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Philip von Hohenheim
BirthplaceEgg, near Einsiedeln, Old Swiss Confederacy (present-day Switzerland)
NationalitySwiss, German


Philippus Aureolus , real name Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim. 1493--1541, Swiss physician and alchemist, who pioneered the use of specific treatment, based on observation and experience, to remedy particular diseases
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Paracelsus. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.

Paracelsus (1493-1541)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

"Paracelsus" Philippus Aurelis Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim was born in Switzerland, near Einsiedeln, in the canton Schwyz. He named himself Paracelsus, probably as an indication that he was superior to Celsus, the first century Latin medical writer.

Paracelsus studied at the University of Basle and, later, with the abbot of Sponheim. In 1529, after a controversial three years of lecturing on medicine at the university, during which he burned the works of Avicenna and Galen, he was thrown out and wandered Europe. He settled in Salzburg in 1541 under the protection of Archbishop Duke Ernst of Bavaria. There he died in September of that year, some say from being thrown down a steep hill by his enemies.

Paracelsus earned a reputation as an alchemist and was certainly a doctor with a great gift for healing, believing that the body and soul must be treated together to bring about a cure. Although he looked askance at ceremonial magicians, he did believe that they possessed greater healing power than did his contemporary physicians. He strongly believed that there was a "natural" magic available that came from deity and conferred on the user the true power to heal. His beliefs included the use of talismans and the study of astrological influences. Paracelsus's Astronomica et astrologica opuscula (Cologne, 1567) features a woodcut illustration of him holding a sword with the word "Zoth" engraved on the pommel. It was generally believed that his famous sword had a demon named Azoth imprisoned in that pommel. Grillot De Givry, however, points out that azoth was the word Paracelsus used for the so-called "vital mercury" of the alchemists.

Paracelsus was the first to describe zinc and to introduce the use of chemical compounds into medicine. A book of his medical theories, Die grosse Wundartzney, was published in 1536.

References in periodicals archive ?
Furthermore, Weeks describes the Paracelsian imagination as being of two kinds: 1) the corporeal: the terrestrial/profane side; 2) the celestial: "faith" (these two sides constitute the total imagination as "astral body"):
Similarly, although Hester's collection of Paracelsian remedies demonstrated a belief in the danger of too little menstruation, it also included remedies that saw an equal danger from excessive menstruation, including one lady who "had the course of her termes so long, that .
The author notes the Paracelsian emphasis on divine revelation as a source of natural knowledge, but could have said more about the Reformation context, for example, the scriptural exegeses fundamental to Paracelsian cosmologies and propaganda.
The posted placards promised a debate in which hylomorphism, the Paracelsian three principles, and Kabbalism would be debunked in favor of a system of five non-transmutablc elements.
Despite the intense and controversial break from Galenic medicine in the Paracelsian or chemical revolution, a sympathetic logic mediating the body's relationship with the pneumatic atmosphere is common to both.
Navarre, says another epigram, can cure with gentle Galenic herbs a nation made sick by its false doctor/Medici (or, if Galen fails, the poet adds, with harsh Paracelsian metal).
Paracelsian alchemy paved the way for the emergence of modern chemistry and, in so doing, encouraged new market practices.
Press, 1982), and A1len Debus, The Chemical Philosophy: Paracelsian Science and Medicine in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1977; rpt.
Simon discusses the seventeenth century apothecaries, Nicolas Lemery and Christophle Glaser, showing that their discussion of corpuscularian and Paracelsian theories was inseparable from the practical aims of their work as artisans.
She contextualizes Paracelsian alchemy within the history of the German Reformation, particularly within the various disputes over the nature of the Eucharist and the accompanying terror of the Day of Judgment, which was believed to be imminent in the Last Times of the late 16th century.
Commentators such as Vasbinder, who make no distinctions among the three as purveyors of ceremonial magic and alchemy, (7) and Lawrence Lipking, who is quick to point to the Paracelsian homunculus discussed in the De natura rerum (1537) as an example of the "pseudoscience" that Mary Shelley "needed for her experiment in fiction," (8) fail to see that of the three, Paracelsus is the one most nearly deserving of the praise that Waldman tenders for "'the labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed,'" whose work can be seen as "'ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind.
54) Trying to expand the marketability of these works to the broadest medical audience, Cole broadly advertised Culpeper's titles in his other publications and refuted the idea, furthered by practicing alchemists, that Culpeper was exclusively Paracelsian in outlook.