Paracelsus

1493-1541. Pseudonym of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, medical doctor, chemist, philosopher, and writer. Born in Switzerland, he later lived in Carinthia, a center of mining, smelting, and alchemy-interests that were to occupy him the remainder of his life. After study at various German universities, he completed his doctorate at Ferrara in 1515. For the next eleven years he traveled through Europe practicing medicine. Then in 1526-28 he was medical lecturer at the University of Basle, but after losing this post he wandered for the rest of his life. He was an innovator in the field of medicine, developing chemical urinalysis, a biochemical theory of digestion, chemical therapy, antisepsis of wounds, and new treatments for syphilis. His philosophy of alchemy and kabbalism grew from Neoplatonism, hermetic studies, and Gnosticism. Paracelsus's numerous books are mostly variants on the idea of man (the microcosm) in relation to nature (the macrocosm). A friend of Erasmus and Oecolampadius, he was accused by Erastus of the Dualist heresy, but he died a member of the Roman Church.