Aurora philosophorum

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First printed in a shortened Latin translation in 1577, edited by Gerhard Dorn. Several manuscripts. – The complete German text as found in manuscripts was never printed, since Huser presented a German translation taken from Dorn’s edition.

Editions. Edited by Huser, Chir. 1605, Appendix, 78–92 [shortened version; re-translated from Latin; with additions]. Not edited by Sudhoff.

Relationship between different versions. There are two German versions. Version A (the long version) is found in three manuscripts, one of which is lost. This version is not attributed to Paracelsus or any other author. It is generally assumed that Heidelberg cpg 303 is a direct copy of Heidelberg cpg 600. However, there are minor differences between the two Heidelberg manuscripts, and there is textual evidence that contradicts this assumption: for example in cpg 303, f. 40r, there is omitted almost exactly one line of the text. This text is present in cpg. 600, f. 57v, but it is distributed over two lines.

 Version B (the shorter version) is found in three manuscripts, one of which (the Kassel manuscript) was obviously written in the same hand as a Leiden manuscript (Voss. Chym. F.24) that contains many shortened versions of authentic Paracelsian theological works (see above, § ‎11). This shorter version is attributed to Paracelsus, and it is shortened in a way that reminds of the shortening of authentic theological works: while whole paragraphs were omitted and others were shortened, the order of paragraphs was always preserved; in many cases sentenced were simplified.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style.

Relationship to other texts. The longer version is – at least in part – composed of chapters from different works. – Chapter 12 of the longer version was printed separately in a different context and also appears in some manuscripts without the context of the Aurora. – Chapter 14 refers to one “Isaac”, so there may be some connection with the Isaac Hollandus alchemical corpus. In addition, this chapter is connected with the pseudo-Paracelsian De antimonio (§ ‎4.27), a connection already noticed in the 17th century. – According to Peuckert there is a citation from Alexander von Suchten in chapter 17.

Authenticity, authorship. Rejected as spurious by Huser and Sudhoff.

Time of writing. Probably written in the 1560s, shortened and attributed to Paracelsus in the early 1570s.

II. Sources


version A

  • Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek: Cod. Pal. germ. 303; 45 fols.
  • Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek: Cod. Pal. germ. 600; 62 fols.
  • Wrocław/Breslau, Biblioteka Kapitulna/Dombibliothek: Ms. 87 [lost]; 63 fols.

version B

  • Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek: Mscr.Dresd.e.7, 247–313
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 8, f. 1r–27v
  • New Haven, Beinecke Library: Beinecke MS 309, f. 51r–71v

First printed:

  • 1577 (Latin; Version B; in Aurora thesaurusque philosophorum Theophrasti Paracelsi, ed. Gerhard Dorn (Basel: [Thomas Guarin], no date [1577]); VD16 P 405; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 302–304 n° 177)

Historical Manuscript Catalogues: Widemann, Verzeichnisse (Kassel), n° I, 769; Scripta Theophrasti (Wien)

III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 463; Sudhoff, Paracelsus-Handschriften, 777; CP 1: 131; CP 2: 30–31, 911; CP 3: 375–376, 607, 885, 1109.

Further bibliographical references:

Peuckert, Pansophie (1956), 286–287, 289, 317, 386, 465, 487.

Peuckert, Rosenkreutz (1973), 65.

Philipp Redl, “Aurora Philosophorum. Zur Überlieferung eines pseudo-paracelsischen Textes aus dem 16. Jahrhundert,” Daphnis, 37 (2008), 689–712.

Kahn, “Le retour de Gérard Dorn” (2010–2011), 129, 132–139, 146, 149–156.

Broszinski, Manuscripta chemica in quarto (2011), 21.

Katharina Dück, “Zum ‘Limbus’-Begriff als ‘Materia prima’ im Corpus Paracelsicum,” Nova Acta Paracelsica, N.F. 28 (2018), 83–100, on 84.

Florian Ebeling, Das Geheimnis des Hermes Trismegistos. Geschichte des Hermetismus von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 3rd. rev. ed. (Munich, 2018), 110–111.

Annelies van Gijsen, “Isaac Hollandus Revisited,” in Miguel López Pérez, Didier Kahn and Mar Rey Bueno, Chymia: Science and Nature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010), 310–330.

Tobias Bulang, “Genealogy of Knowledge and Delegitimization of Universities: The Pseudo-Paracelsian Aurora Philosophorum,” Early Science and Medicine, 24 (2019), 473–484.

Tobias Bulang, “Wissensgenealogien der frühen Neuzeit im Vergleich. Epistemische Entwürfe des Paracelsismus im wissensgeschichtlichen Kontext,” Daphnis, 48 (2020), 38–64.