Cu piatra filozofală

No nearer the Philosopher’s Stone


Principe’s most robust evidence derives from his own laboratory expertise and philological sleuthing. By deciphering the substances concealed under Decknamen and re-creating the reactions elaborated in seemingly obscure texts, he reveals alchemists to be proficient manipulators of chemical phenomena, capable of creating remarkable effects through distillation, fermentation, cupellation and more. Alchemy’s experimentalism, marriage of theory and practice, as well as attention to material causality explain the enthusiasm with which luminaries of early modern science such as Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle practised it.

Such men inherited a field of inquiry that had originated in Hellenistic Egypt when metallurgical and tincturing practices were fused with Greek matter theory. Early medieval practitioners in the Arabic world deepened this knowledge by integrating Galenic humoural theory and Pythagorean numerology, establishing a canon of recipes. High medieval European scholastics eagerly adopted this Arabic import, in spite of concerns about its theological resonances and resemblance to counterfeiting. Enthusiasm further blossomed in early modern Europe, as the ambitious flocked to its promise of creating potent medicines and transmuting metals – especially seeking the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, which would convert base metals into gold. Familiarity with alchemy seeped through the broader culture, and artists and rhetoricians innovatively manipulated the meanings of its imagery. Similarly, this attention spurred increased scrutiny of its theological significance.


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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