
was influenced by whom, who belonged to which "school"
or "line" in the history of alchemy. The studies of the past
two decades were successful in showing that the traditional
(positivist) representation of alchemy as a monolithic body
of pseudo-scientific gibberish was wrong and the picture is
more complex. Now that the "granularity" of alchemy has been
shown, it would be important to give it a structure.
Much of it has already been done in individual studies,
of course - so it is a matter of producing a synthesis
of this type, which would be an important tool of the type
you mention.

> What about dictionaries? Priesner and Figala's
> "Lexicon" may be a first experimental step. What about academic
> journals? We can compare among about 500 journals in medieval
> studies, 700 chemistry, 1000 in medicine and... 2 or 3 in history
> of alchemy.

Well... looking through the on-line tables of contents of _Ambix_
for recent years, it seems this journal, so important in
the past, is now only occassionally including a piece
on alchemy, devoting the majority of its space to 19th and 20th
century history of chemistry.

> It is necesary to concentrate on making available in critical
> editions some of the thousands of texts on alchemy, on explaining
> them in terms of the culture that produced them, and on exploring
> the ways in which other fields (religion, philosophy, chemistry,
> medicine...) and alchemy interact.
> It is true that we can find transcriptions or tentative editions and
> these are useful tools, but production of critical editions in that
> field is really poor (I think no more than 35 or 40 treatises).

This is very true. But even transciptions would be very
useful, especially if available in electronic versions
and thus allowing various manipulations (searching, comparing,
etc.). Adam's infatigable efforts in making translations
of original texts available are of inormous help for
getting acquainted with alchemical writings. Digital versions
of many original printed texts on Gallica, Dioscorides and
elsewhere are an important new development, which makes
those editions easily available. The next step should be
an attempt to organize a large scale project of transcribing
and editing the most important of those texts. This would perhaps
require to compile a list of the works which would be
generally agreed on as most important, influencial and
representative for various periods and "schools".
I am now working on a small project which will make
a number of alchemical texts available in such form
(XML coded according to TEI Guidelines, for the technically
minded) but that will be just a waterdrop in the sea of
alchemical writings.

> The "alchemy academy" is a good example of research tools.
> This list edited by Adam allows to share information about
> teaching and research and to participate in conversations about
> matters of common interest.

Absolutely - this is one of the bright lights that will
lead us into the future!

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: History of Alchemy
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Arlene,

> What about Jack Lindsay's "The Origins of Alchemy in
> Graeco-Roman Egypt " -- seems a pretty objective historical
> account. Maybe it just doesn't go far enough.

The problem is with the adjective "objective" :-)
I have not read Lindsay - but can any historical analysis/synthesis
be objective? Can we say "it was really so and that is the
whole truth"? Obviously not. It is always an interpretation.
Even on the most basic level - such as selection of quotations
or extracting ideas from selected texts. Alchemical texts
were largely neglected by scholars for three centuries - but
great philosophers, writers and artists have been interpreted
and reinterpreted by generations and generations of large
numbers of scholars, trying to find the "real" meaning
Plato, Shakespeare or Da Vinci - and still hundreds of
dissertations are produced on "New interpretation of
something in someone's texts".

Thus - there can be no objectivity (except for the simplest
facts such as bio-bibliographical details - but even those
are often interpolated from whatever limited hard evidence
has come down to us and are therefore also subject to
interpretation and evaluation).

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: Johannes Walch
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004

Dear Adam and Rafal,

Thanks for taking the time to send me those references. It
seems to be some confussion betwen Johann Grasshoff and
the mistaken identities attributed to him (Hermannus Condeesyanus
and Johannes Walch). Today I was searching other items
attributed to Condeesyanus in the Herzog August Bibliothek and
I have found the next description related to "Vier Tractätlein Fr. Basilii
Valentini" editor:

Grasshoff, Johann (1608-1623 ; Alchimist; = Johannes Walch)

Here Grasshoff and Walch appears as the same person.

At the same time I will look into your suggestions (Walchii
Schorndorffensis or Walch of Schondorff) and I think there is no
problem to find enough biographical material.

Regards,

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: Alchemical heraldic image
From: Adam McLean
Date: 30 Mar 2004

I noted recently in Bernard Roget's 'A la decouverte de
l'alchimie', 1988, an engraving which he ascribes to the 15th
century - an obvious error of course - it looks 17th century
to me.

He says this is reproduced in

Cadet de Gassicourt, 'L'Hermetisme dans l'art heraldique',
Paris, 1907.

Regrettably I don't seem to be able to access a copy
of this work. Does anyone have access to this book and can
look up the source of the original engraving? It might be
very useful if someone could give me some assessment of
the Cadet de Gassicourt book.

It is an interesting engraving showing a traveller bearing
a heraldic shield with symbols which seem to have an
alchemical significance, though it would be best if I could
check the original context in which this appeared, as it
could be an emblem book.

I attach a scan of this engraving.

Adam McLean



Subject:Alchemical heraldic image
From: Joris Verheijen
Date : 30 Mar 2004

Hello Adam,

Looks to me like your engraving pictures St. Jerome, wearing his typical
cardinal's hat and accompanied by his pet lion. There is an iconic
tradition that shows his encounter with an angel, just as in your
engraving: for instance, Jusepe Ribera's etching 'Saint Jerome and the
Angel', see

http://www.knox.edu/x1137.xml

All the best,

Joris Verheijen
Van Ditmar Binnendienst

Subject: 'Decorsating' a lab
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004
From: Michal Pober

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday afternoon my colleagues and I will meet to 'decorate'
the walls of the lab in the Museum. For a variety of reasons we
will be following more-or-less the description given by John Dee
in his diaries [on page 212 of 'A True and Faithful Relation'] of the
'Stove, or Study' of the little house which they were given in Prague
by Dr Taddeas Hajek, one of Rudolf II's Physicians and perhaps
the most important 'scientist' of his day.

The room in question had belonged to his father who is the A-- to
whom Dee refers, Simon Baccalaureus Pragensis, whose name
is written there with the date 1518.

The description is as follows:
'among other things manifold written very fairly in the Study (and very
many Hierogliphical Notes Philosophical, in Birds, Fishes, Flowers,
Fruits, Leaves, and six Vessels, as for the Philosophers works)
these verses were over the door.

Immortales Decus par gloriaque ille debentur
Cuius ab ingenio est discolor hic paries.'

There is a continuing piece in Latin which we will work on at a later date.

For now my question - rather urgent I'm afraid - is if anyone has
any inspiration about what those

'Hierogliphical Notes Philosophical, in Birds, Fishes, Flowers,
Fruits, Leaves, and six Vessels'

might have looked like - and perhaps specific sources of pictures
which we could copy.

Second question - does anyone have a translation of the Latin
above or of the longer passage which immediately follows the
above extract?

I think at least some of it is in Fenton's 'Diaries of John Dee' but
have mislaid my copy.

All information, advice, comments gratefully received!!!

With best regards!

Michal Pober

P.S. There is a lot more news re the Museum which I'll share soon. I will also have a follow-up question soon, also regarding imagery, but today this is the crucial one!

Subject: Aristotle
From: Joris Verheijen
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004

Hello,

As a philosopher and historian, I am interested in the reception of
Aristotle's physical and metaphysical principles by the alchemists.
Although the alchemical works I have read don't refer explicitly to
Aristotle very often, many are written from a medieval outlook that is
more or less based on aristotelian metaphysics. Also, certain basic
concepts are aristotelian by origin, in particular 'prime matter' and
'quintessence'. It could be said that alchemy is about the
transformation of the one into the other.

My idea is that the alchemists have not simply taken over these
ancient principles: they have subverted them and given them a
highly original twist. In Aristotle, prime matter and quintessence
form the opposite ends of a hierarchical scale. For the alchemists,
they are not simply opposed, but also related in a profound way,
when they suggest that the philosopher's stone is to be found in
the dust that lies at our feet.

To test this idea, I am very interested to learn of any references to
Aristotle that you have found in alchemical books.

Joris Verheijen

Subject: New bibliography
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear All,

I have just found out about the new bibliography of alchemy
published by Saur (vol. 1 of planned 3):

Bibliographie der alchemistischen Literatur

edited by Volker Fritz Brüning. -- München : K.G. Saur, 2004

Here is a leaflet PDF on it:

http://www.saur.de/_download/prospekte/englisch/0000010593.pdf

Has anyone seen it yet? The price is ... well...

Best regards,

Rafal