Lot 48
  • 48

Khunrath, Henricus

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Khunrath, Henricus
  • Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae, solius verae, Christiano-Kabalisticum, divino-magicum, nec non physico-chymicum, tertriunum, catholicon [edited by Erasmus Wolfart]. (Hanau: Guilielmus Antonius, 1609)
  • Paper
folio (297 x 192mm.), engraved portrait of Khunrath, engraved title-page, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, 9 double-page plates (of 10), 2 double-page tables, modern vellum in period style, first few leaves browned (portrait, title-page, first plate), lacking the small plate of an owl


Caillet 5747; Mellon 62; VD17 1:078059R

Catalogue Note

A short form of Khunrath's treatise was first published in 1595; in this expanded version the imperial privilege from Rudolph II is dated 1598, and the plates are mostly dated 1602. There were several issues of the text at this time, some of which also had a letterpress title-page with a Magdeburg imprint of 1608 or 1609, as well as a later 1653 Frankfurt reprint.

Khunrath (1560-1605) was a doctor by profession and a follower of Paracelsus, but was famous as an alchemist and kabalist; this treatise was condemned by the Sorbonne in 1625 for its heretical and impious nature. Lynn Thorndike's opinion of this book was also not favourable: "It is written in a ranting tone of turgid rhetoric with much theosophic pretense and religious patter" (A History of Magic and Experimental Science, 1953, volume VII, p.273), though it has been subject to more favourable interpretations in recent years by Umberto Eco and Peter Forshaw.