The Benedictine Brother Basilius Valentinus

The Benedictine Brother Basilius Valentinus Cover The Benedictine brother Basilius Valentinus has become a legend in the history of science. But was there really a monk by that name, who lived and worked in a German monastery in the fifteenth century as the legend claims? The historians of science seem not to be able to agree. Here follows the opinion of Sylvain Matton who edited the French edition of the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony (Retz, Paris 1977): On the identity of Basilius Valentinus. "Thus, as they present themselves to us, the writings of Basil Valentine seem to have been edited by a Paracelcist at the end of the sixteenth century or the beginning of the seventeenth. We say 'as they present themselves to us', because one may not entirely exclude that more ancient writings, perhaps of the fifteenth century, have been revised, expounded upon, interpolated, even rewritten. But with this hypothesis, if one does not keep (sic) the legend of the fortuitous discovery of Valentines writings in the trunk of a pillar at the cathedral of Erfurt, it is hard to explain the absence of any manuscript, the oldest one dating from 1582."

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