Despite his fame Paracelsus remains an illusive character. As this volume points out it is somewhat of a paradox that the fascination with Paracelsus and his ideas has remained so widespread when it is born in mind that it is far from clear what exactly he contributed to medicine and natural philosophy. But perhaps it is exactly this enigma which through the ages has made Paracelsus so attractive to such a variety of people who all want to claim him as an advocate for their particular ideas.
The first section of this book deals with the historiography surrounding Paracelsus and Paracelsianism and points to the need of reclaiming the man and his ideas in their proper historical context. A further two sections are concerned with the different religious, social and political implications of Paracelsianism and its medical and natural philosophical significance respectively.
Ole Peter Grell, Doctorate (1983) in History, European University Institute, Florence, is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine and an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. He has published extensively on the Reformation and on early modern history of medicine. Among his most recent books are
Medicine and the Reformation (1993),
Calvinist Exiles in Tudor and Stuart England (1996),
Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (1996) and
Health Care and Poor Relief in Protestant Europe 1500-1700 (1997).
Those interested in Early Modern intellectual history and reformation history, as well as historians of science and medicine.