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December 24, 1960


Author Affiliations

836 Wellington Ave. Chicago 14.

JAMA. 1960;174(17):2160-2161. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030170050020

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To the Editor:—  Concerning your editorial in The Journal, Sept. 17, p. 299, I would like to disagree regarding Paracelsus. To begin with, K. F. Leidecker translated the Volumen Paramirum into English ( at least the first part of it), in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1949, supplement 11. I might also mention the Four Treatises, translated by Temkin, Zilboorg, Rosen, and Sigerist, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1941. Both of these are still in print and available.But my principal disagreement concerns your evaluation of Paracelsus. He was a child of the Middle Ages, living in an intellectual environment of Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Kabala—reason enough to explain his interest in philosophy. He lived in an era of magic and alchemy, of astrology and chiromancy, not to mention metoposcopy. I do not believe historians would agree that his era "spawned" spiritualism and mysticism. Rather, the 16th century was the

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