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Between Heresy And Orthodoxy: Alchemy And Piety In Late Sixteenth-Century Germany

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on three representatives of Paracelsianism: Adam von Bodenstein, Michael Toxites, and Heinrich Khunrath, all of them convinced adherents of the medical alchemy and the theological ideas of Paracelsus. They may serve as examples of three aspects of the theological implications inherent in the relation between alchemy and piety and their connections with heresy and orthodoxy. These aspects are the following: (1) Wisdom as foundation of natural theology, alchemy, and true Christianity; (2) the relation between natural theology and criticism of the Church: reformation of the Church from within and the idea of an ecclesia spiritualis; (3) the role of alchemy and Hermeticism in the formative phase of Pietism. Arndt draws on the Hermetic and alchemical tradition in order to create a very pragmatic interpretation of the practical aspects of Christianity.

Keywords: Alchemy; Heresy; Orthodoxy; Paracelsianism; Piety



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