Books, Gold, and Elixir: Alchemy and Religious Orders in Early Modern Naples

Gianfrancesco, Lorenza (2018) Books, Gold, and Elixir: Alchemy and Religious Orders in Early Modern Naples. Ambix, 65 (3). pp. 250-274. ISSN 1745-8234

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Abstract

In the early modern period Naples was a European centre of learning where a number of scholars engaged with alchemy. Variously perceived as a legitimate scientific practice or as a mendacious trick for gullible minds, alchemy engaged Neapolitan scholars in an ongoing dispute that involved members of the clergy. In this article I consider convents as research centres mainly engaged with medical alchemy. Specifically, I reconstruct the activity of the Dominican friar Tommaso d’Eremita. Upon his arrival at the Neapolitan convent of Santa Caterina a Formello in 1609, d’Eremita set up a laboratory where he spent years working on alchemical procedures in order to produce an elixir of life for the benefit of all. Beyond this charitable mission, I argue that members of religious orders in Naples engaged with alchemy for different purposes. In so doing, I discuss the cases of some members of religious orders in Naples who practised chrysopoeia with the aim of producing artificial noble metals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: History and Philosophy of Science, Chemistry (miscellaneous)
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Departments > History
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router Jisc
Depositing User: Publications Router Jisc
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2018 14:20
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2019 00:10
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/3818

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