Louis Claude de Saint-Martin

(redirected from Unknown Philosopher)

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.


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].


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.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Enter a young, legendary swordsman who allies himself with a banished Shaolin monk, a defeated bandit chieftain, a carefree Mongol, and an unknown philosopher who knows the only hope for victory.
School of Theology), in his last manuscript, brings back this virtually unknown philosopher and mystic and shows us why his work has operated on philosophy and theology virtually in the background for the past 1500 years.
Among the more famous illuminists were Swedenborg, who conversed with the dead; Lavater, a believer in black magic, who thought to contact God by magnetism; Claude de Saint - Martin ( " the unknown philosopher " ), who sought to hasten the coming of Christ by meditation and prayer; Mesmer; the Comte de Saint - Germain, who pretended to be several hundred years old and to possess the elixir of eternal life; Gall; and the famous Cagliostro, who evoked spirits.