Bridging Traditions: Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern Era

Bridging Traditions explores the connections between apparently different zones of comprehension and experience—magic and experiment, alchemy and mechanics, practical mathematics and geometrical mysticism, things earthy and heavenly, and especially science and medicine—by focusing on points of intersection among alchemy, chemistry, and Paracelsian medical philosophy. In exploring the varieties of natural knowledge in the early modern era, the authors pay tribute to the work of Allen Debus, whose own endeavors cleared the way for scholars to examine subjects that were once snubbed as suitable only to the refuse heap of the history of science.
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About the author

Karen Hunger Parshall is professor of history and mathematics at the University of Virginia. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, she is the author, among other books and editions, of James Joseph Sylvester: Jewish Mathematician in a Victorian World (2006), Taming the Unknown: A History of Algebra from Antiquity to the Early Twentieth Century (with Victor J. Katz, 2014), and Experiencing Nature: Proceedings of a Conference in Honor of Allen G. Debus (coedited with Paul H. Theerman, 1997). She was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 1996/97 and served from 1996 to 1999 as the editor-in-chief of Historia Mathematica.
Michael Thomson Walton took his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1979. He coedited, with Allen G. Debus, Reading the Book of Nature: The Other Side of the Scientific Revolution (1998). He is the author of Medical Practitioners and Law in Fifteenth Century London (with Phyllis J. Walton, 2003); Genesis and the Chemical Philosophy: True Christian Science in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (2011); and Anthonius Margaritha and the Jewish Faith: Jewish Life and Conversion in Sixteenth Century Germany (2012). Two of his articles, “John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica: Geometrical Cabala” and “Boyle and Newton on the Transmutation of Water and Air,” were reprinted in Alchemy and Early Modern Chemistry: Papers from Ambix (edited by Allen G. Debus, 2004). Michael Walton died in August 2013.
Bruce Moran is professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches courses in the history of science and early medicine. His general research interest is in the intersection of cultures, learned and lay, scribal and artisanal, Latinate and vernacular as they relate to the investigation of nature and the body in early modern Europe. Among many articles and books are Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution (2005) and Andreas Libavius and the Transformation of Alchemy: Separating Chemical Cultures with Polemical Fire (2007). He has been a Dibner Distinguished Fellow in the history of science and technology at the Huntington Library (2010/11), and, most recently, a Gorden Cain Distinguished Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (2014).

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Additional Information

Truman State University Press
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Published on
Aug 3, 2015
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History / Renaissance
Science / History
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