Alchemy. Essay

1681 words - 7 pages

His name was not Merlin or Ariel. He had no magical powers. He could not cause a fierce storm to appear out of nowhere. His name was John Dee. His fame spread when he caused people in the middle Ages to believe that he could turn a metal as common as lead into pure gold. Did he believe that he could change lead into gold? He did, or else he would not have spent so much of his time practicing the art of alchemy.Alchemy has created for itself a multifaceted history. Alchemists were widely considered to be part of the occult (Hughes 40). In fact, their mystical practices led people to believe that alchemists were sorcerers or other occult practitioners (Hughes 40). Interestingly enough, while alchemists were considered to be sorcerers and practitioners of the occult, many alchemists believed that the practice of alchemy was not a type of occultism, but rather that it was a "gift of God" (Karpenko 63-80) and believed that alchemy was disclosed by God to a select few and not to the public, provided they meet a few requirements of obedience and are not closed off to God (Karpenko 63-80). Being a sorcerer did not stop alchemists from spending much of their own money on their work. Unfortunately for the alchemists, the work they invested their money in did not always turn out to be very successful. Alchemists lost entire fortunes while practicing alchemy (Hughes 40).During the Middle Ages, there were two opposing views on alchemy, the physical and the spiritual. Paracelsus (1493-1541), a famous alchemist, was more concerned with the physical aspects of alchemy. His end goal was using alchemy for medical purposes. On the other hand, the well-known alchemist John Dee (1527-1608) touted the spiritual aspects of alchemy. This revolved around how to become a better person. In a 1998 HYLE - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry journal entry, Vladimir Karpenko commented on how alchemy may have come about: "...we can generally accept the view that alchemy originated in the Hellenistic world as a result of manifold interfering influences: Greek natural philosophy, Gnostic speculations, and practical knowledge collected by craftsmen" (63-80). Karpenko also notes that according to W.R. Newman, in his book Gehennical Fire, medieval alchemy came from the Middle East, or at least its surrounding areas (63-80). When alchemy reached Europe, scientists began to purposely start various kinds of chemical reactions (Findon and Groves 22). To the alchemists, alchemy was seen as a science, and it laid the groundwork for other future scientific practices, such as "chemistry" (Leary).Medieval alchemists generally agreed on what scientific goals they hoped to achieve. The most widely known goal among the alchemists was to turn a common metal, such as lead, into pure gold. Why gold? There were a multitude of reasons. First, it was believed among alchemists that God created gold to be the superior metal against all other metals (Redgrove 16). Since gold was the...

Find Another Essay On Alchemy.

Evolution of Alchemy into Chemistry Essay

1550 words - 6 pages [The] History of chemistry especially alchemy… The most lively imagination is not capable of devising a thought which could have acted more powerfully and consistently on the minds and faculties of men, than the very idea of the Philosopher’s Stone. Without this idea, chemistry would not now stand in its present perfection… [For] in order to know that the Philosopher’s Stone did not really exist, it was indispensable that

Alchemy: The Key to Modern Chemistry

2444 words - 10 pages Alchemy is considered the precursor to modern chemistry. When you think of chemistry, usually you think of an exact science; something very meticulous. Truthfully, it is. To be accurate and to obtain precise and desired results, it must be accurate. Alchemy, however, was not an exact science, it was a primitive approach to the elements and usually they looked to a deity to actually initiate chemical reactions. Thus we separated them, but for

The Attitudes to Love Addressed in Loves Alchemy and Twicknam Garden

1176 words - 5 pages The Attitudes to Love Addressed in Loves Alchemy and Twicknam Garden Twicknam Garden was a poem written by John Donne in 1607. It is one of John Donne's late pieces of work and is thought to be written about his patron and his feelings for her. Compared to his patron he was a much lower class, almost a beggar compared to her. Twicknam Garden shows a very unique outlook on love, it shows definate bitterness towards love

Modern Day Alchemist

1439 words - 6 pages Webster's Dictionary defines alchemy as “a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way.” Alchemy can be performed many ways, like changing base metals into gold. Most alchemists say it is a very inexplicable transmuting. Others may say it is an exploration of a plethora of substances. Another group of alchemists believe it is a part of depth psychology. Whatever it may be it has changed the lives

The Pseudoscience of the Modern World

1958 words - 8 pages The creation and development of Alchemy has been teeming with countless stories of philosophical theories, alchemic brilliance, and public ridicule and disgrace due to failure to create a legendary substance known as the Philosophers stone. As a result, this stone has been one of the most pursued objects of Europe an history providing the driving force for Alchemy. This sacred art is what pioneered the very first tools, process, and theories of

The predecessor or modern chemistry writen by Jay Abgumme

674 words - 3 pages Alchemy -The Predecessor of Modern ChemistryWritten by: TheGoddessThere are many ways to examine the subject of alchemy, including alchemy as a source of symbolism, psychology, and mysticism. It has also been an influence on the world view of various writers, artist, and musicians. The focus of this report is alchemy as a pre-chemistry, which gave a new impulse towards the preparation of medicinal remedies and also was a major influence on

History of Chemistry

1024 words - 5 pages Chemistry is a branch of science that has been around for a long time. Chemistry is dated back as far as prehistoric times. Chemistry has been around for so long that scientist have put it in 4 general chronological categories. These four categories are prehistoric, beginning of the christian era, end of 17th century(alchemy) traditional chemistry and modern chemistry. Some of the very first recorded chemist where men like democritus and

History of Chemistry

998 words - 4 pages . The protoscience of chemistry, alchemy, was unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations. However, by performing experiments and recording the results, alchemists set the stage for modern chemistry. The distinction began to emerge when a clear differentiation was made between chemistry and alchemy by Robert Boyle in his work The Sceptical Chymist (1661). While both alchemy and chemistry are concerned with matter and its

Atomic History

892 words - 4 pages based upon. Furthermore, the development of four elements called “roots”, from the Grecian philosopher Empedocles, became the basis for further experiments; thus leading to Post Socratic philosophies on the matter of matter and what it is composed of, and served as a fertile foundation for Alchemy which served as a foundation for all chemistry to follow. The insight, spoken of in the latter paragraph, is an incomparably magnificent thing

History of Chemistry

971 words - 4 pages Chemistry and technology are together and separate. Chemistry uses technology and technology uses chemistry. The history of chemistry and technology is long going back to the ancient times. Chemistry was used even by the oldest civilizations, like Egypt. It was really popular during the medieval times. Back then it was called Alchemy, which is turning metal into gold or even about the philosopher’s stone. As the years went by, Alchemy became a

A reveiw of the scarlet letter

1739 words - 7 pages an Aor that they were an apostle, and in some way involved with the church. Although a weaklink, it is possible. Hawthorne could've always made it an "S" for sinner of an "I" forimpurity, but he chose the A. Aside from it being an "A" for adulterer and accomplice, italso took on the meaning of Arthur and apostle in reference to Dimmesdale.Chillingsworth can be included into the letter "A" by the term alchemy. "Once arespected physician and

Similar Essays

Alchemy Essay

1423 words - 6 pages In the middle ages, alchemy covered a broad and complex group of operations and theories. Most frequently, alchemy describes “the art and science of transforming base metals into the noble metals, silver and gold” (Halleux 134). Alchemy also represented different aspects of each great civilization it developed in with distinct symbols and purposes. The term “alchemy” evolved from the Arabic “al-kimiya” which transformed as it transitioned into

Alchemy Essay

3671 words - 15 pages 'gush'. Mr. A. Wallis Budge in his "Egyptian Magic", however, states that it is possible that it may be derived from the Egyptian word khemeia, that is to say 'the preparation of the black ore', or 'powder', which was regarded as the active principle in the transmutation of metals. To this name the Arabs affixed the article 'al', thus giving al-khemeia, or alchemy.HISTORY OF ALCHEMY: From an early period the Egyptians possessed the reputation of

John Donne's Love's Alchemy Essay

978 words - 4 pages John Donne's Love's Alchemy In 'Love's Alchemy,'; John Donne sets up an analogy between the Platonists, who try, endlessly, to discover spiritual love, and the alchemists, who in Donne’s time, tried to extract gold from baser metals. This analogy allows Donne to express his beliefs that such spiritual love does not exist and those who are searching for it are only wasting their time. Donne cleverly uses language that both allows the

The Many Goals Of Alchemy Essay

655 words - 3 pages The Many Goals of Alchemy Alchemy is not just the changing of base metals into gold as most people think, although that was one of the goals people tried to achieve through alchemy. Alchemy is stemmed from astrology; both make attempts to understand mans relationship to the universe and exploit it. While astrology is concerned with the stars alchemy is concerned with the elements of nature. Alchemy also stemmed partly from metallurgy, a