Description - Joan Baptista Van Helmont by Walter Pagel
Only comparatively have historians begun to recognize the importance and influence of Joan Baptista Van Helmont (1579-1644) in the history of medicine and chemistry. Van Helmont's theories on the nature of life, biological time, physiology and disease, the structure of matter, and the processes of chemical change are veiled in his writings by a brand of Renaissance mysticism rendering them obscure to the modern reader. His organic conception of the natural world, together with his belief in alchemy and astral forces, has resulted in a predominantly unsympathetic attitude among historians of science, by whom he is generally regarded as a mystic purveying an unpalatable and inherently 'unscientific' amalgam of medicine and philosophy. Attitudes are now changing. Thinkers of the Van Helmont type are at last receiving the sympathetic attention they deserve. Dr Pagel is a pioneer in this field, and he now demonstrates that by painstaking analysis it is possible to appreciate the creative insights of a figure like Van Helmont. Dr Pagel's book is a model of its kind, and it is the culmination of many years of reflection on the topics discussed.
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(228mm x 152mm x 13mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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