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Eras Journal - Beidatsch, C. Abstract

Abstract of Beidatsch, C. 'All you need is love': Love and emotion in the world-view of Paracelsus.

This paper deals with aspects of the total world-view of the Swiss physician and alchemist Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), better known as Paracelsus. As well as being a prolific writer on medical, proto-scientific and Renaissance philosophia occulta, Paracelsus produced a substantial body of 'lay theology', outlining his version of a reformed, spiritualist Christian community, in which distinctions of state, society, economy and church were eliminated. As part of this broader theological 'project' he developed a highly individualistic theory of marriage based on ties of love and affection. This paper examines his doctrine of marriage and in particular the emphasis he placed on love between man and woman as a basis for marriage. It will also explore how love in his formulation became the sign of God's blessing, indeed of the predestination of the marriage. The paper argues that in both the marriage writings and his work on female illness and 'invisible diseases' Paracelsus was developing sensitivity towards the importance of emotion and feelings in human life. The paper also examines the role love and emotion played in Paracelsus's wider cosmology, especially in his concept of the personality of God and the relationship between God and the cosmos, and suggests that for Paracelsus, love constituted the binding force that held the universe together.

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