Reformation, Revolution, Renovation

The Roots and Reception of the Rosicrucian Call for General Reform


At the centre of the Rosicrucian manifestos was a call for ‘general reformation’. In Reformation, Revolution, Renovation, the first book-length study of this topic, Lyke de Vries demonstrates the unique position of the Rosicrucian call for reform in the transformative context of the early seventeenth century. The manifestos, commonly interpreted as either Lutheran or esoteric, are here portrayed as revolutionary mission statements which broke dramatically with Luther’s reform ideals. Their call for reform instead resembles a variety of late medieval and early modern dissenting traditions as well as the heterodox movement of Paracelsianism. Emphasising the universal character of the Rosicrucian proposal for change, this new genealogy of the core idea sheds fresh light on the vexed question of the manifestos’ authorship and helps explain their tumultuous reception by both those who welcomed and those who deplored them.
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Lyke de Vries, Ph.D. (2020, Radboud University Nijmegen) is a research fellow and lecturer in the history of philosophy and scientia at Radboud University. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the challenge of excavating the roots of modern concepts of change and progress, primarily in heterodox traditions marginal to the paradigms dominating current historiography on the early modern period.
List of Figures

The Rosicrucian Story
The Historiography
A Fresh Approach

Part 1 The Origins

1 Back to the Sources
 1.1 The Reformation of Divine and Human Things
 1.2 The Revolution of the Ages
 1.3 The Renovation of Philosophy
 1.4 Concluding Remarks

2 The Paracelsian Impetus
 2.1 Visions of a Golden Time
 2.2 The Revelation of Secrets
 2.3 Alchemy and Medicine
 2.4 Philosophical Inspirations
 2.5 Primeval Wisdom
 2.6 Concluding Remarks

Part 2 The Bibliographical Origins

3 The Authors and the Rosicrucian Worldview
 3.1 Authorship in Question
 3.2 Apocalyptic Expectations
 3.3 New Societies and Attempts at Reform
 3.4 Paracelsian Motivation
 3.5 Concluding Remarks

Part 3 The Response

4 Rosicrucianism Praised: The Early Response
 4.1 Avoiding Tribulations: The First Response to the Fama
 4.2 The Instauration of Original Wisdom
 4.3 The Rosicrucian Study of Alchemy and Medicine
 4.4 The Reform of Medicine and Sciences
 4.5 Rosicrucian Theosophy and the Reform of Divine and Human Things
 4.6 Concluding Remarks

5 Rosicrucianism Challenged: Early Debates
 5.1 The Rosicrucian Manifestos Debated: Libavius and Fludd
 5.2 The Rosicrucian Manifestos Debated: Grick and Mögling
 5.3 Concluding Remarks and Further Challenges: Official Investigations


Appendix: Theca Gladii Spiritus (1616), nrs. 175–202
All interested in early modern intellectual history, specifically in reform programs in religion, politics, and knowledge; and anyone with an interest in Reformation studies, the history of science, and Rosicrucianism. Keywords: Universal Reformation, utopia, manifestos, manifestoes, Johann Valentin Andreae, mission statements, reform programs, heterodoxy, seventeenth century, Middle Ages, esotericism, alchemy, medicine, Paracelsus, Paracelsianism, German history, astrology.
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