Chymischer Psalter

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First printed as a work of Paracelsus in 1771 with a preface dated 1522. Originally published in Latin by Bernard Gilles Penot in Philippi Aureoli Theophrasti Paracelsi centum quindecim curationes experimentaque ([Lyon]: Jean Lertout, 1582), 50–67 under the title “Regulae seu Canones aliquot Philosophici de Lapide Philosophico”. Next printed in Latin in 1608 in Benedictus Figulus’s Pandora, in a section with works by Alexander von Suchten, but not expressly ascribed to von Suchten. Figulus obviously edited it from a manuscript with many misreadings. Reprinted from Figulus’s edition in 1680 in Alexandri von Suchten Chymische Schrifften Alle with corrections of the misreadings. The first German translation (unnoticed by Sudhoff), rather crude and not attributed to Paracelsus (nor to Alexander von Suchten), appeared in 1760 in the second edition of R. Abrahami Eleazaris Uraltes Chymisches Werk. The 1771 German translation under the title “Chymischer Psalter” is a new and better translation. – Isaac Newton copied the “Regulae seu Canones” from Penot’s 1582 edition.

Editions. Not edited by Huser or Sudhoff.

Relationship between different versions. Further study required.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style. 157 canons (“Grundsätze”), originally numbered 1 through 159 omitting numbers 93 and 129; now numbered 1 through 157.

Relationship to other texts. The German Psalterium Chymicum, seu Manuale Paracelsi published in the same year 1771 in Der hermetische Nord-Stern (Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 661–662 n° 462) is a different work, namely the Manuale de lapide philosophico medicinali (§ ‎4.40) first published in 1572.

Authenticity, authorship. Written by Bernard Gilles Penot according to Sudhoff. Attributed to Alexander von Suchten as an authentic work of his by Carlos Gilly.

Time of writing. Allegedly written in 1522. Probably written in the 1570s.

II. Sources


  • Cambridge, King’s College Library: Keynes MS. 43, f. 1r–4r [Latin; autograph by Isaac Newton; copy from the 1582 printed edition]
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 34[4, f. 47r–55r [Latin; not attributed to Paracelsus]
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 60[1,2, f. 123r–130r [Latin; not attributed to Paracelsus]
  • Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek: Voss. Chym. F.23, f. 242r–252v [German; not attributed to Paracelsus]

First printed:

  • 1582 (Latin; “Regulae seu Canones aliquot Philosophici de Lapide Philosophico”, in Philippi Aureoli Theophrasti Paracelsi centum quindecim curationes experimentaque, ed. B.G. Penot ([Lyon]: Jean Lertout, 1582)
  • 1608 (Latin; in Pandora Magnalium Naturalium Aurea Benedicta, De Benedicto Lapidis Philosoph. Mysterio, ed. Benedictus Figulus (Strasburg: Lazarus Zetzner, 1608); VD17 23:277709W; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 480–482 n° 282)
  • 1680 (Latin; in Alexandri von Suchten/ Eines wahren Philosophi und der Artzneyen Doctoris Chymische Schrifften Alle, ed. Ulr. C. von Dagitza, Johann Görlin (Hamburg) für Georg Wolff (Frankfurt a.M.), 1680; VD17 23:239279L; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 618–619 n° 411)
  • 1760 (German; “Hier folgen einige philosophische Regeln oder Canones von dem Stein der Weisen”, in R. Abrahami Eleazaris Uraltes Chymisches Werk, ed. Julius Gervasius, 2nd ed. (Leipzig: Lankisch, 1760); VD18, 10213538; not in the first edition; not attributed to Paracelsus)
  • 1771 (German; Philippi Aureoli Theophrasti Paracelsi Chymischer Psalter, oder Philosophische Grundsätze vom Stein derer Weisen Anno 1522 (Berlin: Johann Friedrich Vieweg, 1771); Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 662–663 n° 463; reprinted in 1791)
III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 330, 662, 697 n° 56; CP 3: 580.

Further bibliographical references:

Peuckert, Pansophie (1956), 484.

Boeren, Codices Vossiani Chymici (1975), 73.

Gilly, “Un bel trattato ermetico del paracelsismo” (2002), 186, 194.

Broszinski, Manuscripta chemica in quarto (2011), 116, 207.