De lumine naturae

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Vom Licht der Natur
De mercurio alchimistarum

I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First published by Ps.-Huser in 1603. No manuscripts known.

Editions. Edited by Ps.-Huser in Opera Bücher vnd Schrifften, II, 1603, 682–686. Not edited by Sudhoff.

Relationship between different versions. The texts of Ps.-Huser’s 1603 edition and the 1612 edition in Zwey schöne Chymische Tractetlein are essentially the same, although there are several misreadings in the 1603 edition; the latter also tends to add German translations to Latin expressions (“effectum oder wirckung” for “effectum”). Ps.-Huser’s edition really consists of two separate treatises (De lumine naturae and De mercurio alchimistarum) by the same author printed one after the other without any separating heading.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style. Written entirely in the third person, using no figurative, allegoric or idiomatic expressions.

Relationship to other texts.

Authenticity, authorship. The anonymous editor of Zwey schöne Chymische Tractetlein (1612) reported in his preface that he received De lumine naturae in 1588 in Prague from the hand of the author, Martin Faber from Königsberg in Prussia, doctor of medicine and lately deceased. The editor mentions the printing of De lumine naturae in Paracelsus’s Opera of 1603, but adds that (1) De lumine naturae does not match the style of Paracelsus and (2) its author “was not in rerum natura” (i.e. did not live) during the lifetime of Paracelsus.

Time of writing. Probably written in the 1580s by Martin Faber.

II. Sources

Manuscripts: no manuscripts known

First printed: not printed before Ps.-Huser (1603)

  • 1603 (in: Ps.-Huser, Opera Bücher vnd Schrifften (1603); VD17 12:168390P)
  • 1612 (in: Zwey schöne Chymische Tractetlein: I. De Mercurio Alchimistarum, II. De Lumine Naturae (Jena-Leipzig, 1612); VD17 23:296106T; reprinted in Heptas Alchymica, ed. Theophil Neander (Leipzig, 1621); VD17 23:240185V).

Historical Manuscript Catalogues: cf. Catalogus (Stuttgart), II, f. 1v, n° [12]

III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 445; CP 3: 788–789.

Further bibliographical references:

Florian Ebeling, “‘Geheimnis’ und ‘Geheimhaltung’ in den Hermetica der Frühen Neuzeit,” in Anne-Charlott Trepp and Hartmut Lehmann, eds., Antike Weisheit und kulturelle Praxis. Hermetismus in der frühen Neuzeit (Göttingen, 2001), 63–80, on 74–75.