Louis Claude de Saint-Martin


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Saint-Martin, Louis Claude de

 

Born Jan. 18, 1743, in Amboise, Department of Indre-et-Loire; died Oct. 13, 1803, in Aulnay, near Paris. French philosopher and mystic. Used the pen name “the Unknown Philosopher” (lephilosophe inconnu).

An officer, Saint-Martin went into retirement in 1771 and began to publicize the teachings of the Portuguese mystic Martinez de Pasqualis, a cabalist and founder of the Martinists, a Masonic sect. Later, Saint-Martin was strongly influenced by J. Boehme and, to a lesser extent, by E. Swedenborg. He preached against the materialism and sensationalism of the French Enlightenment thinkers, but he was also an opponent of Catholic clericalism.

According to Saint-Martin, the key to understanding the universe lies in the mystical “essence” of man, for the human soul is a prototype of the entire invisible world, and the human body is a prototype of all that is visible. He regarded the French Revolution as a providential “judgment of god” (Letter to a Friend, or Political, Philosophical, and Religious Considerations about the French Revolution, 1795). Saint-Martin influenced German romantic thinkers, including F. von Baader and F. W. J. von Schelling, as well as Russian Masonry.

WORKS

Des Erreurs el de la vérité. Edinburgh (Lyon), 1775.
L’Homme de désir. [Lyon, 1790.]
De L’Esprit des choses …, vols. 1–2. Paris [1800].
Le Ministère de l’homme-esprit. Paris. [1802].
Oeuvres posthumes, vols. 1–2. Tours, 1807.
Mon Portrait historique et philosophique, 1789–1803. Paris [1961].

REFERENCES

Leman, B. Sen-Marten, Neizveslnyifilosof. Moscow, 1917.
Matter A. J. Saint-Martin le philosophe inconnu…. Paris, 1862.
Sekrecka, M. Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin…. Wrocław, 1968. (References.)

V. S. MURAVEV

References in periodicals archive ?
The cosmology of Martinism, or the body of doctrines elaborated by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin in the late eighteenth century and revived by Encausse and his followers in the late nineteenth, exemplifies this creative religious syncretism; in fact, Faivre described Martinism as a "movement which brought together .