The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science

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Macmillan, Apr 18, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 436 pages
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Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, who called himself Paracelsus, stands at the cusp of medieval and modern times. A contemporary of Luther, an enemy of the medical establishment, a scourge of the universities, an alchemist, an army surgeon, and a radical theologian, he attracted myths even before he died. His fantastic journeys across Europe and beyond were said to be made on a magical white horse, and he was rumored to carry the elixir of life in the pommel of his great broadsword. His name was linked with Faust, who bargained with the devil.
Who was the man behind these stories? Some have accused him of being a charlatan, a windbag who filled his books with wild speculations and invented words. Others claim him as the father of modern medicine. Philip Ball exposes a more complex truth in The Devil's Doctor—one that emerges only by entering into Paracelsus’s time. He explores the intellectual, political, and religious undercurrents of the sixteenth century and looks at how doctors really practiced, at how people traveled, and at how wars were fought. For Paracelsus was a product of an age of change and strife, of renaissance and reformation. And yet by uniting the diverse disciplines of medicine, biology, and alchemy, he assisted, almost in spite of himself, in the birth of science and the emergence of the age of rationalism.  
 

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The devil's doctor: Paracelsus and the world of Renaissance magic and science

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Ball's (Critical Mass ) work beautifully illuminates the life of alchemist, physician, theologian, and astrologer Paracelsus (1493-1541), placing him squarely in the context of the Reformation, a ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION Fools Quest A Faustian Legacy
3
CHAPTER ONE Black Madonna A Country Doctor
19
CHAPTER TWO The Metal Makers Learning the Arts
29
CHAPTER THREE The Universal Scholar A Renaissance Education
39
CHAPTER FOUR The Staff and the Snake Healing in the Early Renaissance
48
CHAPTER FIVE Intellectual Vagabonds Walking the Pages of the Book of Nature
75
CHAPTER SIX A New Religion The Trials of Reformation
101
CHAPTER SEVEN Revolution Under the Sign of the Shoe Sedition in Salzburg
123
CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Alchemist Inside A Hermetic Biology
234
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Beyond Wonders The Matrix of the World
249
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Star and Ascendant A Science of Prophecy
276
CHAPTER SIXTEEN Demons of the Mind Invisible Diseases
296
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The Little Man Animating the Earth
321
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN The White Horse Death in Salzburg
336
CHAPTER NINETEEN Work with Fire The Chemical Legacy of Paracelsus
345
CHAPTER TWENTY Philosophers Gold The Last of the Chemical magicians
368

CHAPTER EIGHT Transmutation at Ingolstadt Making Gold
137
CHAPTER NINE Elixir and Quintessence A Chemical Medicine
164
CHAPTER TEN Bitter Medicine Paracelsus Among the Humanists
187
CHAPTER ELEVEN The Battle of Basle How Paracelsus Left Town
204
CHAPTER TWELVE Against the Grain Quicksilver and Wood
215
Notes
387
Bibliography
411
Index
419
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About the author (2006)

Philip Ball is the author of many books, including Life’s Matrix (FSG, 2000), Bright Earth (FSG, 2002), Critical Mass (FSG, 2004), which won the Aventis Science Book Prize in 2005, and The Devil's Doctor (2006).

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