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Books, Journals, New Media
November 3, 2004


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(17):2153-2159. doi:10.1001/jama.292.17.2153

This volume makes an early distinction between knowledge that is discovered and knowledge that is received or found. If, as claimed, Paracelsus represents the first category, this particular study of the 16th-century Swiss alchemist and physician falls into the latter.

This book does not bring to light anything new to Paracelsian scholars. In fact, it is greatly limited by an admitted reliance upon mostly English sources and translations. The vast majority of Paracelsian scholarship is in German. Biographical details surrounding Paracelsus’ presence in Basel and other specifics of his life and work follow in large part, for instance, from Henry Pachter’s study Magic into Science: The Story of Paracelsus, which, whatever its merits, is now over a half century old.

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