Bacon: History of Alchemy
Edmund Brehm article explores the relationship of 13th century natural philosopher Bacon to alchemy and the Hermetic sciences.
ALCHEMY, throughout its history, has shown a dual nature. On the one
hand, it has involved the use of chemical substances and so is claimed
by the history of science as the precursor of modern chemistry. Yet at
the same time, alchemy has, throughout its history, also been associated
with the esoteric, spiritual beliefs of Hermeticism and thus is a proper
subject for the historian of religious thought...
From the Medieval
Having laid down the main points of the wisdom of the Latins as
regards language, mathematics and optics, I wish now to review the
principles of wisdom from the point of view of experimental science,
because without experiment it is impossible to know anything thoroughly.
Essay by Dianna L. Dodson.
Within the studious atmosphere of their library were
gathered the brethren of the Oxford Franciscans. The friars watched as
pages were torn from a leather-bound manuscript and nailed to the plans
of the library shelves. When the last vellum sheet of the contraband
work had been hung to yellow and fade, the friars left the room in
silent procession. One or two of the younger novitiates had not known
Brother Roger Bacon in his days of fiery verbal assault against
mediaeval education and educators. Perhaps they paused to glance at his
scrawled handwriting on the desiccated pages and wondered at the nature
of his crime. He had died only that month, June 1292...
From Compendium Studii Philosophiae
Let us look upon all conditions in the world, and
consider them diligently; everywhere we shall find boundless corruption,
and first of all in the Head. For the Court of Rome, which once was
ruled by God's wisdom, and should always be so ruled, is now debased by
the constitutions of lay Emperors, made for the governance of lay-folk
and contained in the code of civil law. The Holy See is torn by the
deceit and fraud of unjust men. Justice perishes all peace is broken,
infinite scandals are aroused. This bears its fruit in utterly perverse
manners; pride reigns, covetousness burns, envy gnaws upon all, the
whole [Papal] Court is defamed of lechery, and gluttony is lord of all.
. .if this be so in the Head, what then is done among the members? Let
us see the prelates; how they run after money, neglect the cure of
souls, promote their nephews, and other carnal friends, and crafty
lawyers who ruin all by their counsels; for they despise students in
philosophy and theology, and hinder the two Orders, who come forward to
serve the Lord without hire, from living in freedom and working for the
salvation of souls. Let us consider the religious Orders: I exclude none
from what I say...