Advertisement

Abstract

Henry More’s critique of the German mystic Jacob Boehme, Philosophiae teutonicae censura, is remarkable for its mild, if not forgiving tone. It might be expected that More would have condemned Boehme out of hand since, in his own analysis, Boehme was an enthusiast, one who laboured under the ‘misconceit of being inspired’.1 Moreover More elsewhere associates Boehme with some of the worst examples of enthusiasm: Familism and Paracelsianism. And he even finds a parallel between Behmenism and the doctrines of the archatheist Spinoza on account of the material pantheism he detects in both.2 On the face of it, Jacob Boehme would appear to bear out the opening comments of Enthusiasmus triumphatus:

Atheism and Enthusiasm, though they seem so extremely opposite to one another, yet in many things they do very nearly agree.3

Keywords

Universal Substance Guardian Angel Divine Essence Ancient Wisdom Brotherly Love 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    More, CSPW, ET, sect. 2. For the full title of Philosophiae teutonicae censura see the bibliography. It is printed in More’s Opera 2: 529–561. For a discussion of More and enthusiasm, see Robert Crocker’s paper in this volume.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    More, Demonstrationum duarum propositionum...confutatio ibid 2: 619.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    More, CSPW, ET, sect. 1.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tarn a pluribus annis Angli eadem omnia suo idiomate tenent favore Comitis Pembrok. Pius Rex Carolus I. et nonnulli Aulae istius Magnates, que non nisi paucissima e scriptis hisce conspexerant, magni eadem faciebant, pariter ac Henricus Morus pluresque alii scientia & vir-tute eminentes, qui ea completa cognoverant’. Pierre Poiret, Bibliotheca mysticorum selecta (Amsterdam, 1708), 169. The Earl of Pembroke in question is presumably the one who attended the meetings of the Philadelphians. See M.L. Bailey, Milton and Jacob Boehme (New York: Oxford University Press, 1914), 106 and N. Thune, The Behmenists and the Philadelphians. A Contribution to the Study of English Mysticism (Uppsala: Almquist & Wilksells, 1948) where he is identified as Philip Herbert, fifth earl of Pembroke. The source of the story about Charles I is John Sparrow’s preface to the second edition of his translation of Boehme’s Forty Questions Concerning the Soul (London, 1665). Arnold gives another version of the same report on English Boehme-sympathisers, but in his account, it was Charles II who took an interest. See Historia et descriptio theologiae mysticae (Frankfurt, 1702), 597.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gottfried Arnold, Unparteiische Kirchen und Ketzer Historie (Frankfurt/Main, 1699) 1:661. According to Moriz Carrière, the mildness of More’s critique of Boehme served to recommend Boehme in England: Die philosophische Weltanschaung der Reformationzeit (Leipzig, 1847), 721. However, to judge from Arnold and Poiret, it was for the benefit of Boehme’s continental readership that More’s opinions were cited.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    On the English reception of Boehme see Bailey, op.cit. at note 4. Also S. Hutin, Les disciples anglais de Jacob Boehme au XVIP e et XVIII e -siècles (Paris: Denoël, 1960) and Thune, Behmenists. The best study of Boehme’s writings is A. Koyré, La philosophie de Jacob Boehme (Paris: Vrin, 1929). See also, W. Struck, Der Einfluss Jakob Böhmes auf die englische Literatur des 17. Jahrhunderts, (Berlin, 1936) and Lawrence M. Principe and Andrew Weeks, “Jacob Boehme’s Divine Substance Salitter. its Nature, Origin and Relation to Seventeenth-century Science Theories,” British Journal for the History of Science 22 (1989): 53–61.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    e.g. Lodowick Muggleton, Looking Glass for George Fox (London, 1667), 5.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Samuel Herring, “Letter to the Parliament 4 Aug. 1653”. The relevant extract is quoted in Bailey, 135. Also John Webster, Academiarum examen (London 1654), 107. On both Herring and Webster, see Charles Webster, The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine and Reform, 1626–1660 (London: Duckworth, 1975).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Worthington, Diary 3:287.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Richard Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae (London, 1696), 77–8.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    C. Hotham, An Introduction to the Teutonick Philosophie, trans. D. Hotham, (London: 1650), “Epistle Dedicatory”. Son of Sir John Hotham who was executed for treason by the Parliamentarians in 1645, Charles Hotham (1615–1672?) was intruded fellow into Peterhouse in 1640, but deprived of his fellowship in 1651 after a dispute with the master, Lazarus Seaman. F.R.S. in 1667, he subsequently became minister in the Bermudas. See D.N.B. 26:404. Also, J. Peile, Biographical Register, 1:418–9 and J.B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge 2:395–419. Another acquaintance of More’s, Samuel Hartlib, was also interested in Boehme: see Bailey, Milton, 63, 83 etc. More’s surviving correspondence with Hartlib which dates from the same period as the Hotham lecture makes no mention of Boehme, although there is a reference to Charles Hotham. Sheffield University Library, Hartlib Papers Bundle 18/1/13.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    C. Hotham, Ad philosophiam teutonicam manductio. Seu Determinatio de origine animae humanae, viz. An a Deo creatur & infundatur, an a parentibus traducatur habita. Cantabrigiae in scholis publias in comitiis Martii. 1646 (London, 1648). The dedicatory epistle announces the forthcoming publication of Von der drei Prinzipien Göttlichen Wesens, which appeared under the title The Seconde Booke. Concerning the Three Principles of the Divine Essence, translated by John Sparrow (London, 1648).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See note 11 above. The vice-chancellor at the time was Thomas Hill. Durant Hotham wrote a biography of Boehme, The Life of Jacob Boehme (London, 1654).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Introduction to the Teutonick Philosophie Sig.A520. Cf. Manductio Sig.Cv For the full text of More’s poem together with the English version which appeared in Durant Hotham’s version, see Appendix.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    More, CSPW, ET, 29–31.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    More, DD, The Two Last Dialogues Treating of the Kingdome of God within us and without us. These last dialogues were, according to the preface to all five, published before the first three: Preface sig.A4. For the date of writing, see Opera, 2: p.xi.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Worthington to More 8th, January 1668 in Worthington, Diary 3:287.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    More, DD, The Fifth Dialogue, 335–6, 349–50.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid. sig.a2v-a3r.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    More to Anne Conway 15th September 1670 in Marjorie H. Nicolson, ed., Conway Letters, p. 306.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    More, Demonstrationum duarum praepositionum...confutatio in Opera 2:619.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    DD, 2:354.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    R. Ward, Life, 202.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Worthington, Diary, 3:287, 291–2, 302–3.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Opera, 2: The bibliography in F.L. McKinnon, Philosophical Writings (1925) lists the Censura as first published in 1670, but gives no more details than date and title. I have not managed to locate a single copy, however.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid. 531, sect. 1–3.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Worthington, Correspondence 3:292, 302, 307.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    See note 13 above. Von Frankenberg’s A Brief Account of the Life and Conversation of Jacob Boehme was printed with the reprint of Sparrow’s translation of Forty Questions (London, 1665).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    The English translations of these works were printed as follows: Aurora. That is the Day-spring, trans. Sparrow, (London, 1656); The Three Principles of the Divine Essence, trans. Sparrow, (London 1647); The High and Deep Searching of the Threefold Life of Man, trans. Sparrow, (London, 1650); XL Questions Concerning the Soule, trans. Sparrow, (London, 1647); Mysterium magnum, trans. Ellistone and Sparrow, (London, 1654); The Clavis or Key, trans. Sparrow, (London, 1647). For a complete list of English translations of Boehme see Bailey, Milton.Google Scholar
  30. 32.
    More, Opera, 2:531.Google Scholar
  31. . Ibid. 533, sect. 10 and 534, sect. 20.Google Scholar
  32. 35.
    Ibid. 537, sects. 5, 8 & 10.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    ‘Quod autem in rebus majoris momenti sua eum fefellerit Inspiratio, manifestum est ex ejus Aurora, de natura Dei, quem frequenter facit discerpibilem & corporeum, quid mens cujusquam ex verbis intellegi possit... Adeo ut ex grandi hoc Errato, manifestum sit J.B. inter scribendum suam Auroram, haud infallibiter fuisse inspiratum quanquam tarn confidenter subinde Lectorem ea de re monet’. Ibid. 538–9, sects. 11–15.Google Scholar
  34. 38.
    Ibid. 556, sects. 3–5.Google Scholar
  35. 40.
    Ibid. 557, sects. 7–8.Google Scholar
  36. 41.
    More, Demonstrationum duarum propositionum.. confutatio, ibid. 619. On More and Spinoza, see R. Colie, Light and Enlightenment; idem, ‘Spinoza in England’. Also, S. Hutton, ‘Reason and Revelation in the Cambridge Platonists and their Reception of Spinoza’.Google Scholar
  37. 42.
    More, Opera, 2, p. xvii: ‘... nisi quod tantam affinitatem ac similitudinem inter Philosophiam Teutonicam & Cabbalam Aeto-paedo melisseam observassem, eademque opera utriusque errores posse refutari’. On Fundamenta philosophiae see A. Coudert, ‘A Cambridge Platonist’s Cabbalist Nightmare’.Google Scholar
  38. 43.
    More, Opera, 2:542, sect. 4 & p. 544, sect. 14.Google Scholar
  39. 44.
    C. Hotham, Ad philosophiam teutonicam manductio, Dedicatory preface. Sparrow, XL Questions (1665) sig.A43.Google Scholar
  40. 45.
    As David Katz makes clear in his paper in this volume, this is not a genuinely cabbalistic work. Although CC, is presented as no more than conjectural, More’s desire to prove the truth of his argument, especially the philosophical part, is attested by this lengthy defence of his position.Google Scholar
  41. 46.
    More, Opera 2:546, sect. 1. Cf. Boehme, Clavis (1647), 18. My version of More’s diagram replaces planetary symbols with the names of the planets.Google Scholar
  42. 47.
    ‘Cum Trinitas universalis Naturae sit quasi umbratilis projectio Trinitatis purae Divinitatis per Divinam Animam...’ More, Opera 2:547, sect. 4. This supposed cabbalistic scheme is not set out anywhere else in More’s writings, as far as I know. It is, however, consistent with More’s discussion of Pythagorean numbers in An Appendix to the Defence of the Philosophick Cabbala.Google Scholar
  43. 48.
    ‘...revera non plures intendisse quam hasce sex. Et propterea quantum ad Numerum non multum aberravit’. Opera, 2:548, sect. 9. cf. ibid. 550, sect. 19, ‘Suntque hae sex, quantum ego quidem existimo, ad quas aspirabat J.B. si in earum distinctam notitiam penetrare potuisset, non autem Septem quae nullum fundamentum habet praeter hallucinantem Imaginationem’. cf. ibid. sect. 17.Google Scholar
  44. 49.
    Ibid. 549, sect. 14.Google Scholar
  45. 50.
    Ibid. 549–550.Google Scholar
  46. 51.
    Ibid. 550, sect. 21. cf. CSPW “The Preface General”, xviii.Google Scholar
  47. 52.
    Ibid. 551, sect. 23.Google Scholar
  48. 53.
    ‘Veruntamen hoc multo tolerabilius est quam Deum facere omnino corporeum’. ibid. 555.Google Scholar
  49. 54.
    More, CSPW, “The Preface General” pp. xviii–xix, and ibid, Defence of the Threefold Cabbala, Appendix, 104.Google Scholar
  50. 55.
    More, Opera, 2:561, sect. 21.Google Scholar
  51. 56.
    For example Poiret and Arnold. See notes 4 & 5 above.Google Scholar
  52. 57.
    J.W. Jaeger, De Jacob Boehmio judicium Henrici Mori (1709).Google Scholar
  53. 58.
    Hotham, Introduction, sig. A511. Cf. idem, Manductio, Dedicatory preface.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Hutton

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations