Brief an Augustin Sattler

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
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Paracelsicae / Büchlein belangend lapidem
Von Bereitung des Steins der Weisen und von der Heilung des Steins und Podagras

I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First printed in 1574, edited by Adam von Bodenstein. Several manuscripts.

Editions. Edited by Huser, Chir. 1605, Appendix, 100–101. Not edited by Sudhoff. Edited by Kühlmann and Telle in CP 3: 252–265 n° 105.

Relationship between different versions. Only one version known. The Karlsruhe manuscript is missing a few sentences. The first Kassel manuscript and the 1689 edition by Erbinäus von Brandau are both missing the first paragraphs containing the letter part.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style. The first part is written in the first person in the form of a letter from Paracelsus to Augustin Sattler, directly addressing the recipient. The next part, divided into two “books,” contains several alchemical processes. The text closes with greeting formula and date.

Relationship to other texts.

Authenticity, authorship. Rejected as spurious by Huser and Sudhoff.

Time of writing. The text is allegedly dated from Krainburg (Carinthia) in 1540 in the manuscripts and 1551 in the printed text. Probably written in the 1560s.

II. Sources


  • Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek: Hs. Allerheiligen 3, 184–188
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. chem. 60[2,6, f. 60r–63r
  • Kassel, Landesbibliothek: 4° Ms. med. 11, f. 176r–179v
  • Praha, Národní knihovna: Osek 43, f. 1r–3v
  • Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek: Cod. 11323b, f. 675r–678v
  • Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek: Cod. Guelf. 48.1 Aug. 4°, f. 62r–68r

First printed:

  • 1574 (in: Metamorphosis Theophrasti Paracelsi, ed. Adam von Bodenstein (Basel: Samuel Apiarius for Pietro Perna, 1574); VD16 P 695; Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 267–268 n° 157; cf. ibid., 351–352 n° 204)

Historical Manuscript Catalogues: von Linden (1788), part 2, 48 n° 54; Binz (1791), 139 [Metamorphosis]

III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica, 463; Sudhoff, Paracelsus-Handschriften, 777; CP 3: 252–265 n° 105.

Further bibliographical references:

Telle, “Paracelsus in pseudoparacelsischen Briefen” (2006–2007), 154 n. 26.

Broszinski, Manuscripta chemica in quarto (2011), 223.

Sven Limbeck, “Bild und Text in alchemischen Handschriften”, in Petra Feuerstein-Herz and Stefan Laube, eds., Goldes Wissen: Die Alchemie – Substanzen, Synthesen, Symbolik (Wiesbaden, 2014) (Ausstellungskataloge der Herzog August Bibliothek Nr. 98), 239–276, on 271