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Kabbalah and Magic

(2,500 words)

Author(s): Coudert, Allison P.
Many Jews and Christians believed that the Hebrew language was a powerful force of creation and destruction. In the Hebrew Bible, it clearly says that creation occurred through an act of divine speech. When God said, “Let there be light,” there was light, and Psalm 103 claims that “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth”. In the Bible, and particularly in Genesis, the word takes on an existence: it assails the chaos and rushes over it; …

Helmont, Franciscus Mercurius van

(3,516 words)

Author(s): Coudert, Allison P.
Helmont, Franciscus Mercurius van, * 20 Jan 1614 (Vilvorde), † Jan 1698 (Ter Borg) Son of → Joan Baptista van Helmont. Adviser to Prince Karl Ludwig, Elector of the Palatine (1617-1680), and Prince Christian August of Sulzbach (1622-1708). Granted patent of nobility and title of Baron by Emperor Leopold I for conciliation efforts among German princes. Imprisoned by the Roman Inquisition on the charge of “Judaizing” (1661-1663), but freed on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Famous as an alchemist, Kabbali…

Alchemy

(36,686 words)

Author(s): Principe, Lawrence M. | Haage, Bernard D. | Buntz, Herwig | Coudert, Allison P. | Caron, Richard
Alchemy I: Introduction Alchemy is a subject of enormous intrinsic interest but one which has long proven difficult to grasp properly. The last thirty years, however, have witnessed a remarkable florescence of scholarly work on the subject, which has shed much new light on this obscure subject and brought forth significant revisions and advances in our understanding of it. Whereas it was common just half a century ago for historians of science to dismiss alchemy out-of-hand as a “pseudo-science” or to deploy it merely as a foil against which to set the …