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Secrets of Nature – Astrology & Alchemy in Early Modern Europe: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology) - Hardcover

 
9780262140751: Secrets of Nature – Astrology & Alchemy in Early Modern Europe: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology)
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In recent years scholars have begun to acknowledge that the occult sciences were not marginal enterprises but an integral part of the worldview of many of our ancestors. Astrology was one of the many intellectual tools-along with what we consider to be the superior tools of social and political analysis-that Renaissance thinkers used to attack practical and intellectual problems. It was a coherent body of practices, strongly supported by social institutions. And alchemy was not viewed primarily as a spiritual pursuit, an idea popularized by nineteenth-century occultists, but as a part of natural philosophy. It was often compared to medicine.Many Renaissance writers suggested links between astrology and alchemy that went beyond the use of astrological charts to determine the best time to attempt alchemical operations. Secrets of Nature shows the many ways in which astrology (a form of divination) and alchemy (an artisanal pursuit concerned with the technologies of minerals and metals) diverge as well as intersect. Overall, it shows how an appreciation of the role of the occult opens up new ways of understanding the past. Topics include the career of Renaissance astrologer Girolamo Cardano and his work on medical astrology, the astrological thinking of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, the history of the Rosicrucians and the influence of John Dee, the work of medical alchemist Simon Forman, and an extended critique of the existing historiography of alchemy.

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This is an excellent volume, and one that will be a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in the histories of alchemy and/or astrology and a necessary one to anyone working on Early Modern science.-Daryn Lehoux, Canadian Bulletin of Medical History
Synopsis:
This work presents a fresh look at the role of astrology and alchemy in Renaissance thinking and everyday life. In recent years, scholars have begun to acknowledge that the occult sciences were not marginal enterprises but an integral part of the worldview of many of our ancestors. Astrology was one of the many intellectual tools - along with what we consider to be the superior tools of social and political analysis - that Renaissance thinkers used to attack practical and intellectual problems. It was a coherent body of practices, strongly supported by social institutions. And alchemy was not viewed primarily as a spiritual pursuit, an idea popularised by nineteenth-century occultists, but as a part of natural philosophy. It was often compared to medicine. Many Renaissance writers suggested links between astrology and alchemy that went beyond the use of astrological charts to determine the best time to attempt alchemical operations. "Secrets of Nature" shows the many ways in which astrology (a form of divination) and alchemy (an artisanal pursuit concerned with the technologies of minerals and metals) diverge as well as intersect.

Overall, it shows how an appreciation of the role of the occult opens up new ways of understanding the past. Topics include the career of Renaissance astrologer Girolamo Cardano and his work on medical astrology, the astrological thinking of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, the history of the Rosicrucians and the influence of John Dee, the work of medical alchemist Simon Forman, and an extended critique of the existing historiography of alchemy.

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  • PublisherMIT Press
  • Publication date2001
  • ISBN 10 0262140756
  • ISBN 13 9780262140751
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages452
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9780262640626: Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe

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