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Book of the Week — The Epistles of Jacob Behmen…

“That a Christian soule doth freely impart its Love and goodwill unto others, as a pleasant flower its virtue and smell: That being we are Plants of God, we ought not to be discouraged by any outward calamity that might befall us, but presse forward with constant perseverance, and grow up in the life of God, and bring forth Divine fruit: How the Apostles on the day of Pentecost were understood to speak many Languages, when as they spake but one onely: And how it is likewise possible for one man to understand the Spirit and meaning of another in the deepest Ground: That albeit he useth some Latin termes in his Writings, yet his meaning resteth not barely in signification of the Latin tongue, but much more in the language of nature: That the Ruine of Babel is nigh at hand.” — Epistle XV

The Epistles of Jacob Behmen…
Jacob Boehme (1575-1624)
London: Printed by M. Simmons for Gyles Calvert, 1649
First edition in English
BV5080 B6 1649

A collection of correspondence of the celebrated German Lutheran mystic and theologian. Jacob Boehme’s writings drew on Paracelsus, the Kabbala, alchemy and the Hermetic tradition. They were extremely influential in seventeenth-century Protestant Europe, especially in England and the Netherlands. Boehme claimed to have had a number of mystical experiences as a youth. The strongest came to him as a young man in 1600. Boehme said that while focusing his attention on a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish, the spiritual structure of the world was revealed to him, including the relationship between God and man, and good and evil. He did not speak of the revelation at the time, but wrote of it and others later.

Boehme’s early work was considered heretical. But the seventeenth century was a time of mystical thought in Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism. Boehme’s theology was an important part of the reintroduction of mysticism into these religions. Later disciples of the work of Boehme include Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Tillich, Martin Buber, and Carl Jung. Poets such as John Milton, William Blake and Samuel Coleridge found inspiration in the works of Boehme.

Decorative woodcut capitals. Bound in eighteenth-century calf over marbled boards. Rare Books copy has three ownership signatures, one dated 1850 and another dated 1875.

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