8 Nov 2019

The Greatest and the Least

Godwin. The Greater and Lesser Worlds of Robert Fludd: Macrocosm, Microcosm, and Medicine. Inner Traditions International (5 Nov. 2019)
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One of the last Renaissance men, Robert Fludd (1574-1637) was one of the great minds of the early modern period. A physician by profession, he was also a Christian Hermetist, a Rosicrucian, an alchemist, astrologer, musician, and inventor. His drive to encompass the whole of human knowledge--from music to alchemy, from palmistry to fortification--resulted in a series of books remarkable for their hundreds of engravings, a body of work recognized as the first example of a fully-illustrated encyclopedia.

In this in-depth, highly illustrated reference, scholar and linguist Joscelyn Godwin explains Fludd's theories on the correspondence between the macrocosm of elements, planets, stars, and subtle and divine beings and the microcosm of the human being and its creative activities. He shows how Fludd's two worlds--the macrocosm and the microcosm--along with Paracelsus's medical principles and the works of Hermes Trismegistus provided the foundation for his search for the cause and cure of all diseases. The more than 200 illustrations in the book represent the whole corpus of Fludd's iconography, each one accompanied by Godwin's expert commentary and explanation.

Sharing many passages translated for the first time from Fludd's Latin, allowing him to speak for himself, Godwin explores Fludd's thoughts on cosmic harmonies, divination, the kabbalah, astrology, geomancy, and the rapport between the multiple levels of existence. He also analyzes Fludd's writings in defense of alchemy and the Rosicrucians. An essential reference for scholars of Renaissance thinkers, traditional cosmology, metaphysics, and the Western esoteric tradition, this book offers intimate access to Fludd's worlds and gives one a feel for an epoch in which magic, science, philosophy, spirituality, and imagination could still cohabit and harmonize within a single mind.