By Tara Nummedal
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Extra resources for Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire
Although practitioners began to take sides on this issue as the sixteenth century came to a close, the battle to determine what alchemy would be was still far from won. 24 Still, we can distinguish several different emphases within early modern alchemy, as long as we recognize that these categories were by no introduction 15 means fi xed or exclusive; a single alchemist might pursue all of them, or only one, all the while claiming to be an alchemist. , their education or intentions). Instead, Müller-Jahncke and Paulus stress the diversity within the alchemical tradition itself, a legacy of alchemy’s many historical uses and the differences among its innumerable authorities.
In this new marketplace of secrets, alchemy was available to princes, philosophers, physicians, and pastors—in short, to anyone with the money and enthusiasm to seek it out. assembling expertise 33 Alchemy as a Craft Alchemy was particularly accessible to practitioners who already had skills and knowledge from related and overlapping fields. Crafts such as goldsmithing and medicine, for example, were intimately related to alchemy in the skills they employed and the knowledge they required. Likewise, a general background in philosophy provided a framework for alchemical theory and aided the comprehension of often deliberately confusing alchemical texts and erudite references.
24 Still, we can distinguish several different emphases within early modern alchemy, as long as we recognize that these categories were by no introduction 15 means fi xed or exclusive; a single alchemist might pursue all of them, or only one, all the while claiming to be an alchemist. , their education or intentions). Instead, Müller-Jahncke and Paulus stress the diversity within the alchemical tradition itself, a legacy of alchemy’s many historical uses and the differences among its innumerable authorities.
Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire by Tara Nummedal