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Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638Between Renaissance, Reformation, and Universal Reform$
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Howard Hotson

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208280.001.0001

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Occult Sympathies: The Private World of the Mature Alsted, 1614–38

Occult Sympathies: The Private World of the Mature Alsted, 1614–38

(p.144) 4 Occult Sympathies: The Private World of the Mature Alsted, 1614–38
Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638

Howard Hotson

Oxford University Press

In the years following the publication of the Systema physicae harmonicae, the Peripatetic and biblical components of Johann Heinrich Alsted's proposed synthesis were developed in his philosophical and biblical encyclopedias. Alsted wrote a letter on March 21, 1618, which was published fourteen years later in Hamburg by Joachim Morsius. It is addressed to a student, Josua von der Tann, on the eve of his departure from Herborn, counselling him on how to conduct himself during the remainder of his peregrinatio academica. For obtaining scientia, Alsted advocates ‘that recondite physics of which there are four columns’: ‘true alchemy’; the concord of superior and inferior; ‘experientia, eaque pyronomico-manualis’; and the physiognomy of all things ‘which teaches especially the signatures of plants and animals’. Turning to eloquence, Alsted advises that it consists of the copia rerum et verborum, the abundance of material for discussion and of words in which to discuss it. The latter is achieved by the variation of expression through grammar and rhetoric; the former ‘is to be sought from the circles of Ramon Lull’.

Keywords:   Johann Heinrich Alsted, Ramon Lull, encyclopedias, Joachim Morsius, Josua von der Tann, physics, grammar, rhetoric

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