Article ID: CBB001421638

Corporeal Elements and Principles in the Learned German Chymical Tradition (2014)


Klein, Joel A. (Author)

Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Volume: 61, no. 4
Issue: 4
Pages: 345-365

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Article in a special issue, “Analysis and Synthesis in Medieval and Early Modern Europe”
Language: English

This paper explores diverse conceptions of the physicality and tangibility of elements and principles in early modern chymistry. By tracing the development of natural philosophical and corpuscular ideas about material elements and principles among several physicans and chymists, including Thomas Erastus, Andreas Libavius, Daniel Sennert, and Anton Günther Billich, this article locates a learned tradition that developed predominantly in Germany, and which directly challenged a common understanding of matter held by major Paracelsians as well as authors from the French textbook tradition. Likewise, conceptions of incorporeal elements or principles are shown to have developed from the ideas of Paracelsus and Petrus Severinus, whereas authors in the learned tradition emphasised a particular interpretation of Aristotle. The article concludes by suggesting that chymical interpretations of material composition had an important influence throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and that this provides further evidence that the so-called “compositional revolution” in chemistry was well underway prior to the eighteenth century.

Included in

Article Klein, Joel A.; Ragland, Evan R. (2014) Introduction: Analysis and Synthesis in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (pp. 319-326). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Moran, Bruce T.
Clericuzio, Antonio
Klein, Joel A.
Carmichael, Ann G.
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico
Zanier, Giancarlo
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
Science in Context
Medical History
University of Notre Dame Press
Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab
Science History Publications
Gütersloher Verlagshaus
Indiana University
Natural philosophy
Science and religion
Sennert, Daniel
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Libavius, Andreas
Boyle, Robert
Erastus, Thomas
Luther, Martin
17th century
16th century
18th century
Early modern
15th century
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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