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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Moran, Bruce T. 2011. Introduction. Isis, Vol. 102, Issue. 2, p. 300.

    Collins, David J. 2011. Magic in the Middle Ages: History and Historiography. History Compass, Vol. 9, Issue. 5, p. 410.

    Chalmers, Alan F. 2010. Boyle and the origins of modern chemistry: Newman tried in the fire. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, Vol. 41, Issue. 1, p. 1.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

21 - From Alchemy to “Chymistry”

from Part III - Dividing the Study of Nature
The modern distinction between alchemy and chemistry, wherein the former refers exclusively to the transmutation of base metals into gold, is a caricature popularized by the philosophes of the French Enlightenment. Although alchemical techniques such as distillation had been employed by physicians since at least the twelfth century, Paracelsus went much further in treating the body as a chemical system. The importance of mercury in alchemical theory is underscored by the fact that one of the major schools of alchemical thought in the seventeenth century believed that the philosophers' stone should be made from that substance. Traces of Starkey's Helmontian and Geberian matter theory are also found in Newton's work, as in The Opticks. The formation of distinct chrysopoetic schools in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, like the inauguration of the chymical textbook tradition, bears witness to the increasing divergence of traditions within the domain of early modern chymistry.
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