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Alchemical Mass
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adammclean
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Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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 Posted: Tue Sep 18th, 2007 09:49 am
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Szulakowska, Urszula. The Sacrificial Body and the Day of Doom : Alchemy and Apocalyptic Discourse in the Protestant Reformation. Brill, 2006.

has a chapter devoted to the Alchemical Mass.  In this the author sets out the religious background against which alchemical ideas interacted and interplayed. The author of the Alchemical Mass was a Hungarian alchemist called Melchior Cibinensis. It is perhaps surprising that this 'Mass' was not really Catholic inspired, but rather emerged out of a Protestant Christianity. Melchior himself was executed in 1531 by the Holy Roman Emperor, because of his Protestant affiliations. The Mass was taken up and popularised by Michael Maier, who had  Lutheran leanings, and was amplified into a section of his book Symbola Aureae Duodecim Nationum, 1617. This work, sadly,  has not been translated from the Latin. Szulakowska gives a precis of this in her book, but it is too complex for me to attempt to summarise further.

You might be interested in the illustration to that chapter in Maier. This shows a conventional picture of the Mass. You will see how the engraver Matthieu Merian has chosen to parallel the image of the priest with a image of the Virgin feeding her child. Szulakowska sees this as echoing the imagery of the Woman in the Book of Revelation Chapter 12, 1-6, 13-17. I show below my coloured version.


 

Attached Image (viewed 558 times):

melchior_maier.jpg

Last edited on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 02:48 pm by alchemyd


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