De spiritibus metallorum

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Alchimia Theophrasti Paracelsi vom einfachen Feuer
Alchimia oder De spiritibus metallorum/
Liber de generatione metallorum/
De spiritibus planetarum
De tinctura planetarum

I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First printed in Latin in 1570, edited by Gerhard Dorn. First printed in German from two different but closely related sources in 1571 and 1572. Four manuscripts.

Editions. Edited by Huser, Chir. 1605, Appendix, 71–77. Not edited by Sudhoff.

Relationship between different versions. The 1571 version is almost word-by-word parallel to the Latin version printed in 1570, but some minor differences suggest that the text was translated from German to Latin and not vice versa.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style.

Relationship to other texts.

Authenticity, authorship. Huser (1605) seems to be the first to reject this treatise as spurious. Sudhoff confirms this statement: “this text is without doubt not written by Hohenheim.”

Time of writing. Probably written in the 1560s.

II. Sources


  • Budapest, Országos Széchényi Könyvtár [National Library]: Quart. Germ. 246 [copied from the 1584 printed edition]
  • Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek: Msrc.Dresd.J.346, f. 1r–28r
  • Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Cod. alchim. 192, f. 274r–279r
  • Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek: Hs. Bernus 148, f. 2r–5r
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 16, f. 37r–51v [copied from the 1572 printed edition]
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 25, f. 221r–240r
  • Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek: Cod. 11466, f. 93r–103r [copied from the 1618 Huser edition]
  • Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek: Cod. Guelf. 30.4 Aug. 4°, 316, 318–348
  • Wrocław/Breslau, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka: R 2317, 1–44 [probably copied from the 1571 printed edition]

First printed:

  • 1570 (Latin; in Aureoli Philippi Theophrasti Paracelsi De summis Naturae Mysterijs Libri tres, ed. Gerhard Dorn (Basel, 1570); VD16 P 565; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 209–211 n° 125)
  • 1571 (German; in De spiritibus planetarum sive metallorum Doctoris Theophrasti Paracelsi ab Hohenheim libri III (Basel: Pietro Perna, 1571); VD16 P 567; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 224–226 n° 134)
  • 1572 (German; in Metamorphosis. Doctoris Theophrasti von Hohenheim/ der zerstörten gůten künsten vnnd artzney/ restauratoris/ gewaltigs vnnd nutzlichs schreiben, ed. Adam von Bodenstein (no place [Basel: Samuel Apiarius], 1572); VD16 P 694; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 229–231 n° 137; cf. 231 n° 138, and 351–352 n° 204)

Historical Manuscript Catalogues: Binz (1791), 139 [Metamorphosis]

III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 209–210, 225, 463; Sudhoff, Paracelsus-Handschriften, 777.

Further bibliographical references:

Peuckert, Pansophie (1956), 452.

Broszinski, Manuscripta chemica in quarto (2011), 86.

Urs Leo Gantenbein, “Die ‘Alchimia Theophrasti Paracelsi’: Eine pseudoparacelsische Rezeption der ‘Visio Arislei’ und des ‘Donum Dei’,” in Nachlese zum 50. Paracelsustag 2001 (Vienna, 2002) (Salzburger Beiträge zur Paracelsusforschung, 35), 36–60.

Kathrin Pfister, “Kenelm Digby (1603–1665) und das ‘sympathetische’ Pulver – ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der pseudo-paracelsischen Waffensalbe,” Nova Acta Paracelsica, N.F. 27 (2016), 47–66.