Preface, no date (1572), Benedictus Aretius to the Reader (BP139)

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Author: Benedictus Aretius
Recipient: Reader
Type: Dedication
Date: no date [1572]
Pages: 3
Language: Latin
Quote as:
Editor: Edited by Julian Paulus
Anonymous [Paracelsus], De medicamentorum simplicium gradibus et compositionibus, opus nouum, ed. Benedictus Aretius, Zürich: Christoph Froschauer d.J. 1572, sig. A4r-A5r [BP139]
CP: Not in Kühlmann/Telle, Corpus Paracelsisticum
Translation: Raw translation see below
Abstract: The preface is addressed to the reader of a new medical and chemical booklet, whose author remains anonymous. The author is believed to be learned, discussing concepts like heat and cold, and seems to possess a unique healing method. The reader is encouraged to interpret the author's obscure language with clarity and without bias. It is mentioned that the booklet can be beneficial to the healing method and chemical arts if the technical terms are interpreted properly. The author's style is characterized as cryptic and critical, and it's suggested that these elements need to be understood for the benefit of all. A list of philosophical terminologies that require explanation is provided. The critical aspect is noted as being harsh towards other authors. The booklet praises only Hippocrates, Raymond, Arnold of Villanova, and Albucasim, while condemning many other scholars, including Galen, Pliny, Dioscorides, Platearius, and Albert the Great, among others. The preface concludes by noting the imperfection and diversity of human opinion, stating that even the most polished geniuses often face disagreement. The addition of brief summaries and outlines for each chapter, derived from the collections of Euchopoedius, is also mentioned. These summaries, while concise, may lack coherence as they resemble notes taken by students. The reader is urged to read and form their own judgement. (generated by Chat-GPT)
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[sig. A4r] Ad lectorem.

En amice lector, exhibemus tibi libellum nouum, vtilem, medicum & chymicum, de cuius authore libenter apud te fatemur ignorantiam nostram, qua in re tibi probari debet candor. A viro docto scriptum esse, non dubium est: erudite enim disputat de primis duabus qualitatibus, calido & frigido: secretam etiam videtur habere medendi rationem, non pœnitendam: quo nomine commendabilem fore speramus tibi. Rogamus autem nouos Academicos, vt obscuritatem huius authoris dilucidè, nec ambiguè interpretentur. Habebunt illi hic multa, quæ ad secretam medendi rationem, & ad chymica illis profutura sint, modo artis terminos commodè interpretentur, ne ex Heraclito planè Σκοτεινὸν faciant. Habet enim author hic duo peculiaria, κρυπτικὸν κεὶ έλεγχτικὸν, quæ duo Theophrasticum resipiunt ingenium.

Κρύψις explicari debet candide ad vsum mortalium, bonum enim quanto est communius, tanto est melius.

Id Philosophi est proprium: quis enim Oedipus nobis explicabit illa? Ares, Taphneus, Iliastes, archæus, cheronium, ilech, spagyrus, spagyrica, aschara, ascharides, Nata, flos Cheiri, nebulgea, Rolelleum, & similia. Quæ omnia in sua schola rectè explicare debent, sectatores nouæ medicinæ.

[sig. A4v] Ελεγχτικὸν excusari debet, optandum tamen erat hosce authores sua proponere sine aliorum insectatione, quod vt facilius, ita laudabilius semper est habitum scribendi genus. Noster sane libellus ex veteribus vni parcit Hippocrati, quem suum facit lib[ro] 1. cap[ite] 2. 3. & 5. Ex posterioribus vnum admiratur Raymundum, & Arnoldum de villa noua lib[ro] 1. cap[ite] 6. Ibidem Albucasim commendat. cap[ite] 10. Raymundinæ præparationis cum laude meminit.

Reliquos omnes promiscuè damnat cap[ite] 2. Galenum arrogantiæ nomine, & Rhetoris titulo aspernatur, pari libertate vtitur erga Plinium, Dioscoridem, Platearium, Albertum magnum, Thomam Aquinatem, Bartholomæum Anglicum, Monachos Physicos, Pandectarum authores, Ioannem de Rupescissa: Nihilo ciuilius excipit barbaros medicos, Mesuen, Rasin, Auerrhoën & illius Colliget, Lumen apothecariorum in tenebris, Carthusianos, Serapionis quoque sententiam damnat de quinta essentia. Quæ omnia si non possunt excusari, relinquenda sunt tanquam authoris propria. Interim bono publico reliquis amice vtamur: discimus saltem hinc in rebus humanis, nullum vnquam ingenium adeò politum emersisse, cui omnia omnium iudicia vno ore sese submiserint, quin à quouis cuiuis etiam, liberum voluerit esse dissentire.

[sig. A5r] Hæc rerum humanarum incertitudo, caligo & imperfectio est. Porrò addidimus libellus singulis, & singulorum capitibus breua argumenta, & summulas, vt lector vno conspectu videat quid vbique tractetur. Sumpta sunt illa argumenta ex Euchopœdij collectaneis, qui quis mortalium sit perinde incertum est. Videtur autem discipulus authoris fuisse, qui ex illius ore libelli interpretationem exceperit. Concisa autem sunt, & minimè cohærentia, vt esse solent, quæ studiosi in scholis ex prælegentis ore colligunt negligentius. Hæc sunt, amice lector, quæ te ignorare nolui, ad præsentis libelli ingressum, tu lege & iudica. Vale.

English Raw Translation

Generated by ChatGPT-4 on 21 April 2023. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.

To the reader.

Greetings, dear reader, we present to you a new, useful, medical, and chemical booklet, about whose author we willingly confess our ignorance to you, in which matter your candor should be proven. It is without a doubt written by a learned man: for he eruditely discusses the first two qualities, hot and cold; he also seems to possess a secret method of healing, not to be regretted: for which reason we hope it will be commendable to you. However, we ask the new Academics to interpret the obscurity of this author clearly and unambiguously. They will find many things here that will be useful to the secret method of healing and to the chemical arts, provided they interpret the terms of the art suitably, so as not to make it completely obscure like Heraclitus. For this author has two peculiarities, cryptic and critical, which both reflect the ingenious nature of Theophrastus.

The cryptic must be candidly explained for the use of mortals, for the greater good is shared by all, the better it is.

This is the philosophers' own prerogative: for who will explain these things to us, Oedipus? Ares, Taphneus, Iliastes, archæus, cheronium, ilech, spagyrus, spagyrica, aschara, ascharides, Nata, flower of Cheir, nebulgea, Rolelleum, and the like. All these must be correctly explained in their own school by the followers of the new medicine.

The critical aspect should be excused, yet it would have been preferable for these authors to put forward their own ideas without attacking others, which would be both easier and more praiseworthy as a way of writing. Our little book, indeed, spares only one of the ancients, Hippocrates, whom it claims as its own in Book 1, chapters 2, 3, and 5. From the later authors, it admires only Raymond and Arnold of Villanova in Book 1, chapter 6. In the same place, it praises Albucasim in chapter 10. It speaks favorably of the preparations of Raymond.

It indiscriminately condemns all the others in chapter 2. It disparages Galen by the name of arrogance and the title of rhetorician, and uses the same liberty towards Pliny, Dioscorides, Platearius, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Bartholomew the Englishman, Monastic Physicians, the authors of the Pandects, John of Rupescissa. It is no more civil to the barbarian doctors, Mesue, Razi, Averroes and his Colliget, Lumen apothecariorum in tenebris, Carthusians, and also condemns Serapion's opinion on the fifth essence. If all these things cannot be excused, they should be left as the author's own opinions. In the meantime, let us use the rest for the public good: at least we learn from this that in human affairs, no genius has ever arisen so polished as to have submitted itself to the judgment of all with one voice, without wanting anyone to feel free to disagree.

This is the uncertainty, darkness, and imperfection of human affairs. Furthermore, we have added to the booklet brief summaries and outlines for each chapter, so that the reader can see at a glance what is discussed in each section. These summaries are taken from the collections of Euchopoedius, whose identity is as uncertain as any mortal's. He seems to have been a disciple of the author, who took down the interpretation of the booklet from the author's mouth. However, they are concise and not very coherent, as is often the case with the notes that students collect less carefully from the mouths of their lecturers in schools. These are the things, dear reader, that I did not want you to be ignorant of at the entrance of this present booklet, so read and judge for yourself. Farewell.