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Andrew Weeks

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Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment appears in a different light when read in conjunction with George H. Williams’ Radical Reformation and Israel’s own history of The Dutch Republic. The radical dissent of the Reformation and its aftermath extended to Holland, influencing Spinoza’s milieu and creating preconditions for his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670). The radical turn attributed by Israel to Spinoza appears less unprecedented when juxtaposed with its extended Reformation background, including the German speculative or mystical dissenters who anticipated his themes.

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Andrew Weeks

The daunting writings of Paracelsus—the second largest 16th-century body of writings in German after Luther’s—contributed to medicine, natural science, alchemy, philosophy, theology, and esoteric tradition. This volume provides a critical edition of essential writings from the authoritative 1589 Huser Paracelsus alongside new English translations and commentary on the sources and context of the full corpus. The Essential Theoretical Writings incorporate topics ranging from metaphyics, cosmology, faith, religious conflict, magic, gender, and education, to the processes of nature, disease and medication, female and male sufferings, and cures of body and soul. Properly contextualized, these treatises yield rich extracts of Renaissance and Reformation culture, soundings of 16th-century life, and keys to an influential but poorly understood early modern intellectual tradition.

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Andrew Weeks

Jacob Boehme’s Aurora (Morgen Röte im auffgang, 1612) exercised a vast open or underground influence on popular and mystical religion, poetry, and philosophy from Germany to England to Russia. This beautiful and highly original work containing elements of alchemical, esoteric, and anticlerical thought is a portal to the cultural, scientific, and theological currents on the eve of the Thirty Years' War. Its author heralded the new heliocentrism, opposed intolerance and religious conflict, and entertained an ecstatic vision of order reconciled with freedom. This first modern English translation places the translated text opposite an edition of the German manuscript from the author’s own hand. Also included is the brief, influential Fundamental Report (Gründlicher Bericht, 1620) in a critical edition and translation. An extensive commentary that cites documents of the time offers access to the sources of Boehme’s themes and concepts.
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Jacob Böhme (1575–1624) is famous as a shoemaker and spiritual author. His works and thought are frequently studied as a product of his mystical illumination.
Jacob Böhme and His World adopts a different perspective. It seeks to demystify Böhme by focusing on aspects of his immediate cultural and social context and the intellectual currents of his time, including Böhme’s writing as literature, the social conditions in Görlitz, Böhme’s correspondence networks, a contemporary “crisis of Piety”, Paracelsian and Kabbalistic currents, astrology, astronomy and alchemy, and his relationship to other dissenting authors. Relevant facets of reception include Böhme’s philosophical standing, his contributions to pre-Pietism, and early English translations of his works.