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Alchemical Mass
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adammclean
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 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 07:45 pm
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I have just been reading the article by Didier Kahn 'Between alchemy and Antitrinitarianism: Nicolas Barnaud' which is contained in the rather unpromisingly entitled book by Brill (2005) Socinianism and Arminianism.

In this survey of the life and ideas of Nicolas Barnaud, Kahn makes the point that the Alchemical Mass of Melchior Cibinensis, was taken up by and transmitted by Figulus, Wideman and Barnaud, all Protestants, and Barnaud's version which is the one published, was by someone of a more unorthodox Protestant persuasion.  I had never thought about that strange fact. 

It is interesting that Didier Kahn promises us in a footnote, that he will write an in-depth study of the Alchemical mass for the Bulletin de la Societe de l'Histoire du Protestantisme francais.  I wonder if this article has now been published. Any details about it would be welcome.

Last edited on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 08:48 pm by adammclean

Alan Pritchard
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 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 01:31 pm
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Not according to his web site at http://www.cellf.paris-sorbonne.fr/annuaire/chercheur.php?idr=7&idc=77

It is a pity that more of his material is not available in English

Alan

Tom Willard
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 Posted: Mon May 5th, 2008 11:59 pm
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I have written about Barnaud's religious views, and his publications generally, in "The Enigma of Nicolas Barnaud," Ésotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: Mélanges offrets à Antoine Faivre, ed. Richard Caron et al. (Lueven: Peeters, 2005), 199-213. Barnaud, a Hugenot, collected the text on a visit to Prague and published it in Holland.

Last edited on Tue May 6th, 2008 12:02 am by Tom Willard

adammclean
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 Posted: Wed May 7th, 2008 08:42 am
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I remember that article and quickly reread it last night. You introduced us to and translated that rather evocative short verse the Philosophers' Arcanum.  Your article also reminded me of that other major concern of Barnaud, the enigmatic verses of Bologna, Aelia Laelia Crispis, well worth revisiting. I haven't thought much about this enigma since the 1980's, when I was still quite influenced by Jung. I must dig that out again.  I have seen the big book on this by Barnaud,  Commentariolum in Aenigmaticum, as there is a copy here in Glasgow, but I never took the time to study it. I wonder if anyone has made a study of this recently ?

Last edited on Wed May 7th, 2008 08:42 am by adammclean

Tom Willard
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 Posted: Wed May 7th, 2008 11:26 am
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I fear that I have not studied the "Aelia Crispis" inscription since the seventies, and that my reading of "The Bologna Enigma" was very largely guided by Jung's essay of that title (Ambix 2.3-4 [Dec. 1946]). That essay, which makes up pages 56 to 88 of Mysterium Coniunctions in the English translation, still seems to me about the best scholarship in all of Jung's alchemical writings, and I now suspect it owes a very great deal to his colleague Marie-Louise von Franz.

Barnaud's commentary on the inscription is reprinted in volume 3 of the Theatrum Chemicum (pages 744-754 in the 1659 edition). It ends with a quotation from the opening verses of Psalm 49, which the Vulgate refers to as an enigma (with reference to the "dark saying" of verse 4). The commentary is followed almost immediately by the alchemical mass (pages 758-761).

I seem to recall that the French journal Chrysopoeia, with which M. Kahn was associated, ran an article on the Aelia Laelia inscription in an early issue. I don't have easy access to my copy, but perhaps someone else can provide information.

Last edited on Wed May 7th, 2008 11:40 am by Tom Willard

Tom Willard
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 Posted: Wed May 7th, 2008 09:33 pm
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The book Adam mentions is also available online from the Bibliotheca Complutense in Madrid:

http://alfama.sim.ucm.es/dioscorides/consulta_libro.asp?ref=x533923114

The pages specifically on the inscription and Barnaud's alchemical interpretation are those numbered 7 through 30. The alchemical mass covers pages 37-41.

Information on the book containing Kahn's essay on the alchemical mass can be found at the website of the American Historical Review:

http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/111.3/br_129.html

Last edited on Wed May 7th, 2008 09:51 pm by Tom Willard

adammclean
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 Posted: Thu May 8th, 2008 04:39 pm
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Tom Willard wrote: The book Adam mentions is also available online from the Bibliotheca Complutense in Madrid:



My memory let me down with that one. It was not the Barnaud volume on Aelia Laelia Crispis that I remember seeing, but a much larger volume. Probably it was

Carlo Cesare, Marchese Malvasia [1616-1693]  Aelia Laelia Crispis non nata resurgens...Bologna, 1683. 

I must remember to take a look at that volume again next time I am in the library.

Tom Willard
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 Posted: Thu May 8th, 2008 06:04 pm
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I wondered about the "big book" and would be interested to hear what Malvasius includes. Are there illustrations, for example, reproducing inscriptions he discovered? As I recall, discussion invariably touched on the antiquity of the inscription in Maier's time (see pages 168-173 in his Symbola) and often recurs to Etruscan ties in recent decades (for example, on page 158 of C.A. Burland's The Arts of the Alchemists). Has there ever been a good case for the date of the epigram or of the couple it memorializes?

Browsing briefly in search of information on Malvasius's book I found a curious "postcard":

http://www.pippoburro.com/mailart/gallery.php?id=539&img=2700

adammclean
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 Posted: Thu May 29th, 2008 06:20 pm
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I managed to take a look at the Malvasia book today.

Carlo Cesare, Marchese Malvasia [1616-1693]  Aelia Laelia Crispis non nata resurgens...Bologna, 1683. 

It has a rather wonderful frontispiece engraving with a sphinx and lion and the text of the poem depicted in the form of a carved plaque, with the names of some of the interpreters set around this in panels.

Then follows a dedicatory epistle, various dedicatory verses, and a note to the Reader.

Next is an introduction, followed by 10 chapters.

Chapter 1 lists the various authors who have brought forth explanatory interpretations, including Richard Vitis of Basinstoke, Ioannes Turris of Brouge, Nicloas Reusner, Franciscus Scottus of Antwerp, Athanasius Kircher, Nicolaus Barnaud, and so on. I counted 43 authors in all.

Chapter 2 deals with the various versions of the poem and lists where various interpretations have omitted or retained various lines.

Chapter 3 Seems to be devoted to interpretations which have fallen short,  'ektrosis' (miscarried).

Chapter 4 is devoted to explanations of the first part of the poem.

Chapter 5 is devoted to explanations of the second part of the poem.

There are a number of illustrations in the text, and the final chapters refer to and make parallels with classical seals and inscriptions.

The Latin seems not too difficult, with relatively short sentences.

 


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