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Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) (1493–1541)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C028-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 21, 2021, from

Article Summary

Paracelsus (pseudonym of Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) was an itinerant Swiss surgeon and physician who formulated a new philosophy of medicine based on a combination of chemistry, Neoplatonism and the occult, all within a Christian framework. His works, usually in German rather than Latin, were mostly published after his death. His importance for medical practice lay in his insistence on observation and experiment, and his use of chemical methods for preparing drugs. He rejected Galen’s explanation of disease as an imbalance of humours, along with the traditional doctrine of the four elements. He saw the human being as a microcosm that reflected the structure and elements of the macrocosm, thus presenting a unified view of human beings and a universe in which everything was interconnected and full of vital powers. Paracelsian chemical medicine was very popular in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, largely due to its presentation as part of a general theory.

Citing this article:
Ashworth, E.J.. Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) (1493–1541), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C028-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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