Liber vexationum

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Coelum philosophorum
Kunst und Natur der Alchemie/
De vexationibus alchimistarum/
Liber fixationum

I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First edited in 1567 by Adam von Bodenstein as a separate work. In 1574 Bodenstein published a revised edition that corrected some misreadings. The first Latin translation was published in 1568 by Gerhard Dorn. A partial Latin translation was prepared by Georg Joachim Rheticus (autograph manuscript in Florence). Three manuscripts.

Editions. Edited by Huser, 6 (1590): 375–395. Edited by Sudhoff in Paracelsus, Sämtliche Werke, I/14: 405–420.

Relationship between different versions. Further study required. – A fragment (230 words) is found in Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 2, f. 20r–20v.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style.

Relationship to other texts.

Authenticity, authorship. In Sudhoff’s eyes, the author was “clearly not the brightest of sparks,” which clearly differentiates this author from that of De tinctura physicorum (§ ‎4.30), described by Sudhoff as much at ease and familiar with the works of Paracelsus. Finally, Sudhoff tends to consider the Liber vexationum as intrinsically close to (and potentially to be ascribed to the same author as) the Manuale de lapide philosophico (§ ‎4.40).

Time of writing. Probably written in the 1560s. – A manuscript (now lost and not seen by Sudhoff himself) contained the text under the title Kunst vnd natur der Alchymia vnd was darauff zuhalten sy and ascribed it to Paracelsus, which is remarkable since the binding of the manuscript is said to be dated 1542. However it is questionable how far this second-hand and somewhat imprecise information is reliable.

II. Sources



  • Herzogenburg, Stiftsbibliothek: Ms 363 [lost]
  • Kopenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek: Thott 737 kvart [probably copied from a printed edition]
  • Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek: Cod. Guelf. 60.6 Aug. 8°, f. 43r–67r


  • Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale: Magl. XVI 113 (Latin translation by Georg Joachim Rheticus, autograph)

First printed:

  • 1567 (in: Liber Vexationum D. Phil. Theophrasti Paracelsi, ed. Adam von Bodenstein (no place and date [preface: October 1567; printed by Perna in Basel]); VD16 P 595; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 143–144 n° 90; cf. 257–260 n° 153)
  • 1568 (Latin; Pyrophilia vexationumque liber. D. Phil. Theophrasti Paracelsi, ed. Gerhard Dorn (Basel: Pietro Perna, 1568); VD16 P 597; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 160–162 n° 101)

Historical Manuscript Catalogues: Scripta Theophrasti (Wien); Widemann, Verzeichnisse (Kassel), n° II, 122; von Linden (1786), 31 n° 174

III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 393; Sudhoff, Paracelsus-Handschriften, 773–774; Sudhoff, “Vorwort,” in Paracelsus, Sämtliche Werke, I/14: XX, XXIV; CP 1: 98, 496; CP 3: 708.

Further bibliographical references:

Karl Sudhoff, “Rheticus und Paracelsus, in neuer Beitrag zu ihren Beziehungen,” Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 50 (1903), vol. 2, n° 42, on 1850 (short notice).

Karl Sudhoff, “Noch einmal Rheticus und Paracelsus,” Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel, 15 (1904), 329–333.

Peuckert, Pansophie (1956), 252–253.

Peuckert, Gabalia (1967), 96.

Karl Heinz Burmeister, Georg Joachim Rhetikus 1514–1574. Eine Bio-Bibliographie, 3 vols. (Wiesbaden, 1967), 1: 23, 156; 2: 23 n° 8.

Karin Figala, “Die sogenannten Sieben Bücher über die Fundamente der chemischen Kunst von Joachim Rhetikus (1514–1576),” Sudhoffs Archiv, 55 (1971), 247–256, on 255–256.

Karl Heinz Burmeister, “Georg Joachim Rhetikus als Paracelsist,” Montfort, 24 (1972), 619–629.

Karl Heinz Burmeister, “Die chemischen Schriften des Georg Joachim Rhetikus,” Organon, 10 (1974), 177–185.

Gilly, Adam Haslmayr (1994), 164, 206.

Kahn, “Le retour de Gérard Dorn” (2010–2011), 147.

Karl Heinz Burmeister, “Philippus Theophrastus Paracelsus,” in Burmeister, Magister Rheticus und seine Schulgesellen. Das Ringen um Kenntnis und Durchsetzung des heliozentrischen Weltsystems des Kopernikus um 1540/50 (Konstanz-München, 2015), 437–442.