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Fludd's theory of spontaneous generation
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adammclean
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 Posted: Thu Feb 4th, 2010 11:04 pm
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A contact has asked me for some information about Fludd's theory of spontaneous generation.

Philip Ball in his book on Paracelsus, The Devil's Doctor, (pages 380-391)  says,

For years Fludd sought to isolate the spiritus mundi, the substance in the air that (according to Paracelsian philosophy) could create new life in non-living matter through the process of putrefaction. This, Fludd explained, in his Philosophical Key (c.1619), is what gave rise to the spontaneous generation of creatures in decaying matter.

My contact has not been  able to find the actual text where Fludd writes about this idea. He has searched Allen Debus book, Robert Fludd and His Philosophical Key, which supposedly contains the text and cannot find it.  He wonders if it is possible that Ball's rather general reference is inaccurate, that he has got the wrong book.

Does anyone know about Fludd's theory of spontaneous generation and remember the text where Fludd refers to this?

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Thu Feb 4th, 2010 11:47 pm
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adammclean wrote:
A contact has asked me for some information about Fludd's theory of spontaneous generation.

Philip Ball in his book on Paracelsus, The Devil's Doctor, (pages 380-391)  says,

For years Fludd sought to isolate the spiritus mundi, the substance in the air that (according to Paracelsian philosophy) could create new life in non-living matter through the process of putrefaction. This, Fludd explained, in his Philosophical Key (c.1619), is what gave rise to the spontaneous generation of creatures in decaying matter.

My contact has not been  able to find the actual text where Fludd writes about this idea. He has searched Allen Debus book, Robert Fludd and His Philosophical Key, which supposedly contains the text and cannot find it.  He wonders if it is possible that Ball's rather general reference is inaccurate, that he has got the wrong book.

Does anyone know about Fludd's theory of spontaneous generation and remember the text where Fludd refers to this?




I think this may be a reference to Fludd's treatise on wheat, referred to here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=wsm8r2oXYp4C&pg=RA1-PA303&dq=%22robert+fludd%22+%22anatomiae+amphitheatrum%22&lr=&ei=ZWlrS_b0CYyUzgS806iZDg&cd=5#v=onepage&q=%22robert%20fludd%22%20%22anatomiae%20amphitheatrum%22&f=false

As Josten explains, subsequently the text was incorporated into Fludd's Anatomiae Amphitheatrum, see Josten: 'Truth's Golden Harrow: an unpublished alchemical treatise by Robert Fludd', pp. 94-95.

See the third experiment of Chapter 4 of Book Two in the list of contents quoted by Josten: 'The third experiment teacheth us that this aereall spirit inviteth vegetation abundantly'.

Last edited on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 10:53 am by Paul Ferguson


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