In Oratory and Laboratory:
Heinrich Khunrath and Hermetic Philosophy

NOA Community Centre (Ferry Centre)
Summertown, Oxford

(click for map etc.)

Heinrich Khunrath of Leipzig (1560-1605), "both doctor of medicines and faithful lover of theosophy", has been variously described as "one of the most remarkable theosophists and alchemists of the late sixteenth century" and "one of the greatest Hermetic philosophers". His magnum opus, The Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom, is best known for its collection of occult engravings, which have been counted among the most important mystical drawings in the world. Though frequently praised, they have rarely been understood, due to the mélange of languages and the complexity of their "hieroglyphical" and "theosophical" figures.

Examining the interplay between the Amphitheatre's images and text, and drawing comparisons with other representations of the occult in early modern Europe, this talk will discuss how Khunrath's notions of knowledge and wisdom, research and revelation, formed complementary facets of a worldview that aimed at the integration of scientific knowledge and religious belief under the motto Ora et Labora (Pray and Work).

Peter Forshaw's research interests are in learned magic and its relation to medicine, science and religion in early modern Europe. He is currently British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and Honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter. He has published articles and chapters in collections on alchemy, magic and cabal, and is at present preparing a book, The Mage's Images: Occult Theosophy in Heinrich Khunrath's Early Modern Oratory and Laboratory for publication later this year.

£6.00 (Friends £3.00)